Posted by: William | March 17, 2008

The Law is Established

Something that, even until recently, has somewhat perplexed me is the way that the Law and the Gospel interact with each other. I, in no way, intend to exhaust myself (or you, the reader) on this right now. I’m quite certain many more thoughts and blogs will come over the next several days and I’ll expand then. However, tonight, I’d like to share just a couple of thoughts on the matter.

We live in a Christian culture where, by-and-large, it’s rare to find people who have a really good understanding of the Gospel. People usually get the key points, but don’t often seem to get how they work together and support each other. People sometimes understand the “elementary teaching about Christ” (Heb. 6:1-2), but even still, it seems most would prefer to remain on spiritual milk. So now, we find a culture throwing all kinds of good, biblical concepts around—concepts that hold great encouragement or conviction for believers—but only few of the hearers understand these concepts and so few actually benefit; in fact it seems that some even suffer. One that stands out to me, and relates to the topic at hand, is this idea of “freedom”. Listen to our songs and sermons and Christian talk, “freedom” is everywhere; but freedom from what?

There are many things that, in Christ, we’re freed from; death, sin, fear, the law, and so on. I’m not going to go into all of them, although they’d all be worth topics. The one I’d like to comment on right now is our freedom from the law.

The [moral] law is not destroyed because of grace, rather it is established (Rom. 3:31). Freedom from the law obviously can’t mean that we’re no longer required to keep it, it must mean something else. Samuel Bolton insists, rightly, that the law has lost its power to condemn us, but has retained its authority to direct us. In fact, where the law was once only able to bark orders, then watch us die unable to perform them, grace in Christ has come and made us able.

Many, even myself at times, would misinterpret freedom from the law to mean that its keeping is no longer required. Thinking like that leads quickly to licentious lifestyles, holding up grace before every sin as a pass to walk in freely without guilt. That’s the kind of thinking that brings Paul to remark that “their condemnation is just” (Rom 3:8).

If I have been redeemed then I overflow with gratitude, and out of love I long to keep the Lord’s commands (John 14:23). So now, in grace, the law is established and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I attempt to keep it; by the grace of God, to the glory of God.

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