The law turned into gospel

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The law turned into gospel -- a most serious error or a most glorious truth?

Thomas Goodwin (Works, 6:261):

As faith turns the commands of the law into gospel in a regenerate man's heart, so conscience, in an unregenerate man, turns the gospel into law. As faith writes the law in the heart, and urgeth the duties of it upon evangelical grounds and motives—as the love of Christ, conformity to him, union with him, and the free grace of God—so in a man unregenerate, gospel duties are turned into legal, through the sway and influence of conscience, and that dominion which the covenant of works hath over him.
Samuel Rutherford (The Covenant of Life Opened, 198-199).

The obedience of faith, or Gospel-obedience, in the fourth place, hath less of the nature of obedience than that of Adam, or of the elect angels, or that of Christ’s. It’s true we are called obedient children, and they are called the commandments of Christ, and Christ hath taken the moral law and made use of it in an evangelic way, yet we are more (as it were) patients in obeying gospel-commands. Not that we are mere patients, as Libertines teach; for grace makes us willing, but we have both supernatural habits and influences of grace furnished to us from the grace of Christ, who hath merited both to us; and so in Gospel-obedience we offer more of the Lord’s own and less of our own because he both commands and gives us grace to obey. And so to the elect believer the Law is turned in Gospel, he by his grace fulfilling (as it were) the righteousness of the Law in us by begun new obedience, Rom. 8:4.
These are undoubtedly faithful expressions of that glorious truth taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith, 19.6,

It [the moral law] is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin: and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof: although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works. So as, a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and not under grace.
 

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
In other words, for the Christian, the law and the gospel are not in a dichotomous opposition to one another. Unlike the Lutherans, the Reformed testify of a graciously sweet harmony between the two.
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
The law turned into gospel
Or sinners granted repentance by God, now rightly related to God's law,given a new heart at regeneration,can begin to exercise an obediance of faith, as unprofitable servants, to the Glory of God's grace.

4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Sin debt paid for,a service debt due......Samuel Bolton
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I would say it is a most serious truth. Anyone who would say it is "serious error" is probably being negligent of Reformed Theology in the Past.
 

Heidelberg1

Puritan Board Freshman
The law turned into gospel -- a most serious error or a most glorious truth?
Depending on the definition of gospel in each usage, this could be a most serious error. In fact, it could be a damnable error.

Galatians 3:1-14 NKJV

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed." 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”[h]), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
But I take it that gospel in each usage does not refer to the evangel through which a person is saved by grace through faith. So a person who held to these convictions would need to define their terms carefully, especially what is meant by law and what is meant by gospel in each usage of these quotes.

Michael Horton may shed some light here:

“Under the law, in Adam, one is trapped in the cycle of sin and death, resentment and despair, self-righteousness and self-condemnation. Yet under grace, in Christ, one is not only justified apart from the law but is able for the first time to respond to that law of love that calls from the deepest recesses of our being as covenantally constituted creatures. It is not the law itself that changes, but our relation to it, and that makes all the difference.” 
Michael Horton’s from his chapter “Obedience Is Better than Sacrifice” in the book The Law Is Not Of Faith: 334
Dr. William Perkins (1558-1602): The Elizabethan Puritan Par Excellance!

"That we may further conceive aright the moral law, we must make a difference between it and the gospel. For the gospel is that part of the word which promises righteousness and life everlasting to all that believe in Christ. The difference between them stands especially in five things.

First, the law is natural, and was in man's nature before the fall; but the gospel is spiritual, revealed after the fall, in the covenant of grace.

Second, the law sets forth God's justice, in rigor, without mercy; but the gospel sets out justice and mercy, united in Christ.

Third, the law requires a perfect righteousness within us; but the gospel reveals our acceptance with God by imputed righteousness.

Fourth, the law threatens judgements without mercy, and therefore is called the ministry of condemnation, and of death; but the gospel shows mercy to man's sin, in and by Christ, if we repent and believe.

Last, the law promises life to the worker and doer of it, "Do this and thou shalt live"; but the gospel offers salvation to him that "worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly"; not considering faith as a work, but as an instrument apprehending Christ by whom we are made righteous.

The church of Rome in a manner confound the law and the gospel, saying that the gospel, which is new law, reveals Christ more clearly than Moses law did which they call the old law. But this is a wicked opinion, which overturnes all religion; being the cause of many gross points in Popery, which could not stand if they would acknowledge a true distinction between the law and the gospel."
Blessings,

Kevin
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Not sure Perkins is correct on point the first....
But I don't know what Perkins is getting at.

(Rom 7:14) For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
 
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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Jeremiah Burroughs.... Gospel Conversation.

The good tidings concerning Christ, for so the word "gospel" in the Greek signifies nothing else but the good tidings.... All mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, and was put under the sentence of death.... God has thought upon the children of men. He has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again. Namely the Second Person in the Trinity takes man's nature upon him and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with man's sin, and answering for it by suffering what the Law and Divine Justice required. He made satisfaction and kept the Law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness He offered up unto the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls of those that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this unto sinners for atonement for them, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall never enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall, through Him be received into the number of sons. They shall have the image of God renewed again in them, and they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. These souls and bodies shall be raised to the height of glory that such creatures are capable of. They shall live forever, enjoying the presence of God and Christ in the fullness of all good. This is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.
Their is a distinction in parts of a whole but you can not separate the parts from the whole or it is not the thing it was. Jeremiah Burroughs does a great job defining the Gospel from the scriptures.
 

hrdiaz

Puritan Board Freshman
Not sure Perkins is correct on point the first....
But I don't know what Perkins is getting at.

(Rom 7:14) For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
I don't think Paul and William Perkins are using the term "spiritual" in the same sense. From what I understand, when Paul says "We know that the Law is spiritual" he is referring to its Holy and Divine Origin in contrast to his own carnal corruption, whereas when Perkins says that the Law is natural and not spiritual he seems to be saying that the Gospel is not naturally written on man's heart, as the Law is, but is revealed from Heaven (i.e. it is spiritual).

I don't see any conflict between Paul's words in Romans 7:14 and Perkins' words.

:2cents:

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In other words, for the Christian, the law and the gospel are not in a dichotomous opposition to one another. Unlike the Lutherans, the Reformed testify of a graciously sweet harmony between the two.
I'm not familiar with any Lutherans who do this. Do you have any particular theologians in mind? I haven't read much Lutheran theology, but I recently read through C.F.W Walther's The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel and, although it was basically a series of transcribed lectures, it didn't seem to differ very much from Colquhoun's A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel. Coming from an Arminian background that continually mixed Law and Gospel, and having escaped from a seeker sensitive church where the Law is the Gospel (i.e. where the Gospel is presented as "Love God and love your Neighbor"), I have found the Orthodox Lutherans to be very helpful in this area of theology.
 

Heidelberg1

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Martin,

Thanks for challenging me. I want to respond, but in fear and trembling, fear that I have drifted off into contra-confessional grounds.

Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter
But I don't know what Perkins is getting at.

(Rom 7:14) For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Here is what I think Perkins is getting at, although this is from Colquhoun who is nearly 200 years after.

John Colquhoun: The law, as written on the heart of the first man, is often called the law of creation, because it was the will of the sovereign Creator, revealed to the reasonable creature, by impressing or engraving it on his mind and heart. To this law, so inlaid in the mind and heart in creation, as to the natural instinct and moral rectitude of the rational creature, every person, as a reasonable creature, is indispensably bound. It obliges to perfect and perpetual obedience in all possible states of the creature, whether he be on earth, in heaven, or even in hell. Since man is the creature of God, and since, in his creation, he was made in the image of God, he owes all possible subjection and obedience to God, considered as his benign Creator.

The same law is also called the law of nature because it was founded in the holy and righteous nature of God, and was interwoven with the nature of the first man; because it corresponds both to the nature of God who is the author of it, and to that of man who is subjected to it; because to act according to this law is the same as to act naturally and reasonably; because writing it on the heart of Adam was so distinct, and the impression of it on his nature was so deep, that they were equal to an express revelation of it; because the dictates of this law are the very same that the dictates of natural conscience in the first man were; and, because the obligation to perform perfect obedience to it proceeds from the nature of God and lies on the nature of man. The knowledge which man in innocence had of this law was cemented with his nature.

It is sometimes called the moral law, and is so-called because it was a revelation of the will of God as his moral governor to the first man, and was the standard and rule of all the man’s moral qualities and actions; because, while it was manifested to his reason, it represented to him the moral fitness of all his holy inclinations, thoughts, words, and actions; because while it regulates the manners or morals of all men, it is of perpetual obligation; and because it is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, which are usually called the moral law. The Ten Commandments are the sum and substance of it. There is, however, this difference between it and them: in it there is nothing but what is moral, but in them there is something that is positive.
So I think that there is a stream of thought that slices the moral law into two parts; 1) the natural which is engraved into us at creation, and 2) the positive which are the commands of God. Paul quotes from the positive part of the moral law.

I am less confident in that distinction. The main reason I quoted Perkins was to show that he saw a clear distinction between law and gospel.

Blessings,

Kevin

Just noticed Hiram's edited post which mentions Colquhoun too.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
To echo Hiram's words, the Lutherans are often said to deny the third use of the law. They do no such thing! At least, not all Lutherans deny the third use of the law. Article 6 of the Formula of Concord: "Since it is established that the Law of God was given to men for three causes: first, that a certain external discipline might be preserved, and wild and intractable men might be restrained, as it were, by certain barriers; secondly, that by the Law men might be brought to an acknowledgment of their sings; thirdly, that regenerate men, to all of whom, nevertheless, much of the flesh still cleaves, for that very reason may have some certain rule after which they man and ought to shape their life, etc., a controversy has arisen among some few theologians concerning the third use of the Law, to wit: whether the Law is to be inculcated upon the regenerate also, and its observation urged upon them or not? Some have judged that the Law should be urged, others have denied it" (Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, III, pp. 130-131). The FC goes on to affirm in no uncertain terms the third use of the law.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Thanks for challenging me. I want to respond, but in fear and trembling, fear that I have drifted off into contra-confessional grounds.
While your heart is tender of that point it might be worth the effort to clarify the English Puritan's thought.

First, he has not written anything which is contrary to Drs. Goodwin and Rutherford. A difference between law and gospel is presupposed in the affirmation that the law is turned into gospel for the regenerate believer. That is only possible if there is a difference between them to begin with.

Secondly, it would be well if the English Puritan were read in the context of the primary source, which is his Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount. Secondary references from blogs are next to useless. In the primary source we find an expanded explanation of the differences. That expanded explanation shows that the ideas of "do and done" as summarising the difference between law and gospel were foreign to his teaching. The law and the gospel are the same in the sense that they both command; the difference is in what they command and the way they command. This is detailed in relation to faith, repentance, and obedience. The gospel commands them. On the point of obedience it is clarified that the moral duties of the law are in fact transformed by the gospel: "for obedience, though it bee commaunded both by the Law and the Gospel, yet not in the same manner: The Law commaundeth obedience euery way perfect, both in parts, and in degrees, and alloweth none other: but the Gospel commaundeth, and in Christ approoueth imperfect obedience; that is, an indeauour in all things, to obey and please God, if it be without hypocrisie. Againe, the Law commandeth obedience, as a worke to bee done, for the obtaining of saluation: but the Gospel requires obedience, onely to testifie our faith and thankefulnesse vnto God." Such a statement shows that the English Puritan taught the transformation of the commands of the law prior to Drs. Goodwin and Rutherford. All of them demonstrate that the believer's obedience does not answer to the law but to the gospel in contrast to the law.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
William Perkins also has a section on Christ fulfilling the law in his Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount. In that section he identifies how Christ fulfils the law in men.

Christ fulfilled the Law in men. Men bee of two sorts, Elect, and Reprobates: In the Elect he fulfilleth the Lawe two waies; First, by creating faith in their hearts, whereby they laie hold on Christ, who for them fulfilled it: Secondly, by giuing them his owne spirit, which maketh them indeauour to fulfill the Law; which in Christ is accepted for perfect obedience in this life, and in the life to come is perfect indeede.
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am somewhat reminded of WLC 32 which asks:
How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
And so beautifully answers:
The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a Mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect to work in them that faith with all other saving graces and to enable them unto all holy obedience as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.​
Indeed!

No comprehension of grace, which is indeed to be found in the moral Law of God, is gained apart from the revelation of the MEDIATORSHIP of Jesus Christ.

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William Perkins also has a section on Christ fulfilling the law in his Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount. In that section he identifies how Christ fulfils the law in men.

Christ fulfilled the Law in men. Men bee of two sorts, Elect, and Reprobates: In the Elect he fulfilleth the Lawe two waies; First, by creating faith in their hearts, whereby they laie hold on Christ, who for them fulfilled it: Secondly, by giuing them his owne spirit, which maketh them indeauour to fulfill the Law; which in Christ is accepted for perfect obedience in this life, and in the life to come is perfect indeede.
"In men" or "for men?"
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
"In men" or "for men?"
"In men," explained as follows, "by giuing them his owne spirit, which maketh them indeauour to fulfill the Law; which in Christ is accepted for perfect obedience in this life, and in the life to come is perfect indeede."
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
"In men" or "for men?"
"In men," explained as follows, "by giuing them his owne spirit, which maketh them indeauour to fulfill the Law; which in Christ is accepted for perfect obedience in this life, and in the life to come is perfect indeede."
If Christ did not fulfill the Law in His own Person for men, but rather fulfills the Law in elect men . . . what happens to the truth of righteousness gifted by grace and imputation, alone?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Let us get back to the truth. Justification is by Faith alone. But that faith is Gospel. It is also something that converts, saves, and changes the world or St. Paul and Peter wouldn't even care. We are a part of that Gospel.
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
Woo Hoo. I can do penance. Come on. Reverend Winzer and I would never advocate that.

Well, we are either justified by faith in Christ's accomplishments, alone, or we are justified by something we are enabled (and expected) to do on our own.

I think my question is legitimate and pertinent.

Did Christ fulfill all the Law as Mediator; or did Christ fulfill all the Law as an "enabler?"
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If Christ did not fulfill the Law in His own Person for men, but rather fulfills the Law in elect men . . . what happens to the truth of righteousness gifted by grace and imputation, alone?
But it was explicitly affirmed that Christ fulfilled the law in His own Person for the sake of the elect. That was the first point: "First, by creating faith in their hearts, whereby they laie hold on Christ, who for them fulfilled it." The second point should not be taken without the first point, and the first point should not be stressed at the expense of the second point. Verses 3 and 4 of Romans 8 should not be separated or made exclusive of one another. What the law could not do has been done by Christ, and what Christ has done results in the righteousness of the law being fulfilled in believers. To separate the two is to set Christ over against Himself.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Article 6 of the Formula of Concord
Lane, I once quoted this article to a Lutheran theologian and he assured me I was false in considering it to be the same as the reformed third use of the law. His argument was that Concord has established two lenses for reading Scripture -- law and gospel; so that law is never anything other than law and works are never considered to be a part of the gospel. The believer is either a new man who is dead to the law or an old man being killed by the law. This, he claimed, is its third use. At that time I had discovered no material which could contradict his interpretation, and to date I have never come across anything to the contrary.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
To steal a phrase.... I agree with Rev. Winzer and the old Presbyterians.
But it was explicitly affirmed that Christ fulfilled the law in His own Person for the sake of the elect. That was the first point: "First, by creating faith in their hearts, whereby they laie hold on Christ, who for them fulfilled it." The second point should not be taken without the first point, and the first point should not be stressed at the expense of the second point. Verses 3 and 4 of Romans 8 should not be separated or made exclusive of one another. What the law could not do has been done by Christ, and what Christ has done results in the righteousness of the law being fulfilled in believers. To separate the two is to set Christ over against Himself.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
The good tidings concerning Christ, for so the word "gospel" in the Greek signifies nothing else but the good tidings.... All mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, and was put under the sentence of death.... God has thought upon the children of men. He has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again. Namely the Second Person in the Trinity takes man's nature upon him and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with man's sin, and answering for it by suffering what the Law and Divine Justice required. He made satisfaction and kept the Law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness He offered up unto the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls of those that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this unto sinners for atonement for them, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall never enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall, through Him be received into the number of sons. They shall have the image of God renewed again in them, and they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. These souls and bodies shall be raised to the height of glory that such creatures are capable of. They shall live forever, enjoying the presence of God and Christ in the fullness of all good. This is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.
Is this the Gospel or not?
 
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hrdiaz

Puritan Board Freshman
But it was explicitly affirmed that Christ fulfilled the law in His own Person for the sake of the elect. That was the first point: "First, by creating faith in their hearts, whereby they laie hold on Christ, who for them fulfilled it." The second point should not be taken without the first point, and the first point should not be stressed at the expense of the second point. Verses 3 and 4 of Romans 8 should not be separated or made exclusive of one another. What the law could not do has been done by Christ, and what Christ has done results in the righteousness of the law being fulfilled in believers. To separate the two is to set Christ over against Himself.
Calvin on Romans 8:4,

They who understand that the renewed, by the Spirit of Christ, fulfil the law, introduce a gloss wholly alien to the meaning of Paul; for the faithful, while they sojourn in this world, never make such a proficiency, as that the justification of the law becomes in them full or complete. This then must be applied to forgiveness; for when the obedience of Christ is accepted for us, the law is satisfied, so that we are counted just. For the perfection which the law demands was exhibited in our flesh, and for this reason — that its rigor should no longer have the power to condemn us. But as Christ communicates his righteousness to none but to those whom he joins to himself by the bond of his Spirit, the work of renewal is again mentioned, lest Christ should be thought to be the minister of sin: for it is the inclination of many so to apply whatever is taught respecting the paternal kindness of God, as to encourage the lasciviousness of the flesh; and some malignantly slander this doctrine, as though it extinquished the desire to live uprightly.
John Gill's remarks seem to be helpful here as well. He writes,

By the righteousness of the law, is not meant the righteousness of the
ceremonial law, though that was fulfilled by Christ; but of the moral law,
which requires holiness of nature, righteousness of life, and death in case of
disobedience; active righteousness, or obedience to the precepts of the law,
is designed here. This is what the law requires; obedience to the commands
of it is properly righteousness; and by Christ's obedience to it we are made
righteous, and this gives the title to eternal life: now this is said to be
“fulfilled in us”; this is not fulfilled by us in our own persons, nor can it be;
could it, where would be the weakness of the law? man might then be
justified by it, and so the grace of God, and the righteousness of Christ,
must be set aside: there never was any mere man that could fulfil it; for
obedience to it must not only be performed perfectly, but with intenseness
of mind and spirit; a man must be sinless in thought, word, and deed; and
this would be to put man upon a level with Adam in a state of innocence,
and the angels in heaven: nor is this to be understood of any righteousness
inherent in man; internal holiness is never called the righteousness of the
law; and could it be thought to be righteousness, yet it can never be
reckoned the whole righteousness of the law: and though it is a fruit of
Christ's death, it is the work of the Spirit, and is neither the whole, nor any
part of our justification: but this is to be understood of the righteousness of
the law fulfilled by Christ, and imputed to us; Christ has fulfilled the whole
righteousness of the law, all the requirements of it; this he has done in the
room and stead of his people; and is imputed to them, by virtue of a federal
union between him and them, he being the head, and they his members; and
the law being fulfilled by him, it is reckoned all one as it was fulfilled in, or
if by them; and hence they are personally, perfectly, and legally justified;
and this is the end of Christ's being sent, of sin being laid on him, and
condemned in him.
Hodge is in agreement with Calvin and Gill in his commentary on Romans (it's on page 399, you can search for the passage at google books, here's the link).

:2cents:
 

ServantsHeart

Puritan Board Freshman
acknowledgment of their sings
What (SINGS )are they acknowleging?

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Great post Pastor Winzer,so many just don't get this important point on what purpose the Law serves for the Christians life lived in the pursuit of Holiness.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Hodge is in agreement with Calvin and Gill in his commentary on Romans
We have already noted Samuel Rutherford's understanding of the passage in terms of "begun new obedience" in the first post. This is a typical reformed interpretation. Numerous reformed commentators take issue with the justification only interpretation of this passage. First, it is inappropriate to say that righteousness is fulfilled in believers in terms of justification. That would mean Christ's work without us is in fact within us. Or, it would give ground to Antinomians to say that the believer has nothing more to do with the demands of the law since he is reckoned to have already fulfilled it. See especially Thomas Manton's comments in his sermon on this verse. He distinguishes the true and the false sense of how Christ's active obedience comes to be imputed to believers. Secondly, there are real benefits distinct from legal benefits announced in the passage and these are left without any connection to the work of Christ if it is understood of justification. John Murray's commentary is useful for showing the connecting thought. Concerning Calvin and Hodge, they are both careful not to separate justification and sanctification, so their strained interpretation is balanced somewhat by their dogmatic commitments. As for Gill, I leave him in a class by himself, which is where he was usually delighted to be.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
so many just don't get this important point on what purpose the Law serves for the Christians life lived in the pursuit of Holiness.
This is quite true yet very sad. Failure to understand this point would make obedience a grievous burden rather than an easy yoke.
 

ServantsHeart

Puritan Board Freshman
I wish I had a dime for every time I and my Church have been called Legalist because of our love for the Commandents of our Holy and good GOD. When this happens I ask my accusers which of the Commandments can you break without bringing the Fathers correction upon you? They will say they can't break any of them without sinning. Then they will catch themselves and say the Fourth is not one they must keep because they are not Jews. Then I ask when was this one made null and void? And they say because we are under grace not the Law,and I say what about the other 9 are they the Moral Law of GOD? And they say yes but the Fourth is not a Moral Law for Christians only Jews. I ask about the day of rest Sanctified/Set Apart by GOD for man for rest and spiritual devotion to Him in Genesis? They say that is the Law and we are not under the Law,then I point out this was before the Law was given to Moses. They say well Moses wrote it so he must have viewed it as part of the Law even in Genesis. And on and on it goes until you just want to pull your hair out. So much confusion and avoidence of agreeing that GOD has a Moral Standard that is set for us in the Church along with gloriuos connected precepts and wisdom which flow from the main trunk of the Ten Words like fruit laden branches on the Tree of a holy life.
 

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
so many just don't get this important point on what purpose the Law serves for the Christians life lived in the pursuit of Holiness.
This is quite true yet very sad. Failure to understand this point would make obedience a grievous burden rather than an easy yoke.
Hard to find a better example of this antithetical view of Law/Gospel than this from Scott Clark:

"The Law and the Gospel are necessarily dichotomous since the former only condemns and the {latter} only justifies"
 

Myshkin

Puritan Board Freshman
Hard to find a better example of this antithetical view of Law/Gospel than this from Scott Clark:

"The Law and the Gospel are necessarily dichotomous since the former only condemns and the {latter} only justifies"
That is a good example. Especially considering that it is in the context of the doctrine of justification. What Reformed theologian denies this antithetical relation in regards to justification?

However, if the example was given as a way to discredit his view of sanctification, then the rest of the context in which this example is given is most helpful:
Westminster Seminary California

Three things of notice:
1. the law and gospel are opposed to one another at the point of justification. The law does not justify.
2. isolating one statement out of a systematic theology context is a disservice to one's entire thought
3. the law is affirmed as in harmony with gospel later on in point 22 of section 8, among many other theses to the same, especially point 39 of section 5 (just 3 points after the given example)
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Depending on the definition of gospel in each usage, this could be a most serious error. In fact, it could be a damnable error.
Perhaps a simple observation is in order here: turning law into gospel is very different from turning gospel into law.
 
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