Joe Thorn: The commands of God can be a heavy reality. The Lord calls us to love him above all things, to love others as ourselves, and to even love our enemies. We are commanded to be content in all circumstances without coveting, and to not only tell the truth but defend those who are maligned. As sinners who break all of these commands the law can be crushing. They show us the way to go, and then reveal that we are prone to go our own way (Rom 7). For the unbeliever the law of God, if taken seriously, is a burden too great to bear. For the unbeliever the law not only commands and convicts, it also confounds and condemns. The Law stands true and bears witness against one’s sins leaving him or her without excuse before the face of God. But, for the believer the law of God is not burdensome. For this is the love of
Tullian Tchividjian in conversation with Jono Linebaugh, professor of New Testament at Knox Theological Seminary:
Tony Reinke posts: The purposes behind the OT Law are various and complex and often debated. But one of its main functions is articulated beautifully by my favorite theologian (Herman Bavinck) writing in an often overlooked, but outstanding, volume on theology (Our Reasonable Faith). These are his words on page 81: So far from being opposed to the promise, the law serves precisely as the means in God’s hand to bring the promise constantly nearer to its fulfillment. The law put Israel under restrictions, as a prisoner is put under restraint and denied the freedom of movement. Like a ‘pedagogue’ the law took Israel by the hand, accompanied her always and everywhere, and never for a moment left her out of its sight. As a guardian and supporter, the law maintained a strict watch over Israel in order that Israel might learn to know and to love the promise in its necessity and its glory. Without the law, so to
From Desiring God.
“Even after conversion, the believer is in desperate need of the Gospel because he reads the commands, exhortations, threats, and warnings of the Law and often wavers in his certain confidence because he does not see in himself this righteousness that is required. Am I really surrendered? Have I truly yielded in every area of my life? What if I have not experienced the same things that other Christians regard as normative? Do I really possess the Holy Spirit? What if I fall into serious sin? These are questions that we all face in our own lives. What will restore our peace and hope in the face of such questions? The Reformers, with the prophets and apostles, were convinced that only the Gospel could bring such comfort to the struggling Christian. Without this constant emphasis in preaching, one can never truly worship or serve God in liberty, for his gaze will always be fastened on himself–either in despair or self-righteousness–rather
John Stott: “Is the law still binding on the Christian? The answer to that is “No!” and ‘Yes!’ ‘No’ in the sense that our acceptance before God does not depend on it. Christ in his death fully met the demands of the law, so we are delivered from it [as a means of salvation]. It no longer has any claims on us [to condemn us for sin]. It is no longer our lord. ‘Yes’ in the sense… we still serve… But the motive and means of our service have altered. Why do we serve? Not because the law is our master and we have to, but because Christ is our husband and we want to. Not because obedience to the law leads to salvation, but because salvation leads to obedience to the law. The law says, ‘Do this and you will live’. The gospel says, ‘You live, so do this.’ How do we serve? Not in oldness of letter, but in the newness of spirit. That is, not
“The difference between the law and gospel does not at all consist in this, that the one requires perfect doing, the other only sincere doing, but in this, that the one requires doing, the other not doing but believing for life and salvation. Their terms are different, not only in degree, but in their whole nature.” Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (Welwyn, 1981), page 76. (HT: Ray Ortlund)
“The Christian life is often like this. We glide out of our harbor under full sail, thrilled with delight in knowing our sins are forgiven and that we are right with God. A new love for our Redeemer fills us with gratitude, and we are eager to follow the course he has set for us in His Word. Yet as we pass into the open seas, we encounter spiritual stress. God’s law, we find, provides the direction but not the power, and a panoply of spiritual technologies are available to substitute. We think that by reading this book or going to that conference or following this plan for spiritual victory or these steps for overcoming sin in our life, we can get the boat going in the right direction again. These guides are usually neither law (i.e., God’s directives) nor gospel (i.e., God’s promises and acts in Christ), but helpful advice from fellow sailors. In a sense, the advice they