Understanding Law and the Gospel

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Iconoclast, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Iconoclast

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    http://founders.org/fj58/the-law-and-the-gospel/

    This deals with one of the biggest errors in our day;
    The Law and the Gospel
    Romans 6:14

    Fred A. Malone
    If I could do one thing to improve the effectiveness of pastoral preaching and pastoral care in the church, it would be to call all pastors to understand the doctrine of the Law and the Gospel in Scripture. When I first went to serve as Ernie Reisinger’s associate in 1977, he required me to study Romans 6:14 on the Law and the Gospel and placed a book in my hand to help: The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton. Ernie’s book on The Law and the Gospel contains much of what we talked about in those days.

    There is much controversy and ignorance over this doctrine today.
    Errors in this doctrine have spawned;
    dispensationalism,
    theonomy,
    the New Perspective on Paul,
    hypercovenantalism,
    legalism,
    antinomianism,
    shallow evangelism,
    shallower sanctification,
    worship errors and unbiblical mysticism.

    Yet our Reformed and Baptist forefathers generally did not succumb to such errors before 1900. Why not? I believe it was because they understood the biblical doctrine of the Law and the Gospel. You can see it in their confessions of faith and their writings. [1] I pray that today’s pastors, especially Baptist pastors, will restudy this doctrine and reform their lives and ministries by these truths.
     
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  2. Iconoclast

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  3. Iconoclast

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    Though Adam’s covenant was a law-based covenant, Christ’s covenant is a grace-based covenant. It was announced in Genesis 3:15, prophesied through the Old Testament “covenants of promise” and fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s New Covenant of grace.

    To be in Christ is to be under grace by faith alone and no longer under law for salvation through perfect obedience in Adam’s failed covenant. Everyone is either in Adam under law or in Christ under grace, but not in both at the same time, nor in neither. This is why we must preach the Gospel of grace to all men.

    To be under grace means that sin cannot have dominion over us because grace in Christ frees us from the condemnation of perfect Law-obedience in Adam. This is through our Lord’s perfect Law-keeping life and atoning death for law-breakers. You really cannot understand the cross without understanding the Law. Under grace means that God grants us justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ through His perfect atonement for sin and the imputation of His perfect righteousness as a gift. It also means that the new birth writes God’s Law upon our hearts so that we delight in it again (Jeremiah 31:31-34, 32:40; Romans 7:22). This “grace in which we stand” throughout the Christian’s walk impels and empowers the forgiven sinner to love God and keep His commandments without fear of condemnation. Under grace, the believer no longer finds obedience to God’s Law a condemning burden, but a joyful privilege of the saved under grace (Romans 3:24, 5:2, 5:15, 5:21, 6:14-15).

    The Christian lives under grace according to God’s Law so that sin no longer has dominion over him. Although the Christian still commits sins against God’s commandments while under grace, the power of sin, which is the condemnation of the law, is broken. Sanctification, then, is the daily exercise of saving faith in Christ, redeemed by His blood and covered with His righteousness, by which justifying faith we seek to keep the Law of God under grace. That is why Jesus said: “if you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Faith working through love to God is the evidence of being under grace. And such faith always works.
     
  4. Iconoclast

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    Evangelism

    Having lost the importance of the Law of God to reveal sin to the sinner, today’s evangelism has become more and more shallow. Yet “through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20). Sin in many presentations is not presented in terms of violating the Ten Commandments and being condemned before God. Therefore, repentance from lawbreaking is either left out of the presentations or repentance is left out altogether. As a result, many who supposedly respond to the gospel call have never repented of their law-breakings and committed themselves to live a holy, obedient life. Our Baptist church rolls are full of them. True evangelism must preach the Gospel of deliverance from sin’s reign under law. But if the Law is not used to define sin, how shall sinners know how sinful they are and what kind of holy life they are committing to?
     
  5. Iconoclast

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    If the broken law is not addressed ...no gospel preaching is taking place.
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

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    This is a great series of posts. Thumbsup
    That Adam was under God's moral law will be obvious to anyone who gives it a little thought. Suppose Adam had strangled Eve, or built an altar to the sun in the garden. Would God have said, "Oh, that's alright, Adam! Just so long as you don't eat that apple!"? No. no. Adam was under God's moral law and when he broke it, he put his own desires before God, made an idol of his appetite and obeyed it instead of God, took God's name in vain when he regarded it as not worthy of obedience, refused to appear before God (Gen. 3:8), coveted what God had refused him and stole it, not to mention causing the death of all his progeny.

    As a result, the image of God in man is marred and defaced. Compare Gen. 1:27 with 5:3.
     
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  7. Iconoclast

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    I believe this is a much misunderstood area of teaching today and it negatively affects the gospel presentation as is seen on posts dealing with evangelism.
    To fail to understand this basic fact is to fail to really evangelize.
     
  8. Iconoclast

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    There is much controversy and ignorance over this doctrine today.
    Errors in this doctrine have spawned;
    dispensationalism,
    theonomy,
    the New Perspective on Paul,
    hypercovenantalism,
    legalism,
    antinomianism,
    shallow evangelism,
    shallower sanctification,
    worship errors and unbiblical mysticism.

    Those wo disagree with this teaching from Fred Malone are no doubt in a church that has already succumbed to one or more of the errors presented

    They cannot present their view so they just say....dislike
     
  9. Iconoclast

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    Ernest Reisinger
    Importance

    Why is the subject of “law and gospel” important? Let me state six reasons:
    1. Because there is no point of divine truth upon which ministers and Christians make greater mistakes than upon the proper relationship which exists between the law and the gospel.
    2. Because there can be no true evangelical holiness, either in heart or life, except it proceed from faith working by love; and no true faith, either of the law or the gospel, unless the leading distinction between the one and the other are spiritually discerned. The law and the gospel are set before us in the Bible as one undivided system of truth, yet an unchangeable line of distinction is drawn between them. There is also an inseparable connection and relationship. Unfortunately, some see the difference between them but not the relationship; however, the man who knows the relative position of the law and the gospel has the keys of the situation in understanding the Bible and its doctrine.
    3. Because a proper understanding between the law and the gospel is the mark of a minister who rightly divides the word of truth. Charles Bridges summed up this mark of a true minister: “The mark of a minister `approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed’, is, that he `rightly divides the word of truth.’ This implies a full and direct application of the gospel to the mass of his unconverted hearers, combines with a body of spiritual instruction to the several classes of Christians. His system will be marked by Scriptural symmetry and comprehensiveness. It will embrace the whole revelation of God, in its doctrinal instructions, experimental privileges and practical results. This revelation is divided into two parts–the Law and the Gospel–essentially distinct from each other; though so intimately connected, that no accurate knowledge of either can be obtained without the other….” (The Christian Ministry, [London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1967], p. 222).
      The law, like Christ, has always been crucified between two thieves–Antinomianism on the one side and Legalism on the other side. The antinomian sees no relationship between the law and the gospel except that of being free. The legalist fails to understand that vital distinction between the two.

      Some preach the law instead of the gospel. Some modify them and preach neither the law nor the gospel. Some think the law is the gospel, and some think the gospel is the law; those who hold these views are not clear on either.

      But others ask, Has not the law been fully abrogated by the coming of Christ into the world? Would you bring us under that heavy yoke of bondage which none has ever been able to bear? Does not the New Testament expressly declare that we are not under the law but under grace? That Christ was made under the law to free His people therefrom? Is not an attempt to over-awe men’s conscience by the authority of the Decalogue a legalistic imposition, altogether at variance with that Christian liberty which the Savior has brought in by His obedience unto death? We answer: so far from the law being abolished by the coming of Christ into this world, He Himself emphatically stated “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets [or the enforcers thereof]. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law, till all is fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17, 18). True, the Christian is not under the law as a covenant of works nor as a ministration of condemnation, but he is under it as
      a rule of life and an objective standard of righteousness for all people for all times. This makes it important.

    4. Because the power of a holy life needs to be accompanied by instruction in the pattern of it. In what does sanctified behavior consist? It consists in pleasing God. What is it that pleases God? The doing of His will. Where is His will to be discerned? In His holy law. The law, then, is the Christian’s rule of life, and the believer finds that he delights in the law of God after the inward man (Rom. 7:22). The Christian is not lawless but “under the law to Christ”, a phrase from Paul which would be more accurately rendered “in the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). Sin is lawlessness, and salvation is the bringing of the lawless one into his true relation to God, within the blessedness of His holy law. The law of Moses is not other than the law of Christ; it is an objective standard just as Christ is our pattern.
    5. Because the Ten Commandments were uniquely honored by God, founded in love, and are obeyed out of affection for the One who provided redemption. A. W. Pink, writing about the uniqueness of the Ten Commandments, said, “Their uniqueness appears first in that this revelation of God at Sinai–which was to serve for all coming ages as the grand expression of his holiness and the summation of man’s duty–was attended with such awe-inspiring phenomena that the very manner of their publication plainly showed that God Himself assigned to the Decalogue peculiar importance. The Ten Commandments were uttered by God in an audible voice, with the fearful adjuncts of clouds and darkness, thunders and lightenings and the sound of a trumpet, and they were the only parts of Divine Revelation so spoken–none of the ceremonial or civil precepts were thus distinguished. Those Ten Words, and they alone, were written by the finger of God upon tables of stone, and they alone were deposited in the holy ark for safe keeping. Thus, in the unique honor conferred upon the Decalogue itself we nay perceive its paramount importance in the Divine government.” (The Ten Commandments, ([Swengel Pennsylvania: Reiner Publications 1961], p.5).
    6. Because there is a need for a fixed, objective, moral standard. The moral law carries permanent validity since it is an objective standard uniquely sanctioned by God and goes straight to the root of our moral problems. It lays its finger on the church’s deepest need in evangelism as well as in the Christian life: sanctification. The Ten Commandments are desperately needed not only in the church but also in society. We live in a lawless age at the end of the twentieth century; lawlessness reigns in the home, in the church, in the school, and in the land. The Scriptures tell us that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” The Ten Commandments are the only true standard of righteousness.
     
    #9 Iconoclast, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  10. Iconoclast

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    Here is another portion
     
  11. Aaron

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    Martin Luther got it right:

    The person who can rightly divide Law and Gospel has reason to thank God. He is a true theologian. I must confess that in times of temptation I do not always know how to do it. To divide Law and Gospel means to place the Gospel in heaven, and to keep the Law on earth; to call the righteousness of the Gospel heavenly, and the righteousness of the Law earthly; to put as much difference between the righteousness of the Gospel and that of the Law, as there is difference between day and night. If it is a question of faith or conscience, ignore the Law entirely. If it is a question of works, then lift high the lantern of works and the righteousness of the Law. If your conscience is oppressed with a sense of sin, talk to your conscience. Say: "You are now groveling in the dirt. You are now a laboring ass. Go ahead, and carry your burden. But why don't you mount up to heaven? There the Law cannot follow you!" Leave the ass burdened with laws behind in the valley. But your conscience, let it ascend with Isaac into the mountain.

    In civil life obedience to the law is severely required. In civil life Gospel, conscience, grace, remission of sins, Christ Himself, do not count, but only Moses with the lawbooks. If we bear in mind this distinction, neither Gospel nor Law shall trespass upon each other. The moment Law and sin cross into heaven, i.e., your conscience, kick them out. On the other hand, when grace wanders unto the earth, i.e., into the body, tell grace: "You have no business to be around the dreg and dung of this bodily life. You belong in heaven."

    By his compromising attitude Peter confused the separation of Law and Gospel. Paul had to do something about it. He reproved Peter, not to embarrass him, but to conserve the difference between the Gospel which justifies in heaven, and the Law which justifies on earth.

    The right separation between Law and Gospel is very important to know. Christian doctrine is impossible without it. Let all who love and fear God, diligently learn the difference, not only in theory but also in practice.
    http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/gal/web/gal2-14.html
     
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  12. Iconoclast

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    Was reading this tonight....from Calvinism /Arminianism....by W.R. Downing;
     
  13. Iconoclast

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    From this article;
    http://founders.org/fj28/law-and-gospel/

    John Paton, a great Presbyterian missionary to the New Hebrides, first taught the commandments. Why? People will never be properly interested in a relationship with the Redeemer until they see the terrible breach in their relationship to the Creator. The commandments are the moral mandate of the Creator to creatures. The sharp needle of the law makes way for the scarlet thread of the gospel. The law is indispensable in biblical, God-centered evangelism;

    Summary
    1. The whole Bible is law and gospel, and the two are so vitally related to each other that an accurate knowledge of either cannot be obtained without the other.
    2. The law reveals the character of God and the condition of man. These two kinds of knowledge are absolutely necessary for salvation. (See, for example, the first chapter in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.)
    3. The law is essential to true biblical evangelism because by the law is the knowledge of sin. It was the law that was effective in Paul’s conversion: “I would not have known sin except through the law” (Rom. 7:7).
    4. The law is the only biblical rule and direction for obedience–that is, a sanctified life. In what does sanctified behavior consist? Doing the will of God. What is the will of God in respect to morality? The moral law summarized in the Ten Commandments.
    5. The law is one of three truths of the Bible that stand or fall together: (1) the law of God, (2) the cross of Christ, (3) the righteous judgment of almighty God.
      First, if there is no law there is no sin because sin is the transgression of the law (The Ten Commandments).
     
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  14. Martin Marprelate

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    Cars driving into the village where I live habitually do so at around 45mph. They blithely ignore the 30mph sign at the outskirts. But as they drive further in, they are suddenly confronted by a bright flashing LED sign, recently installed by the Council, saying 30. When they see this, most drivers brake sharply, proving that they have knowledge of the laws about speeding. But after they have passed the sign, their speed picks up again, until it is back to 45mph, showing that the law is not truly written on their hearts.

    The flashing sign is like a preacher, bringing the law before sinners, but unless the preaching is accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, no permanent good will be done (cf. Ezekiel 33:31-32).
     

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