Monday, February 1, 2010

Iain Campbell on Law and Gospel

Iain Campbell writes thus on a blog post at Reformation21:

One of the marks of grace in both Old and New Testaments is a love for God's law. The church needs that; and we need wisdom to highlight this without going down the road of legalism. I love the versification of Ralph Erskine (1685-1752) who says in one of his 'gospel sonnets':

Thus gospel-grace and law-commands

Both bind and loose each other's hands;

They can't agree on any terms,

Yet hug each other in their arms.

We need to divide the truth rightly in order to show the validity of this insight. Without law we cannot define sin or righteousness, and without the imputation of these objective realities there can be no atonement. Without an objective atonement, in which the sanctions of the law are met, there can be no Gospel.


Halfmom said...

this is such a hard concept to understand, much less teach - especialy when one is teaching Galatians. to honor and "do" the law without being legalistic - that is the question. I've found myself pondering and pondering Gal 5:1 and wondering what is freedom.

Andrew said...

This too puzzles me. I was actually reading Galatians 5 again yesterday and some snippets of Luther's "On Christian Liberty," which is basically the fruit of his study on Galatians, written to Pope Leo X. His twin theses are that (a) by faith the Christian is lord of all, servant of none, and because of this, (b) he is the perfectly free servant of all. He shows that the Christian, by faith, possesses all of Christ, who is Lord of the universe and full of every blessing of life. In him the Christian abounds in all things and has been freely justified and given the kingdom. He is therefore free from good works toward his neighbor as a means to righteousness or justification. Therefore he is left only with gratitude and the ability to truly serve his neighbor, which he is glad to do because of God's love poured out on him and the security of his possession by Christ. Only the justified Christian can really love and serve others freely without the mixed motives of "using" others as a means toward gaining righteousness before God.