OF THE HARMONY OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL
WE BELIEVE THAT THE LAW OF GOD IS THE ETERNAL AND UNCHANGEABLE RULE OF HIS MORAL GOVERNMENT; THAT IT IS HOLY, JUST, AND GOOD: AND THAT THE INABILITY WHICH THE SCRIPTURES ASCRIBE TO FALLEN MEN TO FULFILL ITS PRECEPTS, ARISES ENTIRELY FROM THEIR LOVE OF SIN: TO DELIVER THEM FROM WHICH, AND TO RESTORE THEM THROUGH A MEDIATOR TO UNFEIGNED OBEDIENCE TO THE HOLY LAW, IS ONE GREAT END OF THE GOSPEL, AND OF THE MEANS OF GRACE CONNECTED WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE VISIBLE CHURCH.
I. WE BELIEVE THAT THE LAW OF GOD IS THE ETERNAL AND UNCHANGEABLE RULE OF HIS MORAL GOVERNMENT
A. There was never a time that God established his law.
1. Psalms 119:142 states, "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth."
a. Just as the righteousness of God is everlasting, so is his law everlasting.
b. Truth never changes, just as God never changes.
2. Deuteronomy 29:29 – "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."
a. The only way to please the eternal God is by keeping his eternal law.
b. God has revealed to us his law so we will know how to please him.
c. It is an error to the law is not needed today because Christ has paid for all our sins.
d. Old Testament saints needed the law and Christ also paid for all their sins.
e. If we do not have the law of God, we do not have the means necessary to know how to please God.
3. Psalms 119:44 – "So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever."
a. The law of God is eternal just as God is eternal.
b. The law of God describes who God is and what he expects if we are to be like him.
c. The law of God is an integral part of God and cannot be separated from God.
d. To know the law of God is to understand God.
e. To keep the law of God is to be like God.
f. To break the law of God separates from God, but to keep the law is to join to God.
4. When Adam broke the law of God in the Garden of Eden, he was separated from God both spiritually and physically.
B. The law of God is eternal and unchangeable and men are responsible toward God to obey its every precept.
1. The law of God reveals how God will deal with man.
2. The law reveals what is holy and unholy to God.
3. The law also reveals how God will reward holiness and judge un-holiness.
C. When a person acknowledges their lost and undone condition before God and confesses not only that they are lawbreakers, but they are unable to keep the law in themselves they admit that God’s law is right.
1. Romans 3:31 states, "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;"
2. Jesus kept the law of God during His lifetime on earth perfectly and to the very letter for and in behalf of every lost sinner that is saved by the grace of God.
3. Matthew 5:17 states, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
4. Luke 16:17 – "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."
5. Romans 4:15 – "Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."
II. THAT IT IS HOLY, JUST, AND GOOD
A. Romans 7:12 – "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."
B. Romans 7:7 – "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."
C. Romans 7:14 – "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."
D. Romans 7:22 – "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:"
E. Galatians 3:21 – "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law."
F. Psalms 119 – The entire Psalms speaks of the preciousness of the law of God.
1. Psalms 119 uses different words to describe the word of God.
2. Those words are:
III. AND THAT THE INABILITY WHICH THE SCRIPTURES ASCRIBE TO FALLEN MEN TO FULFILL ITS PRECEPTS ARISES ENTIRELY FROM THEIR LOVE OF SIN
A. Since men are depraved or crooked through and through they are unable to live their lives according to God’s holy law. Romans 8:7-8 – "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
1. Since man is born with a desire to love sin rather than God they are unable to keep the law of God. John 3:18-19 declares, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
2. In John 6:44, Jesus Himself has said, "No man can come to me (by and through his own power), except the Father which hath sent me draw Him…"
B. The law of God teaches man that he is a sinner against God.
1. Romans 3:20 states, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
2. Galatians 3:19-25 declares, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
3. Joshua 24:19 – "And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins."
4. Jeremiah 13:23 – "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."
5. John 6:44 – "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
6. John 5:44 – "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
IV. TO DELIVER THEM FROM WHICH, AND TO RESTORE THEM THROUGH A MEDIATOR TO UNFEIGNED OBEDIENCE TO THE HOLY LAW, IS ONE GREAT END OF THE GOSPEL, AND OF THE MEANS OF GRACE CONNECTED WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE VISIBLE CHURCH
A. The law of God and His grace work together for the salvation of lost sinners.
1. The law teaches us what we are and grace saves us from it.
a. Romans 8:2-4 states, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
b. The Spirit of God sets us free from sin and death as He uses the gospel of Jesus Christ to point out our need for the righteousness of God that is found in Him.
2. The law is not weak, but it is because of the depravity and weakness of man that it cannot save sinners.
a. The law of God is not given to save sinners, but o point them to God’s marvelous grace that does save through His Son Jesus.
b. Man is not saved by keeping the law, but by Christ keeping it for them. Romans 10:4.
3. There is only one person that is able to stand before God in behalf of the sinner, "Christ Jesus the mediator." I Timothy 2:5,6 states, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
a. Because of God’s great love for us, even when we refused to love Him, we now serve Him through Christ.
b. Saved people are to live for Jesus.
4. The Church is the divine institution that God has ordained to teach his people how to live.
a. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only organization in the world that has divine authority to preach the gospel, baptize those who are saved through the preaching, and to teach them to observe (how to live) all things whatsoever Christ Jesus has commanded them.
b. There are other organizations that preach, "baptize" people and teach the Bible, but that does not mean God gave them authority to do so.
B. Scriptures that teach that saved people serve the Lord through obedience of the Spirit, which continually leads us to obedience by understanding and obeying the law of God.
1. Rom 8:2-4 – "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
2. Romans 10:4 – "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
3. I Timothy 1:5 – "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:"
4. Hebrews 8:10 – "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:"
5. Jude 20-21 – "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
6. Hebrews 12:14 – "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:"
C. God has established his kind of church upon this earth so we can come to a complete knowledge and fellowship with God.
1. Matthew 16:17-18 – "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
2. I Corinthians 12:28 – "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
a. God has given authority to his kind of churches to preach the gospel to every creature.
b. People that are not members of the Lord’s church can preach the gospel, but they have no authority to do so.
c. God will always bless his word, regardless of who preaches it.
d. God has promised to be with his kind of church until the end of the age, therefore the gospel will be preserved in its pureness and completeness.
3. Ephesians 4:11-16 states, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
a. God has given us everything we need in this present world to prepare us for the world to come.
b. No saved person will ever have an excuse for not being what God intended him to be.
c. No saved person will ever have an excuse for not helping those around him be what God intends them to be.