Friday, June 24, 2011

John Bunyan on law and gospel

This is an excellent description of the relation of the law to the gospel -- from Bunyan's book All Loves Excelling.

The law is a servant, both first and last, to the gospel (Rom 10:3-4). When the law is made a lord, it destroys, and when its dictates and commands are dependent upon for life, then it is for sure made a lord and savior.

What happens when the law becomes uppermost in the life of a believer? For one thing, it makes the enemy of our soul very happy. . .

. . . there is nothing that Satan desires more than that the law abides in the conscience of an awakened Christian, and there to take the place of Christ, and faith. For Satan knows that if this happens, the veil is presently drawn over the face of the soul, and the heart darkened as to the knowledge of Christ, and being darkened, the man is driven to despair of mercy or is put upon to work for life (2 Cor 3:13-15).

This is a great word for pastors and teachers too. The law must be preached and taught, but always as a servant to the gospel. Law without gospel results in despair and/or moralistic religion. Here's the attitude to have. . .

For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Philippians 3

Bunyan quotes via The Reformed Reader

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