THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL ARE INSEPARABLE

There are those heretics who would tell us that the law of God is abolished. Their argument is that grace abolished the law. Does this mean that the author of Hebrews is incorrect?

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 10:8, ESV).

Well, what is antinomianism?

The word antinomianism comes from the Greek words anti, meaning “against” and “nomos”, meaning law.

The Apostle Paul dealt with this heresy in Romans: “what shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). The false teachers today would promote the grace teaching to condone a sinful lifestyle as a so called Christian.

How does law and grace work?

1.) The law can do nothing to justify the person who in any particular way has violated its sanctity and come under its curse. Law, as law, has no expiatory provision, it exercises no forgiving grace, and it has no power of enablement to the fulfillment of its own demand. It knows no clemency for the remission of guilt, it provides no righteousness to meet our iniquity; it exerts no constraining power to reclaim our waywardness; it knows no mercy to melt our hearts in penitence and new obedience.

2.) It can do nothing to relieve the bondage of sin; it accentuates and confirms the bondage. The purity and integrity of the Gospel stands and falls with absoluteness of the antithesis between the function and potency of law, on the one hand, and the function and potency of grace, on the other.¹

This being true it is important to note that the relevance of the law to the believer is still an important part of the believer’s salvation. The Gospel reminds us that Jesus completed all the work that saved a wretch like me. This is God’s grace. The law and the Gospel can never be separated. The Gospel is the sign of God’s grace (indicative), the law cannot actually accomplish anything in us but death and despair (imperative), because the law brings wrath. “For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15). “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not, I would not have known what sin was except through the law” (Romans 7:7).

In conclusion, no one should ever separate the Gospel from the law.

1. John Murray, “Law and Grace” (chap. 8), Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics (1957; reprint, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 181.

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