Devotional Thought for Today – 11/03/21

The Ten Commandments or the Law of God Series

As we continue our study of the Ten Commandments I want to make one final observation before we move on to the individual commandments.

There is a distinct connection between the Law and the Gospel. One that all true Christians must acknowledge and should clearly understand.

These first remarks come from A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel by John Colquhoun, D.D

The law and the gospel are the principal parts of divine revelation; or rather they are the centre, sum, and substance of all the other parts of it. Every passage of sacred Scripture is either law or gospel, or is capable of being referred either to the one or to the other. Even the histories of the Old and New Testaments, as far as the agency of man is introduced, are but narratives of facts done in conformity or in opposition to the moral law, and done in the belief or disbelief of the gospel. The ordinances of the ceremonial law, given to the ancient Israelites, were, for the most part, grafted on the second and fourth commandments of the moral law; and in their typical reference they were an obscure revelation of the gospel. The precepts of the judicial law are all reducible to commandments of the moral law, and especially to those of the second table. All threatenings, whether in the Old or New Testament, are threatenings either of the law or the gospel; and every promise is a promise either of the one or the other. Every prophecy of Scripture is a declaration of things obscure or future, connected either with the law or the gospel, or with both. And there is not in the Sacred Volume one admonition, reproof, or exhortation but what refers either to the law or the gospel or both. If then a man cannot distinguish aright between the law and the gospel, he cannot rightly understand so much as a single article of divine truth. If he does not have spiritual and just apprehensions of the holy law, he cannot have spiritual and transforming discoveries of the glorious gospel; and, on the other hand, if his view of the gospel is erroneous, his notions of the law cannot be right.

Better known for Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan was a prolific writer. Here are some comments from his work The Doctrine of Law and the Grace Unfolded

“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God” (Heb 7:19).

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28).

“To him [therefore] that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom 4:5).

Pastor Shane Lems said of this work, In 1659 John Bunyan wrote a book called The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded. In this book Bunyan well explains the difference(s) between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace, between the law and the gospel.  He explains how, in Adam, everyone by nature is in the covenant of works and he explains how the covenant of works shows up at Mt. Sinai.  Bunyan also talks about the gospel – how God saves sinners in the covenant of grace.  Bunyan said that in this book he hopes the reader will “find the two covenants [which all men are under, either the one or the other] discovered, and held forth in their natures, ends, bounds, together with the state and condition of them that are under the one, and of them that are under the other.”

Here are a few quotes that stuck out for me. (Pastor Lems)

    “So long as people are ignorant of the nature of the law, and of their being under it – that is, under the curse and condemning power of it, by reason of their sin against it – so long they will be careless, and negligent as to the inquiring after the true knowledge of the Gospel.”

    “The man that doth not know the law doth not know in deed and in truth that he is a sinner, doth not know savingly that there is a Savior.”

    “The word ‘law’ and the word ‘grace’ in this sixth [chapter] of Romans, do hold forth the two covenants which all men are under; that is, either the one or the other.”

    “The substance of the law delivered on Mount Sinai was, before that, delivered by the Lord to man in the garden.”

    “To be under the law as it is a Covenant of Works, is to be bound, upon pain of eternal damnation, to fulfill, and that completely and continually, every particular point of the Ten Commandments, by doing them.”

    “They that are under the Covenant of Grace shall surely be saved by it, so, even so, they that are under the Covenant of Works and the law, they shall surely be damned by it, if continuing there.”

    “If a man that hath deserved death by the law be…forgiven his offence, it is not because the law saith, ‘spare him;’ but it is the love of the judge…that doth set the man free from the condemnation of the law.”

    “The law doth always find fault with the sinners obedience as well as his disobedience.”

    “If thou be under this covenant [of works], work as hard as thou canst, the law will never say, ‘Well done,’ it will never say, ‘My good servant,’ no; but it will always be driving thee faster, hastening of thee harder, giving thee fresh commands, which thou must do upon pain of damnation not to be left undone.”


Resources:

Keach’s Baptist Catechism of 1677 – Modern

Thomas Watson’s classic The Ten Commandments

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Chapter XIX, The Law

The Ten Commandments, by A. W. Pink

Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5, The Ten Commandments

The Doctrine of Law and the Grace Unfolded – John Bunyan

A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel by John Colquhoun, D.D


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