No End Runs Around God’s Laws
In our day many folks think they have escaped legalism by simply eliminating any antithesis between law and gospel. Thus they want to divide up Christ’s righteousness to BOTH the “instead of us” AND also to the “in us”.
They instruct us to stop looking only at the past and at the cross, and begin to look also to the salvation of the Holy Spirit in us (and thus the future work of Christ in our “activity”)
Though law and gospel are not the same thing, they are not opposed because they never claim to have the same function. Law says what God demands. The gospel says how Christ satisfied that demand for the elect.
The law never offered life off probation. Only one sin puts you under its curse. No matter how many acts of obedience you have to the law, the law never promises everlasting life.
The “end of the law” is Christ completing all that the law demanded, so that there is no remainder left for the Spirit enabled Christian to do. The gospel says DONE. The gospel does not say “to be done by the life of Christ in the elect”.
We must not attempt to eliminate the law/gospel antithesis by the abolishment of law or by saying that God now has a new and easier law. That kind of “dispensational adjustment” is not only antinomian but also still legalistic. –
The idea of some kind of “end run” around God’s law, so that God now changes the game and “cuts us some slack” and calls that grace, this misses what the gospel says about Christ’s satisfaction of the law for the elect.
Christians sin, and therefore their activity cannot ever satisfy the law. But God’s laws will not go unsatisfied. God is not a prisoner of His laws, but God does have a Holy nature and His laws are an expression of that nature, and God will always act justly. Only Christ therefore could ever satisfy God’s laws. The wages of the sins of the elect was Christ’s death. God’s law demanded that death.
The law is not the gospel and it never was the gospel. Romans 11:5–”So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is not on the basis of works; otherwise grace would not be grace.”