In the maxims of the law, God is seen as the rewarder of perfect righteousness and the avenger of sin. But in Christ, His face shines out, full of grace and gentleness to poor, unworthy sinners.
God’s ways will frequently baffle us but God’s will is sufficiently clear to lead us in the meantime. God’s ways may not be clear but our way is – at least enough of it to know what obedience requires. We may wait for God’s providence but we already have God’s law, and that is all we need for the moment.
It is not easy to get the law killed. Something of a legal disposition remains even in the believer while he is in this world. Many a stroke does self and self-righteousness get, but still it revives again. If he were wholly dead to the law, he would be wholly dead to sin. But so far as the law lives, sin lives. They that think they know the gospel well enough betray their ignorance. No man can be too evangelical [gospel-centered]. It will take all his life-time to get a legal temper destroyed.
Christ’s righteousness is so imputed to believers that their justification is not merely the act of a sovereign dispensing with law but the act of a judge declaring the law to be satisfied.
Certainly if the giving of the law were so full of terror, much more terrible shall be our being judged according to that law.
The law is divine and holy. Let the law have its glory, but yet no law, be it never so divine and holy, ought to teach me that I am justified, and shall live through it. I grant it may teach me that I ought to love God and my neighbor; also to live in love, soberness, patience, etc., but it ought not to show me how I should be delivered from sin, the devil, death, and hell. Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must hearken to the gospel, which teaches me, not what I ought to do but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me: that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel wills me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.
Until the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ arrives unto us, the law pronounces unto us nothing but curses; we hear nothing but a thunder of wrath cursing us.
The law stops every man’s mouth. God will have a man humble himself down on his face before Him, with not a word to say for himself. Then God will speak to him, when he owns that he is a sinner, and gets rid of all his own righteousness.
What is the curse of the law? It is the or-else-ness of the law: “Do this, or else.” Christ took the or-else-ness of the law onto Himself at the cross, so that there is no more or-else for anyone in Christ, as God looks upon us now. Or-else is gone forever from your relationship with God.
God’s commands instruct us about His attitude toward sin, and tell us what kinds of things He designates as sin, and that He has a provision for sin, typified, and then fulfilled in His Son. If we use the law that way – let it be so. If we use it as a scourge, let us be anathema. It is revelation, not salvation (Reid Ferguson).
The law by which God rules us is as dear to Him as the Gospel by which He saves us.
When we seek to pit God’s law against His love we show ourselves ignorant of both.
I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the law. The law is the needle, and you cannot draw the silken thread of the gospel through a man’s heart unless you first send the needle of the law to make way for it. If men do not understand the law, they will not feel that they are sinners. And if they are not consciously sinners, they will never value the sin offering. There is no healing a man till the law has wounded him, no making him alive till the law has slain him.