Friday, September 26, 2008

Keep all the rules, still lose

Gal 3:19-25
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Imagine a person was able to keep all the rules - to follow God's laws fully and completely - always, without failing once. A perfect law-keeping record. That's impossible, of course, but even it really did happen this person would still be far, far away from God because there is no Life in the law. In fact, in order to have Life, we had to die to the law. Unless a person dies to the law, he or she cannot be raised to Life with Christ.
Rom 8:2-3
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus [true Life] has made me free from the law of sin and death [God's laws]. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin...

"Weak through the flesh" doesn't mean that we were weak because of all our bad deeds. It means that even in the best of the best of our own righteousness (the ability of our flesh), we were still dead. We were weak and fell short of God's glory (and Life).

What we needed was the gift of Life, not law.


  1. Hey Joel! There's a lot of good thoughts here. It reminds of something I heard R C Sproul say once. He said that a person who is sincere about living by the law will either become a Pharisee, or become suicidal. You become a Pharisee if you believe you actually are fulfilling the law by your actions. You become suicidal if you realize you are completely unable to keep the law.

    Fortunately, Jesus came to rescue us from either fate...

  2. Wow... true, Richard, all the way around! I've definitely been on the Pharisee side of things, and I'm sure if I would've kept that up, I'd have gone absolutely crazy from trying to sustain it for such a long time.

    Indeed, thank God for Jesus rescuing us from all of that!

  3. Rich,

    Thats funny because he then turns and calls those who hold to NCT antinomian.

  4. Oh, for crying out, consistent !!!
    Tedious Grace peddler, does he never stray from his message...



  5. Lionel--Hi! I can't speak for Sproul on that. I don't know his position there. I think NCT people could be described as anomian, because they don't believe the OT law applies. I'm not sure how they could be called antinomian.

    Sproul is a pretty staunch Reformed theologian, but he needs to be careful about using words like antinomian to describe other believers

    Sorry, Joel, for hijacking your comments...

  6. Richard,

    That's all right... no problem at all. While a blog isn't a "forum" per se, if the comments somehow turn into a respectful conversation about something else, that's not always a bad thing.