Thursday, June 1, 2017

Salt, Gospel & The Law

       Salt is also known by its chemical name sodium-chloride. When properly mixed together, these two elements make a useful product that has been used to preserve the decay of foods and to provide flavor as well. But if you separate these two elements — sodium alone, or chloride alone, they would be a poison to our bodies.
       In the same way, if we separate the law from the Gospel we will get a distorted and unhelpful result. By law, we mean the moral law of God, better known as The Ten Commandments. Most people understand that the Gospel is about the grace of God that delivers us from the judgement of the law. But this judgement is the judgement of God’s own righteousness, since the law is an extension of his own holy character. God’s holy character is not a bad thing, it is a good thing, and so is the law which is intended to spell out what God’s righteousness looks like in our relationship with him and with others as we bear his image. 
       As Paul says: Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law (Rom 3:31). Our faith in the Gospel and our delight in God’s law are compatible with a proper view of God’s good law which is intended to expose sin so that we might appeal to the Gospel, and to explain how it is that we are to live righteously before God. The moral qualities of God find expression in our lives by the Gospel ministry of his Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). 
       Jesus was the perfect embodiment of this as he was the law of God incarnate. In him we see the fulfillment (not abolishing) of God’s civil, ceremonial and moral law. Understanding this delivers us from the many subtle forms of legalism and antinomianism that are at work in the church today. 
      The only way to delight in God’s law and be faithful in seeing his righteousness expressed in your life is by experiencing the truth of the Gospel which brings us into living union with Christ providing the provision of his forgiveness, righteousness and power for life. The law is good, the Gospel is good, because God is good. May that goodness be seen and enjoyed in our lives for his glory.