Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The place of the law in the gospel

“The law of God has its place in the book, and its use in the work of God. ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin’; and the Spirit, who convinces of sin, uses it in that department of His work. A due regard to the glory of God demands that it be so used. Sinners are not to be saved on a misunderstanding as to what they are, and as to what they merit. They must know Him against whom they have sinned. They must know what is justly due to Him from them as His creatures. They must be made acquainted with their iniquity as well as guilt, as sinners. And through the coming of the commandment sin must ‘revive’ in their consciousness, so that they know that they are desperately wicked, as surely as that their persons are condemned to die. Without this they can have no conception of gospel grace. Any hope attained to without this, can only be based on a misunderstanding, and must involve dishonor to God. God is not to be conceived of as one who has to study man’s convenience only, instead of supremely consulting his own glory. It should be an aim of preaching, therefore, to bring sinners to plead guilty before God; to feel themselves, in excuseless guilt, shut up to the sovereign mercy of Him against whom they have sinned. The attainment of this may be the result of a moment’s working of the power of God, or it may be reached only after a protracted process; but to this all must come who are reconciled to God.” -James Begg