This is the last post I will write on the Law. Up till now I have pretty much just said that I am not bound to the Law by the New Covenant. I now want to tell you in positive terms what I believe my relationship under the New Covenant to the Law actually is.
When I said that I disagreed with Calvin’s third use of the Law, that was only half true. I agree with Calvin that the Law can show me what God’s will is for my sanctification. I agree that the Law shows us what righteousness looks like. But the Law does not sanctify me. The Law does not make me holy. And the Holy Spirit who lives in me does not enable me to keep the Law, in the sense that He is continually driving me to the Law for righteousness. The Law doesn’t provide righteousness of any kind, either in a justifying sense or in a sanctifying sense.
Justification is work of God apart from the Law. So is sanctification. Positionally we are set apart by God to be holy. Practically we are made into holy people by God. Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that leads us into obedience to God’s commands and never contrary to those commands. So those commands that are indeed what are commonly called ‘moral’ are binding upon Christians, as they have been upon all humanity since the beginning, but it is not in the immediate context of the Mosaic Code that they are binding. They are binding on all humanity because there are things as right and wrong.
But they are specifically binding upon the New Covenant believer because they are inherent in Christ’s command that we love one another. And loving one another also brings into focus a whole new dimension of ‘moral’ commands. I am to do good to those who persecute me. I am to love those who hate me. I am to help those who use me. I am to befriend those who abandon me. I am to give to the one who steals from me, care for those who injure me, be thankful for those who take me for granted, love my enemies, and lay down my life for those who would kill me. These are the commands that New Covenant believers are to live by. And I challenge you to live that kind of life and break the Ten Commandments at the same time.
We have the Law written on our hearts. We are new creatures. We are reborn and created unto good works. So instead of undoing the Law, Christ has established it, not again on tables of stone, but on the fleshy tables of our hearts. This is nothing less than a new nature that lives in us. This nature does not despise the law, but it is not in bondage to it either. It is the Law of God living in us provoking us to good works and obedience and not the Law of the Mosaic Code. And while these are the same in some ways, they are not in others. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
I know the words are mangled and this reads like a drunk man wrote it, but I think if you read it enough you can start to see what I am trying to say.