“The Modern Reformed Church is in trouble, Not because of her traditional forms…”

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Someone in advocating a new Confessional Standard wanted to cut out some of the sticky points of contention that seem to plague the Reformed Church. His position was that minimalizing the standards a bit would bring more Unity.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f30/time-new-reformed-confession-62902/index3.html#post811544

A then Prominent PCA Pastor Jason Stellman asked,

“Wouldn’t that minimalization have a unifying effect?”

Jason Stellman is now Roman Catholic.  https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/did-jason-really-know-the-gospel-and-presbyterian-covenant-theology/

Reverend Matthew Winzer responded splendidly in my opinion. His last statement is spot on as usual. 

Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post

In what universe could it have that effect? While there are men who conscientiously act with the vows of God upon them there is obviously going to be a group of people who maintain, assert, and defend every article of the confession which they have subscribed with their own hand in the sight of God and men. And why shouldn’t they? Afterall, they not only promised to the church that they would do so, but the church also promised her support and nurture in the process.

The modern reformed church is in trouble, not because of her traditional forms, but because her traditional forms are being maintained without traditional values of integrity, respect, and trust

http://www.puritanboard.com/f71/why-traditional-reformed-churches-struggling-79049/#post999996

In a recent post by Reverend Winzer he made this statement.

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”

“But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”

The carnal kingdom of the Jews is a tempting prospect but in the end it comes to nothing. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world but will also outlast the world. Let’s adhere to the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ, be faithful to the corner of the vineyard He has committed to us, and leave the numbers with the Lord be they few or many. As Isaiah also says, “the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” If it is the Lord’s work it is not in vain regardless of what it looks like to the eyes of men.

Amen Reverend Winzer! added 5/15/13

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Did Jason really know the Gospel and Presbyterian Covenant Theology?

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Pastor Gordon,

To avoid blog wars with the discussion Forum I moderate I need to separate myself from it and express that these are my musings separate of that Confessional Discussion Forum.

This is in response to your post here.

http://christopherjgordon.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-problem-of-theological-narcissism.html

You wrote…

 “Jason did understand the gospel and decided it was not the answer for him. I repeat, it was not that he misunderstood it, and has departed in ignorance. Jason grasped it, confessed it, was ordained to it, promised to defend it, and then defected consciously from the system of doctrine he promised to uphold. “

Note to a Pastor,

In all due respect I have a few problems with your blog concerning Jason Stellman and his turning to the Roman Papist Church.  Yes, you may know Jason.  I have been acquainted with him for years also.  If you mean he knew the Gospel the way that Horton and his Clan know the Gospel then I would have to say that Jason knew a Truncated Gospel.  Especially in light of how Dr. Michael Horton defines it in his three minute clip on YouTube and the Westminster California site.  I have listened to him and the White Horse Inn Panel for hours discussing the Great Commission and the Gospel.  I believe that poor Jason had a Truncated view of the Gospel and Covenant Theology.

Your attention drawing to Jason’s Narcissism is quite commendable if you are spot on.  If it is a man trying to strive to know what he believes then you might be incorrect.   I have seen this departure happen with other Presbyterians also.  I actually address some of this situation and issues on a theological discussion forum that brought your blog to my attention.   Gotta love Dr. Clark..

Dr. Scott Clark states…

The ISSUES should be engaged. I’ve been doing that on the HB. Responsible representatives of the Roman church should be engaged but not everyone speaking up just now meets that test.

I responded with this…

Jason might not be considered one who meets that test. But he is one who is being noted. He is worthy to be dealt with just as the Papists that Calvin dealt with in his time.

Having watched Jason do what he did I have to say that I can understand why some people get mixed up sometimes. At least Jason has the integrity to voice his understanding. Is he cocky? Maybe. I know many of our kind who have been accused of being ungracious and know-it-alls also. Okay, my hand can be raised on that also.

I have had a few friends cross from the Presbyterian side to Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and the New Paul Perspective due to a struggle with trying to understand Covenant Theology in relation to law and gospel (or grace). Some of you might not remember or know but I use to moderate another theological forum that was a split off from the PB.  I use to Moderate the Reformation Super Highway and the PB at the same time. The RSH was a home of things departing from what it means to be Reformed. I didn’t understand why they were doing it. It was hard for me since I was a Reformed Baptist. Law and Gospel were opposed but then I wasn’t as sure how it all worked out. I understand it a bit more now I think……. Well, maybe….. I can honestly say they all abandoned a form of Lutheranism or various dichotomous views of Law and Gospel which have been formulated based upon an interpretation (hermeneutic) concerning the Mosaic Covenant. I believe it is a view that the Westminster Divines rejected as it was a Minority view when they were constructing the Biblical Confession. I also believe that some of this wayward confusion could have been prevented if these persons learned the Westminster Confession’s position on Chapter 7.5,6 a bit more. I could be wrong. (BTW, I don’t sense that all Papists or deceived people are going to Hell. That is just my estimation) I also don’t feel it is right to give a free pass to those who deny the Westminster on this point. Especially when they are by name attached to Westminsterian theology and Institution. Some people are doing that in my estimation. It is confusing a lot of people. I also believe it is part of the problem. I am patiently waiting to see how this issue is going to turn out as it is being brought to the forefront more and more daily. I do know men who have Doctorates, are Professors, Teachers of History and Systematic Theology, whom I have conferred with and with whom I agree that this issue has a root problem. I believe it stems from a poor understanding of the Mosaic Covenant and dichotomizing Law and Gospel too much.

I was recently reminded that the Law / Gospel dichotomy issue was what helped me see this issue initially. So maybe…. Just maybe… It will do the same for others.  This issue is like watching a pendulum of a Grandfather clock to me.  The pendulum has swung one way (Federal Vision, NPP, etc.). It swung hard away from it (Klineanism).  Now it is going back the other way again. It saddens me. The Divines at the Westminster Assembly got it right and rejected the minority view, Roman Catholicism, and Antinomiansm. This swinging of the pendulum just needs to stop and we need to listen to the Westminster Divines in my estimation. They had to deal with it also. Oh yeah, and Bavinck also does a good job when he discusses the Reformed doctrine in comparison to the Lutheran doctrine (not necessarily Luther’s doctrine) of soteriology.

I am positive that I don’t meet the test to discuss issues in some people’s eyes. I fully understand why. I do know good men who are, have, and will meet the test. Orthodoxy leads to Orthopraxy There are many good laymen and Trained men who are capable.

As a side note. I am not fearful of Jason’s departure. I am saddened for him, His physical family, and His Church family members. As for addressing those who are competent on Roman Dogma….. Didn’t Calvin take on Roman Dogma by using the Church Fathers that the Papists claimed? The Papists back then were refuted by Calvin. Why not use Jason the same way? His distortions can be reproved and shown for what they are. Just like the Papists were refuted when Calvin confronted them by quoting their Church Fathers back to them in context.

A turning to Idolatry is never a good thing. Anyone who wants to be deceived by love for icons, Popish Ceremonies, or carnality are going to be. We have idolatry growing all around us. My advice is read Gillespies’ book Popish Ceremonies, try to discuss it calmly with them, then hand them a copy hoping that they will read it. Love them as your friends. That will go farther than getting upset with them and claiming they are brain dead and unfit for discussing it.

Randy

My opinion of your blog post is that you might have some things put down correctly but I believe you are missing the mark on a few major issues.  It is my opinion.  And I have been saying for the past 25 years that opinions are like armpits.  We all have a few and they usually end up stinking.  LOL.

JMHO….

Be Encouraged Pastor and everyone who suffered through this.,

P.S. I want one of those Icons (bobble heads) of Jason!  That is Rockin Cool!

Zach Ursinus…. Law is joined to Gospel and becomes Spirit.

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The commentary of Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg catechism pp. 617,18 objection 8

Obj. 8. The law is the letter which killeth, and is the ministration of death and condemnation. (2 Cor. 3 : 6, 7.) But there is no condemnation to Christians. Therefore, the law does not have respect to Christians who are in Christ Jesus.

Ans. There is here a fallacy of accident ; for the law is not in itself the letter which killeth ; since this comes to pass by the fault of men, who, the more clearly they perceive the difference between themselves and the law, the more fully do they give themselves over to despair in reference to their salvation, and are therefore slam by the law. Again, the law alone, without the gospel, is the letter, that is, it is the doctrine which merely teaches, demands obedience, denounces the wrath of God and death to such as are disobedient, without producing the spiritual obedience which it requires. But when it is joined with the gospel, which is the Spirit, it also commences to become the Spirit, which is effectual in the godly, inasmuch as those who are regenerated commence willingly and cheerfully to yield obedience to the law. The law, therefore, is the letter, 1. By itself and without the gospel. 2. In respect to those who are unregenerated. On the other hand, the gospel is the Spirit; that is, it is the ministration and means through which the Holy Ghost, which works spiritual obedience in us, is given; not indeed as though all who hear, would receive the Holy Ghost and be regenerated, but because faith, by which our hearts are quickened, so that they begin to yield obedience to the law, is received by it. It does not follow, therefore, that the law is no longer to be taught in the church; for Christ himself says: “I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” (Matt. 5: 17.) And Paul also says, that we establish the law through faith. (Rom. 3: 31.) Christ fulfilled the law in two respects: his obedience and suffering. He was just and holy in himself and did not violate the law in a single instance, but partly performed in our behalf those things which he was not bound to do, and partly sustained the punishment of the law. He also fulfills the law in us in two ways, by teaching it and granting unto us his Spirit, that so we may commence obedience to it, as we proved when speaking of the abrogation of the law.

 

This truly reminds me of Romans Chapter 8

 

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Vindication of the Law and the Covenants (1647) pp.231-237

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I am lifting this from

The Mosaic Covenant in Reformed Theology

https://sites.google.com/site/themosaiccovenant/

I am most grateful for all of the references and information on this site. This reference to Anthony Burgess work is excellent.  May you be encouraged by the blog sites contributor.  

.https://sites.google.com/site/themosaiccovenant/anthony-burgess

 From the Mosaic Covenant Contributor.

 Anthony Burgess

The following is taken from Anthony Burgess’s Vindication of the Law and the Covenants (1647). Burgess was a prominent member of the Westminster Assembly. These lectures were internationally hailed as a solid defense of consensus Calvinism over against the more extreme views of the Calvinistic antinomians of the period, as well as those of the Papists, Socinians, and Arminians.

 Burgess argues for the consensus position articulated in the Westminster Standards, that the Mosaic Law is a covenant of grace (cf. WCF 7:5-6; 19:1-2; LC #101). Over against this, he refutes three other aberrant minority views, who maintain that the Mosaic covenant was a covenant of works, a mixed covenant, or a subservient covenant. Note especially his insightful exegesis of the Ten Commandments towards the end: even the very form of the commandments presupposes that they are given in the context of a covenant of grace.

 Burgess utilizes the precision of the scholastic method by distinguishing between the “whole doctrine delivered on Mount Sinai, with the preface and promises adjoined, and all things that may be reduced to it,” and in a more strict sense, the law “as it is an abstracted rule of righteousness, holding forth life upon no terms, but perfect obedience.” In other words, if we take the substance of the commands out of the Decalogue, and consider it merely in terms of these legal imperatives, abstracting it from its administration under Moses, we have a covenant of works. This can be affirmed in an orthodox sense only because the substance of the Mosaic Law (consider simply as the commandments abstracted from the preface and the promises) is the same as the law of the covenant of works, not because God actually made a covenant of works with Israel (for either earthly or heavenly life and blessedness)

This is very important for understanding the mainstream Reformed view, especially because Burgess reflects the Calvinistic consensus represented at the Westminster Assembly.

I have again updated some of the spelling to be more pleasing to the modern eye. In a few instances I have changed the word order in the interests of readability. I have in no way knowingly changed the sense or substance of Burgess’s arguments

 

 Vindication of the Law and the Covenants (1647)

 Having proved it [the Mosaic Law] is a Covenant, all the difficulty remains in declaring what Covenant it is; for here is much difference of judgments, even with the Learned and Orthodox: and this [pg. 232] arises from the different places of the Scripture, which, although they are not contrary one to another, yet the weakness of our understandings is many times overmastered by some places: Some (as you have heard) make it a Covenant of works, others a mixed Covenant, some a subservient Covenant; but I am persuaded to go with those who hold it to be a Covenant of grace: and indeed, it is very easy to bring strong arguments for the affirmative; but then there will be some difficulty to answer such places as are brought for the negative; and if the affirmative prove true, the dignity and excellence of the Law will appear the more. Now, before I come to the arguments, which induce me hereunto, consider in what sense it may be explained, that it is a Covenant of grace.

 Some explain it thus, that it was indeed a Covenant of grace, but the Jews, by their corrupt understanding, made it a Covenant of works, and so opposed it unto Christ: and therefore, say they, the Apostle argues against the Law, as making it to oppose the promises and grace: not that it did so, but only in regard of the Jews corrupt minds, who made an opposition where there was none. This has some truth in it, but it is not full.

 Some make the Law to be a Covenant of grace, but very obscurely; and therefore they hold the Gospel and the Law to be the same, differing only as the acorn while it is in the husk, and the oak when it’s branched out into a tall tree. Now if this should be understood in a Popish sense, as if the righteousness of the Law and the Gospel were all one, in which sense the Papists speak of the old Law and the new, it would be very dangerous and directly thwarting the Scripture.

 Some explain it thus: God (say they) had a primary or antecedent will in giving of the Law, or a secondary and consequent: His primary will was to hold out perfect and exact righteousness, against which the Apostle argues, and proves no man can be justified thereby: but then God knowing man’s impotency and inability, did secondarily command repentance, and promises a gracious acceptance through Christ; and this may be very well received, if it be not vexed with ill interpretations.

 

[pg. 233] But, lastly, this way I shall go: The Law (as to this purpose) may be considered more largely, as that whole doctrine delivered on Mount Sinai, with the preface and promises adjoined, and all things that may be reduced to it; or more strictly, as it is an abstracted rule of righteousness, holding forth life upon no terms, but perfect obedience. Now take it in the former sense, it was a Covenant of grace; take it in the later sense, as abstracted from Moses’s administration of it, and so it was not of grace, but works.

 This distinction will overthrow all the objections against the negative. Nor may it be any wonder that the Apostle should consider the Law so differently, seeing there is nothing more ordinary with Paul in his Epistle, and that in these very controversies, then to do so: as for example, take this instance, Rom. 10:5-6, where Paul describes the righteousness of the Law from those words, “Do this and live,” which is said to have reference to Lev. 18:5. But we find this in effect, Deut 30:16. Yet from this very Chapter the Apostle describes the righteousness which is by faith: And Beza does acknowledge, that that which Moses speaks of the Law, Paul does apply to the Gospel: Now how can this be reconciled, unless we distinguish between the general doctrine of Moses which was delivered unto the people in the circumstantial administrations of it, and the particular doctrine about the Law, taken in a limited and abstracted consideration? Only take notice of this, that although the Law was a Covenant of grace, yet the righteousness of works and faith differ as much as heaven and earth. But the Papists, they make this difference: “The righteousness of the Law” (says Stapleton, Antid. in hunc locum) “is that which we of our own power have and doe by the knowledge and understanding of the Law”; but the righteousness of faith, they make the righteousness of the Law, to which we are enabled by grace through Christ: So that they compare not these two together, as two contraries, (in which sense Paul does) but as an imperfect righteousness with a perfect. But we know, that the Apostle excludes the work of David & Abraham, that they did in obedience to the Law, to which they were enabled by grace; so necessary is it in matter of justification and pardon to exclude all [pg. 234] works, anything that is ours; Tolle te a te, impedis te, said Augustine well. Nor does it avail us, that this grace in us is from God, because the Apostle makes the opposition wholly between anything that is ours, howsoever we come by it, and that of faith in Christ. Having thus explained the state of the Question, I come to the arguments to prove the affirmative: And thus I shall order them;

 The first shall be taken from the relation of the Covenanters; God on one part, and the Israelites on the other: God did not deal at this time, as absolutely considered, but as their God and Father. Hence God said “he is their God”; and when Christ quotes the commanders, he brings the preface, Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is one. And, Rom. 9:4: “To the Israelites belong adoption, and the glory, and the covenants and the giving of the Law, and the promises.” Now, unless this were a covenant of grace, how could God be their God, who were sinners? Thus also if you consider the people of Israel into what relation they are taken, this will much confirm the point. Exod. 19:5- 6. “If you will obey my voice, you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me, and you shall be unto me a kingdom of Priests, and an holy Nation”: which is applied by Peter to the people of God under the Gospel. If therefore the Law had been a Covenant of works, how could such an agreement come between them?

 2. If we consider the good things annexed unto this Covenant, it must needs be a Covenant of grace: for there we have remission and pardon of sin, whereas in the Covenant of works, there is no way for repentance or pardon. In the second Commandment, God is described to be “one showing mercy unto thousands”: and by “showing mercy” is meant “pardon,” as appears by the contrary, “visiting iniquity.” Now does the Law, strictly taken, receive any humbling & debasing of themselves? No, but curses every one that does not continue in all the things commanded, and that with a full and perfect obedience. Hence, Exod. 34:6-7. God proclaims himself in manifold attributes of “being gracious,” and “long-suffering, keeping mercy for thousands, and forgiving iniquity”; and this he does upon the renewing of the two Tables: whereas, if the people of Israel had been strictly held up [pg. 235] to the Law, as it required universal perfect obedience, without any failing, they must also necessarily have despaired, and perished without any hope at all.

 3. If we consider the duties commanded in the Law so generally taken, it must needs be a Covenant of grace: for what is the meaning of the first Commandment, but to have one God in Christ our God by faith? For if faith had not been on such terms commanded, it had been impossible for them to love God, or to pray unto God. Must not the meaning then be, to love, and delight in God, and to trust in him? But how can this be without faith through Christ? Hence some urge, that the end of the commandment is love from faith unfeigned; but because Scultetus does very probably, by commandment, understand there, “The Apostles preaching and exhortation,” (it being in the Greek paraggelia, and not nomoV, or entolh, and the Apostle using the word in that Epistle in the same sense) I leave it. It’s true there is no mention made of Christ, or faith in the first Commandment, but that is nothing, for love also is not mentioned: yet our Savior discovers it there, and so must faith and Christ be supposed there by necessary consequence. And can we think, that the people of Israel, though indeed they were too confident in themselves, yet when they took upon themselves to keep and observe the Law, that the meaning was, they would do it without any spot or blemish by sin, or without the grace of God for pardon, if they should at any time break the Law.

 4. From the Ceremonial Law. All Divines say, that this is reduced to the Moral Law, so that Sacrifices were commanded by virtue of the second Commandment. Now we all know, that the Sacrifices were evangelical, and did hold forth remission of sins through the blood of Christ: If therefore these were commanded by the Moral Law, there must necessarily be grace included, although indeed it was very obscure and dark. And it is to be observed, that the Apostle does as much argue against circumcision, and even all the Ceremonial Law, as the Moral; yea the first rise of the controversy was from that: Now all must confess, that circumcision and the sacrifices did not oppose Christ, or grace, but rather included them. [pg. 236] And this has always been a very strong argument to persuade me for the affirmative. It is true, the Jews they rested upon these, and did not look to Christ; but so do our Christians in these times upon the Sacraments, and other duties.

 5. This will appear from the visible seal to ratify this Covenant which you heard, was by sacrifices, and sprinkling the people with blood: And this did signify Christ, for Christ he also was the Mediator of this Covenant, seeing that reconciliation cannot possibly be made with a sinner, through the Mediation of any mortal man. When therefore Moses is called the Mediator, it is to be understood typically, even as the sacrifices did wash away sin typically. And, indeed, if it had been a Covenant of works, there needed no Mediator, either typical, or real; some think Christ likewise was the Angel spoke of (Acts 7) with whom Moses was in the wilderness; and it is probable. Now if Christ was the Mediator of the Law as a Covenant, the Antinomian distinction must fall to the ground, that makes the Law as in the hand of Moses, and not in the hand of Christ; whereas on Mount Sinai, the Law was in the hand of Christ.

6. If the Law were the same Covenant with that oath, which God made to Isaac, then it must needs be a Covenant of grace: But we shall find that God, when he gave this Law to them; makes it an argument of his love and grace to them; and therefore remembers what he had promised to Abraham, Deut. 7:12. “Wherefore it shall come to pass, if you hearken to these judgments, and do them, that the Lord your God shall keep with you the Covenant, & the mercy which he swore unto your fathers.” And, certainly, if the Law had been a Covenant of works, God had fully abrogated and broken his Covenant and Promise of grace which he made with Abraham and his seed. Therefore, when the Apostle (Gal. 3:18). opposes the Law and the promise together, making the inheritance by one, & not the other; it is to be understood according to the distinction before mentioned of the Law taken in a most strict and limited sense: for it is plain, that Moses in the administration of this Law, had regard to the Covenant and Promise, yea made it the same with it. Now to all this, there are strong objections made from those [pg. 237] places of Scripture, where the Law and faith, or the promise, are so directly opposed, as Rom. 10 before quoted, so Gal. 3:18, Rom 4:14; so likewise from those places, where the Law is said to be “the ministry of death, and to work wrath.” Now to these places, I answer these things:

 First, that if they should be rigidly, and universally true, then that doctrine of the Socinians would plainly prevail, who from these places of Scripture do urge, that there was no grace, or faith, nor nothing of Christ, vouchsafed unto the Jews; whereas they read they had the Adoption, though the state was a state of bondage.

 In the second place consider that as it is said of the Law, “it works death,” so the Gospel is said to be the “savor of death,” and men are said “to have no sin, if Christ had not come”; yea they are said “to partake of more grievous judgments, who despised Christ, then those that despised the Law of Moses”: so that this effect of the Law was merely accidental through our corruption: only here is the difference, God does not vouchsafe any such grace, as whereby we can have justification in a strict legal way: but he doth whereby we may obtain it in an Evangelical way.

 Thirdly, consider that the Apostle speaks these derogatory passages (as they may seem to be) as well of the Ceremonial Law; yet all do acknowledge here was Christ and grace held forth.

Fourthly, much of these places is true in a respective sense, according to the interpretation of the Jew, who taking these without Christ, make it a killing letter, even as if we should the doctrine of the Gospel, without the grace of Christ. And, certainly, if any Jew, had stood up and said to Moses, Why do you say, you give us the doctrine of life; it’s nothing but a killing letter, and the ministry of death, would he not have been judged a blasphemer against the Law of Moses? The Apostle therefore must understand it, as separated, yea and opposed to Christ and his grace.

 And lastly, we are still to retain that distinction of the Law in a more large sense, as delivered by Moses; and a more strict sense, as it consists in precepts, threatenings and promises upon a condition impossible to us, which is, the fulfilling of the Law in a perfect manner. 

The Gospel Requires More Than Natural Light Does From the Law of God and Demands More

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The following comments are made by the Reformed Divine Jeremiah Burroughs as he discussed the Gospel and the Decalogue.  The light of nature from the Law is tied together with the Gospel.  The Gospel requires more from us than Natural Light might reveal from the Law as the fullness of God’s will is revealed by Christ’s Preaching and Word. It would do us all well to read the Divines who participated in the great Westminster Assembly that we might gain from their gifts and understanding.  This kind of teaching seems to be a far cry from the antinomian spirit of the age.  Especially in light of how some Reformed teachers want to truncate what the Gospel is by defining it as only a proclamation or herald of good news.  More on that topic is to come on this blog.

Anyways….

The word conversation in the following quotes should be understood as one’s conduct. It is the word the divines used to mean how one conducted their life.
RMS

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” We shall likewise speak further of this when we open that of the law, that our conversations must be higher than the conversations of those who lived under the law, or else it does not become the gospel of Christ.
p.52

Here Christ is a great preacher of the gospel, and shows that there is more strictness in the gospel than there is by the light of nature or by the law, or by that which they understand by the law. The light of nature dictates that men should not kill, nor commit adultery, but now, if your conversation is such as becomes the gospel, then you must make conscious of anger and tremble at that as a natural man would tremble at murder, for that becomes the gospel.
p.53

Our conversations must be such as is beyond such as live under the law. For the law of God goes higher than the light of nature, for there is more revealed there than the light of nature…
p.56

Now this gives you a little hint of the difference between the law and the gospel, between the conversations of men that were merely legal, and the conversation that is evangelical. But the opening of it is to show the difference between the law and the gospel in reference to this, and to show how low the conversation was that was merely legal, and how high raised the conversation of a Christian ought to be if he would make it evangelical, such as becomes the gospel of Christ,
p.57

Those who live under the gospel must live in a higher way of holiness than those who lived under the law.
p.59

portions of Gospel Conversations pp.52-59

I heartily recommend people buy and read Gospel Conversations by Jeremiah Burroughs. It is a life changing exposition by one of the Westminster Divines. This book did a good work in this older mans heart and life.

Psalm 31:9-24

I am not going through a hard time necessarily but I got up and sang Psalm 31 from the new Psalter this morning and this Psalm just hit a bone in my soul.  What a blessed encouragement to sing my heart back to God.  Oh I am saddened for those who don’t know about Psalm singing.  It is singing God’s thoughts and Purity back to Himself.  He wrote these words for us to sing.  Why would we not sing them?  He is the best music writer.

http://www.crownandcovenant.com/The_Book_of_Psalms_for_Worship_s/117.htm141

Psalm 31:9-24

Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.

For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.

Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.

Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.

For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.

O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.