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    June 1, 1896

    The Law in Christ or, the Relation Between the Law and the Gospel

    WWP

    W. W. Prescott

    THE LAW OUT OF CHRIST AND THE LAW IN CHRIST

    Observe the difference between the law of God as a rigid code and the same law coming to us in Christ. A command which out of Christ is a rigid code, in Christ becomes a living promise. The law, out of Christ, simply a rigid code, says, “Thou shalt,” and “thou shalt not.” But that same law in Christ becomes a living promise. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises.” 2 Peter 1:4. “In every command or injunction that God gives, there is a promise, the most positive, underlying the commandment.” [Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 76.] When we read: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” that is clearly a promise. When we read in the law: “Thou shalt not kill,” we read it out of Christ simply as a command, or we may know it in Christ as a living promise. That is, He in His life promises each one, “Thou shalt not kill.” I cannot of myself help hating, which is breaking the sixth commandment. I am trying not to do it, and yet I do it. I turn about, and find that that same command in Christ, written by the Spirit of the living God on the fleshy tables of the heart, has brightened into a promise, and it says, “I have a promise to make to you. You have received Me; you shall not kill.”BEST June 1, 1896, page 164.1

    Outside of Christ, as a code, the law says, “Thou shalt not steal;” but I cannot help it. Then I turn about, and find that that law in Christ has brightened into a promise, and it reads to me, “You are the one that has been stealing. I have a promise to make to you. You shall not steal.”BEST June 1, 1896, page 164.2

    The law reveals sin by defining righteousness, and then drives us to Christ, who is the centre of the gospel. There the righteousness of the law is revealed. [See Appendix A, Section A.]BEST June 1, 1896, page 164.3

    COMPLETE OBEDIENCE

    Partial obedience is a very thorny path; full obedience is the easy yoke promised us. When we tell the Lord that we will keep all His commandments, He immediately takes possession of us, and says we shall. We do not abolish the law through faith; on the contrary, “it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.” [Steps to Christ, 60, 61.] But this is accomplished, not by commanding the believer, “Thou shalt,” but by shedding abroad in his heart the love of God which gives him the blessed assurance of “Thou wilt.” Not, thou must fulfil the law, else thou canst not live; but, because thou art now living in “the Living One,” thou wilt fulfil the law. This is righteousness by faith. This is the gospel.BEST June 1, 1896, page 164.4

    The same standard of righteousness has been set before man in all ages. In olden time the instruction was: “Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. And the death of Christ did not make any change in this teaching; for “circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19), and “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3. Furthermore, the provision has been the same in all ages for meeting this standard of righteousness. The Lord said of old, through the prophet: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26, 27. The same ground of hope for success in the Christian life is held out to us in the inspired prayer of the great apostle: “Now the God of peace,... make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:20, 21.BEST June 1, 1896, page 164.5

    A SUMMARY

    We are now prepared to summarise the results of our study upon the relation between the law and the gospel. We have found that the law reveals sin by defining the standard of righteousness, and that in the gospel the righteousness required by the law is revealed. We have found that the gospel is the gospel of Christ, and that the righteousness which is revealed in it is the righteousness wrought out for us by Christ through a life of perfect obedience to the law of God. Thus the gospel is God’s provision not merely for fulfilling the requirements of the law for us in Christ, but also for fulfilling the requirements of the same law in us through Christ, and this is accomplished by receiving Christ, the very embodiment of the law, into our hearts by faith, so that “it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20, R.V., margin.BEST June 1, 1896, page 165.1

    The fruit of such a union with Christ is seen in a life which is in harmony with that same law which was the inspiration of His life, and the law which at first revealed sin now bears witness to the genuine character of that righteousness “which is by faith of Jesus Christ.” And thus what the law could not do in that it was weak through our flesh, has been done for us by putting that same law into the flesh in Christ, and through Him into our flesh, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4.BEST June 1, 1896, page 165.2

    This brings us to the conclusion that THE GOSPEL IS SIMPLY THE LAW IN CHRIST, and therefore an attempt to abolish the law is an attempt to abolish Christ and the gospel, and an attempt to change the law is in attempt to change the character of Christ and to thwart the purpose of the gospel. A heart filled with love to Christ and the spirit of truth will seek no such results, but will thankfully say: “Abundant peace have they who love Thy law; and it is no stumbling block to them.” Psalm 119:165, Spurrill’s Translation. See margin of A.V.BEST June 1, 1896, page 165.3

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