Why Grace is Not Contrary to the Law, But Affirms It

One of the primary reasons for the division in the church over free grace and free will is the failure of one side to distinguish between law and gospel. Most synergists erroneously reason (outside of Scripture) that if something is commanded in Scripture then man must, therefore, have the moral ability to do it. Instead, after the fall, the Bible uses the holy commands as an instrument of God to strip man of all hope in himself and behold his own moral bankruptcy (Rom 3:19, 20).

"The commandments are not given inappropriately or pointlessly; but in order that through them the proud, blind man may learn the plague of his impotence, should he try to do as he is commanded." Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will, pg. 160
 

"By the law is the knowledge of sin' [Rom 3:20], so the word of grace comes only to those who are distressed by a sense of sin and tempted to despair." Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will, pg. 168

All the commands of our Lord were given to us to obey. We cannot twist Scripture to somehow ignore the weight of the responsibility this puts on each one of us. Grace does not somehow give us a trump card to ignore the commands. No, we appeal to grace, not in order to cancel out, avoid or do away with God's commands. On the contrary, we appeal to the grace of God in Christ in order that we might have the strength and power to do them. For apart from grace we can do nothing (John 15:5, 3:27, 6:63; 1 Cor. 4:7, 15:10; 2 Tim 2:25) If God commands us to love him with all our heart how do we do this? By grace. If God calls us to love our neighbor, how to we do this? By grace. If God summons us to believe the gospel, how do we do this? By grace. This is the message found on every page of the bible.

"Does it follow from: 'turn ye' that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from "'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart' (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the 'free-will' does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power...But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: "if thou wilt turn, telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it..." Martin Luther, 164

The Bible tells us that the new birth is the fountain from which we both believe and obey the commandments - and this new nature granted in Christ gives us new desires which relievies the burden of obeying his commands

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:1-4

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:03 -- john_hendryx

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