A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 3)

READ Part 1 here

READ Part 2 here

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

The Positive Side
   What is the relation of the Law (the Ten Commandments) to Christians?
   In our previous chapter we pointed out how that three radically
   different answers have been returned to this question. The first, that
   sinners become saints by obeying the Law. This is Legalism pure and
   simple. It is heresy of the most dangerous kind. All who really believe
   and act on it as the ground of their acceptance by God, will perish
   eternally. Second, others say that the Law is not binding on Christians
   because it has been abolished. This is, we are fully assured, a serious
   error. It arises from a mistaken interpretation of certain passages in
   the Epistles. The inevitable tendency of such an error is toward
   Antinomianism, the "turning of the grace of God into lasciviousness"
   (Jude 4). Third, others affirm, and the writer is among the number,
   that the Ten Commandments are an expression of the unchanging character
   and will of God: that they are a moral standard of conduct which we
   disregard at our peril: that they are, and will ever be, binding upon
   every Christian.

   In our last chapter we sought to prepare the way for the present one.
   There, we dealt with the negative side; here, we shall treat of the
   positive. In the former, we sought to give the true meaning of the
   principal passages in the New Testament appealed to by those who deny
   that the Ten Commandments are now binding on Christians. In the present
   chapter, we shall endeavor to expound some of the many passages in the
   New Testament which affirm that the Ten Commandments are now binding on
   Christians. We, therefore, invite the reader's most diligent and
   prayerful attention to the scriptures cited and our comments upon them.

   1. "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am
   not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till
   heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from
   the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of
   these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called
   the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach
   them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.
   5:17-19). It might appear to the disciples of Christ that their Master
   intended to set aside Moses and the Prophets, and introduce an entirely
   new standard of morality. It was true indeed that He would expose the
   error of depending on the work of the Law for acceptance with God (as
   Moses and the prophets had done before Him); but it was no part of His
   design to set aside the Law itself. He was about to correct various
   corruptions, which obtained among the Jews, hence He is careful to
   preface what He has to say by cautioning them not to misconstrue His
   designs. So far from having any intention of repudiating Moses, He most
   emphatically asserts: first, that He had not come to destroy the Law;
   second, that He had come to "fulfill" it; third, that the Law is of
   perpetual obligation; fourth, that whoso breaks one of the least of the
   Law's commandments and teaches other so to do, shall suffer loss;
   fifth, that he who kept the Law and taught men to respect and obey it
   should be rewarded.

   "I am not come to destroy the Law"--the Prophets simply expounded the
   Law, and rebuked Israel for their failure to keep it, and forwarned
   them of the consequences of continued disobedience. "I am not come to
   destroy the Law." Nothing could be more explicit. The word "destroy"
   here means "to dissolve or overthrow". When, then, our Lord said that
   He had not come to destroy the Law He gave us to understand that it was
   not the purpose of His mission to repeal or annul the Ten Commandments:
   that he had not come to free men from their obligations to them. And if
   He did not "destroy" the Law, then no one had destroyed it; and if no
   one has destroyed it, then the Law still stands with all its Divine
   authority; and if the Law still abides as the unchanging expression of
   God's character and will, then every human creature is under lasting
   obligation to obey it; and if every human creature, then the Christian!

   Second, the Son of God went on to say "I am not come to destroy, but to
   fulfill". The word "fulfill" here means "to fill up, to complete".
   Christ "fulfilled" the Law in three ways: first, by rendering personal
   obedience to its precepts. God's Law was within His heart (Psa. 40:8),
   and in thought, word and deed, He perfectly met its requirements; and
   thus by His obedience He magnified the Law and made it honorable (Isa.
   42:21). Second, by suffering (at the Cross) its death-penalty on behalf
   of His people who had transgressed it. Third, by exhibiting its fulness
   and spirituality and by amplifying its contents. Thus did Christ, our
   Exemplar, "fulfill the Law."

   So far from Christ having repealed the Law, He expressly affirmed,
   "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass
   from the Law, till all be fulfilled." In these words He announces the
   perpetuity of the Law. So long as heaven and earth shall last, the Law
   will endure, and by necessary implication, the lasting obligations of
   all men to fulfill it.

   But this is not all that our Lord here said. With omniscient foresight
   He anticipated what Mr. Mead has aptly termed "The Modern Outcry
   against the Law", and proceeds to solemnly warn against it. He said,
   "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and
   shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
   heaven".

   2. "Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we
   establish the Law" (Rom. 3:31). In the previous part of the chapter the
   apostle had proven that "there is none righteous, no not one" (v. 10);
   second, he had declared "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh
   be justified" (v. 2); then in vv. 21-26 he had set forth the Divine way
   of salvation--"through faith in Christ's blood". In v.28, he sums up
   his argument by affirming "a man is justified by faith without the
   deeds of the Law". In vv. 29, 30 he proves that this is true for Jew
   and Gentile alike. Then, in v.31, he anticipates an objection: What
   about the Law, then? This was a very pertinent question. Twice had he
   said that justification was apart from the deeds of the Law. If, then,
   the Law served no purpose in effecting the salvation of sinners, has it
   no office at all? If we are saved "through faith" is the Law useless?
   Are we to understand you to mean (Paul) that the Law has been annulled?
   Not at all, is the apostle's answer: "We establish the Law."

   What did the apostle mean when he said "we establish the Law"? He meant
   that, as saved men, Christians are under additional obligations to obey
   the Law, for they are now furnished with new and more powerful motives
   to serve God. Righteousness imputed to the believer produces in the
   justified one a kind and an extent of obedience which could not
   otherwise have been obtained. So far from rendering void or nullifying
   the authority and use of the Law, it sustains and confirms them. Our
   moral obligation to God and our neighbor has not been weakened, but
   strengthened. Below we offer one or two brief excerpts from other
   expositors.

   "Does not the doctrine of faith evacuate the Old Testament of its
   meaning, and does it not make law void, and lead to disregard of it?
   Does it not open the door to license of living? To this the apostle
   replies, that it certainly does not; but that, on the contrary, the
   Gospel puts law on a proper basis and establishes it on its foundation
   as a revelation of God's will" (Dr. Griffith-Thomas).

   "We cancel law, then, by this faith of ours? We open the door, then, to
   moral license? We abolish code and precept, then, when we ask not for
   conduct, but for faith? Away with the thought; nay, we establish law;
   we go the very way to give a new sacredness to its every command, and
   to disclose a new power for the fulfillment of them all. But how this
   is, and is to be, the later argument is to show" (Dr. Handley Moule).

   "Objection. If man is justified by faith without works, does not that
   do away with law entirely, i.e. teach lawlessness? Answer:By no means.
   It establishes the law. When a man is saved by grace, that does not
   make him lawless. There is a power within him which does not destroy,
   but it strengthens the law, and causes him to keep it, not through
   fear, but through love of God" (H. S. Miller, M.A.).

   3. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man...with the
   mind I myself serve the Law of God" (Rom 7:22-25). In this chapter the
   apostle does two things: first, he shows what is not and what is the
   Law's relation to the believer--judicially, the believer is emancipated
   from the curse or penalty of the Law (7:1-6); morally, the believer is
   under bonds to obey the Law (vv. 22, 25). Secondly, he guards against a
   false inference being drawn from what he had taught in chapter 6. In
   6:1-11 he sets forth the believer's identification with Christ as "dead
   to sin" (vv. 2, 7, etc.). Then, from v. 11 onwards, he shows the effect
   this truth should have upon the believer's walk. In chapter 7 he
   follows the same order of thought. In 7:1-6 he treats of the believer's
   identification with Christ as "dead to the law" (see vv. 4 and 6).
   Then, from v. 7 onwards he describes the experiences of the Christian.
   Thus the first half of Rom. 6 and the first half of Rom. 7 deal with
   the believer's standing, whereas the second half of each chapter treats
   of the believer's state; but with this difference: the second half of
   Rom. 6 reveals what our state ought to be, whereas the second half of
   Rom. 7 (vv. 13-25) shows what our state actually is. [6]

   The controversy which has raged over Rom. 7 is largely the fruitage of
   the Perfectionism of Wesley and his followers. That brethren, whom we
   have cause to respect, should have adopted this error in a modified
   form, only shows how widespread today is the spirit of Laodiceanism. To
   talk of "getting out of Rom. 7 into Rom. 8" is excuseless folly. Rom. 7
   and 8 both apply with undiminished force and pertinence to every
   believer on earth today. The second half of Rom. 7 describes the
   conflict of the two natures in the child of God: it simply sets forth
   in detail what is summarized in Gal. 5:17. Rom. 7:14, 15, 18, 19, 21
   are far short of the standard set before him--we mean God's standard,
   not that of the so-called "victorious life" teachers. If any Christian
   reader is ready to say that Rom. 7:19 does not describe his life, we
   say in all kindness, that he is sadly deceived. We do not mean by this
   that every Christian breaks the laws of men, or that he is an overt
   transgressor of the laws of God. But we do mean that his life is far,
   far below the level of the life our Saviour lived here on earth. We do
   mean that there is much of "the flesh" still evident in every
   Christian--not the least in those who make such loud boastings of their
   spiritual attainments. We do mean that every Christian has urgent need
   to daily pray for the forgiveness of his daily sins (Luke 11:4), for
   "in many things we all stumble" (James 3:2, R.V.).

   The second half of Rom. 7, then, is describing the state of the
   Christian, i.e. the conflict between the two natures within him. In v.
   14 the apostle declares, "We know that the Law is spiritual". How
   different is this language from the disparaging way that many now refer
   to God's Law! In v. 22 he exclaims, "I delight in the Law of God after
   the inward man". How far removed is this from the delusion that the Law
   has been abolished, and that it no longer serves any purpose for the
   Christian! The apostle Paul did not ignore the Law, still less did he
   regard it as an enemy. The new nature within him delighted in it: so,
   too, did the Psalmist, see Psa. 119:72, 97, 140. But the old nature was
   still within him too, warring against the new, and bringing him into
   captivity to the law of sin, so that he cried, "O wretched man that I
   am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death" (v.24)--and we
   sincerely pity every professing Christian who does not echo this cry.
   Next the apostle thanks God that he shall be delivered yet "through
   Jesus Christ our Lord" (v. 25), not "by the power of the Holy Spirit"
   note! The deliverance is future, at the return of Christ, see Phil.
   3:20, etc. Finally, and mark that this comes after he had spoken of the
   promised "deliverance", he sums up his dual experience by saying, "So
   then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh
   the law of sin". Could anything be plainer? Instead of affirming that
   the Law had nothing to do with him as a Christian, nor he with it, he
   expressly declared that he served "the Law of God". This is sufficient
   for us. Let others refuse to "serve" the Law of God at their peril.

   4. "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. That the righteousness of the Law
   might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the
   spirit" (Rom. 8:3, 4). This throws light on Rom. 3:31, showing us, in
   part, how "the Law is established". The reference here is to the new
   nature. The believer now has a heart that loves God, and therefore does
   it "delight in the Law of God". And it is ever at the heart that God
   looks, though, of course, He takes note of our actions too. But in
   heart the believer "fulfills" the holy requirements of God's Law,
   inasmuch as his innermost desire is to serve, please, and glorify the
   Law-giver. The righteous requirements of the Law are "fulfilled" in us
   because we now obey from the heart (Rom. 6:17).

   5. "He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law. For this, Thou shalt
not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou
shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any
other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law" (Rom. 13:8-10).
   Here again, the apostle, so far from lending the slightest
   encouragement to the strange delusion that the Ten Commandments have
   become obsolete to Christians, actually quotes five of them, and then
   declares, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law". Love is not a
   substitution for Law-obedience, but it is that which prompts the
   believer to render obedience to it.Note carefully, it is not "love is
   the abrogating of the Law", but "love is the fulfilling of the Law".
   "The whole Law is grounded on love to God and love to man. This cannot
   be violated without the breach of Law; and if there is love, it will
   influence us to the observance of all God's commandments" (Haldane).
   Love is the fulfilling of the Law because love is what the Law demands.
   The prohibitions of the Law are not unreasonable restraints on
   Christian liberty, but the just and wise requirements of love. We may
   add that the above is another passage which serves to explain Rom.
   3:31, for it supplies a practical exemplification of the way in which
   the Gospel establishes the Law as the expression of the Divine will,
   which love alone can fulfill.



   6. "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant
unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a
Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law; as
under the Law, that i might gain them that are under the Law; to them
that are without Law, as without Law, (being not without Law to God,
but under the Law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without
Law" (1 Cor. 9:19-22). The central thought of this passage is how the
   apostle forewent his Christian liberty for the sake of the Gospel.
   Though "free" from all, he nevertheless, made himself "the servant" of
   all. To the unconverted Jews he "became a Jew;" Acts 16:3 supplies an
   illustration. To those who deemed themselves to be yet under the
   ceremonial law, he acted accordingly: Acts 21:26 supplies an example of
   this. To them without Law: that is, Gentiles without the ceremonial
   law, he abstained from the use of all ceremonies as they did: cf. Gal.
   2:3. Yet, he did not act as "without Law to God", but instead, as
   "under the Law to Christ"; that is, as still under the moral Law of
   God. He never counted himself free from that, nor would he do anything
   contrary to the eternal Law of righteousness. To be "under Law to God",
   is, without question, to be under the God. Therefore, to be under the
   Law of Christ, is to be under the Law of God, for the Law was not
   abrogated but reinforced by Christ. This text, then, gives a plain and
   decisive answer to the question, How the believer is under the Law of
   God, namely, as he is "under the Law to Christ", belonging to Christ,
   as he does, by redemption.

   7. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not
liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:13, 14). Here the apostle first
   reminds the Galatian saints (and us) that they had been called unto
   "liberty", i.e., from the curse of the moral Law (3:13). Second, he
   defines the bounds of that liberty, and shows that it must not
   deteriorate to fleshly license, but that it is bounded by the
   requirements of the unchanging moral Law of God, which requires that we
   love our neighbor as ourselves. Third, he repeats here, what he had
   said in Rom. 13:8-10, namely, that love is the fulfilling of the Law.
   The new commandment of love to our brethren is comprehended in the old
   commandment of love to our neighbor, hence the former is enforced by an
   appeal to the latter.

   "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty
   for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal.
   5:13). We quote here part of the late Dr. George Bishop's comments on
   this verse: "The apostle here emphasizes a danger. The believer before
   believing, relied upon his works to save him. After believing, seeing
   he is in no way saved by his works, he is in danger of despising good
   works and minifying their value. At first he was an Arminian living by
   law; now he is in danger of becoming an Antinomian and flinging away
   the law altogether."

   "But the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good. It
   is God's standard--the eternal Norm. Fulfilled by Christ for us, it
   still remains the swerveless and unerring rule of righteousness. We are
   without the law for salvation, but not without the law for obedience.
   Angels are under the law doing God's commandments, hearkening to the
   voice of His word' (Psa. 103:20). The law then is immutable--its reign
   universal and without exception. The law! It is the transcript of the
   Divine perfection: the standard of eternal justice: the joy and rapture
   of all holy beings. The law! We are above it for salvation, but under
   it, or rather in it and it in us, as a principle of holiness" (Grace in
   Galatians).

   8. "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour
thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth"
(Eph. 6:1-3). Once more we have a direct quotation from the tables of
   stone as the regulator of the Christian conscience. First, the apostle
   bids children obey their parents in the Lord. Second, he enforces this
   by an appeal to the fifth commandment in the Decalogue. What a proof
   this is that the Christian is under the Law (for the apostle is writing
   to Christians), under it "to Christ". Third, not only does the apostle
   here quote the fifth commandment, but he reminds us that there is a
   promise annexed to it, a promise concerning the prolongation of earthly
   life. How this refutes those who declare that our blessings are all
   spiritual and heavenly )Eph. 1:3). Let the ones who are constantly
   criticizing those who press on the children of God the scriptures which
   have to do with our earthly walk, and who term this a "coming down from
   our position in the heavenlies" weigh carefully Eph. 6:2, 3 and also 1
   Tim. 4:8--"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is
   profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and
   of that which is to come"; and let them also study 1 Pet. 3:10. In the
   administration of His government, God acts upon immutable principles.
   [7]

   9. "But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (1 Tim.
1:8). The Law is used unlawfully, when sinners rest on their imperfect
   obedience to it as the ground of their acceptance by God. So, too,
   believers use it unlawfully, when they obey its precepts out of servile
   fear. But used lawfully, the Law is good. This could never have been
   said if the Law is an enemy to be shunned. Nor could it have been said
   if it has been repealed for the Christian. In that case, the apostle
   would have said, "The Law is not binding upon us". But he did not so
   say. Instead, he declared "The Law if good". He said more than that, he
   affirmed, "We know that the Law is good". It is not a debateable point,
   rather is it one that has been Divinely settled for us. But the Law is
   only "good" if a man (Greek, any one) use it lawfully. To use the Law
   lawfully is to regard it as the unchanging expression of the Will of
   God, and therefore to "delight" in it. To use the Law lawfully is to
   receive it as the corrector of our conduct. To use the Law lawfully is
   to "fulfill" it in love.

   10. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...this is
the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those
days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write
them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to
Me a people" (Heb. 8:8, 10). Let it be carefully noted that this
   passage unmistakably demonstrates two things: first, it proves
   conclusively that the Law has not been "abolished"! Second, it proves
   that the Law does have a use and value for those that are saved, for it
   is saved Israel that is here in view! Nor is there any possible room
   for doubt as to whether or not this applies to Gentile Christians now.

   The passage just quoted refers to "the new covenant". Is the new
   covenant restricted to Israel? Emphatically no. Did not our Saviour say
   at the Holy Supper, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is
   poured out for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28, R.V.)? Was
   Christ's blood of the new covenant limited to Israel? Certainly not.
   Note how the apostle quotes our Lord's words when writing to the
   Corinthians, see 1 Cor. 11:25. So, too, in 2 Cor. 3:6 the apostle Paul
   declares that God has made us (not is going to make us) "ministers of
   the new covenant". This is proof positive that Christians are under the
   new covenant. The new covenant is made with all that Christ died for,
   and therefore Heb. 8:8-10 assures us that God puts His laws into the
   minds and writes them upon the hearts of every one of His redeemed.

   But so anxious are some to grasp at everything which they imagine
   favors their contention that in no sense are believers under the Law,
   this passage is sometimes appealed to in support. It is argued that
   since God has now (by regeneration) written the Law on the believer's
   heart, He no longer needs any outward commandments to rule and direct
   him. Inward principle, it is said, will now move him spontaneously, so
   that all need for external law is removed. This error was so ably
   exposed fifty years ago by Dr. Martin, we transcribe a part of his
   refutation:

     How was it with our first parents? If ever outward law, categorical
     and imperative, might have been dispensed with, it might in Adam's
     case. In all the compass of his nature, there was nothing adverse to
     the law of God. He was a law unto himself. He was the moral law unto
     himself; loving God with all his heart, and his neighbour as
     himself, in all things content, in nothing coveting. Was imperative,
     authoritative, sovereign commandment therefore utterly unnecessary?
     Did God see it to be needless to say to him, Thou shalt, or, Thou
     shalt not? It was the very thing that infinite wisdom saw he needed.
     And therefore did He give commandment--Thou shalt not eat of it'.

     How was it with the last Adam? All God's law was in His heart
     operating there, an inward principle of grace; He surely, if any,
     might have dispensed with strict, imperative, authoritative law and
     commandment. I delight to do Thy will, O God; Thy law also is within
     My heart'. Was no commandment, therefore, laid upon--no
     obedience-statute ordained--unto Him? Or did He complain if there
     was? Nay; I hear Him specially rejoicing in it. Every word He
     uttered, every work He did, was by commandment: My Father which sent
     me, He gave Me commandment what I should say and what I should do;
     as He gave me commandment therefore, so I speak'.

     And shall His members, though the regenerating Spirit dwells in
     them, claim an exemption from what the Son was not exempt? Shall
     believers, because the Spirit puts the law into their hearts, claim
     a right to act merely at the dictate of inward gracious principle,
     untrammeled, uncontrolled by outward peremptory statute? I appeal to
     Paul in the seventh chapter of the Romans, where he says: The law is
     holy', and adds, as if to show that it was no inward actuating law
     of the heart, but God's outward commanding law to the will: the law
     is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good'. And I
     appeal to the sweet singer of Israel, as I find him in the 119th
     Psalm, which is throughout the breathing of a heart in which the law
     of God is written, owning himself with joy as under peremptory
     external law: Thou hast commanded us to keep Thy precepts
     diligently'.

   11. "If ye fulfill the royal Law according to the scripture, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (James 2:8). The immediate
   purpose of the apostle was to correct an evil--common in all climes and
   ages--of which his brethren were guilty. They had paid deference to the
   wealthy, and shown them greater respect than the poor who attended
   their assembly (see preceding verses). They had, in fact, "despised the
   poor" (v.6). The result was that the worthy name of Christ had been
   "blasphemed" (v.7). Now it is striking to observe the method followed
   and the ground of appeal made by the apostle James in correcting this
   evil.

   First, he says, "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the
   scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if
   ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the Law
   as transgressors" (vv. 8, 9). He shows that in despising the poor they
   had transgressed the Law, for the Law says, "Thou shalt love thy
   neighbour as thyself". Here then, if proof positive that the Law was
   binding upon those to whom James wrote, for it is impossible for one
   who is in every sense "dead to the Law" to be a "transgressor" of it.
   And here, it is probable that some will raise the quibble that the
   Epistle of James is Jewish. True, the Epistle is addressed to the
   twelve tribes scattered abroad. Yet it cannot be gainsaid that the
   apostle was writing to men of faith (1:3); men who had been
   regenerated--"begotten" (1:18); men who were called by the worthy name
   of Christ (2:7), and therefore Christians. And it is to them the
   apostle here appeals to the Law!--another conclusive proof that the Law
   has not been abolished.

   The apostle here terms the Law, "the royal Law". This was to empathize
   its authority, and to remind his regenerated brethren that the
   slightest deflection from it was rebellion. The royal Law also calls
   attention to the supreme dignity of its Author. This royal Law, we
   learn, is transcribed in the Scriptures--the reference here was, of
   course, to the Old Testament Scriptures.

   Next, the apostle says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and
   yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not
   commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no
   adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the Law"
   (vv. 10, 11). His purpose is evident. He presses on those to whom he
   writes that, he who fails to love his neighbour is just as much and
   just as truly a transgressor of the Law as the man who is guilty of
   adultery or murder, for he has rebelled against the authority of the
   One who gave the whole Law. In this quotation of the 6th and 7th
   commandments all doubt is removed as to what "Law" is in view in this
   passage.

   Finally, the apostle says, "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall
   be judged by the Law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without
   mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment"
   (vv. 12, 13). This is solemn and urgently needs pressing upon the
   Lord's people today: Christians are going to be "judged by the Law"!
   The Law is God's unchanging standard of conduct for all; and all alike,
   saints and sinners, are going to be weighed in its balances; not of
   course, in order to determine their eternal destiny, but to settle the
   apportionment of reward and punishment. It should be obvious to all
   that the very word "reward" implies obedience to the Law! Let it be
   repeated, though, that this judgment for Christians has nothing
   whatever to do with their salvation. Instead, it is to determine the
   measure of reward which they shall enjoy in Heaven. Should any object
   against the idea of any future judgment (not punishment but judgment)
   for Christians, we would ask them to carefully ponder 1 Cor. 11:31, 32:
   2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 10:30--in each case the Greek word is the same as here
   in James 2:12.

   It should be noted that the apostle here terms the Law by which we
   shall be judged "the Law of liberty". It is, of course, the same as
   "the royal Law" in v. 8. But why term it the Law of liberty? Because
   such it is to the Christian. He obeys it (or should do) not from fear,
   but out of love. The only true "liberty" lies in complete subjection to
   God. There was, too, a peculiar propriety in the apostle James here
   styling the Law of God "the Law of liberty". His brethren had been
   guilty of "respecting persons", showing undue deference to the rich;
   and this was indeed servility of the worst kind. But to "love our
   neighbour" will free us from this.

   12. Other passages in the New Testament which show more directly the
bearing of the Law on believers might be quoted, but we close, by
calling attention to 1 John 2:6: "He that saith he abideth in Him ought
himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (1 John 2:6). This is very
   simple, and yet deeply important. The believer is here exhorted to
   regulate his walk by that of the walk of Christ. How did He walk? We
   answer, in perfect obedience to the Law of God. Gal. 4:4 tells us, "God
   sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law." Psa. 40:8
   declares that God's Law was in His heart. Everything recorded about the
   Saviour in the four Gospels evidences His complete subjection to the
   Law. If, then, the Christian desires to honor and please God, if he
   would walk as Christ walked, then must he regulate his conduct by and
   render obedience to the Ten Commandments. Not that we would for a
   moment insist that the Christian has nothing more than the Ten
   Commandments by which to regulate his conduct. No; Christ came to
   "fulfill" the Law, and as we have intimated, one thing this means is
   that, He has brought out the fulness of its contents, He has brought to
   light its exceeding spirituality, He has shown us (both directly and
   through His apostles) its manifold application. But whatever
   amplification the Law has received in the New Testament, nothing has
   been given by God which in any wise conflicts with what he first
   imprinted on man's moral nature, and afterwards wrote with His own
   finger at Sinai, nothing that in the slightest modifies its authority
   or our obligation to render obedience to it.

   May the Holy Spirit so enlighten our sin-darkened understandings and so
   draw out our hearts unto God, that we shall truthfully say, "The Law of
   Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver...O how
   love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:72-97).
     __________________________________________________________________

   [6] Vv. 8-12 are more or less in the nature of a parenthesis.   [7] That some obedient children are short-lived no more belies the Word
   of God than that some diligent men are poor, yet Prov. 10:4 says, "The
   hand of the diligent maketh rich:" The truth is, that these promises
   reveal the general purpose of God, but He always reserves to Himself
   the sovereign right to make whom He pleases exceptions to the general
   rule.
 

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