Law to Gospel and Gospel to Law

The Harmony betwixt the Law and the Gospel by Ralph Erskine

The law’s a tutor much in vogue,
To gospel-grace a pedagogue;
The gospel to the law no less
Than its full end for righteousness.

When once the fiery law of God
Has chas’d me to the gospel road;
Then back unto the holy law
Most kindly gospel-grace will draw.

When by the law to grace I’m school’d;
Grace by the law will have me rul’d:
Hence, if I don’t the law obey,
I cannot keep the gospel-way.

When I the gospel-news believe,
Obedience to the law I give:
And that both in its fed’ral dress,
And as a rule of holiness.

Lo! in my Head I render all
For which the fiery law can call:
His blood unto its fire was fuel,
His Spirit shapes me to its rule.

When law and gospel kindly meet,
To serve each other both unite:
Sweet promises, and stern commands,
Do work to one another’s hands.

The divine law demands no less
Than human perfect righteousness:
The gospel gives it this and more,
Ev’n divine righteousness in store.

Whate’er the righteous law require,
The gospel grants its whole desire.
Are law-commands exceeding broad?
So is the righteousness of God.

How great soe’er the legal charge,
The gospel-payment’s equal large:
No less by man the law can bray,
When grace provides a God to pay.

The law makes gospel-banquets sweet;
The gospel makes the law complete:
Law-suits to grace’s storehouse draw;
Grace docks and magnifies the law.

Both law and gospel close combine,
To make each other’s lustre shine;
The gospel all law-breakers shames;
The law all gospel-slighters damns.

The law is holy, just, and good;
All this the gospel seals with blood,
And clears the royal law’s just dues
With dearly purchas’d revenues.

The law commands me to believe;
The gospel saving faith doth give:
The law injoins me to repent;
The gospel gives my tears a vent.

What in the gospel mint is coin’d,
The same is in the law injoin’d:
Whatever gospel-tidings teach,
The law’s authority doth reach.

Here join the law and gospel hands,
What this me teaches, that commands;
What virtuous forms the gospel please,
The same the law doth authorise.

And thus the law-commandment seals
Whatever gospel-grace reveals:
The gospel also for my good
Seals all the law-demands with blood.

The law most perfect still remains,
And ev’ry duty full contains:
The gospel its perfection speaks,
And therefore gives whate’er it seeks.

Next, what by law I’m bound unto,
The same the gospel makes me do:
What preceptively that can crave;
This effectively can ingrave.

All that by precepts Heav’n expects,
Free grace by promises effects:
To what the law by fear may move,
To that the gospel leads by love.

To run to work, the law commands;
The gospel gives me feet and hands:
The one requires that I obey;
The other does the pow’r convey.

What in the law has duty’s place,
The gospel changes to a grace:
Hence legal duties therein nam’d,
Are herein gospel-graces fain’d.

The precept checks me when I stray;
The promise holds me in the way:
That shews my folly when I roam;
And this most kindly brings me home.

Law threats and precepts both, I see,
With gospel promises agree;
They to the gospel are a fence,
And it to them a maintenance.

The law will justify all those
Who with the gospel-ramsom close;
The gospel too approves for ay
All those that do the law obey.

The righteous law condemns each man
That dare reject the gospel plan:
The holy gospel none will save,
On whom it won’t the law ingrave.

When Christ the tree of life I climb,
I see both law and grace in him:
In him the law its end does gain;
In him the promise is Amen.

The law makes grace’s pasture sweet,
Grace makes the law my sav’ry meat;
Yea, sweeter than the honey-comb,
When grace and mercy brings it home.

The precepts of the law me show
What fruits of gratitude I owe;
But gospel-grace begets the brood,
And moves me to the gratitude.

Law-terrors pain the putrid sore;
And gospel-grace applies the cure:
The one plows up the fallow-ground:
The other sows the seed around.

A rigid master was the law,
Demanding brick, denying straw;
But when with gospel-tongue it sings,
It bids me fly, and gives me wings.

In Sum:

Both law and gospel close unite,
Are seen with more solace,
Where truth and mercy kindly meet,
In fair Immanuel’s face.

Handling Toxic Waste Bare Handed Without Effect

Our God is so sovereign and so good, He can use evil in a holy way:

Sin is an evil, yet the futurition [future existence] of sin, or that sin should be future, is not an evil thing. Evil is an evil thing, and yet it may be a good thing that evil should be in the world. There is certainly a difference between the thing itself existing, and its being an evil thing that ever it came into existence. As for instance, it might be an evil thing to crucify Christ, but yet it was a good thing that the crucifying of Christ came to pass. As men’s act, it was evil, but as God ordered it, it was good. Who will deny but that it may be so, that evil’s coming to pass may be an occasion of greater good than it is an evil, and so of there being more good in the whole, than if that evil had not come to pass? And if so, then it is a good thing that that evil comes to pass. When we say the thing is an evil thing in itself, then we mean that it is evil, considering it only within its own bounds. But when we say that it is a good thing that ever it came to pass, then we consider the thing as a thing among events, or as one thing belonging to the series of events, and as related to the rest of the series. —Jonathan Edwards, Remarks on Important Theological Controversies

How Emphasizing Experience Opens the Door to Heresy

Occasionally a remarkable blind spot prevents people from seeing this point. Almost twenty years ago I rode in a car with a fellow believer who relayed to me what the Lord had ‘told’ him that morning in his quiet time. He had been reading the KJV of Matthew; and I perceived that not only had he misunderstood the archaic English, but also that the KJV at that place had unwittingly misrepresented the Greek text. I gently suggested there might be another way to understand the passage and summarized what I thought the passage was saying. The brother dismissed my view as impossible on the grounds that the Holy Spirit, who dies not lie, had told him the truth on this matter. Being young and bold, I pressed on with my explanation of grammar, context, and translation, but was brushed off by a reference to 1 Cor. 2:10b-15: spiritual things must be spiritually discerned—which left little doubt about my status. Genuinely intrigued, I asked this brother what he would say if I put forward my interpretation, not on the basis of grammar and text, but on the basis that the Lord himself had Oven me the interpretation I was advancing. He was silent a long time, and then concluded, ‘I guess that would mean the Spirit says the Bible means different things to different people.’ —D.A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies

Test the Book but It’s Your Heart that’s Proven

You know how it was with Moses, when he saw two men fighting, one an Egyptian, and another an Israelite, he killed the Egyptian; but when he saw two Hebrews fighting, now, saith he, I will go and reconcile them, for they are brethren; why so, but because he was a good man, and gracious? So also it is with a gracious heart; when he sees the Scripture fighting with an Egyptian, and heathen author, or apocryphal, he comes and kills the heathen… the Egyptian, or the apocrypha; but when he sees two Scriptures at variance (in view, though in truth not), Oh, saith he, these are brethren, and they may be reconciled, I will labour all I can to reconcile them; but when a man shall take every advantage of seeming difference in Scripture, to say, Do ye see what contradictions there are in this book, and not labour to reconcile them; what doth this argue, but that the corruption of a man’s nature, is boiled up to an unknown malice against the word of the Lord; take heed therefore of that. —William Bridge from A Quest for Godliness by J.I. Packer

Jesus Held By the Wood

Jesus held by the wood.
Delivered and delivering,
Jesus held by the wood.

Witnesses on either side.
Mary silhouetted,
quietly gazing
with great feeling
on her son,
the sky dark above.
As at the beginning,
so at the end.

Jesus held by the wood.
Delivered and delivering,
Jesus held by the wood.

The scene of Christmas
and of Calvary,
of the cradle
and the cross.

—Mark Dever, The Message of the New Testament

The Fog of Worry

It has been reported that a dense fog extensive enough to cover seven city blocks a hundred feet deep is composed of less than one glass of water—divided into millions of droplets. In the right form, a few gallons of water can cripple a large city.

In a similar way, the substance of worry is nearly always extremely small compared to the size it forms in our minds and the damage it does in our lives. Someone has said, “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.” – John MacArthur

A Whole Christ

ALL of Christ is accepted by the sincere convert. He loves not only the wages—but the work of Christ; not only the benefits—but the burden of Christ. He is willing not only to tread out the corn—but to draw under the yoke. He takes up the commands of Christ, yes, the cross of Christ.

The unsound convert takes Christ by halves. He is all for the salvation of Christ—but he is not for sanctification. He is for the privileges—but does not appropriate the person of Christ. He divides the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation. Whoever loves life, let him beware here. It is an undoing mistake, of which you have been often warned, and yet none is more common. Jesus is a sweet Name—but men do not love the Lord Jesus in sincerity. They will not have Him as God offers, ‘to be a Prince and a Savior’ (Acts 5:31). They divide what God has joined, the King who rules—and the Priest who saves. They will not accept the salvation of Christ as He intends it; they divide it here. Every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering—but they do not desire to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved—but still would have their lusts. Indeed, many divide here again; they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed—but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand.

O be infinitely careful here; your soul depends upon it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, and takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He is willing to have Christ upon any terms; he is willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ. He says with Paul, ‘Lord, what will you have me to do?’ [Acts 9:6] Anything, Lord! He gives Christ the blank page—to write down His own conditions. -Joseph Alleine