Saturday, August 10, 2013

John Calvin: Law & Gospel Required

John Calvin comments about those who excuse themselves from needing (in any sense) to obey God's Law because, allegedly, the gospel of free imputation of Christ's righteousness has freed them from such obligations. He writes:
Hence, also, we refute those who always erroneously compare the law with the gospel by contrasting the merit of works with the free imputation of righteousness. This is indeed a contrast not at all to be rejected. For Paul often means by the term "law" the rule of righteous living by which God requires of us what is his own, giving us no hope of life unless we completely obey him, and adding on the other hand a curse if we deviate even in the slightest degree... But the gospel did not so supplant the entire law as to bring forward a different way of salvation. Rather, it confirmed and satisfied whatever the law had promised, and gave substance to the shadows... From this we infer that, where the whole law is concerned, the gospel differs from it only in clarity of manifestation.1

1.  Peter A. Lillback, The Binding of God: Calvin's Role in the Development of Covenant Theology [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic; 2001] p. 187

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