To this point in our study of The Marrow, we’ve learned about the 3 Laws that our author finds in the Bible: (1) The Law of Works (what we must DO in order to be saved – before the Fall), (2) The Law of Faith (We must trust in Christ, our mediator and substitute to rescue us, now that we are fallen in sin, and (3) The Law of Christ (how we live our lives, once we are redeemed by Christ and renewed by the Holy Spirit.
At this point, we are learning, along with gentle Neophytus, that Christ has come into the World to fulfill the requirements of the Law, merit eternal blessing, and satisfy Divine justice on behalf of his own. Believers receive this gift, by trusting in Christ to save them and by repentance (turning from sin to the Saviour). We’ve learned that both faith and repentance are not works to be done in order to merit salvation, but rather are gifts of God’s grace, which he bestows upon His own.
In this lesson, we finish our discussion on the ‘Law of Faith’, by considering how that God’s free gift, received by the ‘Law of Faith’, frees us from the condemning and damning power of the Law of Works.
You can read this section from the Marrow here: Believers Freed.
Believers freed from the condemning power of the Law
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Rom 6:12-14)
Note: Notice in the passage written by the Apostle Paul above that the ‘ye’ that Paul directs his address to is believers – ‘ye are not under law’. The people who are not under the damning power of the law are believers. Those who have not been redeemed are still fallen in Adam, enemies of God, and have the wrath of God abiding upon them.
This is a contrast to the Dispensational system, which teaches all men are presently living in a dispensation (time period) only characterized by grace, in which there is no condemnation by the moral law of God. See my article on Federal Theology in order to understand the representative nature of the Scriptures.
We pick up our story with Neophytus questioning Evangelist about the deliverance from the law for believers…
Neophytus But, sir, …I pray you, proceed to show me how far forth I am delivered from the law, as it is the covenant of works.
Evangelist Truly, as it is the covenant of works, you are wholly and altogether delivered and set free from it; you are dead to it, and it is dead to you; and if it be dead to you, then it can do you neither good nor hurt; and if you be dead to it, you can expect neither good nor hurt from it. Consider, man, I pray you, that, as I said before, you are now under another covenant, viz: the covenant of grace [viz, God’s Plan of Salvation]; and you cannot be under two covenants at once, neither wholly nor partly; and, therefore, as, before you believed, you were wholly under the covenant of works, as Adam left both you and all his posterity after his fall; so now, since you have believed, you are wholly under the covenant of grace. Assure yourself then, that no minister, or preacher of God’s word has any warrant to say unto you hereafter, “Either do this and this duty contained in the law, and avoid this and this sin forbidden in the law, and God will justify thee and save thy soul: or do it not, and he will condemn thee and damn thee.”… So that [to speak with holy reverence] God cannot, by virtue of the covenant of works, either require of you any obedience, or punish you for any disobedience; no, he cannot, by virtue of that covenant, so much as threaten you, or give you an angry word, or show you an angry look; for indeed he can see no sin in you, as a transgression of that covenant; for, says the apostle, “Where there is no law, there is no transgression,” (Rom 4:15).
…And therefore, though hereafter you shall hear such a voice as this, “If thou wilt be saved, keep the commandments”; or “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them”; nay, though you hear the voice of thunder and …threatening hell and damnation to sinners and transgressors of the law; though these be the words of God, yet are you not to think that they are spoken to you. No, no; the apostle assures you that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, (Rom 8:1). Believe it, God never threatens eternal death, after he has given to a man eternal life.
LAW: “Herein and herein thou hast transgressed, and broken me, and therefore thou owest so much and so much to divine justice, which must be satisfied, or else I will take hold on thee”
BELIEVER: “O law! be it known unto thee, that I am now married unto Christ, and so I am under covert; and therefore if thou charge me with any debt, thou must enter thine action against my husband, Christ…”
LAW: “Aye, but good works must be done and the commandments must be kept, if thou wilt obtain salvation”
BELIEVER: “…in Christ [I lack nothing] that is necessary to salvation. He is my righteousness, my treasure, and work; I confess, O law! that I am neither godly nor righteous, but yet this I am sure of, that he is godly and righteous for me.”
What Baptists Believe
The London Baptist Confession, Chap 21, Begins…
The liberty which Christ has purchased for believers under the Gospel consists of their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, and the severity and curse of the law…”
(John 3:36, Rom 8:33, Gal 3:13)
Evangelist concludes thusly…
And thus have I also declared unto you how Christ, in the fullness of time, performed that which God before all time purposed, and in time promised, touching the helping and delivering of fallen mankind.