It has been established by the teachings of the Apostle Paul, that the Principle of the Gospel Law can be reduced to three words—LIFE IN CHRIST. In Romans 8:2, the Apostle Paul called it “the law of the spirit [new nature] of life in Christ Jesus”. As the Gospel Law is called the “Law of Christ” (1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2), and since the Lord Jesus Christ is the Covenant Head for His people, it is appropriate to hear what Christ Himself says about His Law. To that end, I have selected three passages from the Gospel According to John. The golden thread woven throughout each text is LIFE IN CHRSIT.

Jesus uses three analogies to describe this principle—First, a BIRTH (Jn 3); Second, a Branch (Jn 15); Third, BREAD (Jn 6). For each analogy, a specific question is answered with reference to the Gospel Law.

I. John 3:1-10: BIRTH—How does a sinner come experientially under the Gospel Law?

Jesus answered this question by explaining the doctrine of regeneration. In order to open up its meaning, He used the analogy of a BIRTH. The context for the teaching revolves around a dialogue between a man named Nicodemus and Christ. Although the overall context begins in John chapter 2, verse 23 and ends in chapter 3, verse 21, I am highlighting only the first ten verses of chapter 3.

First, Nicodemus laid claim to Christ’s authority—“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (1,2)

Second, Jesus announced the necessity of the new birth—“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (3)

Third, Nicodemus admitted he was confused over Christ’s teachings—“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (4)

Fourth, Jesus explained the meaning of the new birth—“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (5-8)

Fifth, Nicodemus acknowledged his surprise and unbelief to Christ’s teaching—“Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?”

Sixth, Jesus points out the orthodoxy of the doctrine of regeneration—“Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

Now, gather together Christ’s teachings on the new birth (regeneration): In verse 3, Jesus announces the new birth is necessary in order for a sinner to see the kingdom of God; in verse 10, Jesus says the new birth is nothing new—it is something clearly taught in the Old Testament scriptures; in verses 5-8, Jesus explains the meaning of the new birth. Let’s explore its meaning:

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Jesus distinguishes between two births:

1. The First Birth.

Jesus highlights two things about this birth:

First, the birth is of water—“Except a man be born of water”.

The word water is likely a reference to the amniotic sac, which is a pouch of fluid in which a baby develops prior to birth. During labour, the amniotic sac breaks which is the precursor for the birthing of the child. Henceforth, Jesus is referring to the initiating cause of a physical birth.

Second, the flesh (body) birth produces a flesh (sinful) nature—“That which is born of the flesh is flesh”.

Although the word flesh may refer to the body, it may also refer to the spiritual nature with which a person is endowed at conception. Because of Adam’s headship of the human race under the terms of Covenant of Works, every person brought into this world through the seed of an earthly father is conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12). The flesh, therefore, is naturally sinful. It is for this reason the Apostle Paul described the flesh as corrupt according to its deceitful lusts (Eph 4:22); that the spiritual nature of man is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1); it is for this reason Paul testified “that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:” (Rom 7:18). Jesus Himself said “the flesh profiteth nothing.” (Jn 6:63) Hence, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” It cannot be changed, improved or reformed.

2. The Second Birth.

Jesus underscores two things about this birth:

First, the birth is of the Holy Spirit—“Except a man be born…of the Spirit”.

If the first birth is physical, then the second birth is spiritual. The idea expressed for this second birth is agreeable to that of the first birth—just as there is an amniotic sac in which a baby develops prior to the physical birth, so there is the Holy Spirit in which the regenerate sinner develops prior to the spiritual birth. If human life begins at conception, but a person only becomes conscious of his/her existence in the outside world after birth, so may we not conclude that spiritual life technically begins at some point prior to the new birth, but one is only made conscious of new life after he/she is born again? This was precisely how the Spirit of God worked in the beginning when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep—we read that “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:2) According to John Gill, “[The] Spirit “moved” or brooded upon the face of the waters, to impregnate them, as an hen upon eggs to hatch them, so he to separate the parts which were mixed together, and give them a quickening virtue to produce living creatures in them.” And so, when the sinner is brought under a saving conviction of sin, spiritually feeling his/her need of Christ and hungering and thirsting for Him, although he/she has not experienced the ‘new birth’, yet this is evidence of the gospel seed having already taken root in the soul. As the amniotic sac is to a physical birth, so the Spirit of God is to a spiritual birth.

Second, the Spirit (Holy Spirit) birth produces a spirit (righteous) nature—“And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

The word spirit (lowercased) is a reference to the new nature imparted to the soul via regeneration. Because of Christ’s headship of the elect under the terms of the Covenant of Grace, every redeemed sinner will be the workmanship of the Holy Spirit created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Eph 2:10). This “workmanship” of a new nature (spirit) is complete in Christ (Col 2:1). It is for this reason the Apostle Paul described the spirit as created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph 4:24). It is also for this reason the Apostle John wrote that the new nature cannot sin—“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 Jn 3:9) Hence, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. It cannot be changed, defiled or corrupted.

“Why then,” asks the believer, “Do Christians continue to sin, if they cannot sin with a new nature in Christ?”

The answer is this: A believer in Christ cannot sin within the capacity of his/her new nature in Christ, but since the old nature in Adam still resides in the soul, the believer may still commit sins within that capacity. In other words, while the new nature reigns supreme in the soul, enabling the believer to yield himself to God and the members of his body as instruments of righteousness unto God, yet the sinful nature still resides in the soul, causing all manner of mischief—“For the flesh (old nature) lusteth against the spirit (new nature), and the spirit (new nature) against the flesh (old nature): and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17) Whereas the believer no longer lives in sin, yet sin (the old nature) still lives in the believer. Nevertheless, the believer does not allow the sinful nature to reign in his body, that he should obey it in the lusts thereof; he does not yield the member of his body as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. Isn’t it interesting how the teachings of Jesus on the new birth not only explain how a sinner comes under the Gospel Law, but they also underscore the principle of the Gospel Law—the believer is under the dominion of Christ within the capacity of this new and living nature.

Now, when Nicodemus heard this explanation, he was truly astonished.

He had never heard anything like it before. Jesus therefore rebuked him—“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” In other words, “Nicodemus, how can you be a teacher of the Old Testament scriptures, and not know of these things that I am teaching? Have you not read in the Law and the Prophets about the doctrine of regeneration?” There is an erroneous belief quite common today that the saints of the Old Testament never experienced the new birth. That is not what Jesus taught Nicodemus. Not only did He assert the new birth is absolutely necessary if a sinner is to see or enter into the kingdom of God (regardless of the time in history they live), but He also maintained this is an ancient teaching deeply rooted in the Old Testament scriptures.

Well, in closing His explanation on the meaning of the new birth, Christ illustrated how it occurs by using the analogy of wind.

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

The work of the Holy Spirit is compared to the movements of the wind. Jesus used the wind to describe three aspects of the Holy Spirit’s power:

First, it is a sovereign power—“The wind bloweth where it listeth”.

No one but the Spirit of God has the power to impart to the soul a new nature in Christ—not the parent, not the preacher, not the Sunday School teacher and not the best friend. Any attempt to manipulate sinners into making a decision for Christ will result in a false profession of faith. (Jn 1:12,13)

Second, it is an evidential power—“and thou hearest the sound thereof”.

Because believers in Christ are able to discern the workings of God’s Spirit upon unbelievers, they are to be sensitive and ready to lead the broken hearted to Christ. Even as Christ invited those that labour and are heavy laden to come unto Him, so believers extend the same invitations under similar conditions.

Third, it is an unpredictable power—“but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth”.

Just as it is outside the power of any but the Holy Spirit to determine who will be born again, so it is beyond the knowledge of any but the Holy Spirit to determine when He will regenerate souls. Not only is the sinner completely passive in the work of regeneration, but so are all others who are planting and watering the gospel seed—the increase belongs only to the Spirit of God.

So, how does a sinner come experientially under the Gospel Law? Since the Gospel Law is the rule for citizens belonging to the jurisdiction of God’s kingdom, and since only those sinners that are born again can see and enter this kingdom, so the new birth is the only way for a sinner to come experientially under the Gospel Law.

II. John 15:1-5: BRANCH—What does it mean for a regenerate sinner to be under the Gospel Law?

Jesus answered this question by explaining the doctrine of the believer’s union with Him. In order to open up its meaning, He used the analogy of a BRANCH. After Jesus had observed the passover and instituted the Communion Table, He stepped out of the upper room with His disciples and counseled them on their relationship with Him.

Although the overall context begins in John chapter 13, verse 1 and ends in chapter 16, verse 33, I am highlighting only the first five verses of chapter 15:

John 15:1-5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

From Christ’s teachings in John 3, we already know that a sinner comes experientially under the Gospel Law by having a new nature imparted to the soul. Jesus now explains the intricacy and dynamics of a soul “created in Christ Jesus unto good works”. In essence, it is this—the new nature imparted to the soul is like a branch engrafted to a vine; as the branch lives in the vine, receiving its nourishment from the vine and producing fruit through the vine, so a regenerate sinner lives in Christ, receiving his nourishment from Christ and producing fruit through Christ. I will first, give an outline of the text, then second, provide an explanation thereof.

1. Outlining the Text—John 15:1-5

I. The Vine and the Vine-keeper—“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (1)

II. The Vine-keeper’s Work: Cutting Off and Cutting Back—“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (2,3)

III. The Vine’s Work: Life and Nourishment—“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (4,5)

2. Explaining the Text—John 15:1-5

I. The Vine and the Vine-keeper—“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (1)

A vine is a living climbing plant belonging to the grape family, which bears large amounts of fruit. The fruit is produced by the vine communicating life and nourishment to the several branches. The Vine-keeper cares for the health, growth and fruitfulness of the vine. The Vine-keeper maintains the environment, cuts off dead branches and prunes superfluous growth of the living branches. God the Father cares for His Son as well as those that He has given to His Son. Therefore, Jesus rightly identifies the Father as the Vine-keeper. Likewise, Jesus rightly identifies Himself as the true Vine. For not only has He (the Son of God) assumed a human nature, that in the Person of Jesus Christ His people might have life, but He is also full of grace and truth, all spiritual blessings and precious promises flowing from Him.

II. The Vine-keeper’s Work: Cutting Off and Cutting Back—“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (2,3)

Not only has God the Father, as the Vine-keeper, planted the vine of Christ’s human nature, filling it with the graces of the Holy Spirit, but He has also engrafted to the vine the branches of His elect people, by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. There are two kinds of branches described by Christ.

1. The Dead Branches—“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:”

These branches are not engrafted to the vine by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit; no, rather, they have attached themselves to vine, without having any true bond with the vine. These disconnected branches disguise themselves well as living branches, but they cannot bring forth fruit, for they have no life or nourishment flowing to them from the vine. These dead branches are the false professors who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. These the Father takes away, or separates from Christ so that they and others may know their true nature—Matthew 7:15-20: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

How does God the Father separate false professors from Christ?

No better answer may be found than in the parable given by Christ in Mark 4:3-20. To condense the teaching, Christ’s parable is paraphrased: “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow, even as the preacher sows the word: and it came to pass, as he sowed, First, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up—these are they, when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts; Second, some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away—these are they, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended; Third, some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit—these are they which hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful; Fourth, other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred—these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” So, God the Father will make known the false professors by allowing Satan to take away the word sown in their hearts; by allowing affliction and persecution to come against them; by allowing the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things to choke their profession of faith.

2. The Living branches—“and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

These branches are attached to the vine because they have been engrafted to the vine. There is a true and living bond between the vine and the branches. These branches bring forth fruit, because they have life and nourishment flowing through them from the vine. God the Father never removes these branches from the vine; rather, He prunes and purges these branches of things that hinder their growth and fruitfulness. Take Job as an example—a man that feared God, and eschewed evil, yet his substance so great that he was the greatest of all the men in the east; his family so complete, that he had seven sons and three daughters. In a single day, he lost his entire substance as well as all his children. Could the excessiveness of his life have been a hindrance to his growth in grace? In his grief, he recognized all that came against him was part of the Father’s pruning work—Job 23:8-10: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” In other words, Job considered the flame of affliction to be the consumption of his dross and the refinement of his gold.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design,
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Now, this pruning work of the Father cuts and wounds the branch, and therefore it never seems joyous at the time, but very bitter and grievous. Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Heb 12:5-11) And all of this work of the Vine-keeper is how the Father sanctifies His people—it is how the believer is enabled to work out the precepts of the Gospel Law.

Having described to His disciples the work of God the Father in connection with Him and His people, Jesus then tells them—“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

Jesus is addressing these words not to us, but to His eleven disciples. Remember, just a few minutes earlier, Jesus was gathered in an upper room observing the passover with them. He mentioned to them that they were clean, but not all. (Jn 13:10) This was because Jesus knew the heart of Judas. However, Jesus had now sent Judas away to fulfill his wicked deed of betrayal. With only the eleven disciples in the presence of the Lord, He says to them in effect, “The Father has providentially prepared the way for that one dead branch amongst us (Judas) to be taken away; now that Judas has been cut off, you are clean.” Henceforth, Jesus simply applies the teachings of the Vine-keeper’s work in cutting off and cutting back, to His little group of disciples that were then with Him.

III. The Vine’s Work: Life and Nourishment—“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (4,5)

In these words, Jesus identifies the principle of the Gospel Law—He explains exactly what it means for a regenerate sinner to be under the Gospel Law. Please notice, the first and last statements of these verses are teaching precisely the same thing:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

“He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Sandwiched between these statements—the heart of the teaching—is the pivot on which the whole analogy turns:

“I am the vine, ye are the branches:”

The first and last statements are dealing with the regenerate soul’s nourishment; the middle statement is dealing with the regenerate soul’s life. Let’s look first, at the LIFE of the believer, and then second, at the NOURISHMENT.

1. The LIFE of the believer—“I am the vine, ye are the branches:”

When the sinner is born again (regenerated), the Holy Spirit imparts to the soul a new nature in Christ. That new nature is created in Christ Jesus—it is in actual fact the union of the soul with the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power and personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual union between the soul and Christ is what Jesus is illustrating when He said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches”. As a branch only has life so long as it is organically connected with the vine, so a sinner only has life so long he is spiritually connected with Christ. This is what the Apostle Paul was referring to when he wrote, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (Gal 2:20) The essence of the Gospel Law is LIFE IN CHRIST.

2. The NOURISHMENT of the believer—“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me…He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

To abide in Christ means the believer is to receive all his nourishment from the Lord Jesus. Like a vine communicating life and all the nourishing sap and juices to the branches, so Christ communicates life and all the nourishing graces to His people (1 Cor 1:30). The more a branch sucks the life and nourishment from the vine, the more fruitful it will be. Likewise, the more a believer sucks the life and nourishment from Christ, the more fruitful he will be. The new nature (union with Christ) is designed to bear clusters of fruits—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, virtue, knowledge, patience, godliness, kindness, hunger for righteousness, mercifulness, purity, humility, thankfulness, etc, etc. The more closely the soul receives its nourishment from CHRIST, the more fruitful it will be. This is the essence of the Gospel Law—LIFE IN CHRIST and NOURISHMENT FROM CHRIST. Do you see the mistake, therefore, when attempting to draw near to God by returning to the Heart Law or the Moral Law (Ten Commandments)? When the believer seeks to nourish himself on something, on anything, other than CHRIST, it will be fruitless and his soul will whither. Listen to these words of the Apostle John—John 1:16: “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Do you get it? Of the fulness of Christ (the true vine), we the branches have received of His grace, grace to our souls.

John Gill comments on this last expression, “For without me ye can do nothing”:

“Nothing that is spiritually good; no, not anything at all, be it little or great, easy or difficult to be performed; cannot think a good thought, speak a good word, or do a good action; can neither begin one, nor, when it is begun, perfect it. Nothing is to be done “without Christ”; without his Spirit, grace, strength, and presence; or as “separate from” him. Were it possible for the branches that are truly in him, to be removed from him, they could bring forth no fruits of good works, any more than a branch separated from the vine can bring forth grapes; so that all the fruitfulness of a believer is to be ascribed to Christ, and his grace, and not to the free will and power of man.”

III. John 6:35; 53-57: BREAD—How is a regenerate sinner sanctified by the Gospel Law?

Jesus answered this question by explaining the type of food which nourishes a believer’s soul. In order to open up its meaning, He used the analogy of BREAD. The day after Jesus fed 5,000 men with five loaves and two fishes, the people came to Jesus looking for more food. But Jesus rebuked them for thinking only in terms of the bread that perishes. John chapter 6 is a lengthy dialogue that ensued between the Lord and these people. Having run out of time to explore this chapter in more detail, I simply highlight a few verses where Jesus touches on the ’soul’s food’:

John 6:35; 53-57: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst…Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you…For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me…”

Identical to what Jesus taught in John 15, with the branch receiving its nourishment from the vine, so Jesus uses vivid and unmistakeable language to show the type of food that nourishes the soul of a believer. To eat the flesh of Christ and to drink His blood means we receive, and depend upon and enjoy the several blessings of grace procured by Him—redemption, pardon, peace, justification, etc, etc. In short, the believer feeds on Christ when he searches into the glory of His Person, and explores the mystery of His work. How nutritious for the soul when the believer meditates upon the glory of Christ as the Son of God, as the Son of Man, as the Mediator, as the Redeemer, as the Saviour, as the Comforter, as the Prophet, as the Priest, and the King, etc, etc. Yes, how nourishing for the believer to contemplate the glorious work of Christ in redemption, justification, pardon, reconciliation, advocacy, etc, etc. This is the gospel, and it is the gospel that feeds and nourishes and strengthens the believer; it is the gospel that guides, and instructs and builds up the believer in his most holy faith. How sad for those believers who restrict the gospel to an evangelistic message, never receiving it as the message of edification for their souls! The Holy Spirit not only applies the gospel message when giving new life to sinners, but He applies the same message when nourishing that new life in sinners.

Or, to put it another way: A wife doesn’t grow in the graces of her marriage by keeping house rules; no, she grows in the graces of her marriage by drawing near to her husband; by becoming more familiar with his person and activities. So, a believer doesn’t grow in the graces of his marriage to Christ by keeping the Heart Law or the Moral Law (Ten Commandments); no, he grows in the graces of his marriage by drawing near to Christ; by becoming more familiar with His Person and work. This is why the Apostle Peter linked growth in grace with an increase in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ—2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” One’s increase in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is the key to his growth in grace.

This is how a regenerate sinner is sanctified by the Gospel Law—LIFE IN CHRIST and NOURISHMENT FROM CHRIST.



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