The Gospel Law

By William Gadsby (1773–1844)

Question 1. What blessings are connected with faith in Christ Jesus?

Answer. The blessings connected with faith in Christ Jesus are, a freedom from the bondage of sin, Satan, the world, death and the law, with free access to the Father, and a hearty welcome to all the glory of the gospel and the blessings of God’s house. (Jn 3.14-17; Rom 5.2 & 6.14 & 8.1-4; Eph 2.18-22; l Jn 2.12-14 & 5.4-5)

Question 2. Since a believer is made free from the law, is it any part of his freedom to be at liberty to sin?

Answer. No; for he is called to holiness; and though he is dead to, and free from, the law of works, he is not now, nor does he wish to be, without law to God but is under the law of Christ. (Lk 6.46; Rom 6.1-2,6-7,11-19 & 7.1-6; 1 Cor 9.21; Gal 5.1,13-25; Col 2.6-7; 2 Tim 2.19; Tit 3.8)

Question 3. What is the law of Christ?

Answer. The law of Christ is the gospel of His grace, which is the law from Zion, called the law of faith, the law of liberty, and the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. (Isa 2.2-3; Jer 31.31-34; Mic 4.1-2; Rom 3.27 & 7.21-25 & 8.1-4; Gal 6.2; Heb 1.8 & 8.6-13; Js 1.25)

Question 4. What is the gospel?

Answer. The gospel may be taken in a limited or in a more extensive sense. (Mk 1. 14-15; Jn 1.17; Rom 1.16; Eph 3.6; 1 Tim 1.11,14-15)

Question 5. What is meant by the gospel in a limited sense?

Answer. Glad tidings of great joy, or a free proclamation of rich mercy, without money and without price, to poor, sin-burdened sinners; with the glorious invitations, doctrines and promises of God’s everlasting love, and the blessings these truths contain. (Isa 55.1-3,6-7; Matt 11.28-30; Lk 2.10-11,14 & 11.9-10; Jn 1.16-17 & 3.14-17 & 7.37; Rom 1.16 & 10.13; Tit 3.4-7; Rev 21.6 & 22.17)

Question 6. What is meant by the gospel in a more extensive sense?

Answer. The above things, together with the precepts and ordinances enjoined on the church by Christ and His apostles, and the things connected therewith. (Matt 28.18-20; Jn 13.34 & 14.15; 1 Cor 11.23-26; Eph 2.8-10; Col 2.6-7; Tit 3.8-9; l Jn 2.6; 2 Jn. 6)

Question 7. Is the gospel, in all its branches, a sufficient rule of life to a believer in Christ?

Answer. Yes; for through the life-giving power of the Spirit, faith lives upon Christ, the Living Head, and gospel precepts are the believer’s rule in the world, in the family, in the church, and in case of personal offences. (Jn 14.21; Rom 6.14 & 8.9-11,14; 2 Cor 9.8; Gal 6.14-16; Phil 3.16; Col 3.1-3)

Question 8. Can you give a proof of the precepts of the gospel as a rule to a believer in the world?

Answer. Yes; for it is written, “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal.” (Matt 5.43-48; Rom 12.17-18; Eph 6.5-9; Col 3.22-25 & 4.1; l Jn 2.15)

Question 9. Can you give a proof of the precepts of the gospel as a rule in the family?

Answer. Yes; as it is written, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged,” “but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph 5.22-25,33 & 6.1-4; Col 3.18-21)

Question 10. Can you give a proof of the gospel as a rule in the church?

Answer. Yes; as it is written, “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” “As God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.” “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” “Keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” “Let all things be done decently and in order.” “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” (Matt 23.8-10; 1 Cor 7.17 & 11.2 & 14.40; Eph 6.9; Heb 10.24-25; 1 Pet 3.8-11 & 5.1-5)

Question 11. Can you give a proof of the gospel as a rule in case of personal offences?

Answer. Yes; as it is written, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church, but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matt 18.15-17)

Question 12. Does the gospel require anything of believers towards God?

Answer. Believers are not their own, but are bought with a price. God, in the gospel, requires them to glorify Him in their body and their spirit, which are His, and to worship Him in spirit and in truth; and His grace enables them so to do. (Jn 4.23-24; 1 Cor 6.19-20; 2 Cor 9.8; Tit. 3.8)

An extract from Gadsby’s Catechism