14 What Is The Gospel Law?
Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:
What rule (or law) governs a believer’s conduct? There are four basic views in answer to this question:
(1) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to his/her obedience to the law inscribed upon the heart—first, to love God supremely; second, to love one’s neighbor as himself/herself.
(2) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to his/her obedience to the moral law—the ten commandments.
(3) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to his/her obedience to the precepts and prohibitions of Christ and His apostles—this includes all the commandments recorded in the New Testament scriptures.
(4) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to the obedience and righteousness of Christ, under the authority of the covenant of grace (the covenants of grace and redemption are the same covenant)—this is the soul’s union with Christ (regeneration), by virtue of which the life and graces of Christ flow into the soul, making the sinner alive unto God and enabling him/her to bear the fruit of his/her new nature in Christ (created in righteousness and true holiness). To walk in newness of life, or, in the “spirit” (new nature), is the same as walking with God according to the obedience and righteousness of Christ imparted to the soul in sanctification. (1 Cor 1:30; Rom 6-8; Gal 5)
Generally speaking, the Presbyterians, Reformed Baptists, 1689 Federalists, Dispensationalists and the New Covenant Theologists subscribe to one or more of the first three answers, all of which are based upon the believer’s obedience and righteousness to a written code of precepts/prohibitions. Although they often divide over the issue, at root level, they share the same view.
The fourth answer, however, is based upon Christ’s obedience and righteousness by virtue of a believer’s legal and living union with Him. His obedience and righteousness is imputed to the elect judicially (justification) and imparted to them spiritually (sanctification). Henceforth, the rule of conduct for a believer’s life is his/her spiritual union with Christ, having all the virtues of Christ flowing into his/her soul (among which are joy, peace, humility, gentleness, meekness, patience, faith, etc), expressing themselves in thought, word and action (good works). This “rule of conduct” is a living union with Christ rather than a legal code, and is called in scripture the “law of Christ”, or, as I often describe it, the “gospel law”.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:1: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The expression, “ye which are spiritual”, is a reference to the new nature (the soul’s union with Christ), meaning that a regenerate sinner in a spirit of meekness is able to restore one who has been overtaken in a fault, because that virtue of Christ (meekness) flows into his/her soul. Henceforth, the Apostle continues in verse 2: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” That is, the “law of Christ” (spiritual union) is fulfilled when the regenerate sinner works out in thought, word and deed, what the Spirit of God works in by virtue of the soul’s union with Christ. The “law of Christ” is a living union, not a legal code.
Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (29/10/2022)
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.