365 days with Newton


God’s law—his prescribed course

‘But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.’ 1 Timothy 1:8

Ignorance of the nature and design of the law is at the bottom of all our mistakes in religious concerns. This is the root of self-righteousness and the grand reason why the gospel of Christ is no more regarded. Without a due knowledge of the law, the gospel cannot be rightly preached or understood. And there are and have been too many like those mentioned in the preceding verse, desiring to be teachers of the law; yet not knowing what they say and affirm. Notice what we are to understand by the law. The law in many passages of the Old Testament signifies the whole revelation of the will of God, as in Psalm 1:2 and 19:7; but the law, strictly speaking, is distinguished from the gospel, as shown at large in the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians. In the chapter before us the Apostle plainly intends the law of Moses, but in order to understand the nature and design of the law of Moses, it is necessary to go a little higher. The law of God then in the largest sense is that rule, or prescribed course, which he has appointed for his creatures, according to their several natures and capacities, so as to answer the end for which he has created them. Thus it extends to things without life. So it is said, the wind and storm fulfil his word or law. So he hath appointed the moon for its seasons and the sun knoweth his going down, or going forth, and performs all its revolutions according to its Maker’s pleasure. If we could suppose the sun was an intelligent being and was to refuse to shine, or was to wander from the path in which God has appointed it to move, it would be a transgressor of the law. But there is no such disorder in the natural world. The law of God in this sense, or what is frequently called the law of nature, is no other than the impression of God’s power whereby all things continue to his original purpose. For he spake and it was done, he commanded and it stood fast.

FOR MEDITATION: ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10).


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