365 days with Newton


The law is good

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

When the mind is enlightened and instructed by the Word and Spirit of God, then the law is known to be good.
(i) It is holy. It manifests the holiness of God and, when obeyed, communicates an impression of his holiness to man. A conformity to this divine law is the perfection of human nature. There can be no excellence in man but so far as he is influenced by this law. Without it, the greater his natural powers and abilities are, so he is but so much the more detestable and mischievous.
(ii) It is just. God had a just right and authority to appoint this rule; it was suited to the relation and ability of his creatures. And though we, by sin, have lost our power, his just right remains and therefore he can justly punish transgressors.
(iii) It is good—good for man, his obedience to the law and the favour of God therein being but another word for his proper happiness. And it is impossible for him to be happy in any other way. Only to sinners these things must be applied according to the gospel as fulfilled in Christ, who has obeyed the law and made atonement for sin in behalf of all who believe in him. So that through him they are delivered from condemnation and entitled to all the benefits of his obedience. Thus God is just in justifying the believers. From him likewise they receive the law as a rule enforced by his example and their peculiar obligations to his redeeming love. This makes obedience pleasing and the strength they receive from him makes it easy.

FOR MEDITATION: Till the law is thus approved, there can be no hatred of sin as sin, though it may be avoided in particular instances. If you say the law is good and the gospel is good and see how they illustrate each other, and yet are walking in a spirit of bondage, it is owing to the weakness of your faith. Your judgement may be clearer than your experience, but wait on the Lord and both in due time shall be established. You would as soon as eat poison, as allow yourself in sin, if you knew the goodness of the law.


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