Archive for the ‘The law's limits’ Category

The Law drives us to the Gospel, that we are justified, then sends us to the Law again to show us our duty now that we are justified

January 12, 2010

We cry down the Law when it comes to our justification, but we set it up when it comes to our sanctification. The Law drives us to the Gospel, that we are justified, then sends us to the Law again to show us our duty now that we are justified.

Thomas Boston, in Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, p.182

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November 23, 2009

(Having come under conviction of sin, Bunyan ‘cleaned up’ his life and ‘got religion’. Realising he had broken it, he was now trying to keep God’s Law. His neighbours were impressed – but he was still a child of the devil; now whitewashed but yet a tomb)

…my neighbours were amazed at this my great conversion, from prodigious profaneness, to something like a moral life; and, truly, so they well might; for this my conversion was as great, as for Tom of Bedlam to become a sober man. Now, therefore, they began to praise, to commend, and to speak well of me, both to my face, and behind my back. Now, I was, as they said, become godly; now, I was become a right honest man. But, oh! When I understood that these were their words and opinions of men, it pleased me mighty well. For though, as yet, I was nothing but a poor painted hypocrite, yet I loved to be talked of as one that was truly godly. I was proud of my godliness, and, indeed, I did all I did, either to be seen of, or to be well spoken of, by man. And thus I continued for about a twelvemonth or more.’

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press 2008, p.75

God gave us Ten Commandments and we broke them. Wilson gave us his Fourteen Points and we shall see

November 17, 2009

At the end of World War I, US President Woodrow Wilson proposed a 14 point plan calling for free elections, free trade, freedom of the seas and world disarmament. He spoke of a League of Nations to guarantee the peace.

Georges Clemenceau, French Premier, said: “God gave us Ten Commandments and we broke them. Wilson gave us his Fourteen Points and we shall see.”

By faith are we saved only, in believing the promises. And though faith be never without love and good works, yet is our saving imputed neither to love nor unto good works, but unto faith only

October 31, 2009

By faith are we saved only, in believing the promises. And though faith be never without love and good works, yet is our  saving imputed neither to love nor unto good works, but unto faith only. For love and works are under the law, which requireth perfection and the ground and fountain of the heart, and damneth all imperfectness. Now is faith under the promises, which damn not; but give pardon, grace, mercy, favor, and whatsoever is contained in the promises.

William Tyndale, A PATHWAY INTO THE HOLY SCRIPTURE,

I lusted to thieve, and did it, compelled by no hunger, nor poverty…For I stole that, of which I had enough, and much better

October 16, 2009

…I lusted to thieve, and did it, compelled by no hunger, nor poverty…For I stole that, of which I had enough, and much better. Nor cared I to enjoy what I stole, but joyed in the theft and sin itself. A pear tree there was near our vineyard, laden with fruit, tempting neither for colour nor taste. To shake and rob this, some lewd young fellows of us went, late one night…and took huge loads, not for our eating, but to fling to the very hogs, having only tasted them. And this, but to do what we liked only, because it was misliked. Behold my heart, O God, behold my heart, which Thou hadst pity upon in the bottom of the bottomless pit. Now, behold, let my heart tell Thee what it sought there, that I should be gratuitously evil, having no temptation to ill, but the ill itself. It was foul, and I loved it; I loved to perish, I loved mine own fault, not that for which I was faulty, but my fault itself. Foul soul, falling from Thy firmament to utter destruction; not seeking aught through the shame, but the shame itself!

Augustine, Confessions, 2.4.

The Old Testament’s promises fulfilled in the New

September 12, 2009

The moral law of Moses had educated man’s moral sense, but left the springs of conduct still impotent; the sacrifices had shown that sin must be atoned for, but had failed to make final atonement; the Tabernacle and the Temple had set forth the truth that without the presence of God men can never fulful their true and proper destiny, but the Temple had become a symbol of national and religious exclusiveness…It all pointed to somethng better to come.

R.V.G. Tasker, The OT in the NT (pp.95-96)

September 7, 2009

…in Paris on 27 August 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Treaty was signed, and war was renounced as an instrument of national policy. Fifty-four years later that treaty is still in effect, its existence serving as an unintended and unfortunate mockery of its admirable aims.

Among the signatories of the Pact of Paris are Iran, Iraq, and the Soviet Union.

source

The law can state what is wrong but has no power to effect the keeping of it.

The Law is Powerless to Change us

September 4, 2009

Benjamin Franklin made 13 virtues for himself, including: Silence (‘speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation’), frugality, industry (‘lose not time; be always employed in something useful’) and tranquility (‘be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable’).

He set up a book with a page for each virtue, lining a column in which to record “defects.” Choosing a different virtue to work on each week, he daily noted every mistake, starting over every 13 weeks in order to cycle through the list four times a year.

For many decades Franklin carried his little book with him, striving for a clean thirteen-week cycle. As he made progress, he found himself struggling with yet another defect. “There is perhaps no one of natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it. Struggle with it. Stifle it. Mortify it as much as one pleases. It is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself….even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Zondervan, 1997, p. 35

…These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Col.2.23

The Law’s limitation

September 4, 2009

A state government can shut down stores and theaters on Sunday, but it cannot compel worship. It can arrest and punish KKK murderers, but it cannot cure their hate, much less teach them love. It can ban adultery but not lust, theft but not covetousness, cheating but not pride. It can encourage virtue, but not holiness.

Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace? p.251

Society needs the Gospel not merely laws

August 4, 2009

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

John Adams, 2nd US President, October 11, 1798

I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it…

Learned Hand

Billings Learned Hand (January 27, 1872 – August 18, 1961 ) was a United States judge and judicial philosopher. He served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and later the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Hand has been quoted more often than any other lower-court judge by legal scholars and by the Supreme Court of the United States.

To these three sorts of law must be added a fourth, the most important of all, which is inscribed neither on marble nor brass, but in the hearts of the citizens, a law which forms to true constitution of the state, a law which gathers new strength every day and which, when other laws age or wither away, reanimates or replaces them; a law which sustains a nation in the spirit of its institution and imperceptibly substitutes the force of habit for the force of authority. I refer to morals, customs, and, above all, belief: this feature, unknown to our political theorists, is the one on which the success of all the other laws depends; it is the feature on which the great law-giver bestows his secret care, for though he seems to confine himself to detailed legal enactments, which are really only the arching of the vault, he knows that morals, which develop more slowly, ultimately become its immovable keystone.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract