Before you would discount Calvin’s teaching on the Law, for a New Covenant attitude as they call it today, grace, do remember that threaded throughout our Lord Jesus Christ’s preaching, is the theme of the Law. It is embedded in his ministry. If your right eye offends you, he says, pluck it out. That is to say if sitting in front of a television or computer screen night after night is causing you to burn with lust, pull the plug, or get rid of it! If your right hand offends you, he says, better you should go to Heaven maimed than go to Hell with both your hands. So that Law, says Calvin is a pattern for the believer’s life. It is just as important to the believer as it is to anyone else, we are not done with till we get to Heaven, and I’m not sure we will be altogether done with then, in fact I know we won’t.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; in his law doth he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Permit me to conclude with what I believe to be some important implications to Calvin’s teaching on God’s Law for the church today. Rest assured, Jesus Christ is our great Prophet, who bids us learn of him, our teacher. He is also our great High Priest who atones for our sins, he is our King, our sovereign who is to rule over our hearts in love, and that overall of his subjects. It is thus every Christian receives him or does not receive him at all. It is faith in him that begets an ear of love for his doctrine. But the visible Church says, we don’t want doctrine, is that not what they say, if not verbally expressed, it is expressed in body language. You see our whole problem is intellectual, it is lazy-mindedness. I just want Jesus they say, I just want the person, I love him. Can you tell me how you can have a person without the person’s words? If I were to suggest to you that I love my wife, but I do not want her to speak to me, I just want her, I love her personality but I do not want her to speak to me, that is exactly what this person is saying. It is the propositions, it is the doctrine, it is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the entirety of Scripture that testifies of him, including the Law, that we need. If you love him you will love everything about him. You will love his teaching, you will love his doctrine. You will have a heart of obedience for his commandments, his Law. Let nobody deceive you with their pious-sounding nonsense who call evangelical obedience, legal bondage. Every precept in the word of God that drops from the lips of Jesus Christ flows from a heart of love to us, it is those commandments, given to us in love, that brings us to live a wholesome and healthy and happy life in this world. And for a happy end to it. It is for your good when he says, do this! It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that makes things pleasant, the Law is no longer grievous to the person who has become a Christian, it is their delight. It is our privilege, our delight to do his will. But I must warn you, knowledge without faith and practice is vain, it is sin.
(©️ James R Hamilton, February 2020)