Thursday, September 24, 2009

John Colquhoun on "Law and Gospel"

In Charles Bridges’ The Christian Ministry, he shares this quote from John Colquhoun on the relationship between law and gospel (pp. 230-231):

The law condemns, and cannot justify a sinner; The Gospel justifies, and cannot condemn, the sinner that believes in Jesus.

In the law God appears in terrible threatenings of eternal death; in the Gospel, he manifests himself in gracious promises of life eternal.

In the former he curses from Mount Ebal; in the latter, he blesses, as on Mount Gerazim.

In the one, he speaks in thunder, and with terrible majesty; in the other, with soft whispers, or "a still small voice."

By the trumpet of the law he proclaims war with sinners; by the jubilee-trumpet of the gospel he publishes peace—"peace on earth, and good-will toward men."

The law is a sound of terror to unconvinced sinners; the Gospel is a joyful sound, "good tidings of great joy."

The former represents God as a God of wrath and vengeance; the latter as a God of love, grace, and mercy.

The one presents him to sinners as "a consuming fire": the other exhibits the precious blood of the Lamb, which quenches the fire of his righteous indignation.

That presents to the view of the sinner a throne of judgment; this a "throne of grace."

Every sentence of condemnation in the Scripture belongs to the law; every sentence of justification forms a part of the Gospel.

The law condemns a sinner for his first offense; but the Gospel offers him the forgiveness of all his offenses.


1 comment:

John Bowman said...

In my newly purchased "Morning Exercises" devotional by William Jay, he describes the law as a schoolteacher preparing the children until Christ's plan was fully revealed. William Chantry describes it similarly in "Call the Sabbath a Delight" as he explains that before man was provided with 1) full revelation (the full canon of scripture) and 2) a counselor (the holy spirit), the Lord was merciful and gracious to provide a very prescriptive and structured set of rules and punishments.