“The Law sends us to the Gospel, that we may be justified, and the Gospel sends us to the Law again to enquire what is our duty being justified.” – Puritan Samuel Bolton.
“Keeping God’s Law is not the BASIS on which we are put right with God – but it is the RESULT of it. Again, keeping God’s Law is not the MEANS of our salvation – but it is the ESSENCE of it.” – John Stott.
In His encounter with the Pharisee Nicodemus, Jesus our Lord said clearly that nobody can enter the Kingdom of God unless he or she is born of water and of the Spirit and he or she must be born again. This born again experience is best explained in Ezek 36: 25-27 :
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
We will be cleansed of our sin and we will be given a new heart and a new spirit. God will also put His Spirit in us to MOVE us to follow His decrees and be careful to keep His laws. That is the reality of sanctification as expounded by both the Puritan Samuel Bolton and John Stott. Ultimately keeping God’s Law is the essence and result of justification. The epistles of John also testify to the same teaching that whoever abides in Christ will also keep His commandments. 1 John 2:3-6.
We fully agree with the true biblical part of the hyper grace doctrine that we cannot earn our salvation through works or we are not put right with God by keeping the Law. But we completely disagree with the false erroneous part of the hyper grace doctrine that the Law is being dispensed with or abolished altogether. Our Lord made it very clear too that He came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.
Gal 6:15 says, For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” and 1 Cor 7:19 says, “For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. ” Clearly we see that a new creation in Christ is equated to keeping God’s commandments. St Paul was not contradicting himself as he confirmed in other parts of Scripture that when one is born again and is justified, God will put His Spirit in him or her and move him or her to keep His laws.
If the Bible ever contradict itself between one part of Scripture with another, it cannot be the Word of God for God’s truth has to be consistent and immutable. We have just seen in a mere few verses in the epistles of Paul, John, James and parts of Ezekiel and the gospels – they are harmonious on this same truth that the essence and result of justification, and not the means, is keeping God’s laws.
If God’s Spirit is truly in us, He will MOVE us to keep His laws. If we are indifferent to keeping God’s laws, we must re-examine our faith again for we reveal our true heart condition that we want nothing of the kind of life of holiness in heaven which we will be perfect as Christ is perfect. Just to ensure their followers do not examine themselves, a broadside of this false teaching not to examine oneself is frequently fired. That is the kind of spiritual warfare. Terribly subtle deception.