26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
In reading through the Westminster Confession of Faith again, I was struck by how much this verse says when it comes to the Law of God. The above verse is a description of the new covenant, which we are now under with Christ. The new covenant was and is at the center of Christ’s ministry and His people. Remember that when He instituted the signs of the new covenant, especially the LORD’s supper, He declared that the wine is the new covenant in My blood. This is not some minor doctrine of the faith.
What I want us to see is that focus of the new covenant: it’s the Law. What has God promised do under the new covenant? First, He has promised to put His Spirit within us. This shows us that the new covenant is far better than the old covenant under Moses. Not that we ignore the old covenant, there is a lot to learn from the old covenant and it helps us understand the grace we have been given under the new covenant.
It is only gross ignorance of the requirements of God’s law which makes people undervalue the Gospel. The man who has the clearest view of the moral law, will always be the man who has the highest sense of the value of Christ’s atoning blood.
J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark, Chapter XII, 28–34.
We cry down the law in respect of justification, but we set it up as a rule of sanctification. The law sends us to the Gospel that we may be justified; and the Gospel sends us to the law again to inquire what is our duty as those who are justified.
Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds Of Christian Freedom
Wilhelmus á Brakel writes:
The rule for holiness is the law of God… Torah, whic is the Hebrew word for ‘law,’ is derived from ‘hora’, which means ‘to teach,’ ‘to instruct.’ A law is thus a lesson or instruction in the way which one ought to go.
O, that we would learn the simplicity of God’s Law to us. Far too often, we come to God’s law, thinking about how it restricts us, binds us, and keeps us from worldly pleasures. Yet, true contentment is found in God’s law, and obedience to the Lawgiver. His words to us are His guides for us. We are not restricted by keeping the law, but blessed in doing so.
R.C. Sproul writes:
When we break the law of God– something we do, have done, and continue to do–the problem is not simply that we have violated some moral, abstract standard that we call ‘law.’ The law of God is a personal matter. When we sin, we do not just sin against some abstract norm or piece of legislation. We sin against the one whose law it is. We do violence to him, to the Author of our very life. That is why sin is such an egregious matter in his sight — Commentary on Romans 4:13-23.
When we realize this truth, it helps us see the futility of saying that our sin isn’t sin (think adulterous relationships or oxymoronic gay marriage) because it doesn’t hurt anyone. Sin always is an affront to God and why we need to repent of it and look to Christ for salvation.