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Why Grace is Not Contrary to the Law, But Affirms It | Monergism


I appreciate this post from Monergism by John Hendryx. Grace affirms the law, but the law is powerless to sanctify us. Rather, we are sanctified by the gospel which God uses to give us the desire to obey. Following the law is the fruit of sanctification, not the cause.

The Bible tells us that the new birth is the fountain from which we both believe and obey the commandments – and this new nature granted in Christ gives us new desires which relievies the burden of obeying his commands

Source: Why Grace is Not Contrary to the Law, But Affirms It | Monergism

3 thoughts on “Why Grace is Not Contrary to the Law, But Affirms It | Monergism

  1. Joseph

    I get what you are saying and I even agree. The theology of the Bible is clear that the law is unable to make us righteous. The problem is when I say things like we are relieved from the burden of obeying his commandments it sounds bad. It sounds like we don’t have to obey. How do you think this should be communicated? Or do you think we just leave it at that?


      I know what you are saying Joseph and struggle with the same thing all the time. The fact is, we are absolutely freed from the burden of law keeping for justification. Having agreed on that, the question shifts to look at what the role of good works is for those who are already justified. For the answer to this, let’s look at the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF)

      WCF 16:2.
      These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

      What is important here in WCF 16:2 is that good works are assumed in the life of the believer (it is not antinomian) and that the good works are FRUIT rather than being produced from slavery to the law. Additionally, they are manifestation of the believer’s thankfulness rather than a burden.

      WCF 16:3

      3. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure: yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

      What this is saying is that our good works do not come from us but from the Spirit. Also important here is that this obedience is not optional…it is required but it is not met in us. It is produced by the Spirit working in us to will and to do His good pleasure. Lastly, WCF 16:3 warns us to not grow negligent by thinking that we can just wait for the Spirit to move us but that we are to be diligent. Not diligent in burdening upon the law, but diligent in stirring up the grace of God which is already in us.

      The entire chapter 16 is very beautiful but I won’t post all of it. The main point that I want to make here is to address the question you asked. When we realize that all of our obedience is not from us but from God, we truly are freed from the burden of obeying his commands and are freed to allow the Spirit to produce joyful and grateful obedience in us as we stir up the grace that is in us.

  2. Joseph

    Yes I see what you mean. This always puzzled me because we are told to obey on one hand. On the other hand are told that we are no longer under the burden of the law. So what you are saying is the emphasis is on “burden”. We obey of course but don’t fear the penalty and our failures to obey no longer condemn us. Right? I’m concluding this because it says that our obedience is now fruit. Which means it isn’t from us although we exert effort. But our effort is in stirring up grace instead of striving after perfection which was our only choice before.

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