The Christian and the Law

As we continue looking at John Piper’s book we have now reached page 200 and following. I want to highlight Piper’s attitude to the law. What, according to Piper, is the purpose of the law?

“The reason the law is not against the promise is precisely that it was designed not to give life but to hold under sin and lead to Christ who gives life. Paul says that if the law had given life, then it would have been against the promise. It would have short-circuited the purpose of the promise to make Christ the basis of life and righteousness. . . .

John Piper[Piper then addresses Galatians 5:6, arguing that this verse] tells what kind of faith avails justification. Therefore, love as an expression of faith is not the instrument of justification—it does not unite us to Christ who is our perfection. Only faith does. But this faith is the kind of faith that inevitably gives rise to love.”

[He continues stating that 1 Timothy 1 shows us that] to use the law lawfully (v. 8) is to understand that it is designed to lead people to the gospel of Christ and to indict what is not in accord with the gospel. In this way, the lawful use of the law leads to the transformation of the heart through “sincere faith” (v. 5) and thus leads to love, which is in turn the aim of Paul’s preaching (v. 5) and the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:8). The key defining criterion of the life-change that Paul is pursuing is whether it is “in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (v. 11). Using the law lawfully means using it to convict people of living out of accordance with the gospel. . . .

We bear fruit for God (love) by being joined through faith to Jesus, not through the law. That is what the law was ultimately designed to show.”

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