Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The Need of Preaching the Law
Ever hear the Gospel in a sermon and think (though you would never admit it): So what?
What preceded it in the sermon? Was it historical detail? Was it Greek Grammar 101? Was it a story? Was it practical things we need to do, and perhaps are not doing (watch less tv, give to the church, give to the poor, give to the church, pitch Christianity to your co-workers, did I mention giving to the church) ?
Perhaps we did not hear and savor the Gospel, because the Law was not properly preached. Here's a section from Charles Bridges' work: The Christian Ministry
“We cannot have too much of the Gospel; but we may have too little of the Law. And a defect in the Evangelical preaching of the Law is as clear a cause of inefficient ministration, as a legal preaching of the Gospel. In such a Ministry there must be a want of spiritual conviction of sin generally – of spiritual sins most particularly -and- flowing directly from hence – a low standard of spiritual obedience. Indeed, all the prevalent errors in the Church may be traced to this source. We should never have heard of Methodist perfection – Mystic dependence upon the inward light – Antinomian delusion – inconsistent profession of orthodoxy – Pharisaical self-righteousness – or Pelagian and Socinian rectitude of nature – if the spiritual standard of the law had been clearly displayed, and its convincing power truly left. In the want of this conviction, the fullest perception of Evangelical view must fail in experimental and practical effect.
But there are Antinomian errors on the opposite side. If Antinomianism be the relaxation of obedience from the perfect standard of the law of God, is not mere moral preaching a refined species of this unhallowed leaven? Equally with the professed Antinomian, the standard of the law of God is exchanged for some indefinite and every-varying standard of inclination or caprice. The notions of mercy and salvation, as in the other case, are here used as the palliation of sin. All hope, and no fear – is the character of this preaching. How frightful to think of deluded souls sliding into eternity in this golden dream! And of what vast importance is it for the resistance of error, and for an effective exhibition of divine truth – that our Ministry should be distinguished by a full display of the spiritual character, and unalterable obligations, of the law of God!”
-Charles Bridges - The Christian Ministry. pg. 228-229