Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Seeking to be Justified by the Law Brings Death instead of Salvation
But this seemeth a strange and wonderful definition, that to
live to the law, is to die to God: and to die to the law, is to
live to God. These two propositions are clean contrary to reason,
and therefore no crafty sophister or law-worker can understand
them. But learn thou the true understanding thereof. He that
liveth to the law, that is, seeketh to be justified by the works of
the law, is and remaineth a sinner: therefore he is dead and
condemned. For the law cannot justify and save him, but accuseth,
terrifieth, and killeth him. Therefore to live unto the law, is to die
unto God; and contrariwise, to die to the law, is to live unto God.
Wherefore if thou wilt live unto God, thou must die to the law; but
if thou wilt live to the law, thou shalt die to God. Now, to live unto
God, is to be justified by grace or by faith for Christ's sake without
the law and works.
This is then the proper and true definition of a Christian, that he is
the child of grace and remission of sins because he is under no law,
but is above the law, sin, death, and hell. And even as Christ is free
from the grave, and Peter from the prison, so is a Christian free
from the law.....
.....Therefore, when I feel the remorse and sting of conscience for sin,
I behold that brazen serpent, Christ, hanging upon the cross. There
I find another sin against my sin, which accuseth and devoureth me.
Now, this other sin, namely, in the flesh of Christ, which taketh away
the sins of the world, is almighty, it condemneth and swalloweth up
my sin. So my sin is condenmed by sin, that is, by Christ crucified:
"who is made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of
God through him.'' (1 Cor. 5:21.) In like manner I find death in my flesh,
which afflicteth and killeth me, but I have in me a contrary death, which
is the death of death, for this death crucifieth and swalloweth up my death.
These things be not done by the law or works, but by Christ
crucified, upon whose shoulders lie all the evils and miseries of mankind,
the law, sin, death, the devil, and hell: and all these do die in him, for
by his death he hath killed them......
.....let us now set apart the law and charity until another time, and let us rest
upon the principal point of this present matter, which is this, that Jesus Christ
the Son of God died upon the cross, did bear in his body my sins, the law,
death, the devil and hell. These invincible enemies and tyrants do oppress,
vex, and trouble me, and therefore I am careful how I may be delivered out
of their hands, justified and saved. Here I find neither law, work, nor charity,
which is able to deliver me from their tyranny. There is none but the Lord
Jesus only and alone, which taketh away the law, killeth and destroyeth my
death in his body, and by this means spoileth hell, judgeth and crucifieth the
devil, and throweth him down into hell. To be brief, all the enemies which
did before torment and oppress me, Christ Jesus hath brought to nought,
"hath spoiled them, and made a show of them openly, triumphing by
himself over them," (Col. 2:15,) in such sort, that they can now rule and
reign no more over me, but are constrained to obey me.