Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Law, The Gospel, and Sin: Phil Johnson

 Phil Johnson posted this over at Pyromaniacs and I thought it was worth sharing.
 The law makes sin appear exceedingly sinful; the gospel makes sin feel exceedingly painful.
 What's crazy is that in the comments there is confusion as to what this statement means. It seemed obvious to me, but that's just me.

  Phil later entered the discussion and commented on what he meant. Here is his explanation:
All of you are right, of course. I didn't anticipate how confusing the thought might be. Here's my exposition of it:

The first part is obvious. The law shows how egregiously evil sin is. It confronts us with sin's consequences. It removes the vestiges of hope from sinners. It also affirms what my conscience tells me. But the law is powerless to change my nature, remove my appetite for sinning, or instill in me any desire other than the self-interest that makes me a sinner in the first place.

But the gospel is the power of God that saves me (Romans 1:16), and it leaves me with a regenerated heart capable of truly feeling the shame of sin, sorrow for what it cost Christ, and anguish for the dishonor I bring on God's name when I sin.

So whereas the law is an external constraint that in the end can't keep me from sinning or remove my pathological self-love, the gospel provides an internal motive that engenders my love for Christ, elicits worship from my heart, and truly makes me feel the existential pains of my sin--thereby transforming me from glory into glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

So much for pithiness and one-sentence posts.

 Head on over and check it out if you get a chance.
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