Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Proper Response to Grace

A PCA pastor wrote an article on the Ligonier Ministry Blog titled, “What is the Proper Response to Grace?”.  He stated the following in that article:

“Grateful law-keeping is the saved sinner’s response to received grace.”  

He has also stated his opinion elsewhere that the wretched man experience that Paul talks about in Romans 7 is Paul’s experience after he became a believer.  Now, I believe this passage is about pre-conversion Paul, but since his position is based on that view, this view must be reconciled with his other views. 

This wretched man experience in Romans 7 shows a totally defeated person who is attempting to be a law-keeper:

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
(Romans 7:19 ESV)

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
(Romans 7:24 ESV)

Bear in mind in his view this is the spiritual condition of a mature believing Apostle Paul and not a new immature Christian.  Therefore, he must believe that the wretched man experience is the normal outcome for a Christian who tries to be a law-keeper.

With such a result to expect from law-keeping he states that the Christians’ response to grace should be “Grateful law-keeping”!!   Excuse me???  Thank you Lord for your grace and now my response is to pursue “law-keeping” through the Old Covenant ministry of death.  I am sorry pastor, but I think I will listen to the Apostle Paul who said:

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8:2 ESV)

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 
(Galatians 5:18 ESV)

No, the Christians’ response to received grace is shown through the Holy Spirit who gives the fruit of the Spirit.  This includes love, joy, peace, etc.  It does not include becoming a law-keeper, which leads to becoming a wretched man.  How can a joy and peace be a characteristic of the wretched man?

I am certainly not advocating ignoring God’s righteous precepts.  However, it is by God’s grace and the Spirit that Christians pursue the good works that God has prepared for us and NOT by becoming a wretched man law-keeper.  Christ has freed us totally from the Old Covenant for both justification and sanctification.