Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Law - Gospel Continuum...

More thoughts and a few questions prompted by some excerpts from Calvin's Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 which highlight the interplay between law and gospel, the two words of Scripture.  Here is the passage:
12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and wherethe Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. [ESV]
Questions and Thoughts:
Is there a power to transform in the law? Does the law have a role in transformation apart from the gospel?  Or does its role only effectively come into play in the light of the gospel? These questions are asked with both the first use and third use of the law in mind.

We are taught that the Holy Spirit and Word work together as Christ is proclaimed.  The gospel presented transforms the law presented from a harsh messenger of condemnation to one that convicts of sin and points sinners to Christ.  The law diagnoses sin, the gospel remedies sin.  Then through faith and repentance, as sinners trust in God's forgiveness and Christ's righteousness imputed to them, the gospel-fulfilled-law directs their lives in grateful obedience.  The gospel (Jesus' perfect satisfaction for our sins and perfect and complete obedience of the law for us) is then the only ground upon which the sinner's/saint's God-accepted-obedience-for-Christ's-sake walks.

And if, as Calvin comments, the gospel is that divinely unique message by which God communicates Christ to us and by which the we are transformed into that same image of Christ, then is this "beholding" only to be a one time or infrequent occurrence?  Or, is the gospel that which believers are to be regularly fed, the Spirit nourishing their faith in Christ's finished work for them as they are transformed into the image of Christ through faith, repentance, and obedience?  Rinse and repeat for a lifetime...

Calvin's comments:
16. "But when he shall have turned to the Lord..." This passage has hitherto been badly rendered, for both Greek and Latin writers have thought that the word Israel was to be understood, whereas Paul is speaking of Moses. He had said, that a veil is upon the hearts of the Jews, when Moses is read. He immediately adds, "As soon as he [it] will have turned to the Lord, the veil will be taken away." Who does not see, that this is said of Moses, that is, of the law? For as Christ is the end of it, (Romans 10:4,) to which it ought to be referred, it was turned away in another direction, when the Jews shut out Christ from it. Hence, as in the law they wander into by-paths, so the law, too, becomes to them involved like a labyrinth, until it is brought to refer to its end, that is, Christ. If, accordingly, the Jews seek Christ in the law, the truth of God will be distinctly seen by them, but so long as they think to be wise without Christ, they will wander in darkness, and will never arrive at a right understanding of the law. Now what is said of the law applies to all Scripture -- that where it is not taken as referring to Christ as its one aim, it is mistakenly twisted and perverted.

17. "The Lord is the Spirit..." This passage, also, has been misinterpreted, as if Paul had meant to say, that Christ is of a spiritual essence, for they connect it with that statement in John 4:24, God is a Spirit. The statement before us, however, has nothing to do with Christ's essence, but simply points out his office, for it is connected with what goes before, where we found it stated, that the doctrine of the law is literal, and not merely dead, but even an occasion of death. He now, on the other hand, calls Christ its spirit, meaning by this, that it will be living and life-giving, only if it is breathed into by Christ. Let the soul be connected with the body, and then there is a living man, endowed with intelligence and perception, fit for all vital functions. Let the soul be removed from the body, and there will remain nothing but a useless carcass,  totally devoid of feeling.  The passage is deserving of particular notice, as teaching us, in what way we are to reconcile those encomiums [praises] which David pronounces upon the law -- (Psalm 19:7,8) -- "the law of the Lord converteth souls, enlighteneth the eyes, imparteth wisdom to babes," and passages of a like nature, with those statements of Paul, which at first view are at variance with them -- that it is the ministry of sin and death -- the letter that does nothing but kill. (2 Corinthians 3:6,7.) For when it is animated by Christ, those things that David makes mention of are justly applicable to it. If Christ is taken away, it is altogether such as Paul describes. Hence Christ is the life of the law.

18. "But we all, with unveiled face..."  He points out, however, at the same time, both the strength of the revelation, and our daily progress.  For he has employed such a similitude to denote three things: first, That we have no occasion to fear obscurity, when we approach the gospel, for God there clearly discovers to us His face; secondly, That it is not befitting, that it should be a dead contemplation, but that we should be transformed by means of it [i.e. the gospel] into the image of God; and, thirdly, that the one and the other are not accomplished in us in one moment, but we must be constantly making progress both in the knowledge of God, and in conformity to His image, for this is the meaning of the expression -- from glory to glory.
[Italics, brackets, and bold added]

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Baugh on Paul and Law...

More on the law/gospel distinction from the book The Law Is Not Of Faith, Dr. Stephen Baugh begins his essay Galatians 5:1-6 and Personal Obligation - Reflections on Paul and the Law:
In his comments on 2 Corinthians 3, the old Princeton biblical scholar and systematic theologian Charles Hodge observed the following on Paul and the law:
Every reader of the New Testament must be struck with the fact that the apostle often speaks of the Mosaic law as he does of the moral law considered as a covenant of works; that is, presenting the promise of life on the condition of perfect obedience.  He represents it as saying, Do this and live; as requiring works, and not faith, as the condition of acceptance.
Remarkably, what struck Hodge and "every reader" as obvious back then is lost on most people today even among Hodge's Reformed descendants.
The background of Hodge's statement above is that the precise character of a covenant of works resides in the imposition of an obligation to personal and perfect (or entire) obedience to its specified stipulations.  The Mosaic law imposes such an obligation; therefore---at the very least---it embodies a works principle within its broader covenanted administration.  The key point here as I will discuss further is personal over against mediated or substitutionary performance of the covenantal stipulations.  Granted, the Mosaic covenant in its typological priestly embodiment of mediation (the ceremonial law) must be viewed as an administration of the covenant of grace.  Nevertheless, the Mosaic law more narrowly considered embodies what can only be described best as a works principle.  This is what other and I mean by "republication" of the covenant of works in Moses.  (pp. 259-260)
And as an enticement to get the book and read the whole thing, here is the conclusion to Dr. Baugh's essay:
In conclusion, this examination of Galatians 5:1-6 has shown that Paul presents here two mutually exclusive ways of eschatological righteousness and justification.  The one comes by faith in Christ's substitutionary mediation as our Surety, which is bestowed on us by divine grace apart from personal fulfillment of the law's demands.  The other that the Galatians were seeking through their circumcision moved them into a closed system of obligation to personal, perfect obedience to the law as it embodied a principle of the republished covenant of works.
The Mosaic law itself did not originate the notion of personal obedience de novo, since it recapitulated a more fundamental creational principle of righteousness through obedience to the Creator's covenant stipulations.  Further, the Mosaic law did not introduce a new way of salvation through a covenant of works, but it did embody this principle for pedagogical and typological functions in the history of redemption.  But Paul does not elaborate on these sorts of essential qualifications n Galatians 5:1-6.  Rather this passage is his urgent testimony to avoid even placing one foot on the path to a righteousness based on personal law-keeping whether mixed with supposed divine grace or Christ's mediation or not.  The two are not compatible, as Paul makes abundantly clear. (pp.279-280) [bold emphasis added]

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More law, more gospel...

Excerpts from John Calvin's sermon, Freedom from the Bondage of the Law - Galatians 4:21-26; we see that the law simply reveals one's duty.  And in so doing, it exposes sin (failure to keep perfectly the law) and the sinner's just condemnation.  And for the believer, the law leads him to Christ, who is revealed in the gospel, as the only remedy for his corruption and the only path to his inheritance in heaven:
Yet, when Paul speaks of the law creating servitude, he is speaking here of the way in which the Galatians misapplied the law...
Furthermore, we believe that it is impossible to keep the law of God, but that the law simply reveals our duty; it is for each one to read his condemnation therein....

 As for us, we will see the implications of this teaching later on, but, briefly, it concerns the fact that our only means of deliverance is through the gospel. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself declares in the eighth chapter of John’s Gospel that it is his role to set us free, and that this privilege was given to him by God the Father, to deliver us from all condemnation. We must, therefore, come to the Lord Jesus Christ and find all that we need in him, for it is through him that we are freed from the yoke of the law. This yoke is too heavy for us to bear: not only does it weigh us down, it actually plunges us into the pit of hell. Thus, we obtain this deliverance only through the seed which brings regeneration and complete liberty. We become children of God, and not only are we known as such in the eyes of the world, but before angels. We will finally reach the inheritance that has been obtained for us at so great a cost, and which we could never have possessed by our own merits. It can only be obtained through the One to whom it all belongs, having conferred the inheritance on us through the gospel which we hear each day.

Now, let us fall down before the majesty of our great God, acknowledging our sins, and praying that he would help us to feel them more than ever before. Then we may grow and mature more and more through genuine repentance, so that, in coming to him, we may do so in all humility and without hypocrisy. We must be ashamed of our sin to the point that we seek no other remedy than the Lord Jesus Christ. Since our great God has received us and sealed us with the grace of his adoption in our hearts by his Holy Spirit, may we maintain the purity of the gospel, adding nothing of our own invention. May nothing be corrupted by our own notions, but may the Holy Spirit keep us obedient in the faith.
[emphasis added

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mercy Musings - Psalm 5

Some thoughts that hit me upon reading Psalm 5 this morning. I was especially struck by the first seven verses.  
Hearken to my words, O Lord, attend to my cry. 2Attend to the voice of my supplication, my King, and my God: for to thee, O Lord, will I pray. 3In the morning thou shalt hear my voice: in the morning will I wait upon thee, and will look up. 4For thou art not a God that desires iniquity; neither shall the worker of wickedness dwell with thee. 5Neither shall the transgressors continue in thy sight: thou hatest, O Lord, all them that work iniquity. 6Thou wilt destroy all that speak falsehood: the Lord abhors the bloody and deceitful man. 7But I will enter into thine house in the multitude of thy mercy: I will worship in thy fear toward thy holy temple.*
David is coming to the Lord in prayer, asking to be heard of God. He then describes the LORD's disposition regarding sinful man. Though a forgiven sinner, David knows that what he prays in verses 4-6 describes himself, even as it does all mankind. David knew himself. He had no allusions regarding the sinful man that he was. In verse 6 he sums up God's indictment and judgment by declaring that the LORD abhors the bloody and deceitful man. The corruption of sin that touches every part of not only the unbeliever's nature, but that of the believer, places one in a position of rightly deserving God's abhorrence and wrath.

One can almost hear Paul's cry found in Rom. 7:24, Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?

But is wrath and condemnation the response David finds? He supplies the answer in verse 7, But I will enter into thine house in the multitude of thy mercy... David's acknowledgment of the LORD's diagnosis of his corrupt and sinful condition leads him to trust in the only remedy offered, God's free mercy. David will enter the house of the LORD "in the multitude of His mercy." David, having a reality-based fear of God, is thus able to comprehend something of the immensity of the LORD's mercy bestowed on him. That mercy is the promise of righteousness to the ungodly; to those who like Abraham put their trust for forgiveness in the mercy of God offered alone in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Paul in Rom. 4:5-8, But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 
Paul again in Rom. 7:25; 8:1, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord... There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

*(Brenton English Septuagint)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Justification explained...

Herein is the Gospel and only herein.  Everything in Scripture may be the truth of God. But only in the proclaimed finished work of Jesus Christ revealed in God's Word do we hear and receive the unique Good News of God, the power of God unto salvation unto everyone that believeth (Rom. 1:16a).  From Thomas Cranmer's A Sermon Of The Salvation Of Mankind By Only Christ Our Saviour From Sin And Death Everlasting:

Three things must go together in our justification. In these aforesaid places, the Apostle touches specially three things, which must go together in our justification. Upon GOD'S part, his great mercy and grace: upon Christ's part, justice, that is, the satisfaction of GOD'S justice, or the price of our redemption, by the offering of his body, and shedding of his blood, with fulfilling of the law perfectly & throughly; and upon our part true & lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours, but by GOD'S working in us: so that in our justification, is not only God's mercy & grace, but also his justice, which the Apostle calls the justice of GOD, & it consists in paying our ransom, & fulfilling of the law: & so the grace of God doth not shut out the justice of God in our justification, but only shuts out the justice of, that is to say, the justice of our works, as to be merits of deserving our justification. And therefore S. Paul declares here nothing upon the behalf of man, concerning his justification, but only a true & lively faith, which nevertheless is the gift of GOD, and not man's only work, without GOD: And yet that faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, & the fear of God, to be joined with faith in every man that is justified, but it shuts them out from the office of justifying...
... But this saying, That we be justified by faith only, freely and without works, is spoken for to take away clearly all merit of our works, as being unable to deserve our justification at GODS hands, and thereby most plainly to express the weakness of man, and the goodness of GOD, the great infirmity of our selves, and the might and power of GOD, the imperfectness of our own works, and the most abundant grace of our Savior Christ, and therefore wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our justification unto Christ only, and his most precious blood shedding.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What is truth?

Senator Rob Portman (R) has announced that after years of opposing the state's legalization of gay marriage he is now in favor of it. The reason? He explained to reporters "that he changed his position after his son Will told him and his wife, Jane, that he is gay."

Mollie Hemingway's salient observation:
One of the fascinating things about society today is that personal experience trumps everything else in argumentation. Very few people seem to care about fundamental truths and principles while everyone seems to care about personal experience and emotion. It's the Oprahfication of political philosophy.
This, unfortunately, very much describes the broad and not so-broad evangelical church today.  Books abound that advocate methods for living the Christian life, not by faith in the objective truth of Jesus Christ's finished work of redemption, but in the subjective - hearing Jesus speak, finding his immediate will, living in the spirit through inward impressions.  This approach essentially lays out one's personal experience as the royal road to true Christian living.  Jesus speaks to me... the Spirit revealed to me... I sensed his presence... These have become some of the subjective sign posts, the experiences by which Christians determine truth in order to live their Christian life.  The objective truth of Scripture gets filtered by and colored through personal experience to such an extent that the result which emerges is a subjective Rosetta Stone interpreting God's Word into my way, my truth, and my life.

Certainly we can't divorce ourselves from our own experiences or personal biases when coming to Scripture. But for that very reason we should be wary of - rather avoid - verifying what God's Word teaches and what it means to live the Christian life by any final reliance on personal experience, which sad to say, has become the status quo in today's American non-confessional Christianity.  It also has become default path for many believers in Reformed confessional churches.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dr. R.S. Clark on the Papacy Myths II...

Dr. Clark has posted part 2 of The Myth of the Papacy.  Nothing like the bright light of history to evaporate the mist that surrounds that institution.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gleanings Part 2: The Regulative Principle of Worship and the Book of Common Prayer

A common misunderstanding is that the use of the Book of Common Prayer was rejected by Presbyterians and Puritans due to its content.  While it can be argued that certain sections were in need of further reform, this was not where the objections focused.  They stood on the principle that no church authority could bind the Christian conscience except by doctrine taught in Scripture, based on the principle of sola scriputra.  This regulative principle of worship was, then, the believer's protection from Church imposition of practices lacking Scriptural authority.  This especially grew in importance during the years under the regime of Archbishop Laud.  Regarding the Regulative Principle of Worship and Christian Liberty (WCF 20), Robert Letham, in his book The Westminster Assembly: Reading Its Theology in Historical Context, writes that the...
WCF 20.1 provides the basis for Christian liberty.  This has been purchased for us by Christ under the gospel.  This pertains not only to freedom from sin and its consequences but also to the liberty won by Christ that brings "deliverance from bondage to man... He alone is Lord of our conscience.  We are thus freed from anything that is contrary to his Word in matters of faith and worship, we are also freed from the obligation to follow commands that are additional to what he has revealed in his Word.  In the context of the Laudian repression, this was a powerfully liberating statement.  Indeed, Christians are prohibited from yielding their consciences to the whims of man.... Samuel Rutherford summed it up pithily in his comment:  'It is in our power to vow, but not in the church's power to command us to vow'. (pp. 300-301)
The imposition of liturgical demands by the Church/State authority in England had moved many of the best clergy in England to more fully embrace the regulative principle of worship as found in embryonic form in  the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.  A case can certainly be made that the RPW grows out of Article VI:
Holy Scriptures containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.
Yet some will certainly argue that even under the reformer Thomas Cranmer the Book of Common Prayer was imposed by force of law.  One need only look to the ordination of Bishop John Hooper as an example.  But rather than a proof for the imposition of the BCP, this is an example of the Erasmain mindset the early reformers were born into, a hangover from the years of Christendom under the Holy Roman Empire.  The reforming of doctrine always precedes the reforming of practice, which comes about more slowly.

Robert Letham continues, explaining why the Westminster Divines thus rejected the set liturgy of the Church of England:
When we reflect on the drastic imposition of the Book of Common Prayer by the Elizabethan settlement and its aftermath [the Laudian repressions], we see why the Assembly produced a directory of worship giving freedom to individual ministers to conduct worship services within the boundaries of the regulative principle of Scripture.  It was the binding legal requirement, imposed by the crown, with penalties attached, that was the real nub of the problem with the liturgy for Puritan minds.  While opposing the legal imposition of set liturgies, the Assembly was not abandoning liturgies as such.  The Directory for Publick Worship of God contains a range of model prayers to be used in the regular service, at the start, before the sermon, after the sermon, before and after baptism, during and after communion, at the solemnization of marriage, in visiting the sick, and at public solemn fasting.  Even John Owen, a few years too young to have been appointed to the Assembly, when writing on liturgies, stressed that he was not opposed to them or to the Book of Common Prayer. but to their imposition by law, with the forbidding of the slightest deviation from the set words.  The standard practice of the Reformed churches had been to have a liturgy with set prayers; the problem for the divines was the rigid impositions and the repressive, punitive [state] sanctions for failure to comply. (pp.303-304)
In A Discourse on Liturgies and Their Imposition John Owen elaborates concerning his objections to the BCP liturgy and its use:
They who are willing to take it upon their consciences that the best way to serve God in the church, or the best ability that they have for the discharge of their duty therein, consists in the reading of such a book (for I suppose they will grant that they ought to serve God with the best they have), shall not by me be opposed in their way and practice. It is only about its imposition, and the necessity of its observance by virtue of that imposition, that we discourse. Now, the present command is, that such a liturgy be always used in the public worship of God, and that without the use or reading of it the ordinances of the gospel be not administered at any time, nor in any place, with strong pleas for the obligation arising from that command, making the omission of its observance to be sinful. (chapter 7)
John Owen highlights that the main objection to the use of the BCP was its imposition by force of law.  It was this imposition, repressive due to the penalties attached and its lack of Scriptural warrant, that ran afoul of the Christians's liberty of conscience in Christ.  And particularly onerous, regarding these laws under Archbishop Laud, was the restriction limiting sermons and thus the preaching of the gospel.  Robert Letham adds more insight to Owen's thinking in a footnote found on page 304:
25.  John Owen, "A Discourse Concerning Liturgies, and Their Imposition" (1662), in Works of John Owen, 15:33, where he states, " I do not in especial intend the liturgy now in use in England, any further than to make it an instance of such imposed liturgies, whereof we treat."  He adds, "Nor, secondly, do I oppose the directive part of this liturgy as to the reading of Scripture... nor the composition of forms of prayer suitable to the nature of the institutions to which they relate, so they be not imposed on the administrators of them to be read precisely as prescribed.  But, thirdly, this is that alone which I shall speak unto,--the composing of forms of prayer in the worship of God... to be used by the ministers of the churches, in all public assemblies, by a precise reading of the words prescribed unto them, with commands for the reading of other things, which they are not to omit, upon the penalty contained in the sanction of the whole service and the several parts of it."  The problem for Owen and his friends, he explains, was that this imposition was accompanied by a restriction on preaching.  Later he refers to "the prescription of the liturgy, to be used as prescribed: (15:47), and to "the precise reading and pronouncing of the words set down therein, without alteration, diminution, or addition" (15:49).  Kelly is wrong when he writes that Owen was "against all set liturgies" ("Puritan Regulative Principle," 2:74)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Law and Gospel: The Two Words of Scripture

Are the two words of Scripture, that being Law and Gospel, some modern unorthodox teaching that is corrupting Presbyterian and Reformed churches??

William Tyndale (from his prologue to his English translation of the Bible, approx. 1525):
Nevertheless, seeing that it hath pleased God to send unto our Englishmen…the scripture in their mother tongue, considering that there be in every place false teachers and blind leaders; that ye should be deceived of no man, I supposed it very necessary to prepare this Pathway into the scripture for you, that ye might walk surely, and ever know the true from the false: and, above all, to put you in remembrance of certain points, which are, that ye well understand what these words mean; the Old Testament; the New Testament; the law, the gospel; Moses, Christ; nature, grace; working and believing; deeds and faith; lest we ascribe to the one that which belongeth to the other, and make of Christ Moses; of the gospel, the law; despise grace, and rob faith.
Ursinus (from the Introduction to his Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism):
I. What Is The Doctrine Of The Church?
 The doctrine of the church is the entire and uncorrupted doctrine of the law and gospel concerning the true God, together with his will, works, and worship; divinely revealed, and comprehended in the writings of the prophets and apostles, and confirmed by many miracles and divine testimonies; through which the Holy Spirit works effectually in the hearts of the elect, and gathers from the whole human race an everlasting church, in which God is glorified, both in this, and in the life to come… 
What Are the Parts Of The Doctrine Of The Church, And In WHAT DO THEY DIFFER FROM EACH OTHER? 
The doctrine of the church consists of two parts: the Law, and the Gospel; in which we have comprehended the sum and substance of the sacred Scriptures. The law is called the Decalogue, and the gospel is the doctrine concerning Christ the mediator, and the free remission of sins, through faith. This division of the doctrine of the church is established by these plain and forcible arguments. 1. The whole doctrine comprised in the sacred writings, is either concerning the nature of God, his will, his works, or sin, which is the proper work of men and devils. But all these subjects are fully set forth and taught, either in the law, or in the gospel, or in both. Therefore, the law and gospel are the chief and general divisions of the holy scriptures, and comprise the entire doctrine comprehended therein.
Excerpts from  The Law and The Gospel by Michael Horton:
At the heart of the reformation’s hermeneutics was the distinction between “Law” and “Gospel.” For the Reformers, this was not equivalent to “Old Testament” and “New Testament;” rather, it meant, in the words of Theodore Beza, “We divide this Word into two principal parts or kinds: the one is called the ‘Law,’ the other the ‘Gospel.’ For all the rest can be gathered under the one or other of these two headings.” The Law “is written by nature in our hearts,” while “What we call the Gospel (Good News) is a doctrine which is not at all in us by nature, but which is revealed from Heaven (Mt. 16:17; John 1:13).” The Law leads us to Christ in the Gospel by condemning us and causing us to despair of our own “righteousness.” “Ignorance of this distinction between Law and Gospel,” Beza wrote, “is one of the principal sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity… 
... The Reformers saw Rome as teaching that the Gospel was simply an easier “law” than that of the Old Testament. Instead of following a lot of rules, God expects only love and heartfelt surrender. Calvin replied, “As if we could think of anything more difficult than to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength! Compared with this law, everything could be considered easy…[For] the law cannot do anything else than to accuse and blame all to a man, to convict, and, as it were, apprehend them; in fine, to condemn them in God’s judgment: that God alone may justify, that all flesh may keep silence before him… 
... Calvin defended this evangelical distinction between Law and Gospel: All this will readily be understood by describing the Law and describing the Gospel and then comparing them. Therefore, the Gospel is the message, the salvation-bringing proclamation concerning Christ that he was sent by God the Father…to procure eternal life. The Law is contained in precepts, it threatens, it burdens, it promises no goodwill. The Gospel acts without threats, it does not drive one on by precepts, but rather teaches us about the supreme goodwill of God towards us. Let whoever therefore is desirous of having a plain and honest understanding of the Gospel, test everything by the above descriptions of the Law and the Gospel. Those who do not follow this method of treatment will never be adequately versed in the Philosophy of Christ.