At Old Life, Darryl Hart has a post with this comment of his:
... the way to blur law and gospel is by sneaking grace into the relationship. If the law is gracious (which it is in a sense), then it must be salvific. But then there is Paul’s stop sign, the law is not of faith. Must be a different kind of grace.
What the law-is-gracious crowd forget is that Rome says salvation is entirely gracious — good works and all.
The language of grace clarifies nothing. In some cases it obscures, as in “grace before the fall.”This got me to thinking about the thrust of so many sermons that are preached today. Too often when Christian living and good works are exhorted from the pulpit, I hear grace invoked as some kind of seasoning or spice that enables the believer to think, speak, and act as God intends. As in: Jesus died for you sins. You’re now forgiven and have his Spirit. So, relying on the grace that he gives, go out and love your neighbor as yourself… The gospel is functionally reduced to “grace added” and gets presented as a means to an end kind of thing, something given in order that you can do it, i.e. live as God teaches in his law.
But we're not in need of mere renovation by grace. Our problem is not that we're lacking some missing ingredient with which we could live a holy life. The gospel isn't an offer of grace with which to turn our lives around. Rather, the gospel is God's personal and merciful response to the unyielding verdict of the law.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them. Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident: for, The righteous shall live by faith; and the law is not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal.3:10-114)
Yet moral law-keeping as that which we can and need to do leads us back in the direction of that curse. But you'll say, "Jesus has saved us from the curse of the law. He bore the curse in our place." Indeed he did! And yet, too many sermons relegate that good news to the status of a past historical event. Something to rejoice in and be thankful for, but now it's our turn. Our job now, it seems, is to depend on present grace supplied in order to get on with the business of moral law-keeping. But aren't we supposed to live holy lives? Yes! But the problem comes in when the implicit (or explicit) understanding is that, redeemed from the curse of the law, we now can live up to the law. Grace offered is invoked as a means to that end. If only we trust and believe more, then by grace we can live as we ought...
But there's a problem and the problem is us! Still sinners, we keep getting in the way of our own renovation project. Where is one to turn?