Obj. 8. The law is the letter which killeth, and is the ministration of death and condemnation. (2 Cor. 3:6, 7.) But there is no condemnation to Christians. Therefore, the law does not have respect to Christians who are in Christ Jesus. Ans. There is here a fallacy of accident; for the law is not in itself the letter which killeth; since this comes to pass by the fault of men, who, the more clearly they perceive the difference between themselves and the law, the more fully do they give themselves over to despair in reference to their salvation, and are therefore slain by the law. Again, the law alone, without the gospel, is the letter, that is, it is the doctrine which merely teaches, demands obedience, denounces the wrath of God and death to such as are disobedient, without producing the spiritual obedience which it requires. But when it is joined with the gospel, which is the Spirit, it also commences to become the Spirit, which is effectual in the godly, inasmuch as those who are regenerated commence willingly and cheerfully to yield obedience to the law. The law, therefore, is the letter, 1. By itself and without the gospel. 2. In respect to those who are unregenerated. On the other hand, the gospel is the Spirit; that is, it is the ministration and means through which the Holy Ghost, which works spiritual obedience in us, is given; not indeed as though all who hear, would receive the Holy Ghost and be regenerated, but because faith, by which our hearts are quickened, so that they begin to yield obedience to the law, is received by it. It does not follow, therefore, that the law is no longer to be taught in the church; for Christ himself says: “I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” (Matt. 5:17.) And Paul also says, that we establish the law through faith. (Rom. 3:31.) Christ fulfilled the law in two respects: by obedience and suffering. He was just and holy in himself and did not violate the law in a single instance, but partly performed in our behalf those things which he was not bound to do, and partly sustained the punishment of the law. He also fulfills the law in us in two ways, by teaching it and granting unto us his Spirit, that so we may commence obedience to it, as we proved when speaking of the abrogation of the law.
Zacharias Ursinus | Commentary of Dr Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, trans. George W. Williard (Cincinnati: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 616–18.
- How To Subscribe To Heidelmedia
- The Heidelblog Resource Page
- Heidelmedia Resources
- The Ecumenical Creeds
- The Reformed Confessions
- The Heidelberg Catechism
- Recovering the Reformed Confession (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008)
- Why I Am A Christian
- Support Heidelmedia: use the donate button
- Why Should I Love God?
- Law, Gospel, And The Three Uses of the Law
- The Three Uses of the Law
- More From Calvin on the Three Uses of the Law
- Paul On Personal Law-Keeping And The Work Of Christ
- Heidelcast 21: What is the Order of Regeneration and Faith?
- Vos: All Our Works Are Excluded From Justification
- Heidelminicast: Heidelberg Catechism 9—Does God Unjustly Demand Obedience To His Law?
- Resources On the Doctrine of Sanctification And The Third Use Of The Law
- Resources On The Threefold Division Of The Law