Saturday, May 24, 2014

Deliverance from the Law

I've been reading everything I can find by J. N. Darby on deliverance. I've been reading, re-reading, highlighting, and taking notes. There's a story there, but I haven't time to tell it tonight.

But I wanted to take a break and share something that I feel really must be shared: "Deliverance from under the Law, as stated in the Holy Scriptures" (Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, Volume 7, pp. 127–138), of course available from STEM Publishing. This is a really excellent article, and you should read it.

Here are some quotes to tantalize you:

All hope of deliverance is shewn, in chapter 5, to flow out of justification. But this is not man's thought. He would wish to deliver himself actually from the law of sin by his own effort, and thus be without fault before God; but God will not have it so, and it never could be according to His truth, because that, on the one hand, the work of Christ would have been in vain, and, on the other, man would not have known what is the true nature and sinfulness of sin. If by efforts in the conscience we could find deliverance before God, the work of justification, though it might not be by strength of man, would at least be by the work of the Holy Spirit, and not by the work of Christ. But God will not; and for man it is impossible to have it so; because the work of the Spirit of God is to shew him how intolerable sin is to God, and that the nature of man is not changed. Now his very nature is sin. Man must submit himself to the righteousness of God. Convinced of sin, condemned by the law, he must find his righteousness in another — in Christ, who died for him, and is now risen and in the presence of God. This is the reason why chapters 3 and 5 come before chapters 6 and 7, and verse 1 of chapter 8 before verses 2 and 3. (p. 133)

And another paragraph on the next page:

[I]t ought to be remarked, before going farther, that there are some who make a law of Christ Himself. They acknowledge His love; they see in His work on the cross, how great is His love. They find in it a reason why they should love Christ perfectly, with their whole hearts; but they cannot find this love in themselves. They ought to love Christ with their whole heart, but they do not love Him thus. Now it is precisely the law which commands that we should love God with all our heart. We have found in Christ a new motive, we have perhaps given a new form to the law, but we find ourselves still under the law, though we have clothed it with the name of Christ. (p. 134)

All of J. N. Darby's teaching on practical Christian living can be summed up with one verse:

"I am crucified with Christ, and no longer live, *I*, but Christ lives in me; but [in] that I now live in flesh, I live by faith, the [faith] of the Son of God, who has loved me and given himself for me" (Galatians 2:20, Darby Translation)
The more I read Scripture, the more I recognize Darby is right. The striking character of the Christian life (as taught in the Epistles) is that I have died with Christ. God is not dealing with me as such: my place is in Christ (Philippians 3:9).

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