The New Man Does Not Require The Law, But The Old Man Does

The close connection of the Law and the Gospel becomes apparent also when we consider the sanctification of the believer. It is true, according to the inward, or new, man the believer does not require the Law, 1 Tim. 1:9, since, as a new creature in Christ, he has the divine Law written in his heart, Jer.31:33; Ezek. 36:26, and obeys it as cheerfully and willingly as Adam did before the Fall, Ps. 110:3. The Formula of Concord rightly declares (Thor. Decl., VI, 17):

"But when a man is born anew by the Spirit of God and liberated from the Law, that is, freed from this driver, and is led by the Spirit of Christ, he lives according to the immutable will of God comprised in the Law and, so far as he is born anew, does everything from a free, cheerful spirit."

However, the situation becomes quite different when we view the believer according to the flesh, which still cleaves to him, Rom. 7:14-24. According to the old man the believer neither knows the Law thoroughly nor does he fulfill it willingly, Rom.7:15, but he constantly opposes and transgresses it, Rom. 7:18.

Luther says (St. L., IX, 881):

"According to the spirit the believer is righteous, without any sin whatsoever, and does not require the Law; but according to the flesh he still has sin .... Since, then, sin still exists [in us], Scripture judges us to be equal to the unrighteous and sinners, so that according to the flesh we must have the Law just as much as they."

So also the Formula of Concord remarks (Thor. Decl.,VI, 18 ff.) :

"Since believers are not completely renewed in this world, but the Old Adam clings to them even to the grave, there also remains in them the struggle between the spirit and the flesh. Therefore they delight indeed in God's Law according to the inner man, but the law in their members struggles against the Law in their mind; hence they are never without the Law and nevertheless are not under, but in the Law and live and walk in the Law of the Lord and yet do nothing from constraint of the Law."

Together with the Gospel the believer must therefore also use the divine Law, namely, 

  1. as a curb, to crucify his evil flesh, Rom. 8:7; 1 Cor. 9:27; 
  2. as a mirror, which constantly reveals his sins, Rom. 7:7, 13; Gal. 5:19-21; and 
  3. as a rule, according to which he must regulate and direct his whole life, Gal. 5:22-25. 
Hence even the regenerate must continually employ the Law in close connection with the Gospel: the Law to curb his flesh outwardly, the Gospel to destroy it inwardly; the Law to point out good works, the Gospel to give him power to do good works; the Law to show him his sins, the Gospel to teach him how he may be cleansed from sin.

There is, of course, no contradiction between such passages as 1 Tim. 1:9: "The Law is not made for a righteous man" and those which apply the Law in all its uses to the Christian, e. g., Rom. 7:23-24; 1 Cor. 9:27; etc. In the former passage the Christian is described according to the new man; in the latter, according to his old, corrupt nature. Luther rightly says: "Ein Christ ist zwischen zwei Zeiten geteilt. Sofe·rn er Fleisch ist, ist er unter dem Gesetz~· sofern er Geist ist, ist er unter der Gnade." (Cp. St. L., IX, 452. 880.)

Conversion and sanctification are therefore the result of the cooperation of the Law and Gospel. The preaching of the Law alone results in hypocrisy or despair; the preaching of the Gospel alone results in indifference and security. (Cp. Luther, St. L., V, 988; also Dr. Engelder, Dogmatical Notes.)

Excerpt Take From: John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics: A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology for Pastors, Teachers, and Laymen (Concordia Publishing House, 1934) , 478-480.

For a more thorough treatment of this subject refer to F. Pieper's segment on this subject by CLICKING HERE.

To read more on this subject check out the article, "Does The Christian Need God's Law For Christian Living?"

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Steve Martin said…
That 3rd use is already contained in the first two uses, Matt.

And then it is latched onto (the "3rd use") because it is in our nature to do so. And then the trouble starts. The fox is let back into the henhouse.

I know they teach it at seminary, but that doesn't make it right.

"Christ is the end of the law for all those who have faith."

Thanks, friend.