Lex Semper Accusat, Exhortations, And The Simul

The following article was original posted at Bloghardt's Reflector and is posted here with Rev. Borghardt's permission. 

There is no change ever in the nature of the Law. There has never been a change and there never will be a change. It was and always will be “good.” The Lord gave it and it was good. It will be good on the Last Day. 

The Law always condemns because of our sin. Always. It always accuses (lex semper accusat). The more Law, the more sin. The more Law, the more death. Anyone denying this (even to protect exhortation) is denying Original Sin. 

The only person that the Law cannot condemn any more is Christ. He’s been there and done that on Good Friday. In Christ, the Law has no condemnation. The Law can’t condemn. The Law can’t accuse. The Law has been fulfilled. It runs into Christ and meets its end (τέλος - Rom 10:4). 

The New Man, in Christ, takes the Law and picks it up. It cannot condemn Jesus so it can’t condemn the New Man. The New Man, like Christ, has no sin. Where there is no sin, there is no Law. 

But there is no way of cutting us up and pulling the Old Man out of us and only preaching and exhorting the New Man. There is no way to deal with the Old Man without dealing with the New Man. We are simul justus et peccator. We are the same time saint and sinner. 

The idea that ANY exhortation would not accuse is to speak in a way that only speaks to the New Man. That’s a nice way of thinking, but it doesn’t work out in this fallen world. Here we are always New and Old Adam. We are simul saint and sinner. 

So, saying the “Law always accuses but doesn’t only accuse” is a real nice catchy internet “gotcha,” but isn’t helpful. Yes, the Law can’t accuse Christ. It can’t accuse those in Christ. But, in this life, the Law accuses and only accuses the Old Man no matter what it does (even exhortation). 

When Christians hear the Law, they still see their sin. They aren’t “better” than they were before. Sheep don’t talk that way. Nor does the Christian say, “Well, before I used to be accused by this Law, but now it’s a gift!” Nope! ”This pertains only to my New Man and has nothing to do with my Old Man.” That doesn’t happen either. 

The New Man isn’t the “real” you. That would be nice but it denies the simul and is probably self-righteous gnosticism. If you want to see the Old Man, all you gotta do is look in the mirror. You don’t see the New Man or you don’t see him only. If you wanna see the New Man, you have to look at His gifts – the water, Word, Body and Blood. The New Man is in Christ. The New Man is forgiven, clothed with Christ, and sprinkled in His Blood. 

In this life, we are 100% New Man and 100% Old Adam. At the all times you are at war with yourself. So, the New Man receives the preaching of the Law and takes it and beats up the Old Man and takes His lunch money daily. The New Man grabs the Law (Third Use) and says, “This is good. I will uses this Law to make the Old Man my proverbial female dog.” 

We aren’t getting better. But, we’re already perfect in Christ by faith. We fight sin every day. On the Last Day, we’ll see ourselves as He has washed us. Until then, the Law accuses and the Gospel delivers to us the forgiveness of sins. The New Man takes these exhortations and pummels the Old Man in the waters of Holy Baptism. Then, like a buoy the Old Man pops back up again. Rinse and repeat.

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