In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. We’ve been looking at the use of God’s law for sinful humans and have seen that God’s law is useful to see how sinful you are and how perfect Christ is. But if you accept that you’re a sinner and that Christ is your perfect saviour, is there any further use for God’s law?
Christians still have a use for God’s law because God saved his people in order that they would do good works. Paul wrote to Titus: ‘11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope– the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good’ (Titus 2:11-14). Notice that saving grace actually teaches Christians to be godly. And that Christ redeemed people so that they would be eager to do good.
Paul also wrote to the church in Ephesus: ‘1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Ephesians 2:1-10). Notice Verse 10 clearly says that God saved Christians to do good.
But how can Christians know what are good works and what are not? By using the law of God! If you want to know what God would have you do as a Christian, read his law and do what it says. Not to be saved, but because you are saved.
Thus the law of God is very helpful in diagnosing whether someone is a Christian or not. Jesus said: ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’ (Matthew 7:21-23).
Are you someone who professes faith in Christ but completely disregards the law of God? Do you realise that shows you are not saved?