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Sermons of Benjamin Palmer: Perpetuity of the Divine Law

Being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ. (I Cor. 9:21)

It is of the first importance in the interests both of doctrinal and of practical religion, to determine precisely the believer's relation to the divine law. On the one hand stands the legalist, insisting that we can be saved only by the closeness of our own personal obedience. When pressed with the testimony of Scripture, as, for example, "therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin;" (Romans 3:20) or this testimony: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2: 8.) Or this testimony: "For Christ is the end of law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4) when pressed with testimonies of this sort, he retreats but a single step, affirming that the grace, which in the Scriptures stands opposed to works, consists simply in bringing in a new and modified law - a law so far retrenched and diminished in its demands as to come within the enfeebled abilities of the sinner, and in which the terms of acceptance are a sincere though an imperfect obedience. Or, as it is sometimes expressed, faith and repentance, viewed simply as acts of the creature, are accepted by God in lieu of the comprehensive obedience which was originally enjoined-a theory, which, whilst it professes to honor the grace of the Gospel, still retains the legal principle without abatement.