Principles of law and gospel
Peter J. Leithart
May 2, 2011
Category: Theology - Covenant
According to some Reformed thinkers today, the law was a republication of the covenant of works, and as such offered the promised inheritance on the “principle” of law. Do this and live; do this and inherit the land. That is the principle of law at work.
The WCF 7.5, however, gives a very different account of the law. For starters, it is an administration of the “second covenant,” the covenant of grace, not the covenant of works. Besides, all the ordinances of the old covenant were for “foresignifying Christ to come,” and they were intended not to be a law principle of inheritance but to “instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah.” Under the law, the elect “had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation” through that promised Messiah. The “principle” at work in the law appears to be very much a gospel principle.
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