The Basic Function of the Law
"In the various uses of the law, its basic function never changes: it commands; that is its office. The law. . .never does more than that."
"Having defended this third use of the law, it is equally important to remind ourselves what the law can and cannot do even according to this third use. After all, the impression can sometimes be given that while the law cannot justify us, it can sanctify us. We may carefully distinguish law and gospel in justification but then confuse them in our treatment of the Christian life, as if those who are now justified can derive strength from the law for their homeward journeys. This, however, is as impossible in sanctification as in justification. In the various uses of the law, its basic function never changes: it commands; that is its office. The law (considered as God’s “command”) never does more than that. Whether the Decalogue or Paul’s teaching on the fruit of the Spirit, such moral instruction can guide, can tell us what our gracious Father calls us to do, but it can never animate our hearts or motivate our hands. That is why obedience is the fruit of the Spirit. Jeremiah’s prophecy, remember, is not only of forgiveness of sins but of a total restoration, beginning with regeneration and a new obedience."
~Michael Horton, Introducing Covenant Theology, 188
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