The Perpetuity of the Law of God

   (No. 1660)




   "For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one
   tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law till all is fulfilled."
   Matthew 5:18.

   IT has been said that he who understands the two Covenants is a
   theologian and this is, no doubt, true. I may also say that the man who
   knows the relative positions of the Law and of the Gospel has the keys
   of the situation in the matter of doctrine. The relationship of the Law
   to myself and how it condemns me--the relationship of the Gospel to
   myself and how, if I am a Believer, it justifies me--these are two
   points which every Christian man should clearly understand. He should
   not "see men as trees walking" in this department, or else he may cause
   himself great sorrow and fall into errors which will be grievous to his
   heart and injurious to his life. To form a mingle-mangle of Law and
   Gospel is to teach that which is neither Law nor Gospel, but the
   opposite of both. May the Spirit of God be our teacher and the Word of
   God be our lesson book--and then we shall not err.

   Very great mistakes have been made about the Law. Not long ago there
   were those about us who affirmed that the Law is utterly abrogated and
   abolished. They openly taught that Believers were not bound to make the
   moral Law the rule of their lives. What would have been sin in other
   men they counted not to be sin in themselves. From such Antinomi-anism
   as that, may God deliver us! We are not under the Law as the method of
   salvation, but we delight to see the Law in the hand of Christ and
   desire to obey the Lord in all things. Others have been met with who
   have taught that Jesus mitigated and softened down the Law and they
   have, in effect, said that the perfect Law of God was too hard for
   imperfect beings and, therefore, God has given us a milder and easier
   rule. These tread dangerously upon the verge of terrible error,
   although we believe that they are little aware of it.

   Alas, we have met with authors who have gone much further than this and
   have railed at the Law. Oh, the hard words that I have sometimes read
   against the holy Law of God! How very unlike those which the Apostle
   used when he said, "The Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and
   just, and good." How different from the reverent spirit which made him
   say-- "I delight in the Law of God after the inward man." You know how
   David loved the Law of God and sang its praises all through the longest
   of the Psalms. The heart of every real Christian is most reverent
   towards the Law of the Lord. It is perfect, no, it is perfection
   itself! We believe that we shall never have reached perfection till we
   are perfectly conformed to it. A sanctification which stops short of
   perfect conformity to the Law cannot truthfully be called perfect
   sanctification, for every lack of exact conformity to the perfect Law
   is sin.

   May the Spirit of God help us while, in imitation of our Lord Jesus, we
   endeavor to magnify the Law. I gather from our text two things upon
   which I shall speak at this time. The first is that the Law of God is
   perpetual--"Till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in
   no wise pass from the Law." The meaning is that even in the least point
   it must abide till it is all fulfilled. Secondly, we perceive that the
   Law of God must be fulfilled--Not "one jot or one tittle shall pass
   from the Law, till all IS fulfilled." He who came to bring in the
   Gospel dispensation here asserts that He has not come to destroy the
   Law, but to fulfill it.

   I. First--THE LAW OF GOD MUST BE PERPETUAL. There is no abrogation of
   it, nor amendment of it. It is not to be toned down or adjusted to our
   fallen condition, but every one of the Lord's righteous judgments
   abides forever. I would urge three reasons which will establish this
   teaching. In the first place our Lord Jesus declares that He did not
   come to abolish it. His words are most exact--"Think not that I am come
   to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to
   fulfill." And Paul tells us with regard to the Gospel, "Do we then make
   void the Law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish the Law"
   (Rom. 3:31). The Gospel is the means of the firm establishment and
   vindication of the Law of God. Jesus did not come to change the Law,
   but He came to explain it, and that very fact shows that it remains,
   for there is no need to explain that which is abrogated.

   Upon one particular point in which there happened to be a little
   ceremonialism involved, namely, the keeping of the Sabbath, our Lord
   enlarged and showed that the Jewish idea was not the true one. The
   Pharisees forbade even the doing

   of works of necessity and mercy, such as rubbing ears of corn to
   satisfy hunger and healing the sick. Our Lord Jesus showed that it was
   not at all according to the mind of God to forbid these things. In
   straining over the letter and carrying an outward observance to excess,
   they had missed the spirit of the Sabbath Law, which suggested works of
   piety such as truly hallow the day. He showed that Sabbatic rest was
   not mere inaction, and He said, "My Father works hitherto, and I work."
   He pointed to the priests who labored hard at offering sacrifices and
   said of them, "the priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath and are
   blameless." They were doing Divine service and were within the Law.

   To meet the popular error, He took care to do some of His greatest
   miracles upon the Sabbath--and though this excited great wrath against
   Him, as though He were a Law-breaker, yet He did it on purpose that
   they might see that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the
   Sabbath--and that it is meant to be a day for doing that which honors
   God and blesses men! O that men knew how to keep the spiritual Sabbath
   by an easing from all servile work and from all work done for self! The
   rest of faith is the true Sabbath and the service of God is the most
   acceptable hallowing of the day. Oh that the day were wholly spent in
   serving God and doing good!

   The sum of our Lord's teaching was that works of necessity, works of
   mercy and works of piety are lawful on the Sabbath. He explained the
   Law in that point and in others, yet that explanation did not alter the
   command, but only removed the rust of tradition which had settled upon
   it. By thus explaining the Law, He confirmed it! He could not have
   meant to abolish it or He would not have needed to expound it. In
   addition to explaining it, the Master went further-- He pointed out its
   spiritual character. This the Jews had not observed. They thought, for
   instance, that the command "You shall not kill" simply forbade murder
   and manslaughter. But the Savior showed that anger without cause
   violates the Law of God and that hard words and cursing--and all other
   displays of enmity and malice--are forbidden by the Commandment.

   They knew that they might not commit adultery, but it did not enter
   into their minds that a lascivious desire would be an offense against
   the precept till the Savior said, "He that looks upon a woman to lust
   after her commits adultery with her already in his heart." He showed
   that the thought of evil is sin; that an unclean imagination pollutes
   the heart; that a wanton wish is guilt in the eyes of the Most High!
   Assuredly this was no abrogation of the Law of God--it was a wonderful
   exhibition of its far-reaching sovereignty and of its searching
   character! The Pharisees fancied that if they kept their hands, their
   feet and their tongues, all was done. But Jesus showed that thought,
   imagination, desire, memory-- everything--must be brought into
   subjection to the will of God or else the Law was not fulfilled.

   What a searching and humbling doctrine is this! If the Law of the Lord
   reaches to the inward parts, who among us can, by nature, abide its
   judgment? Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults!
   The Ten Commandments are full of meaning--meaning which many seem to
   ignore. For instance, many a man will allow in and around his house
   inattention to the rules of health and sanitary precaution, but it does
   not occur to him that he is trampling on the commandments--"You shall
   not kill." Yet this rule forbids our doing anything which may cause
   injury to our neighbor's health and so deprive him of life. Many a
   deadly manufactured article; many an ill-ventilated shop; many a
   business with hours of excessive length is a standing breach of this

   Shall I say less of drinks, which lead so speedily to disease and death
   and crowd our cemeteries with untimely graves? So, too, in reference to
   another precept--some persons will repeat songs and stories which are
   suggestive of unclean-ness--I wish that this were not so common as it
   is. Do they not know that an unchaste word, a double meaning, a sly
   hint of lust all come under the Commandment, "You shall not commit
   adultery"? It is so according to the teaching of our Lord Jesus! Oh,
   talk not to me about our Lord's having brought in a milder Law because
   man could not keep the Decalogue, for He has done nothing of the kind!
   "His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor." "Who
   may abide the day of His coming? For He is like a refiner's fire and
   like fullers' soap."

   Let us not dare to dream that God had given us a perfect Law which we
   poor creatures could not keep and that, therefore, He has corrected His
   legislature and sent His Son to put us under a relaxed discipline!
   Nothing of the sort! The Lord Jesus Christ has, on the contrary, shown
   how intimately the Law of God surrounds and enters into our inward
   parts, so as to convict us of sin within even if we seem clean on the
   outside. Ah me, this Law is high! I cannot attain to it! It surrounds
   me everywhere; it tracks me to my bed and my board; it follows my steps
   and marks my ways wherever I may be! No moment does it cease to govern
   and demand obedience. O God, I am everywhere condemned, for everywhere
   Your Law reveals to me my serious deviations from the way of
   righteousness and shows me how far short I come of Your Glory. Have
   pity on Your servant, for I fly to the Gospel which has done for me
   what the Law could never do--

   "To see the Law by Christ fulfilled, And hear His pardoning voice,

   Changes a slave into a child, And duty into choice.'

   Our Lord Jesus Christ, in addition to explaining the Law and pointing
   out its spiritual character, also unveiled its living essence, for when
   one asked Him "Which is the great Commandment in the Law?" He said,
   "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all
   your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great
   Commandment. And the second is like unto it; You shall love your
   neighbor as yourself. On these two Commandments hang all the Law and
   the prophets." In other words, He has told us, "All the Law is
   fulfilled in this--you shall love." There is the pith and marrow of it!
   Does any man say to me, "You see, then, instead of the Ten
   Commandments, we have received the two commandments and these are much
   easier." I answer that this reading of the Law of God is not in the
   least easier!

   Such a remark implies a lack of thought and experience. Those two
   precepts comprehend the 10 at their fullest extent and cannot be
   regarded as the erasure of a jot or tittle of them. Whatever
   difficulties surround the Ten Commandments, are equally found in the
   two, which are their sum and substance. If you love God with all your
   heart, you must keep the first table--and if you love your neighbor as
   yourself you must keep the second table. If any suppose that the Law of
   Love is an adaptation of the moral Law to man's fallen condition, they
   greatly err. I can only say that the supposed adaptation is no more
   adapted to us than the original Law. If there could be conceived to be
   any difference in difficulty, it might be easier to keep the 10 than
   the two, for if we go no deeper than the letter, the two are the more
   exacting, since they deal with the heart, soul and mind.

   The Ten Commandments mean all that the two express. But if we forget
   this and only look at the wording of them, I say, it is harder for a
   man to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his
   mind, with all his strength and his neighbor as himself than it would
   be merely to abstain from killing, stealing and false witness. Christ
   has not, therefore, abrogated or at all moderated the Law to meet our
   helplessness. He has left it in all its sublime perfection, as it
   always must be left--and He has pointed out how deep are its
   foundations, how elevated are its heights, how measureless are its
   length and breadth! Like the laws of the Medes and Persians, God's
   commands cannot be altered!

   We are saved by another method. To show that He never meant to abrogate
   the Law, our Lord Jesus has embodied all its Commandments in His own
   life. In His own Person there was a nature which was perfectly
   conformed to the Law of God--and as was His nature, such was His life.
   He could say, "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" And again, "I have
   kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." I may not say
   that He was scrupulously careful to keep the Law of God--I will not put
   it so, for there was no tendency in Him to do otherwise--He was so
   perfect and pure; so infinitely good and so complete in His agreement
   and communion with the Father, that He, in all things, carried out the
   Father's will.

   The Father said of Him, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well
   pleased; hear you Him." Point out, if you possibly can, any way in
   which Christ has violated the Law or left it unfulfilled! There was
   never an unclean thought or rebellious desire in His soul. He had
   nothing to regret or to retract--it could not be that He should err. He
   was thrice tempted in the wilderness and the enemy had the
   impertinence, even, to suggest idolatry, but He instantly overthrew the
   adversary. The prince of this world came to Him, but he found nothing
   in Him--

   "My dear Redeemer and my Lord,

   I read my duty in Your Word.

   But in Your life the Law appears

   Drawn out in living characters." Now, if that Law had been too high and
   too hard, Christ would not have exhibited it in His life. But as our
   Exemplar He would have set forth that milder form of Law which is
   supposed by some theologians. He came to introduce. Inasmuch as our
   Leader and Exemplar has exhibited to us in His life a perfect obedience
   to the sacred Commandments in their undi-minished grandeur, I gather
   that He means it to be the model of our conversation.

   Our Lord has not taken off a single point or pinnacle from that
   up-towering alp of perfection. He said at the first, "Lo, I come: in
   the volume of the Book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will,
   O My God; yes, Your Law is within My heart." And well has He justified
   the writing of the volume of the Book. "God sent forth His Son, made of
   a woman, made under the Law" and, being for our sakes under the Law, He
   obeyed it to the fullest, so that now, "Christ is the end of the Law
   for righteousness to everyone that believes."

   Once more, that the Master did not come to alter the Law of God is
   clear because after having embodied it in His life, He willingly gave
   Himself up to bear its penalty, though He had never broken it, bearing
   the penalty for us, even as it is written, "Christ has redeemed us from
   the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us." "All we like sheep
   have gone

   astray, we have turned, everyone, to his own way, and the Lord has laid
   on Him the iniquity of us all." If the Law had demanded more of us than
   it ought to have done, would the Lord Jesus have rendered to it the
   penalty which resulted from its too severe demands? I am sure He would
   not! But because the Law asked only what it ought to ask--namely
   perfect obedience and exacted of the transgressor only what it ought to
   exact, namely, death, as the penalty for sin--death under Divine wrath,
   therefore the Savior went to the Cross and there bore our sins and
   purged them once and for all.

   He was crushed beneath the load of our guilt and cried, "My soul is
   exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death," and at last, when He had

   "All that Incarnate God could bear,

   With strength enough, but none to spare," He bowed His head and said,
   "It is finished." Our Lord Jesus Christ gave a greater vindication to
   the Law of God by dying, because it had been broken, than all the lost
   in Hell can ever give by their miseries, for their suffering is never
   complete, their debt is never paid! But He has borne all that was due
   from His people and the Law is defrauded of nothing. By His death He
   has vindicated the honor of God's moral government and made it just for
   Him to be merciful! When the Lawgiver, Himself, submits to the Law;
   when the Sovereign, Himself, bears the extreme penalty of that
   Law--then is the justice of God set upon such a glorious high throne
   that all admiring worlds must wonder at it! If, therefore, it is
   clearly proven that Jesus was obedient to the Law of God, even to the
   extent of death, He certainly did not come to abolish or abrogate it!
   And if He did not remove it, who can do so? If He declares that He came
   to establish it, who shall overthrow


   But, secondly, the Law of God must be perpetual from its very nature,
   for does it not strike you, the moment you think of it, that right must
   always be right, truth must always be true, and purity must always be
   pure? Before the Ten Commandments were published at Sinai, there was
   still that same Law of right and wrong laid upon men by the necessity
   of their being God's creatures. Right was always right before a single
   command had been committed to words! When Adam was in the garden it was
   always right that he should love his Maker and it would always have
   been wrong that he should have been at cross-purposes with his God. And
   it does not matter what happens in this world, or what changes take
   place in the universe, it never can be right to lie, or to commit
   adultery, or murder, or steal, or to worship an idol god. I will not
   say that the principles of right and wrong are as absolutely
   self-existent as God, but I do say that I cannot grasp the idea of God,
   Himself, as existing apart from His being always holy and always
   true--so that the very idea of right and wrong seems to me to be
   necessarily permanent and cannot possibly be shifted.

   You cannot bring right down to a lower level! It must be where it
   always is--right is right eternally--and cannot be wrong. You cannot
   lift up wrong and make it somewhat right--it must be wrong while the
   world stands. Heaven and earth may pass away, but not the smallest
   letter or accent of the moral Law can possibly change. In spirit the
   Law is eternal. Suppose for a moment that it were possible to temper
   and tone down the Law of God, where would it be? I confess I do not
   know and cannot imagine! If it is perfectly holy, how can it be altered
   except by being made imperfect? Would you wish for that? Could you
   worship the God of an imperfect Law? Can it ever be true that God, by
   way of favoring us, has put us under an imperfect Law? Would that be a
   blessing or a curse?

   It is said by some that man cannot keep a perfect Law and God does not
   demand that he should. Certain modern theologians have taught this, I
   hope, by inadvertence. Has God issued an imperfect Law? It is the first
   imperfect thing I ever heard of His making! Does it come to this that,
   after all, the Gospel is a proclamation that God is going to be
   satisfied with obedience to a mutilated Law? God forbid! I say, better
   that we perish than that His perfect Law perish! Terrible as it is, it
   lies at the foundation of the peace of the universe and must be honored
   at all hazards. That gone, all goes! When the power of the Holy Spirit
   convinced me of sin, I felt such a solemn awe of the Law of God that I
   remember well, when I lay crashed beneath it as a condemned sinner, I
   yet admired and glorified it. I could not have wished that perfect Law
   to be altered for me.

   Rather did I feel that if my soul were sent to the lowest Hell, yet God
   was to be extolled for His Justice and His Law held in honor for its
   perfectness. I would not have had it altered even to save my soul!
   Brethren, the Law of the Lord must stand, for it is perfect and,
   therefore, has in it no element of decay or change. The Law of God is
   no more than God might most righteously ask of us. If God were about to
   give us a more tolerant Law, it would be an admission, on His part,
   that He asked too much at first. Can that be supposed? Was there, after
   all, some justification for the statement of the wicked and slothful
   servant when he said, "I feared you, because you are an austere man"?
   It cannot be! For God to alter His Law would be an admission that He
   made a mistake! That He put poor imperfect man (we are often hearing
   that said) under too rigorous a regime and, therefore, He is now
   prepared to abate His claims and make them more reasonable.

   It has been said that man's moral inability to keep the perfect Law
   exempts him from the duty of doing so. This is very specious, but it is
   utterly false! Man's inability is not of the kind which removes
   responsibility--it is moral, not physical! Never fall into the error
   that moral inability will be an excuse for sin! What? When a man
   becomes such a liar that he cannot speak the truth--is he, therefore,
   exempted from the duty of truthfulness? If your servant owes you a
   day's labor, is he free from the duty because he has made himself so
   drunk that he cannot serve you? Is a man freed from a debt by the fact
   that he has squandered the money and, therefore, cannot pay it? Is a
   lustful man free to indulge his passions because he cannot understand
   the beauty of chastity? This is dangerous doctrine! The Law is a just
   one and man is bound by it though his sin has rendered him incapable of
   doing so.

   The Law, moreover, demands no more than is good for us. There is not a
   single Commandment of God's Law but what is meant to be a kind of
   danger signal such as we put up upon the ice when it is too thin to
   bear. Each Commandment does, as it were, say to us, "Dangerous!" It is
   never for a man's good to do what God forbids him! It is never for
   man's real and ultimate happiness to leave undone anything that God
   commands him. The wisest directions for spiritual health and for the
   avoidance of evil are those directions which are given us concerning
   right and wrong in the Law of God! Therefore it is not possible that
   there should be any alteration, for it would not be for our good. I
   should like to say to any Brother who thinks that God has put us under
   an altered rule--"Which particular part of the Law is it that God has
   relaxed?" Which precept do you feel free to break?

   Are you delivered from the Commandment which forbids stealing? My dear
   Sir, you may be a capital theologian, but I should lock up my spoons
   when you call at my house! Is it the Commandment about adultery which
   you think is removed? Then I could not recommend your being admitted
   into any decent society! Is the Law as to killing softened down? Then I
   had rather have your room than your company. From which Law is it that
   God has exempted you? That Law of worshipping Him, only? Do you propose
   to have another god? Do you intend to make engraved images? The fact
   is, that when we come to details, we cannot afford to lose a single
   link of this wonderful golden chain which is perfect in every part as
   well as perfect as a whole! The Law is absolutely complete and you can
   neither add to it nor take from it. "Whoever shall keep the whole Law,
   and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do
   not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no
   adultery, yet if you kill, you have become a transgressor of the Law."
   If, then, no part of it can be taken down, it must stand and stand

   A third reason I will give why the Law must be perpetual is that to
   suppose it altered is most dangerous. To take away from the Law its
   perpetuity is, first of all, to take away from it its power to convict
   of sin. Is it so, that I, being an imperfect creature, am not expected
   to keep a perfect Law? Then it follows that I do not sin when I break
   the Law! And if all that is required of me is that I am to do according
   to the best of my knowledge and ability, then I have a very convenient
   rule, indeed--and most men will take care to adjust it so as to give
   themselves as much latitude as possible! By removing the Law you have
   done away with sin, for sin is the transgression of the Law! And where
   there is no Law, there is no transgression! When you have done away
   with sin, you may as well have done away with the Savior and with
   salva-tion--for they are by no means necessary!

   When you have reduced sin to a minimum, what need is there of that
   great and glorious salvation which Jesus Christ has come to bring into
   the world? Brothers and Sisters, we must have none of this! It is
   evidently a way of mischief. By lowering the Law, you weaken its power
   in the hands of God as a Convincer of sin. "By the Law is the knowledge
   of sin." It is the looking glass which shows us our spots--and that is
   a most useful thing--though nothing but the Gospel can wash them away--

   "My hopes of Hea ven were firm and bright, But since the precept came

   With a convincing power and light,

   I find how vile I am.

   My guilt appeared but small before,

   Till terribly I saw

   How perfect, holy, just and pure

   Was Your eternal Law.

   Then felt my soul the heavy load, My sins revived again, I had provoked
   a dreadful God, And all my hopes were slain."

   It is only a pure and perfect Law that the Holy Spirit can use in order
   to show us our depravity and sinfulness. Lower the Law and you dim the
   Law of God by which man perceives his guilt! This is a very serious
   loss to the sinner rather than a gain, for it lessens the likelihood of
   his conviction and conversion.

   You have also taken away from the Law its power to shut us up to the
   faith of Christ. What is the Law of God for? For us to keep in order to
   be saved by it? Not at all! It is sent in order to show us that we
   cannot be saved by works and to shut us up to be saved by Grace! But if
   you make out that the Law is altered so that a man can keep it, you
   have left him his old legal hope and he is sure to cling to it! You
   need a perfect Law that shuts man right up to hopelessness apart from
   Jesus--puts him into an iron cage and locks him up--and offers him no
   escape but by faith in Jesus! Then he begins to cry, "Lord, save me by
   Grace, for I perceive that I cannot be saved by my own works."

   This is how Paul describes it to the Galatians--"The Scripture has
   concluded all are under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ
   might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were
   kept under the Law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be
   revealed. Therefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto
   Christ, that we might be justified by faith." I say you have deprived
   the Gospel of its most able auxiliary when you have set aside the Law!
   You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to
   Christ. No, it must stand and stand in all its terrors to drive men
   away from self-righteousness and constrain them to fly to Christ! They
   will never accept Grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law!
   Therefore the Law serves a most necessary and blessed purpose and it
   must not be removed from its place.

   To alter the Law is to leave us without any Law at all. A sliding scale
   of duty is an immoral invention, fatal to the principles of law. If
   each man is to be accepted because he does his best, we are all doing
   our best. Is there anybody that is not? If we take their words for it,
   all our fellow men are doing as well as they can, considering their
   imperfect natures. Even the harlot in the streets has some
   righteousness-- she is not quite so far gone as others. Have you ever
   heard of the bandit who committed many murders, but who felt that he
   had been doing his best because he never killed anybody on a Friday?
   Self-righteousness builds itself a nest, even in the worst character!
   This is the man's talk-- "Really, if you knew me, you would say I have
   been a good fellow to do as well as I have. Consider what a poor,
   fallen creature I am! Consider what strong passions were born in me!
   Consider what temptations to vice beset me and you will not blame me so
   much! After all, I dare say God is as satisfied with me as with many
   who are a great deal better because I had so few advantages."

   Yes, you have shifted the standard and every man will now do that which
   is right in his own eyes and claim to be doing his best! If you shift
   the standard pound weight or the bushel measure, you will certainly
   never get full weight or measurement again! There will be no standard
   to go by and each man will do his best with his own pounds and bushels.
   If the standard is tampered with, you have taken away the foundation
   upon which trade is conducted and it is the same in soul
   matters--abolish the best rule that ever can be, even God's own
   Law--and there is no rule left worthy of the name! What a fine opening
   this leaves for vain-glory! No wonder that men talk of perfect
   sanctification if the Law has been lowered! There is nothing at all
   remarkable in our getting up to the rule if it is conveniently lowered
   for us! I believe I shall be perfectly sanctified when I keep God's Law
   without omission or transgression, but not till then!

   If any man says that he is perfectly sanctified because he has come up
   to a modified law of his own, I am glad to know what he means, for I
   have, no longer, any discussion with him! I see nothing wonderful in
   his attainment. Sin is my need of conformity to the Law of God--and
   until we are perfectly conformed to that Law of God in all its
   spiritual length and breadth--it is idle for us to talk about perfect
   sanctification! No man is perfectly clean till he accepts absolute
   purity as the standard by which he is to be judged. So long as there is
   in us any coming short of the perfect Law, we are not perfect! What a
   humbling Truth of God this is! The Law shall not pass away, but it must
   be fulfilled! This Truth must be maintained, for if it goes, our
   tackling is loose; we cannot well strengthen the mast; the ship goes
   all to pieces; she becomes a total wreck!

   The Gospel itself would be destroyed could you destroy the Law of God!
   To tamper with the Law is to trifle with the Gospel. "Till Heaven and
   earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law,
   till all is fulfilled."

   II. I come to show, secondly, that THE LAW MUST BE FULFILLED. I hope
   there are some in this place who are saying, "We cannot fulfill it."
   That is exactly where I want to bring you! Salvation by the works of
   the Law must be felt to be impossible by every man who would be saved!
   We must learn that salvation is of Grace through faith in Jesus Christ
   our Lord--not by our own doings or feelings. But this is a doctrine no
   one will receive till he has learned the previous Truth of God--that
   salvation by the works of the Law can never come to any man born of

   Yet the Law must be fulfilled. Many will say with Nicodemus, "How can
   these things be?" I answer, the Law is fulfilled in Christ and, by
   faith, we receive the fruit thereof. First, as I have already said, the
   Law is fulfilled in the matchless Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If a man
   has broken a Law, what does the Law do with him? It says, "I must be
   honored. You have broken my command which was sanctioned by the penalty
   of death. Inasmuch as you did not honor me by obedience, but dishonored
   me by transgression, you must die." Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the
   great Covenant Representative of His people, their second Adam, stood
   forward on the behalf of all who are in Him and presented Himself as a
   victim to Divine Justice.

   Since His people were guilty of death, He, as their Covenant Head, came
   under death in their place! It was a glorious thing that such
   representative death was possible--and it was only so because of the
   original constitution of the race as springing from a common father and
   placed under a single head. Inasmuch as our fall was by one Adam, it
   was possible for us to be raised by another Adam! "As in Adam all died,
   even so in Christ shall all be made alive." It became possible for God,
   upon the principle of representation, to allow substitution. Our first
   fall was not by our personal fault, but through the failure of our
   representative--and now in comes our second and grander
   Representative--the Son of God, and He sets us free, not by our
   honoring the Law, but by His doing so!

   He came under the Law by His birth. And being found as a Man loaded
   with the guilt of all His people, He was visited with its penalty! The
   Law lifts its bloody axe and it smites our glorious Head that we may go
   free! It is the Son of God that keeps the Law by dying, the Just for
   the unjust. "The soul that sins, it shall die"--there is death
   demanded-- and in Christ death is presented! Life for life is rendered!
   An infinitely precious Life instead of the poor lives of men! Jesus has
   died and so the Law has been fulfilled by the endurance of its penalty.
   And being fulfilled, its power to condemn and punish the Believer has
   passed away.

   Secondly, the Law has been fulfilled, again, for us by Christ in His
   life. I have already gone over this, but I want to establish you in it.
   Jesus Christ as our Head and Representative, came into the world for
   the double purpose of bearing the penalty and, at the same time,
   keeping the Law. One of His main designs in coming to earth was "to
   bring in perfect righteousness." "As by the disobedience of one, many
   were made sinners, so by the righteousness of one, shall many be made
   righteous." The Law requires a perfect life and he that believes in
   Jesus Christ presents to the Law a perfect life which he has made his
   own by faith. It is not his own life, but Christ is made of God unto
   us, righteousness, even to us who are one with Him. "Christ is the end
   of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes."

   That which Jesus did is counted as though we did it! And because He was
   righteous, God sees us in Him and counts us righteous upon the
   principle of substitution and representation. Oh, how blessed it is to
   put on this robe and to wear it! And to stand before the Most High in a
   better righteousness than His Law demanded--for that demanded the
   perfect righteousness of a creature--but we put on the absolute
   righteousness of the Creator Himself! And what can the Law ask more? It
   is written, "In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell
   safely, and this is the name with which He shall be called--THE LORD
   OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." "The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness'
   sake: He will magnify the Law and make it honorable."

   Yes, but that is not all. The Law has to be fulfilled in us personally
   in a spiritual and Gospel sense. "Well," you say, "but how can that
   be?" I reply in the words of our Apostle--"What the Law could not do,
   in that it was weak through the flesh," Christ has done and is doing by
   the Holy Spirit, "that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled
   in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." Regeneration
   is a work by which the Law is fulfilled, for when a man is born again
   there is placed in him a new nature which loves the Law of God and is
   perfectly conformed to it. The new nature which God implants in every
   Believer at the time he is born again is incapable of sin--it cannot
   sin, for it is born of God! That new nature is the offspring of the
   eternal Father--and the Spirit of God dwells in it, with it and


   It is light, it is purity, it is, according to the Scripture, the
   "living and incorruptible Seed which lives and abides forever." If
   incorruptible, it is sinless, for sin is corruption and corrupts
   everything that it touches. The Apostle Paul, when describing his
   inward conflicts, showed that he himself, his real and best self, did
   keep the Law, for he says, "So then with the mind I, myself, serve the
   Law of God" (Rom. 7:25). He consented to the Law that it was good,
   which showed that he was on the side of the Law. And though sin that
   dwelt in his members led him into transgression, yet his new nature did
   not allow it, but hated and loathed it, and cried out against it as one
   in bondage! The newborn soul delights in the Law of the Lord and there
   is within it a quenchless life which aspires after absolute perfection!
   It will never rest till it pays to God perfect obedience and comes to
   be like God, Himself!

   This which is begun in regeneration is continued and grows till it
   ultimately arrives at absolute perfection. That will be seen in the
   world to come and oh, what a fulfillment of the Law will be there! The
   Law will admit no man to Heaven till he is perfectly conformed to
   it--but every Believer shall be in that perfect condition! Our nature
   shall be refined from all its dross and be as pure gold! It will be our
   delight in Heaven to be holy. There will be nothing about us, then, to
   kick against a single Commandment of God! We shall know, there, in our
   own hearts the Glory and excellency of the Divine will and our will
   shall run in the same channel. We shall not imagine that the precepts
   are rigorous--they will be our own will as truly as they are God's

   Then nothing which God has commanded, however much of self-denial it
   requires, now, will require any self-denial from us! Holiness will be
   our element, our delight! Our nature will be entirely conformed to the
   Nature and mind of God as to holiness and goodness--and then the Law
   will be fulfilled in us and we shall stand before God, having washed
   our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! And, at the
   same time, being ourselves without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing!
   Then shall the Law of the Lord have eternal honor from our immortal
   being. Oh, how we shall rejoice in it! We delight in it after the
   inward man, now, but then we shall delight in it as to our risen bodies
   which shall be charmed to be instruments of righteousness unto God
   forever and ever! No appetite of those risen bodies, no want and no
   necessity of them shall then lead the soul astray, but our whole body,
   soul and spirit shall be perfectly conformed unto the Divine mind!

   Let us long and pant for this! We shall never attain it except by
   believing in Jesus. Perfect holiness will never be reached by the works
   of the Law, for works cannot change the nature. But by faith in Jesus
   and the blessed work of His Holy Spirit, we shall have it and then, I
   believe, it will be among our songs of Glory that Heaven and earth pass
   away, but the Word of God and the Law of God shall stand fast forever
   and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen.