REFORMED WOMEN-THEOLOGY GIRL BIBLE STUDY
Book-Bible Study: “God’s Way of Holiness”
Book Author: Horatius Bonar
LESSON: Lesson#6 “Chapter 6” “Study Summary”[1/]
TITLE[s]: “The Saint and the Law”
STUDY SUMMARY of Chapter #6
In Chapter 6 of our study of “God’s Way of Holiness” we are reminded of the importance of understanding doctrine and correct biblical exegesis of God’s Word. Bonar takes us through this chapter pointing out wrong thinking and application so that we are warned not to trust in ourselves, our professions or anything else that would lead us back “under” the law rather than grace. He shows us, as does the WFC and supporting Scriptures, that we are under grace and obey the law NOT for our salvation but because and as a result of our salvation. It is our heartfelt desire to “do the will of God” and that will is contained in God’s Word and, as Bonar says, “the law of our God is the will of the Beloved One.” Christ has said, “if you love me, keep my commandments” and that means to obey His Word in our pilgrimage through this evil world. He has kept the law perfectly for us to “obtain our salvation for us” but we are to respond by saying, “how do I then live?” and that is answered by “doing the will of God from the heart” in love and obedience because of what He has done for us in salvation, life and eternity. Our hearts compel us to love and obey Him and it grieves us and His Holy Spirit which resides in us when we do not. We are then compelled by His indwelling Spirit to seek His forgiveness and guidance in His Word so that we “do not sin against Him” (and thus others). We know and recognize that although we are saved, we are still in sinful flesh that lusts after sin and rebellion against His law and thus we must “beat our bodies in submission” (speaking spiritually) to press forward to the high calling of Christ. Romans 6:14 tells us that “sin shall not have dominion over us” and thus we are encouraged that although we sin, we repent and our renewed daily; that Christ “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We are given liberty to pursue godliness with power, joy and zeal because we know that He will accomplish our renewal in and through us by “the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done. [WCF, XIX, VII.] Bonar has rightly said:
“Love goes to the law to learn the divine will, and love delights in the law, as the exponent of that will; and he who says that a believing man has nothing more to do with law, save to shun it as an old enemy, might as well say that he has nothing to do with the will of God. For the divine law and the divine will are substantially one, the former the outward manifestation of the latter. And it is “the will of our Father which is in heaven” that we are to do (Matt 7:21); 50 proving by loving obedience what is that “good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2). Yes, it is “he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:17); it is to “the will of God” that we are to live (1 Pet 4:2); “made perfect in every good work to do His will” (Heb 13:21); and “fruitfulness in every good work” springs from being “filled with the knowledge of His will” (Col 1:9,10).”
A question arises then, what do we say for those that believe that they “sin no more” “are perfect” “under grace and law does not apply” (Antinomian) or that they can “continue in sin” because grace will abound? The Word of God says, “God forbid:
Romans 6: 1 – 23
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So herein, God’s Word has answered us. Those that “continually sin” are to examine themselves to see if they are truly in the faith. There are many professors of Christ in the world but how many children? We know not but God has given us a test or measure to know who are the “brethren” and who are the “professors only.” Can we know perfectly who they are? No, because we cannot judge the heart as only God sees it completely but we do have a measuring rod that God has given. We are fruit examiners. Do they bear good or bad fruit? Do they love Christ and His Word? Do they love the brethren and the enemies? Do they desire God’s favor above all else? Do they want to see Him face-to-face, desire their heavenly home and delight in Him? Do they pursue godliness, holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord”? Do they want to do “all things pleasing in His sight”? Is the Bible the guidebook for their life? Are they displays of His grace? These are just some of the biblical principles for which we are able to discern those that are Christ’s and those that are of the Evil One. God has given us “righteous” judgment, not as the world gives, but has given us His Holy Spirit, His Word and His discernment so that we can “judge” righteously, biblically and for the good of our own souls, and that of our families and church. We call this in Christian circles, “biblical discernment” so that we are able to use God’s Word as a light to everything else. God has been gracious to us in opening our eyes of understanding so that we can “refrain” from evil and false doctrine and belief.
One of the errors of some of the believing body of Christ is that we “cannot judge” but this is error. As stated above, we are to judge righteously, using biblical discernment so that we ourselves do not fall into the error of the wicked or professors and sin against God. The blessing of having this good discernment is that we are not only refrained from error but also that we can effectively judge whether we need to pray for one’s salvation, walk with Christ and/or for God’s mercy and grace in opening the eyes of those in error. The Apostles taught well in reminding the saints that a true saint loves Christ and obeys Him. A professor will “not walk with Christ continually”; will “continue in sin”; “live like the unbeliever”; thereby blaspheming God and be wanton for those things that please the flesh, “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.” The believer “covets” God’s characteristics, not the world’s and not to be a “hearer only” but a true “doer” of the Word of God. So what does this say to us? It says as true Christians, we are fruitful, not perfect, but fruitful and seek God’s glory; that we are “free men” to do the will of God, obediently from the heart.” We are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” daily to be “sure we are in the faith.” A born-again believer, saved by Christ and living in Christ will produce fruit and thus their standing is secure because they are truly His. As true believers we have eternal security and can never be lost. The disciples have said, “there are many professors” in the world and thus we are to be on guard to be “make our calling and election” sure by examining our own life with Christ to “be sure we are in the faith” and not professors only. We will “know them by their fruit” and if truly children, they will be fruitful. Thus, the rule of life for the believer is one of pursuing holiness which is a great delight to God. We reflect His characteristics in all of life, loving His Word, the whole of His commandments, not the “Ten Commandments” only as the thinking of some is but all of His commands set forth in the Old and New Testaments. David has said, “O how I love Thy law, it is my meditation all the day” as an encouragement for us today to love our God and to “mediate in His Word day and night.” A heart filled with Christ, loving God’s Word, His law, will produce a sweet-smelling savor to Christ and be fruitful in the world. Thus, we are encouraged to practically put on God’s armour by reading, studying God’s Word and being fruitful “in every good work.” May God richly bless us with fruitfulness and success in our pursuit of godliness for His glory and our good.
1/ Chapter 6 study from the 2005 ReformedWomen-JoyPals Network online study.
2/ God’s Way of Holiness PDF here
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Living Coram Deo, jacy
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