Saturday, May 31, 2014
Silencing the law
Christ crucified, by satisfying the justice of God, brake the thunders of the law and dissolved the frame of all its anathemas. Being made a curse for us, he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), that is, from the sentence of the Law-giver, denounced in his law against the transgressors of it. So that now 'there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus' (Romans 8:1) because they are 'dead to the law by the body of Christ' (Romans 7:4). By the body of Christ as slain and raised again, this handwriting of ordinances, which was contrary to us, is taken out of the way by God, being nailed to his cross (Colossians 2:14). He hath abolished the obligation of the moral law as to any condemning power, it being the custom to cancel bonds anciently by piercing the writing with a nail. The ceremonial law was abolished in every regard, since the substance of it was come, and that which it tended to was accomplished; and so one understands, 'having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly'(verse 15), of the ceremonies of the law, called 'principalities and powers' in regard of the divine authority whereby they were instituted. These he spoiled, as the word signifies, unclothing or unstripping, he unveiled them, and showed them to be misty figures that were accomplished in his own person. The flower falls when the fruit comes to appear; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, grace to obey the precepts, and truth to take away the types.
But it is also meant of the condemning power of the moral law, which was nullified by the death of Christ, who, upon his cross sealing another covenant, repealed the former. The settling a new covenant implies the dissolution of the old. That was nailed to his cross which was contrary to us, a law that was a charge against us, and by virtue whereof we are sued; and this was the law as sentencing us to death, which was pierced and torn by those nails, that did discover that debt, and denounce the sentence, which cannot be meant so properly of the ceremonial, as the moral law. The ceremonial law of sacrifices was the gospel in shadows, and appointed for the relief of men, and as ground whereon to exercise their faith till the appearance of the substance, and therefore cannot be said to be contrary to us, but an amicable discovery, that we were to have that relief in another, which we wanted [lacked] in ourselves, and that we were to be freed from the sentence of death by some grand sacrifice represented by those sacrifices of animals.
Besides, the apostle writes this as a cordial, issuing out of the blood of Christ to the Gentile Colossians, who never were under the obligation of the ceremonial law, that being appropriated to the Jews. The apostle brings it to back [support] his assertion that their trespasses were forgiven. The argument had been of no use to the Gentiles, who sinned not against the ceremonial law, but the moral law; and if one only had been cancelled, and not the other, the Jews themselves, whose offenses were most against the moral law, had [would have] had little or no comfort in having the fewest of their sins forgiven. Our Saviour died by the power and force of the moral law, that brought him to the cross, for the fulfilling it in its penalty, as well as he had done in his life by his obedience; and he receiving the full execution of its sentence upon himself on the cross, as a substitute in our place, nullified that sentence as to any force upon those who believe in him. The plea against it is, that it hath already been executed, though not upon our persons, yet upon our Surety, so that being nailed to the cross, the virtue of his cross must cease, before the killing power of the law can revive. This crucified Christ, who disarmed the law of its thunders, defaced the obligation of it as a covenant, and as it were, ground the stones upon which it was written to powder, is worth our exact knowledge and studious inquiry. (Stephen Charnock, Christ Crucified, pp. 26-28, underlining mine)
[Sounds to me like Stephen Charnock held to NCT in his view of the law and covenants.]