The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

The bud and the bloom

with 9 comments

Let us beware of despising the Old Testament under any pretence whatever. Let us never listen to those who bid us throw it aside as an obsolete, antiquated, useless book. The religion of the Old Testament is the germ of Christianity. The Old Testament is the Gospel in the bud. The New Testament is the Gospel in full flower.— The Old Testament is the Gospel in the blade. The New Testament is the Gospel in full car.—The saints in the Old Testament saw many things through a glass darkly. But they all looked by faith to the same Saviour, and were led by the same Spirit as ourselves. These are no light matters. Much infidelity begins with an ignorant contempt of the Old Testament.

Let us, for another thing, beware of despising the law of the Ten Commandments. Let us not suppose for a moment that it is set aside by the Gospel, or that Christians have nothing to do with it. The coming of Christ did not alter the position of the Ten Commandments one hair’s breadth. If anything, it exalted and raised their authority. (Rom. iii. 31.) The law of the Ten Commandments is God’s eternal measure of right and wrong. By it is the knowledge of sin. By it the Spirit shows men their need of Christ, and drives them to Him. To it Christ refers His people as their rule and guide for holy living. In its right place it is just as important as ” the glorious Gospel.”—It cannot save us. We cannot be justified by it. But never, never let us despise it. It is a symptom of an ignorant and unhealthy state of religion, when the law is lightly esteemed. The true Christian “delights in the law of God.” (Rom. vii. 22.)

J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 5:13-20)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 28 October 2011 at 09:00

9 Responses

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  1. The good Bishop had a way with words that still rings loud and clear.

    richbarcellos

    Friday 28 October 2011 at 14:33

    • He did indeed – and thanks for the tip-off (I did not realise that you had blogged it, or I would have doffed the blogging cap)!

      Jeremy Walker

      Friday 28 October 2011 at 14:47

        • Yup: the first is reviewed here. The second I think is also an excellent piece.

          My main quibble (and it is a minor one) is that both authors begin with history and then turn back to Scripture. To my mind, it would be more effective to begin with the Word of God, exegete and apply the relevant passages, and then to ask whether or not that understanding is confirmed in the history of the church among the orthodox and faithful teachers of the past. But I think both the treatments cover the ground – in their respective ways and for their respective audiences – very well indeed. I also happen substantially to agree with them!

          Jeremy Walker

          Friday 28 October 2011 at 16:43

          • That’s right, I read your review. I read Ross’ book when it came out. I picked it up two weeks later and began to read it again for the purpose of writing an extensive review. I need to finish that some day. I think setting things in historical-theological context the way he did is fine, and actually helpful. I noticed today that Phil Johnson had the same quibble. I am scheduled to have lunch with him Monday and will correct him on this and other things. :-)

            richbarcellos

            Friday 28 October 2011 at 17:03

            • When you see Phil, tell him that a total non-entity agrees with his concern about the order of argumentation in Ross’s book. No doubt he will remember the precise point immediately, and his quickly-rising grief at how many – including you – think it was not an issue will be overwhelmed with gratitude that I am standing with him, shoulder to shoulder, on this particular matter.

              Or maybe not.

              And stop name-dropping!

              Jeremy Walker

              Friday 28 October 2011 at 17:14

              • Oh yea, have you ever had lunch with …. in Palmdale, CA? Jealous. You’re both wrong. Get over it. Next caller, please.

                richbarcellos

                Friday 28 October 2011 at 17:31

                • [The sound of quiet but heartfelt sobbing rises from a desk in the British Isles, the sobbing of a man without any famous friends, sitting in the gathering gloom of a damp English October, his only comfort the knowledge that he is right and Barcellos is wrong . . .]

                  Jeremy Walker

                  Friday 28 October 2011 at 17:49

                  • Hit two pillows and call someone else in the morning.

                    richbarcellos

                    Friday 28 October 2011 at 18:10


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