A lot of conversation has been happening with regard to the nature of the gospel and its role in sanctification. First, Kevin DeYoung and I engaged in a healthy dialogue about this a few months ago (see here, here, here, and here) and then over at the Reformation 21 blog this week Bill Evans and Sean Lucas have had a healthy dialogue about this (see here, here, here, and here). I have intentionally stayed out of the most recent conversation because I’ve already said in many ways what I would say again if I weighed in.

Without addressing all of the important details, nuances, and perspectives, the simple fact is that if someone is giving short-shrift to the necessity of obeying biblical imperatives, it’s because they are not glorying in the indicatives of the gospel. Their problem is not first and foremost that they aren’t giving full-throat to the imperatives. It’s that they’re not giving full-throat to the indicatives. I’ve never met anyone who revels in the gospel of grace who then doesn’t want to obey God. It’s a phantom fear (see this brilliantly creative post).

Matt Richard describes well how naturally we take it upon ourselves to reign the gospel in when we fear too much of it will result in lawlessness:

I have found that as Christians we many times attribute ‘lawlessness’ to the preaching of the Gospel. Somewhere in our thinking we rationalize that if the Gospel is presented as “too free, too unconditional or that Jesus fulfills the law for us” that the result will be lax morality, loose living and lawlessness. It is as if we believe that the freeing message of the Gospel actually produces, encourages and grants people a license to sin. Because of this rationalization we find ourselves strapping, holding and attaching restrictions to the Gospel so that we might prevent or limit lawlessness. In other words, the Gospel is placed into bondage due to our rationalization and reaction to lawlessness.

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