Blog 60: 2.7.14 - 2.8.1
Blog 60 2.714 - 2.8.1
Obligation to the keep the law as believers seems to many to legalistic and contrary to the gospel. Antinomianism has ever been an issue and Calvin asks, "To what extent has the law been abrogated for believers?" Taking Matthew 5:17 and Jesus' words to the effect that he did not come to "abolish the law, but to fulfill it" Calvin asks "what in the law has been abrogated" and "what still remains."
First, the law no longer condemns believers, for condemn it would apart from perfect obedience. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, taking the law's curse upon himself: Christ was made subject to the law "that he might redeem those who are under the law" (Gal. 4:5).
Second, the ceremonial law has been abrogated "not in effect but only in use" meaning that they functioned under the old covenant as they do still - in pointing to Christ who by his death "sealed their force and effect" (2.7.16).
Thirdly, Calvin suggests that the "written bond against us" has been abrogated. Calvin interprets the phrase in Colossians 2:13-14 - "having canceled the written bond which was against us in the decrees, which was contrary to us" this way: Paul understands that Jews under the Old Testament engaging in the ceremonies did through these ceremonies receive forgiveness of sins but merely a testimony as to their guilt. Forgiveness came through anticipation of the Mediator to which they pointed. Such ceremonies attested to the people's sins but could do nothing to blot them out. Such legal bonds against are now abolished.
At which point Calvin moves to en exposition of that which has not been abrogated, namely, the moral law of God. We ought to have known this from the law that is written on the hearts of all men but sin has so marred us that God has provided for us a "written law to give us a clearer witness of what was too obscure in the natural law" (2.8.1).
His law teaches us how to live as redeemed children.