IX. Can believers under the grace of the New Covenant, perfectly observe the law of God in this life?
IX. May God, or may He not, require of those who are partakers of the New Covenant, that the flesh do not lust against the Spirit, as a duty corresponding with the grace of that covenant?
ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION
The performance of the law is to be estimated according to the mind of Him who requires it to be observed. The answer will be two-fold, since He either wills it to be rigidly observed in the highest degree of perfection, or only according to epieikeian clemency; that is, if he require this according to clemency, and if the strength or powers which he confers be proportionate to the demand. (1.) Man cannot perfectly perform such a law of God, if it be considered as to be performed according to rigor. (2.) But if he require it according to clemency, and if the powers conferred be proportionate, (which must be acknowledged, since He requires it according to the evangelical covenant,) the answer is, it can be perfectly observed. But the question about capability is not of such great importance, |provided a man confesses that it is possible to be done by the grace of Christ,| as St. Augustine justly observes.