What is Faith? by J. Gresham Machen

At no point does the issue in the modern religious world appear in more characteristic fashion than just here. Many persons hold up their hands in amazement at our assertion that Jesus was not a Christian, while we in turn regard it as the very height of blasphemy to say that He was a Christian. “Christianity,” to us, is a way of getting rid of sin; and therefore to say that Jesus was a Christian would be to deny His holiness.

“But,” it is said, “do you mean to tell us that if a man lives a life like the life of Jesus but rejects the doctrine of the redeeming work of Christ in His death and resurrection, he is not a Christian?” The question, in one form or another, is often asked; but the answer is very simple.  Of course if a man really lives a life like the life of Jesus, all is well; such a man is indeed not a Christian, but he is something better than a Christian- he is a being who has never lost his high estate of sonship with God. But our trouble is that our lives, to say nothing of the lives of these who so confidently appeal to their own similarity to Jesus, do not seem to be like the life of Jesus. Unlike Jesus, we are sinners, and hence, unlike Him, we become Christians; we are sinners, and hence we accept with thankfulness the re-deeming love of the Lord Jesus Christ, who had pity on us and made us right with God, through no merit of our own, by His atoning death.

That certainly does not mean that the example of Jesus is not important to the Christian; on the contrary, it is the daily guide of His life, without which he would be like a ship without a rudder on an uncharted sea.  But the example of Jesus is useful to the Christian not prior to redemption, but subsequent to it.

A Biblical Case for Natural Law by David Van Drunen

Biblical morality is characterized by an indicative-imperative structure. That is, all of its imperatives (moral commands) are proceeded by and grounded in indicatives (statements of fact), either explicitly or implicitly. The most important indicative that grounds the imperatives in Scripture is that the recipients of Scripture are the covenant people, that is,  members of the community of the covenant of grace.  The Old Testament Scriptures were not given to the world at large but to the people of Israel, God’s covenant people of old.  “He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.  He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws” (Ps. 147:19-20).  Neither were the New Testament Scriptures given to the world at large but to the church, the new covenant people.  p. 39  David Van Drunen, A Biblical Case for Natural Law (Grand Rapids : Acton Institute, no date)