Question 6May not such an estate of faith and perfection in obedience be attained in this life, as wherein believers may be freed from all obligation unto the observation of gospel institutions?

AnswerNo; for the ordinances and institutions of the gospel being inseparably annexed unto the evangelical administration of the covenant of grace, they may not be left unobserved, disused, or omitted, whilst we are to walk before God in that covenant, without contempt of the covenant itself, as also of the wisdom and authority of Jesus Christ.

Heb. 3:3-6; Rom. 6:3-6; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Heb. 10:25; Rev. 2:5,3:3.

Explication— All our faith, all our obedience in this life, whatever may be obtained or attained unto therein, it all belongs unto our walking with God in the covenant of grace, wherein God dwells with men, and they are his people, and God himself is with them to be their God.  Other ways of communion with him, of obedience unto him, of enjoyment of him, on this side heaven and glory, he hath not appointed nor revealed.

Now, this is the covenant that God hath made with his people, “That he will put his laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and will be to them a God, and they shall be to him a people; and he will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will he remember no more,” Heb. 8:9-12.  And whatever men attain unto, it is by virtue of the grace of that covenant; nor is there any grace promised in the covenant to lead men in this life, or to give them up into a state of perfection, short of glory.  Unto this covenant are the institutions of gospel-worship annexed, and unto that administration of it which is granted unto the church upon the coming and death of Christ.

Without a renunciation and relinquishment of that covenant and the grace of it, these institutions cannot be omitted or deserted. If men suppose that they have attained to an estate wherein they need neither the grace of God, nor the mercy of God, nor the blood of Christ, nor the Spirit of Christ, it is not much material what they think of the ordinances of worship. Their pride and folly, without that mercy which is taught, promised, and exhibited in those ordinances, will speedily be their ruin.

Besides, the Lord Christ is the absolute Lord “over his own house,” Heb. 3:3-6; and he hath given out the laws whereby he will have it guided and ruled whilst it is in this world.  In and by these laws are his ordinances of worship established.  For any persons, on what pretence soever, to plead an exemption from the obligation of those laws, it is nothing but to cast off the lordship and dominion of Christ himself.  And yet farther to secure our obedience in this matter, he hath expressly commanded the continuance of them until his coming unto judgment, as in the places above quoted will appear.

Owen, John. The Life and Works of John Owen Vol. 15