For Jesus’ Sake: Hywel Jones’ Message to WSC Grads

We all want members of our congregations to grow in sanctity. The temptation is to turn to the law, which can happen overtly, covertly, and even without awareness. The law is absolutely necessary as the norm of the Christian life but will the turn to the law, as a first reflex, achieve the intended outcome? Hywel speaks to this here.

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  1. I respectfully submit the following points:
    1. Aesop’s fables don’t help Christians to grow in holiness. One quarter of the article’s space was used up for one of them. It does no good to tell the fable and then state: “But as you know we do not need Aesop and much less a fable to help us in this regard.” If the Professor believed that the fable does not help, then he would have deleted the fable.
    2. The theme of the whole book of Galatians is the inability of the Law to perfect us. It is puzzling why the Professor chose to pick out a few verses from Galatians that seem to be intended by the Professor to “rebuild” the Law. Galatians 2:18.
    3. The Professor does give three examples of how the gospel (compared to the Law) promotes a life of holiness, but he seems to try to “rebuild” the Law by statements such as these statements:
    a.) The Christian cannot be aware of the gospel “without also being aware of how the Law was (had to be) honored in it”.
    b.) “An exhortation to holiness couched in such terms will not be devoid of moral authority.”
    4. How can one focus on Galatians without mentioning the express solution of Galatians in Chapter 5 of “walking by the Spirit” and the “fruit of the Spirit”?

    Respectfully submitted,
    Bill Hornbeck

  2. Bill,

    You missed his point. Go back, re-read it slowly. It’s not whether Hywel quoted a fable but why and to what end.

    You ignore his opening comment, which agrees with the thrust of your concern:

    “In doing this it is very easy for us to make more use of the law than the gospel thinking that it might have greater effect”

    The point of the fable is to illustrate the futility of sanctity by the law! Having quoted the fable Hywel says,

    “But as you know we do not need Aesop and much less a fable to help us in this regard. We have a gospel and a living Lord Jesus as its sum and substance and even the mention of his name has an effect on the believer.”

    He continues:

    “No one who truly believes in him wants to sit loose to any one of the Ten Commandments which have become “the law of Christ” (see Gal. 6:2) and it is a sense of his love to them that motivates them to live obediently for him. No law can give life (see Gal. 3:21). It is Christ’s living, dying, rising again and intercession for each of his people that brings them the Spirit’s power in all their needs and for all their duties.”

    And he says, “The apostles’ base their appeal for growth/holiness on having received the gospel not the law e.g. Rom. 12:1-3; Eph 5: 32; 1 Pet. 1:13; 1 Jn.2:1.”

    You’re howling at the wrong Hywel! Perhaps you read a different letter to alumni. This one is intended to remind graduates that it is the gospel, not the law, that is the power of holiness, and that, to those tempted to antinomianism, the law is the norm for those who aspire to holiness.

  3. Amen to that. My wife and I just finished talking about the inability of the law and the power of the gospel only moments ago after dinner. No better man than the beloved Hywel Jones to set us straight on this important life saving and life changing distinction.

  4. Thank you Dr. Clark and Phil for your replies! Thank you Dr. Jones for your article!

    May God continue to bless you all and your ministries at Westminister Seminary which has been a blessing to so many. I particularly have been blessed through the blogs.

    “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.” Galatians 6:18.

    Yours truly,

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