Before I began this series my intent was to do a series of episodes on the Reformed understanding of the Christian use of the moral law as the norm or rule of the Christian life. Confessional Protestants (Reformed and Lutheran) call it the “Third Use of the Law” (tertius usus legis). This has been a basic part of confessional Reformational theology from the beginning. We have not always used the language but we’ve always taught the substance of the doctrine against both those who would use the law improperly as a way to be accepted with God (justification) and those who, under the pretense of spirituality, dispense with the moral law (antinomonianism). This is our last stop, as it were, on our trip through the The Marrow of Modern Divinity before we begin our walk through each of the 10 commandments. In this episode, the Reformed Pastor explains to his friends the proper motives for sincerely obeying the law, how our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him, and he helps the legalist see how he doesn’t understand all that the law really demands.
Here’s the episode:
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This was a great series. Thank you for doing that. I laughed so hard when the CAST AWAY sound clip registered. “Wilson, Wilson, … Wilson!”
The book “Marrow of Modern Divinity” was an absolutely wonderful read.
Mr. Legality is gracious with bourgeois who are condign.
God says “Mercy triumphs over judgement.”
But with Mr. Legality you will find
he must consult with lawyers of like mind.
“Depart in peace, be warm and filled”,
because Christians of our kind
don’t associate with sinners of your ilk.
For all his talk of grace
he will, in the final analysis,
put a heavy yoke upon your neck
as he rings his hands in his middle-class palaces.
Law or grace? He doesn’t know,
his cold heart in bondage still.
“It’s a gracious law by which we work”
he says as he travels land and sea.
He wins his convert with natural ease
making them twice as much a child of hell.
He can’t love the Lord his God or
his neighbor as himself because the law
for him is not a normative guide
but rather the legal road by which he strives.
‘I lie in righteousness’, says he,
as he transgresses every jot and tittle.
He proudly trumpets loud and far,
‘My works contribute just enough
even though they are so little.’
The faithful when they see him crowing as he rides
turn and weep seeking mercy from the Lord
for ever turning right or left and
for having ever followed such blind guides.
Thank you Chris. I’m so glad that you read the Marrow. One of the reasons I’m doing the series—not quite done yet—is to get people to read it.