Lawful and Unlawful Use of the Law (Newton)

Originally posted on The Reformed Reader:

John Newton (d. 1807) wrote a helpful letter which is now called “On the Right Use of the Law.”  It is basically Newton’s theological commentary on 1 Timothy 1:8.  After discussing the law/gospel distinction, natural laws, and moral laws, he gives some ways the law is used lawfully and some ways in which it is used unlawfully.  Here they are in abbreviated form:

1) It is not a lawful use of the law to seek justification and acceptance with God by our obedience to it; because it is not appointed for this end, or capable of answering it in our circumstances.  The very attempt is a daring impeachment of the wisdom of God – for if righteousness could come by the law, then Christ has died in vain (Gal. 2:21; 3:21).  Therefore, such a hope is not only groundless, but sinful; and, when persisted in under the light of the…

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Little Pilgrim’s Progress

Originally posted on The Reformed Reader:

Little Pilgrim's Progress Since the original language of Pilgrim’s Progress is too archaic for many of today’s readers, and since I wanted my children to read and understand it, I looked around for an easier to read version or abridgment.  I know there are a few out there, but one that we really like is Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen Taylor which was first published over 60 years ago.  Though the story isn’t abridged, the chapters are relatively brief (perfect for reading aloud), there are some illustrations, and most of the language is understandable for most readers (I’d say an average 10-12 year old would understand most of this book).  Here’s an example of the language, in case you were wondering.

‘It is such a tiresome journey,’ continued Unbelief, ‘and if you ever get to the end of it, you will only be disappointed.’


‘Then Unbelief pretended to look sad.  ‘There is…

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We Are Sanctified By Faith

Originally posted on Interact:

We are sanctified by faith so that we might obey the Law.

Christ, by His righteousness, intercedes for us before the Father, so that we might be declared righteous, He being our advocate. In just the same way, by making us participants in His Spirit, He sanctifies us, in order to make us pure and innocent. For the Spirit of the Lord came upon Him without measure — the Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of strength, of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord — in order that we might all draw from His fulness and receive grace from the grace given to Him (see John 1:16)

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who…

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A Covenant Of Grace (Olevianus)

Originally posted on Interact:

Question:  Why is the redemption or reconciliation of humanity with God presented to us in the form of a covenant, indeed a covenant of grace?

Answer: God compares the means of our salvation to a covenant, indeed an eternal covenant, so that we might be certain and assured that a lasting, eternal peace and friendship between God and us has been made through the sacrifice of His Son. After a bitter quarrel, the disputants have peace of mind first and foremost when they commit and bind themselves to each other with a promise and sworn oath that on such-and-such a matter they want peace. God acts the same way toward us: in order that we might have rest and peace in our consciences, God was willing, out of His great goodness and grace, to bind Himself to us, His enemies, with His promise and His oath.

He promised that He…

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An Evaluation of John Piper’s ‘Future Grace,’ From C or C Friend Rob Weaver


Helpful thoughts on John Piper’s Future Grace

Originally posted on Creed:or:Chaos:

Click for wiki

John Piper is arguably one of the most influential preachers among the current generation of Calvinist and Reformed Christians in America. So many things about Piper are great, but the things that are not so great need to be recognized — precisely because he’s so influential.

C or C friend Rob Weaver knows a lot about Piper, and a lot about confessional Reformed theology. If you’re interested in Piper’s work (or have friends that are), you should check out this brief and clear, appreciative but also critical, evaluation of Piper’s Future Grace. To read it (as a PDF) click here.

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Does Providence Include All Things?

Does Providence Include All Things?.

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Providence (Olevianus)

Providence (Olevianus).

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On Lawkeeping and Lawbreaking

Originally posted on Literate Comments:

Erik Charter

Posted June 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

By all means teach the Law. Christians need to know right from wrong. Hopefully when they hear the law they realize that they fail to keep it and look to Christ for help.

The problem comes when Christians who major on the Law inevitably try to come up with some new and improved system to try to keep it. This is where we get Doug Phillips, Patriarchy, Vision Forum, The Federal Vision, The Stay at Home Daughters Movement, Courting Not Dating, Radical Homeschooling, Bill Gothard, The Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, and on-and-on.

Just let the Law stand on its own without trying to invent a method, organization, or career to assist people with their lawkeeping. What inevitably happens is that, in so doing, another aspect of lawbreaking that maybe you have not considered rises up and bites…

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Imputation Is NOT an Experience, but Results in Hearing the Gospel

Originally posted on For the Elect Alone:

The Holy Spirit does not impute Christ’s righteousness, so we cannot refer only to the Holy Spirit in the “application” of the accomplished atonement. Even though there is no justification apart from regeneration and faith, the righteousness of Christ has priority over the work of the Spirit, and legal imputation is not the work of the Spirit.

Romans 4: What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him unto righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is imputed…

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Do Two Kingdoms Theology Advocates Believe in the Third Use of the Law?


Helpful thoughts on Two Kingdoms Theology and the Third Use of the Law

Originally posted on Literate Comments:

Jason – Do you believe in the third use of the law?

Erik – I do, but I think of the law in the same way the Heidelberg does. Guilt-Grace-Gratitude. The law falls in the third (Gratitude) section.

I see far too many in Reformed circles taking the “Grace” section for granted and putting their focus on the “Gratitude” section. As in, “Yeah, of course we accept the gospel, but all the important action revolves around our piety, politics, how we are to reshape society, and what the magistrate should be doing to bring society in line.” I just don’t buy it. The emphasis is all wrong.

We used to have a couple in our URC church. The wife grew up in the CRC. Her dad was still in the CRC and was a retired faculty member from a Christian college (I think maybe he taught sociology). He was…

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