Lawful and Unlawful Use of the Law (Newton)

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

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


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)


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


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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