Reformed Podcasts

Understanding the Law

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Theology Gals | Episode 143

This week Coleen and Rachel discuss the division and uses of the law. 

Episode Resources:

Which Laws Apply? by R.C. Sproul

The Place of the Law by Guy Waters

God’s Law in Old and New Covenants OPC Q&A

Are Believers Under The Law As A Schoolmaster? R. Scott Clark 

The Reformed confessions teach that the pedagogical (second use) use of the law never disappears. Question 115 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks, “No one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly: Why then does God want them preached so pointedly?” Here is the answer: “First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness.” Likewise, the Westminster Confession of Faith (19.6) states that the second use of the law remains of great use to the believer. The law helps believers to discover “the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives, so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience.”” John Fonville 

“all three uses of the law (i.e., civil, pedagogical and normative) are always present in the believer’s life. However, these three uses do not function the same. To begin with, for unbelievers, the second use of the law is primary and the third use of the law does not even apply. For believers, the third use of the law becomes primary. In this sense, the law functions as a rule of life—guide of gratitude—providing the norms for the Christian life.” John Fonville 

“the law as a rule of life should be preached to guide believers in their gratitude (e.g., Titus 1:5-9; 2:2-10; 3:-12; 8-14). However, the law must never be preached to believers as a condition of life (i.e., a covenant of works: “Do this and live or else be cursed”).” John Fonville 

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