Of What Use Is The Law? Jeff Robinson Answers

Threefold-Use-of-Law_620“Of What Use is the Law? Three purposes”

by Jeff Robinson:

Recently, after our family had completed its daily devotional time together, my oldest son asked me a very insightful question: How do the Ten Commandments apply to us today if they were given so long ago in the Old Testament?


It is a basic theological question that many Christians have asked throughout the history of the church and it is an important query. Many answers have been given to that, not all of them good. Obviously, there are two answers that are dead wrong and lead to two opposite ditches that the follower of Christ must avoid: Antinomianism (the law of God has no place in the life of the believer and he/she is free to live however they please) and legalism (I am saved by how closely I adhere to God’s commands—works righteousness).


One of the best and most helpful answers, in my opinion, that has been given was set forth by the Genevan reformer, John Calvin. In his venerable systematic theology, the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin set forth three “uses” for the moral law of God. {Book 2, Chapter 7, edj}



Calvin’s is a helpful paradigm, I think. But perhaps best of all, Calvin reminded his readers, in speaking of the first use of the law, that the law—like a schoolmaster—prepares one to receive the good news of the gospel. The law of God demonstrates that man has no righteousness in himself that is pleasing to God. Sinful man must be given a righteousness that is extra nos—outside of himself. As the Puritans, Calvin’s theological ancestors, famously put it, the law wounds and then the gospel arrives and heals.


As followers of Christ, we are a people of grace and not law. But it is God’s law that demonstrates his spotless character and shows our need of grace. Calvin saw this clearly. As Paul admonished young Timothy, may God teach us how to use the law lawfully (1 Tim. 1:8).

For the full article please read, “Of What Use Is The Law? Three Purposes” by Jeff Robinson at The Blog: The Voice of Founders.org

{see also 2nd London Particular Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 19, Of The Law of God, edj}

2 Replies to “Of What Use Is The Law? Jeff Robinson Answers”

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    We would do well to reflect on the role
    as “Restrainer of evil” so that people “hold inside the
    depravity that otherwise they would wantonly have indulged” in the
    light of our culture today. A half century ago, Elton Trueblood wrote
    that we were a culture of “cut flowers” that temporarily look
    beautiful, but having no roots, wither. Many Christians have been
    very much rootless flowers. Trueblood noted that the Ten
    Commnandments were once ingrained in our culture. Today, few
    Christian children (and adults) know them in any order or form. And
    we expect to be salt in our society?

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