More than You Bargained For?

If a person living in the United States discovers that he prefers democracy to other forms of political governance, glaces at the major parties and discovers a Democratic Party, and decides that’s the party for him, he may have made a legitimate decision. But wouldn’t he want to find out something about the party’s past and platforms. What happens when he examines the work of Andrew Jackson, or Stephen Douglas, or Woodrow Wilson, or Bill Clinton, and finds that these figures may be Democrat but he hardly approves of their administrations? Does he then rethink his identification with the Democratic Party?

This analogy occurred to me once again when considering the arguments of John Frame against the so-called Escondido Theology. Greenbaggins has started reviewing Frame’s latest book and has come to the first chapter on the law-gospel distinction. He writes in response to one of Frame’s infelicities:

Frame goes on to say, “They are also motivated by a desire to oppose what they regard as theological corruptions of the Reformation doctrine, particularly the views of N.T. Wright, Norman Shepherd, and the movement called Federal Vision.” I would be a whole lot more comfortable with this sentence had Frame struck out the words “what they regard as.” These distancing words would seem to imply that Frame does not regard Wright, Shepherd, and the FV to be corruptions of the Reformation doctrine. Also, I would think a more charitable way of phrasing this motivation would be that the WSC theologians are motivated by a desire to defend the truth (are they really motivated by opposition, or are they motivated by the truth?).

Greenbaggins contends that the law-gospel distinction has a long pedigree in Reformed circles. It is not merely a Lutheran way of interpreting the Bible, even if Reformed Protestants are not of one mind in distinguishing law and gospel.

Frame notes what he thinks are two failures of the WSC theologians: 1. They fail to notice the problems with the law-gospel distinction. 2. They “fail to understand that the law is not only a terrifying set of commands to drive us to Christ, but is also the gentle voice of the Lord, showing his people that the best blessings of this life come from following his will” (p. 2). WSC theologians fail to notice the problems that Frame points out because they are not problems for the law-gospel distinction. Advocates have noted these objections before and answered them. As to the second point, Frame seems to be accusing the WSC theologians of denying the third use of the law. Whether this is an accurate assessment of Frame’s charge here or not, Frame is off the mark. WSC theologians do not deny the third use of the law any more than Lutherans do (there is an entire section in the Augsburg Confession devoted to the third use of the law).

Greenbaggins’ critique of Frame has not prevented his readers from wondering whether something is still suspect about Westminster California. Some continue to think that the law-gospel distinction has no standing in the Reformed creeds. Others seem to think it may be there but the Southern Californians use it in a radical way. So I’m to imagine that using the law-gospel distinction in opposition to Shepherd, Wright, and the Federal Vision is extreme?

Once again, what seems to happen is that Reformed Protestants understand the Reformed tradition to be as old either as the founding of the Free University or the creation of Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia). These folks continue to be surprised that older members of the Reformed tradition, some of those who defined it, spoke about doctrines like jure divino presbyterianism, or exclusive psalmody, or the priority of justification, or the law-gospel distinction. I too was surprised to learn these doctrines back when my exposure to the Reformed faith came mainly from the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology and Francis Schaeffer. But, you know, I soon discovered that the Reformed faith preceded Princeton Seminary and Jonathan Edwards and went all the way back to the sixteenth century where Protestants talked about law-gospel distinctions. Unlike the democrat who did not like what he found among the Democratic Party, I had no problem trying to take instruction from Reformed Protestants older than Abraham Kuyper and Cornelius Van Til (both of whom Frame claims to follow).

Speaking of following Kuyper and Van Til, these Dutch Protestants were members of a church that confessed the Heidelberg Catechism. And lo and behold, the Heidelberg Catechism makes a distinction between law and gospel.

Question 3. Whence knowest thou thy misery?
Answer: Out of the law of God.

Question 4. What does the law of God require of us?
Answer: Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt. 22:37-40, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Question 18. Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, and a real righteous man?
Answer: Our Lord Jesus Christ: “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”

Question 19. Whence knowest thou this?
Answer: From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; and afterwards published by the patriarchs and prophets, and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son.

Some may wonder if this really is a law-gospel distinction (by the way, you can see a similar distinction between Q. 39 in the Shorter Catechism — “The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to his revealed will” and Q. 85 “To escape the wrath and curse of sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby he communicates the benefits of redemption.” The section on the law is distinct from the means of grace.). But if you go to Zacharias Ursinus’ commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, it sure looks like he thinks Heidelberg rests upon this basic distinction:

The gospel and the law agree in this, that they are both from God, and that there is something revealed in each concerning the nature, will, and works of God. There is, however, a very great difference between them:

1. In the revelations which they contain; or, as it respects the manner in which the revelation peculiar to each is made known. The law was engraven upon the heart of man in his creation, and is therefore known to all naturally, although no other revelation were given. “The Gentiles have the work of the law written in their hearts.” (Rom. 2: 15.) The gospel is not known naturally, but is divinely revealed to the Church alone through Christ, the Mediator. For no creature could have seen or hoped for that mitigation of the law concerning satisfaction for our sins through another, if the Son of God had not revealed it. “No man knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee.” “The Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (Matt. 11: 27; 16: 17.)

2. In the kind of doctrine, or subject peculiar to each. The law teaches us what we ought to be, and what God requires of us, but it does not give us the ability to perform it, nor does it point out the way by which we may avoid what is forbidden. But the gospel teaches us in what manner we may be made such as the law requires: for it offers unto us the promise of grace, by having the righteousness of Christ imputed to us through faith, and that in such a way as if it were properly ours, teaching us that we are just before God, through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The law says, “Pay what thou owest.” “Do this, and live.” (Matt. 18: 28. Luke 10: 28.) The gospel says, “Only believe.” (Mark 5: 36.)

3. A the promises. The law promises life to those who are righteous in themselves, or on the condition of righteousness, and perfect obedience. “He that doeth them, shall live in them.” “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Lev. 18: 5. Matt. 19: 17.) The gospel, on the other hand, promises life to those who are justified by faith in Christ, or on the condition of the righteousness of Christ, applied unto us by faith. The law and gospel are, however, not opposed to each other in these respects: for although the law requires us to keep the commandments if we would enter into life, yet it does not exclude us from life if another perform these things for us. It does indeed propose a way of satisfaction, 105which is through ourselves, but it does not forbid the other, as has been shown.

4. They differ in their effects. The law, without the gospel, is the letter which killeth, and is the ministration of death: “For by the law is the knowledge of sin.” “The law worketh wrath; and the letter killeth.” (Rom. 3: 20; 4: 15. 2 Cor. 3: 6.) The outward preaching, and simple knowledge of what ought to be done, is known through the letter: for it declares our duty, and that righteousness which God requires; and, whilst it neither gives us the ability to perform it, nor points out the way through which it may be attained, it finds fault with, and condemns our righteousness. But the gospel is the ministration of life, and of the Spirit, that is, it has the operations of the Spirit united with it, and quickens those that are dead in sin, because it is through the gospel that the Holy Spirit works faith and life in the elect. “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation,” etc. (Rom. 1: 16.)

Objection: There is no precept, or commandment belonging to the gospel, but to the law. The preaching of repentance is a precept. Therefore the preaching of repentance does not belong to the gospel. but to the law. Answer: We deny the major, if it is taken generally; for this precept is peculiar to the gospel, which commands us to believe, to embrace the benefits of Christ, and to commence new obedience, or that righteousness which the law requires. If it be objected that the law also commands us to believe in God, we reply that it does this only in general, by requiring us to give credit to all the divine promises, precepts and denunciations, and that with a threatening of punishment, unless we do it. But the gospel commands us expressly and particularly to embrace, by faith, the promise of grace; and also exhorts us by the Holy Spirit, and by the Word, to walk worthy of our heavenly calling. This however it does only in general, not specifying any duty in particular, saying thou shalt do this, or that, but it leaves this to the law; as, on the contrary, it does not say in general, believe all the promises of God, leaving this to the law; but it says in particular, Believe this promise; fly to Christ, and thy sins shall be forgiven thee.

Now since several of Westminster California’s faculty are ministers in a communion that confesses Heidelberg, should it really be that surprising they follow Van Til and Kuyper all the way back to Ursinus and affirm a distinction that the historically challenged consider to be sub-Reformed? Or might it be more plausible to recognize that since members of Westminster California’s faculty work within the Continental Reformed tradition, their appeal to the law-gospel distinction entirely compatible with earlier generations of Reformed Protestants?

This doesn’t settle, of course, whether the law-gospel distinction is correct. But given Frame’s endorsement of a pro-Shepherd account of the Shepherd controversy, I am reserving the right to question what he believes to be at stake in contemporary debates over justification, not to mention other matters of Reformed Protestant conviction.

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74 Comments

  1. mark mcculley
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    The “new perspective” and the “federal vision” claim that they are not so much denying anything but trying to INCLUDE more. Thus their antithesis against the law-gospel antithesis. They begin to define justification as BOTH forensic and transformative. The forensic can be included but it CANNOT be “hegemonic”. Something more “real” than the legal will always be given the first (and last) place.

    This is the new antithesis: legal categories cannot be controlling. It cannot be grace vs works, but grace and works. It cannot be faith in Christ vs works. It cannot be justification now vs justification by works then, or we will end up being “couch potatoes” who are not using our worldviews to take dominion and bring in the kingdom.

    According to both the “new perspective” and the “federal vision”, status can be declared only but “righteousness” is not a property which can be imputed. Thus the antithesis—we are not allowed to say anymore that the legal record of Christ’s obedience is a value which can be transferred. That would make Christ to be the “first Pelagian” racking up frequent flyer miles (merits).

    Or so we are told. Some “regard as” error the law-gospel antithesis so clearly taught in Romans 10 and Galatians 3-4. But John Frame is above all that. His”perspectives” are catholic enough to include contradictions..

  2. mark mcculley
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    In The God of Promise and the Life of Faith, footnote 6 on p244, Hafemann writes:” The position I am advocating is based on a reassessment of the traditional Lutheran, Calvinistic and dispensational view of the relationship between the Law and the Gospel. The traditional view saw a conflict between the two, with the law viewed narrowly as God’s demand for sinless obedience as the ground of our salvation, while the gospel called for faith In God’s grace in Christ, who kept the Law perfectly in our place.”

    Hafemann does not understand correctly the antithesis he is opposing. Yes, the law is the divine demand for perfection (and also for satisfaction for sins). But he is wrong to focus on a demand for
    perfection being replaced by a demand for faith. The more basic need is not faith but the object of faith— righteousness obtained by Jesus Christ (who is both God and human) and imputed by God. .

    Faith in the gospel is not directed toward just any “Jesus” or any “grace”, but the Jesus who satisfied the law for all who will be justified (and not for the non-elect). This faith is not only a
    sovereign gift but a righteous gift, given on behalf of Christ and His law-work (Philippians 1:29; John 17).

    When evangelical pietists redefine the antithesis to be between a demand for faith and a demand for perfect obedience, they end up focusing their time on the nature of their faith and experience than
    they do thinking about Christ’s satisfaction of the law for the elect. They ask…. Does faith include works or not? Since faith is a result of regeneration, won’t that faith include works?

    Those in the “federal vision” complain that the law/gospel antithesis is wrong to put all the emphasis on the past. They deny that the past work of Christ is sufficient or the only object of faith. They look
    also to the life (of Christ in us, they say) yet to be lived by us.

    The law-gospel antithesis is not about a “conflict” between the two. It is about non-contradiction, about non-identity. The law is not the gospel. The gospel is not the law. The gospel, however, is about the satisfaction of God’s law for God’s elect.

    Though law and gospel are not the same thing, they are not opposed because they never claim to have the same function. Law says what God demands. Gospel says how Christ satisfied that demand for the elect. Not to exclude reading Romans 10:4 in terms of redemptive-historical
    discontinuity, the “end of the law” there involves Christ completing all that the law demanded, so that there is no remainder left for the Spirit enabled Christian to do in order to be blessed by God. All blessing comes by means of Christ’s already finished and complete righteousness.. The gospel says DONE. The gospel does not say “to be done by the life of Christ in the elect”.

    Many evangelicals redefine the law/gospel antithesis into an abolishment of law. That misses what the gospel says about Christ’s satisfaction of the law for the elect.

    If God demands perfection, is God therefore a “legalist”? It seems to me that the only alternative to a demand for perfection is either no law at all or a “catholic mixture of perspectives” which calls for
    our imperfect righteousness and then adds “grace” to make up the difference.

    Barthians like the Torrances reject the “contract God” who demands perfection and operates by strict justice. But God has told us that the law is not the gospel and that it never was the gospel. Romans 11:5–”So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it
    is by grace, it is not on the basis of works; otherwise grace would not be grace.”

  3. Paul
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    >>>2. They “fail to understand that the law is not only a terrifying set of commands to drive us to Christ, but is also the gentle voice of the Lord, showing his people that the best blessings of this life come from following his will”<<<

    This is rich!

    I've suffered through two of the most difficult years of my life. I could really use God's best blessings right now. I guess I'll just try harder to keep His commandments . . . become more introspective . . . like Philip Melanchthon.

    John Frame is carving out quite a legacy for himself. While decrying Machen's Warrior Children, Frame fights tooth and nail for the what will go down as some of the sorriest causes in Church history.

  4. Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Michael Horton just wrote an article in the recent Modern Reformation magazine (March/April 2012) entitled, “When your testimony is boring.” As a young man in high school his Pastor asked him, “Son, when were you saved?” Horton responded: “In God’s plan, I was saved before the foundation of the world. Then, in God’s sacrifice, I was saved when Christ died and was raised,and I am being saved by God’s preserving and sanctifying grace.” He then goes on to explain the difference between decisional regeneration and the order of salvation as expounded on by the major reformed theologians. He then distinguishes regeneration from conversion and explains that our faith and repentance (gifts of regeneration) are the active part of the order of salvation and become the active elements in our life long conversion.

    He also said something I have never heard before. He stated: “When the Reformers wrote about regeneration, they were not thinking about the new birth (as most of us do today), but about sanctification, that is, the process of inward moral transformation by the Holy Spirit’s gradual renewal of our sinful affections……The new birth gives us the principle of spiritual life that causes us to cry out, “Abba, Father”: without it all of our works, all of our movements, all of our decisions and rededications are nothing more than the stirrings of those who are only alive, and utterly alive, to sin.

    I really want to go into this article in more depth (but I have to go to work right now) because it seems he leaves out discussing the grace of imputation but does make slight mention of it by stating, “and that even our new birth is the result of grace alone, not of human cooperation with grace.”

    I am unclear on what “a principle of spiritual life” means. This is where the subjective and objective gets very confusing and it is easy to go subjective to start looking for evidences of the inward transformations of our spiritual affections like Richard so persistently defends.

  5. Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, sure, go to some obscure guy named Ursinus…

    I know you know you’re just scratching the surface in the Law/Gospel elements of the Heidelberg Catechism, but how about the basic Guilt, Grace, Gratitude structure of the thing, which is a fundamentally Law / Gospel view of the Christian life, nicely incorporating the third use.

    And then there’s is the precise use of “gospel,” the preaching of which the Spirit uses to work faith in our hearts (65), and which is one of the keys of the kingdom (83), opening the kingdom of heaven to believers. I guess the kingdom of heaven (via gospel / faith) pales in comparison to the “best blessings of this life” (via law / works).

    But my favorite Ursinus quote is the very first sentence of his commentary:

    “The doctrine of the church is the entire and uncorrupted doctrine of the LAW and GOSPEL concerning the true God…”

  6. Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Brian, sure, go inside baseball with all of that Continental Reformed stuff.

  7. Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    McMark, but the way to blur law and gospel is by sneeking grace into the relationship. If the law is gracious (which it is in a sense), then it must be salvific. But then there is Paul’s stop sign, the law is not of faith. Must be a different kind of grace.

    What the law-is-gracious crowd forget is that Rome says salvation is entirely gracious — good works and all.

    The language of grace clarifies nothing. In some cases it obscures, as in “grace before the fall.”

  8. Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Too often when Christian living and good works are exhorted in sermons, I hear grace invoked as some kind of seasoning or spice that enables the believer to think, speak, and act as God intends. As in: Jesus died for you sins. You’re now forgiven and have his Spirit. So, relying on the grace that he gives, go out and love your neighbor as yourself… The gospel is functionally reduced to “grace added” and gets presented as a means to an end kind of thing, something given in order that you can do it.

  9. Posted March 10, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    On the flip side of what Jack is pointing out about what it means to preach grace, I think perhaps the BIGGEST unadressed issue in this debate is what a faithful preaching of the third use looks like.

    I have no doubt that what many WSCA preachers (including myself) consider a faithful application of the Law under the third use would not measure up to what critics are looking for in Law preaching.

    Just a hunch. Don’t know how to get at defining those terms more precisely. Maybe some of you can point me to a place where this has been helpfully addressed.

  10. Posted March 10, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Brian, if we would simply include the Decalogue every Lord’s Day, whether before the confession of sin, or after the declaration of pardon (3rd use), we would at least have to address the law in some way. But Frame wasn’t much help on this one since his liturgical sensibilities hardly follow Kuyper or Calvin when it comes to the order of service.

  11. Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    This is not the post to ask about that Horton article- I am off topic in a Law/Gospel post. I was trying to think of a way it could be related (and with a stretch I could do it) but I will have to wait for a more relevant post. There were things said about union with Christ which I thought were somewhat confusing. It was written for a general and wide audience and should probably consult his COVENANT AND SALVATION book to answer my questions.

    That book that Scott Clark edited (or wrote) and mentioned at Greenbagins which goes into the Law/Gospel distinction thoroughly from a Pastoral perspective looks pretty good to me. Has anybody read it out there in oldlife land? Is it worth buying?

  12. Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    John.

    If you’re referring to Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry, I’ve read it and, yes, it was very much worth reading.

  13. Zrim
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    But wait, there’s more:

    Edward Fisher (c.1601-1655). “Now, the law is a doctrine partly known by nature, teaching us that there is a God, and what God is, and what he requires us to do, binding all reasonable creatures to perfect obedience, both internal and external, promising the favour of God, and everlasting life to all those who yield perfect obedience thereunto, and denouncing the curse of God and everlasting damnation to all those who are not perfectly correspondent thereunto. But the gospel is a doctrine revealed from heaven by the Son of God, presently after the fall of mankind into sin and death, and afterwards manifested more clearly and fully to the patriarchs and prophets, to the evangelists and apostles, and by them spread abroad to others; wherein freedom from sin, from the curse of the law, the wrath of God, death, and hell, is freely promised for Christ’s sake unto all who truly believe on his name.” (The Marrow of Modern Divinity; 1645, repr. 1978, 337-38.)

    William Twisse (1578-1646). “How many ways does the Word of God teach us to come to the Kingdom of heaven? Two. Which are they? The Law and the Gospel. What says the Law? Do this and live. What says the Gospel? Believe in Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Can we come to the Kingdom of God by the way of God’s Law? No.Why so? Because we cannot do it. Why can we not do it? Because we are all born in sin. What is it to be none in sin? To be naturally prone to evil and …that that which is good. How did it come to pass that we are all borne in sin? By reason of our first father Adam. Which way then do you hope to come tot he Kingdom of Heaven? By the Gospel? What is the Gospel? The glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ. To whom is the glad tidings brought: to the righteousness? No. Why so? For two reasons. What is the first? Because there is none that is righteous and sin not. What is the other reason? Because if we were righteous, i.e., without sin we should have no need of Christ Jesus. To whom then is this glad tiding brought? To sinners. What, to all sinners? To whom then? To such as believe and repent. This is the first lesson, to know the right way to the Kingdom of Heaven.: and this consists in knowing the difference between the Law and the Gospel. What does the Law require? That we should be without sin. What does the Gospel require? That we should confess our sins, amend our lives, and then through faith in Christ we shall be saved. The Law requires what? Perfect obedience. The Gospel what? Faith and true repentance.” (A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine, 1633).

    J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937). “A new and more powerful proclamation of law is perhaps the most pressing need of the hour; men would have little difficulty with the gospel if they had only learned the lesson of the law. As it is, they are turning aside from the Christian pathway; they are turning to the village of Morality, and to the house of Mr. Legality, who is reported to be very skillful in relieving men of their burdens… ‘Making Christ Master’ in the life, putting into practice ‘the principles of Christ’ by one’s own efforts-these are merely new ways of earning salvation by one’s obedience to God’s commands” (What Is Faith?, 1925).

    Louis Berkhof (1873-1957). “The Churches of the Reformation from the very beginning distinguished between the law and the gospel as the two parts of the Word of God as a means of grace. This distinction was not understood to be identical with that between the Old and the New Testament, but was regarded as a distinction that applies to both Testaments. There is law and gospel in the Old Testament, and there is law and gospel in the New. The law comprises everything in Scripture which is a revelation of God’s will in the form of command or prohibition, while the gospel embraces everything, whether it be in the Old Testament or in the New, that pertains to the work of reconciliation and that proclaims the seeking and redeeming love o God in Christ Jesus” (Systematic Theology, [Grand Rapids, 4th edn. 1941], 612).

  14. Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jack- that is the book I was referring to. I think I will order it; I already read those quotes at the Greenbaggins site Zrim.

  15. Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I like Machen’s quote the best- but I am a big brown nose at the oldlife site

  16. Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    (Oh, sorry, John, I’ll try to do better at keeping it fresh just.for.you. All about who?)

  17. Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading your long Lutheran quotes at the Baggins too Zrim. As a sidenote, I think I experienced more transformation “out in the wild” than I have anywhere else- especially when comparing that with what I experienced in revivalistic type churches. When you get know those “out in the wild” and learn how to handle their negative reactions towards you some amazing things happen to your insides. When you finally get accepted you learn their tragic stories and they are no longer feared as much. I am probably stretching my interpretation of what “out in the wild” means but that is what I thought of when I read that.

  18. Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I knew that one was coming Zrim- you have wanted to say that for a long time now. I get the message.

  19. Adam Koontz
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Something small but interesting appears in one of DGH’s quotes from Greenbaggins. The third use of the law isn’t handled in the Augsburg Confession (1530) but in the Formula of Concord (1577). It’s a minor point, and Greenbaggins was making the very apt observation that Lutherans actually pay attention to the whole question, contra the accusations of some Reformed theologians.

    Yet that even someone coming to the defense of the Lutherans makes such a slip, locating the Lutheran discussion in a much earlier confession, leads me to believe that the Lutherans are more of a cipher in intra-Reformed debate than a presence. We stand in for a potential slide into antinomianism running on too much free grace. Not coincidentally, “Lutheran” is similarly used as an epithet among non-Reformed and Reformed proponents of the New Perspective. The somewhat exotic, Mitteleuropaeische Lutherans serve better as ghosts than fellow-theologians for NPP and FV proponents. The accusation of not teaching the third use can’t therefore be much more than a boogeyman to scare the old Adam’s opinio legis.

  20. Posted March 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    John, speaking of being out in the wild, the best thing the revival friendly Baptist Seminary made me do all those years ago was read Lutherans. I don’t think that was the sort of personal transformation they had in mind though.

  21. Lily
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Adam,

    Have you read the paper below where the history of Luther’s 3rd use of the law is traced back to the Augsburg and small catechism?

    A Lutheran View of the Third Use of the Law
    by Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D.
    http://tinyurl.com/7rzkbkb

  22. Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    You gatta love Lily. Bringing home the historical timeline. Good find, well done… and –
    cheers…

  23. mark mcculley
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    “The law is not of faith” is Paul’s stop sign, something revealed by God in Leviticus which will not go away, no matter how one redefines law or faith.

    People can say all matter of true things about the difference between law and gospel (and I have no doubt that the false teachers in Galatia did so), but they have no legitimate right to say them, if they avoid the offense of the cross being A. for the elect alone and B. being alone the difference why some are saved from the wrath God’s law demands.

    If Christ’s death were a righteousness intended and obtained for everybody, then it would not be Christ’s death but our faith which must make the difference. Nobody comes along and says that Jesus didn’t need to die. They just say that Jesus died for everybody but that it doesn’t work unless the Spirit causes you to consent to it. They just say that, even if you are not elect and even if the Spirit doesn’t cause you to consent to it, Jesus loves you and died for you and offers to save you, but His death didn’t take away your guilt and it doesn’t work, because you didn’t have faith in it.

    But if Jesus died for everybody, then it is that death PLUS your being changed so that you want to make an exchange using that death which has become the new gospel. And then the gospel promise is no longer about Christ alone or His death alone but now about your being changed. The message of His death plus your accepting it is really at the end a message about your accepting it..

  24. mark mcculley
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    The law commands faith, Daniel Fuller claims, so all we need to do is avoid MISUNDERSTANDING so that our works are “works of faith” and not a “legalism of merit without faith.” It’s not “nothing of works”. Rather, it is of works, and besides that, the works must be of faith. So instead of trusting only the finished work of Christ, we must constantly suspect ourselves, and keep checking to see if our works are properly motivated. T

    Thus Daniel Fuller finds salvation not in the past finished work of Christ but in a hermeneutic which makes a distinction between different kinds of works. “The ‘letter’ from which we are released is the one without the Sprit…and thus is the very opposite of the spiritual law of Romans 7.”

    The perspective which takes sides against the law-gospel antithesis reads Romans 7 and II Cor 3 as warnings (proper for any covenant) to NOT MISUNDERSTAND works. Then this perspective says that justification can also be by works, rightly understood.. “Paul does not use ‘letter’ as a simple equivalent of ‘the law’.” “Letter” is rather what the legalist is left with as a result of his misunderstanding, and misuse of the law in isolation from the Spirit is not the law in its true character….”

    Those “Reformed” who reject the law-grace antithesis as “Lutheran” attempt to teach us that, as long as works are enabled by sovereign grace, then salvation is by works. The gospel either/or is abandoned for the sake of the “not yet” and the “however but”. We can’t just say anymore flat out, without nuance and perspectives, that God in Christ DID what the law could NEVER do (Romans 8:3). For those who agree with John Frame, that sounds too “antinomian” and “dispensationalist”.
    “Those indwelt by the Spirit are disposed to comply with the spiritual law of faith…”

    “Multiple perspectives” means that nothing is ruled out. Works are not ruled out as means of future justification.. If we work without boasting and with faith, we are told, then we will be judged favorably. according to our works.

  25. mark mcculley
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Romans 9:32 “Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone.”

    In order to perform its killing function, the Mosaic covenant law demanded perfection with the power to condemn. Law is not simply a tutor that “reveals” sin or makes people aware of sin. Romans 5:20 says that the law entered that sin would increase, not simply knowledge about sin.

    The law does not merely “kill” by making us thinking of things to do that we would not have thought of before. One main way that the law kills is that it is used by idolaters (us all by nature) to try to justify ourselves before God (I did it, or I did enough of it…)

    So the law kills, leads to death, and without the gospel, only that. But the elect while still under the law are taught by the gospel to see that they are dead. I think this is the meaning of Romans 7 verse 9: “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.”

    This “I died” is something different besides the death we were born with under the law. It’s life to see that you are dead and to see that any and all righteousness worked by us(Phil 3:9) is insufficient to stand before God. Only Christ can (and has for the elect) satisfied the requirements of the law and thus obtained a righteousness, so that the law now demands that the elect be given every blessing of salvation.

    But did the Mosaic law announce clearly that it was a “killing instrument” and not the gospel? If it didn’t, who could blame any Jew for using the law wrong to be saved? The central text discussed in this connection is Romans 9:32–”They did not seek if by faith, as it were by works of law.”

    The ”federal vision perspectives” teaches that there is no difference between law and gospel, but only a right way and a wrong way of pursuing the law, and that the gospel is the right way of pursuing the law. The most interesting rebuttal to this is an essay by David Gordon in WTJ (Spring 1992): “Why Israel did not obtain Torah Righteousness; A note on Romans 9:32.”

    Gordon writes that the verse should be translated not “as if it were”, but “because the law is not of faith” in line with Gal 3:12. “The qualification works-and-not faith in Gal 3:10-13 is parallel to the qualification works and not faith in Romans 9:32.”

    “If one group attained what the other did not, the difference between them might lie in the manner in which they pursued it…This is now what Paul says however. The two groups did not pursue the same thing (the gentiles pursued nothing)…Paul’s point therefore is NOT that the Gentiles pursued righteousness in a better manner (by faith) than the Jews. Rather, God’s mercy gives what is not even pursued.”

    mcmark: But then what will we do if we can’t tell “carnal Christians” that their “future justification” depends on 1. their pursuing and 2. how they pursue? Surely, we would not want to go back to that old dangerous teaching of Bunyan that God justifies the ungodly and does it before sinners even take the first step!

    Gordon: “When Paul asks why the Jews did not attain unto the Torah, his answer addressed the NATURE of the covenant (Torah demands perfect obedience), not the nature of the PURSUIT of the Torah.”

    The “federal vision” evangelicals who say “we do it the right way, with the faith and not works” do not understand the gospel. We don’t do it ANY way. God did it. God did it at the cross, for the elect.

  26. Posted March 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Zrim,

    I appreciate you being concerned enough to correct me when I need it. I have come to really like and respect you and Darryl and what you said really effected me deeply. Hopefully, it will be of benefit and cause some change in my life. It did something inside me which I really needed to hear. Again, thanks for your concern.

  27. Posted March 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    The Augsburg Confession, for example, objected to Rome’s pretension that “whoever observed festivals in this way, prayed in this way, fasted in this way, and dressed in this way was said to live a spiritual and Christian life.”

    So, Lily, just out of curiosity, when you have suggested in other places that the third use of the law may have something to do with the neonomianism of religious affections, is it because you have in mind what the Augsburg did in terms of what made for Christian piety?

  28. Lily
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Zrim,

    Partially. I understand what you quoted as being one of Luther’s objections to men’s consciences being bound by man-made law instead of limited to God’s law. As I understand it, the abuse of the 3rd use of the law is where man takes his opinion or advice and turns it into law and binds his hearer’s consciences. The problem isn’t having opinions or advice, it’s adding or conflating them into God’s law and binding others. At this point, I understand neonomianism in that way and that it is not unlike what the Pharisees did (eg: you can walk this far on the Sabbath but no further). It’s spelling out the law in a way God has not (he has left much open to our discretion) – if that makes sense?

    Perhaps another way to look at the abuse of the 3rd use is to compare it being a helicopter parent. I would be tempted to label the Puritans helicopter parents who in explaining the law, add to the law (hence 3rd use abuse). In Edwards case, he goes far beyond what the bible teaches, elevates subjective experiences, and appoints himself judge of emotions (eg: Phebe). It’s as though these kinds of teachers do not understand that the Holy Spirit is able to teach. How would you view what Edwards did?

  29. Richard Smith
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Lily: Zrim,
    Perhaps another way to look at the abuse of the 3rd use is to compare it being a helicopter parent. I would be tempted to label the Puritans helicopter parents who in explaining the law, add to the law (hence 3rd use abuse). In Edwards case, he goes far beyond what the bible teaches, elevates subjective experiences, and appoints himself judge of emotions (eg: Phebe). It’s as though these kinds of teachers do not understand that the Holy Spirit is able to teach. How would you view what Edwards did?

    RS: The Puritans added to the law? Edwards went far beyond what the Bible taught? He elevated subjective experiences? He appointed himself judge of emotions? It sounds like you are judging her “emotions” even though you never met her. Maybe Edwards did understand what the Holy Spirit taught in Scripture and teaches people in the application of Scripture to life. It is very easy to stand back and snipe at people and what they actually taught when one has read what others who did not like them have written about them. Primary sources is very important, which is why people need to read the Bible with prayer rather than always trust others to tell them what to believe. That is what the Scribes and the Pharisees did. Their study went through endless quotations of Rabbi so and so verses another Rabbi versus another one and so on. Endless quotations of others rather than the Scriptures themselves? Does that sound familiar?

  30. Posted March 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Lily, thanks. So more like abuse of the normative use leads to neonomianism (like abuse of the pedagogical use leads to antinomianism…and abuse of the civil use leads to theonomy). As far as Edwards, though it’ll go over like a bag of hammers with the local Edwardsean, I’ll just say that when I read Augsburg’s objection to Rome’s pretensions I immediately think of the pretensions of the 1GA and its wake. And I object.

  31. Posted March 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Richard, did you notice how you compared Edwards’ writings with Scripture? But even reading the Bible with prayer, which is surely advised, doesn’t solve as much as you think. I bet the Pope adds diligent prayer to his Bible reading, but he still denies sola fide. Plus, what you say about reading first and secondary sources applies to Edwards—endless quotations of Edwards fans by more Edwards fans, and then before you know it, voila, Edwards is beyond scrutiny.

  32. Posted March 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    John, not to take anything away from your kind words, but I wasn’t correcting, just ribbing.

  33. Lily
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Zrim,

    Re: So more like abuse of the normative use leads to neonomianism (like abuse of the pedagogical use leads to antinomianism…and abuse of the civil use leads to theonomy).

    Yes, if I’m understanding all those big words properly. I’m thinking it’s the need for caution/awareness similar to what you warned me regarding 2k (wink) and yes, I do heed you. ;)

    Re: I’ll just say that when I read Augsburg’s objection to Rome’s pretensions I immediately think of the pretensions of the 1GA and its wake. And I object.

    What is 1GA?

  34. Lily
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    Even though it’s been close to a decade since I read Edwards and a few of the other American Puritan writers – my opinion stands. I will continue to appreciate and value orthodox theologians and historians, and will continue to not be impressed by your assertion that you stand above them.

  35. Lily
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Got it – 1GA – ewwwwww.

  36. Richard Smith
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Lily: Richard, Even though it’s been close to a decade since I read Edwards and a few of the other American Puritan writers – my opinion stands. I will continue to appreciate and value orthodox theologians and historians, and will continue to not be impressed by your assertion that you stand above them.

    RS: I can only say that if your interpretation of Edwards was as accurate as your interpretation of me, perhaps you have misunderstood him. I did not make an assertion that I stand above anyone. You may draw that implication if you wish, but that is a lot different than an assertion.

  37. Richard Smith
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Zrim: Richard, did you notice how you compared Edwards’ writings with Scripture?

    RS: I guess I did not notice that. I still don’t see it.

    Zrim: But even reading the Bible with prayer, which is surely advised, doesn’t solve as much as you think. I bet the Pope adds diligent prayer to his Bible reading, but he still denies sola fide.

    RS: Which means that the Pope doesn’t really pray. If one denies the Gospel, then they cannot go to the throne of grace. There is a difference between a prayer of words and a heart that loves God and truly wants to know and understand Him. In other words, prayer is necessary to truly understand the Scriptures.

    Zrim: Plus, what you say about reading first and secondary sources applies to Edwards—endless quotations of Edwards fans by more Edwards fans, and then before you know it, voila, Edwards is beyond scrutiny.

    RS: That would be true. That is why I prefer reading Edwards and Luther and the Fathers rather than just people who write about them, not to mention that this is true of Scripture as well. The Bereans said to be ” more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
    12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men” (Acts 17:11-12). They examined the Scriptures even when Paul taught them. As Ron Nash (prof of philosophy at RTS Orlando) said in a taped lecture, I read what people said about Kierkegaard. Then I read Kierkegaard and saw that he did not believe what they said he believed.

  38. Lily
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    You have a selective memory regarding your past assertions. My comments stand.

  39. Richard Smith
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Lily: Richard,
    You have a selective memory regarding your past assertions. My comments stand.

    RS: Call it what you will, but I have not asserted that I stand above anyone on this forum. The implications you have made from my statements do not equal actual assertions that I have made. Assertion: A confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.

  40. Posted March 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Richard, I’d feel better about your reading of Edwards if you showed a trace of ability to read him as critically as you do approvingly. I’d also feel better about what you think prayer can accomplish if you’d show more awareness of abiding sin. Prayer can’t overcome human depravity any more than reading Edwards can overcome reading fans of Edwards.

    And so you sound like those evangelicals who tell everyone to just open up the Bible and it’ll all fall into place. But the gorilla in the living room that gets naively overlooked is human depravity, which gets in the way of even clear text. Thermal dynamics are crystal clear, too, but do you really imagine prayer and bare text can overcome most people’s natural inability to get thermal dynamics? Just like people need the aid of both natural ability and naturally gifted teachers for thermal dynamics, what people need is the aid of supernatural faith and the supernaturally gifted church for the Bible. I know that makes your skin crawl, but God has promised to gift the church with teachers and what other reason could that possibly be but to edify his people? Plus, it’s a lot more satisfying than a system that tells a man who prays diligently that he really hasn’t simply because he hasn’t concluded like me. Id’ rather tell him he’s wrong in his conclusions, evenly gravely, than be uncharitable or claim to know his inward state.

  41. mark mcculley
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Antithesis to the law-grace antithesis always leads to more than we bargained for, because by putting “grace” in everywhere and confusing law with grace, we are always moved away from what God already did in Christ to satisfy the law.

    In the latest Modern Reformation, Estelle quotes Romans Catholic: Scott Hahn:

    “The gift of life from father to son is unmerited, and thereafter a father will love his son unconditionally. YET it is precisely because of his unconditional love that the father wishes his son to practice the virtues he himself possesses, and thus become like the father and so enjoy deeper communion with him. When this familial model is applied to the theological concepts of grace and law, we see that divine grace—the unconditional love of the father—is always primary…Once covenant relations and obligations are reexamined in the light of the natural complexity of kinship , there is no need to posit any inherent tension between unconditional grace and the conditions of law.”

    Estelle explains how this supposed adding of “less strict law” as “grace” results in confusion. “Hahn has flipped the biblical paradigm upside down here, and so betrays the quintessential problem in making the essence of the covenant ‘unconditional promise.’ Since the Bible communicates that the covenant at creation in the garden was a covenant in which God assigned a stipulated work to Adam as the representative head of the human race…. and if creation precedes redemption, then law must be the foundation of any biblical covenantal system.

    Hahn “has predetermined that unconditional promise be the foundation of his system. It has to be noted, however, that the Bible portrays God as ‘father’ but also portrays God as ‘judge.’ God is Lord of the covenant, and as such he is both judge and father. By focusing almost exclusively upon kinship categories, Hahn’s position represents a reduction in the clarity and fullness of the Bible’s teaching.”

  42. Lily
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    as·ser·tion   [uh-sur-shuhn]

    noun

    a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason: a mere assertion; an unwarranted assertion

    example:

    Lily: Richard, I would advise against thinking you stand above and are able to correct a stellar Lutheran theologian [Hermann Sasse] who understands Luther and his theology.

    RS: If a person is a modern Lutheran, I would say that person does not follow the theology of Luther. He was quite one with Calvin on the Bondage of the Will and predestination.

  43. Richard Smith
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Zrim: Richard, I’d feel better about your reading of Edwards if you showed a trace of ability to read him as critically as you do approvingly.

    RS: I am not sure how I am to show this on a forum such as this. There appears to be enough people who read him hyper-critically at this point.

    Zrim: I’d also feel better about what you think prayer can accomplish if you’d show more awareness of abiding sin.

    RS: I am not sure how I can state it much more strongly than I have. No one can do one thing that is perfect in this life, which is to say that there is sin involved in all we do. I said that at one point (more or less).

    Zrim: Prayer can’t overcome human depravity any more than reading Edwards can overcome reading fans of Edwards.

    RS: Or course it cannot overcome depravity in and of itself, but prayer is a means of grace.

    Zrim: And so you sound like those evangelicals who tell everyone to just open up the Bible and it’ll all fall into place. But the gorilla in the living room that gets naively overlooked is human depravity, which gets in the way of even clear text. Thermal dynamics are crystal clear, too, but do you really imagine prayer and bare text can overcome most people’s natural inability to get thermal dynamics? Just like people need the aid of both natural ability and naturally gifted teachers for thermal dynamics, what people need is the aid of supernatural faith and the supernaturally gifted church for the Bible.

    RS: Again, I have not said that the church does not need the church for the Bible. But still they need to read the Bible and study it rather than just rely on others. I would think that my advocacy for Edwards would at least show that I am not against reading.

    Zrim: I know that makes your skin crawl, but God has promised to gift the church with teachers and what other reason could that possibly be but to edify his people?

    RS: There are some, but we can at least agree that this is one reason. However, that does not mean that people are not to study the Bible for themselves. As you noted before, there is that little thing called depravity. Even the best of teachers are afflicted with that.

    Zrim: Plus, it’s a lot more satisfying than a system that tells a man who prays diligently that he really hasn’t simply because he hasn’t concluded like me. Id’ rather tell him he’s wrong in his conclusions, evenly gravely, than be uncharitable or claim to know his inward state.

    RS: A denial of the Gospel of grace alone is more than just reaching a wrong conclusion. It would be unloving to say anything different.

  44. Richard Smith
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Lily:
    noun: a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason: a mere assertion; an unwarranted assertion

    example:
    Lily: Richard, I would advise against thinking you stand above and are able to correct a stellar Lutheran theologian [Hermann Sasse] who understands Luther and his theology.

    Lily quoting RS: If a person is a modern Lutheran, I would say that person does not follow the theology of Luther. He was quite one with Calvin on the Bondage of the Will and predestination.

    RS: Again, I did not say or mean that I stand above anyone. Disagreeing with someone is not the same thing as standing above them. In fact, I have never read the man and don’t know if I actually agree or disagree with him much less thinking I stand above him.

    Assertion: A confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.

  45. Lily
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    There was a long back and forth with your unwarranted assertions that you knew better than others (Sasse, Luther’s peers, the Book of Concord) regarding what Luther taught. Each time I’ve tried to show you your error or help you see what you are doing: you weasel. I see no reason to continue this exchange.

  46. Richard Smith
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Lily: Richard, There was a long back and forth with your unwarranted assertions that you knew better than others (Sasse, Luther’s peers, the Book of Concord) regarding what Luther taught. Each time I’ve tried to show you your error or help you see what you are doing: you weasel. I see no reason to continue this exchange.

    RS: Fine, don’t continue it. However, at least try to understand that there is a distinction between what a person actually says and what a second (or more) assume that the person says or take what may or may not be an actual implication of what the person says and then assign it to that person as something the person actually said. In order to help a person see what s/he is doing, it is important first to understand what that person is actually saying or doing. You have not done that and when I try to correct you on my own words, you say I weasel. But just to be clear, I am not standing above anyone when I am a bit cautious about accepting your interpretation of another person’s interpretation which could have been from another person’s interpretation. When I have tried “to help you see what you are doing with Edwards,” you certainly don’t bow down and accept it either. So why don’t you accept what Edwards says and the experts say about Edwards? Oh yes, I have read many of those too and experts do disagree. Does that mean you are standing above them because you disagree with them? I doubt that you would admit that. Neither do I admit that I am standing over people when I disagree.

  47. mark mcculley
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Genesis 2:17–“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you will surely die”.

    Dan Fuller in The Unity of the Bible (1992, Zondervan,181): “In commenting on Genesis 2:17 -do not eat from that tree–Calvin said, `These words are so far from establishing faith that they do nothing but shake it.’

    Dan Fuller: “I argue, however, that there is much reason for regarding these words as well suited to strengthen Adam and Eve’s faith.In Calvin’s thinking, the promise made in Genesis 2:17 could never encourage faith, for its conditionality could encourage only meritorious works. “

    In the paragraph before, I was quoting Dan Fuller. Now, in this paragraph, I will quote John Calvin : “FAITH SEEKS LIFE THAT IS NOT FOUND IN COMMANDMENTS.”

    Dan Fuller of course rejects what Calvin says. Fuller concludes: “I have yet to find anywhere in Scripture a gospel promise that is unconditional.”

  48. Lily
    Posted March 12, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Richard,

    There are a few problems. 1) when faced with evidence that refutes one of your statements, you change your story (weasel) and then claim you are misunderstood 2) when asked for evidence to back up one of your statements you ignore the questions or see #1. 3) Your assertions that you understand what Luther taught and Luther scholars do not are not based on any knowledge of Luther’s body of work. 4) To claim scholars are “gossips” and to not include yourself is inconsistent at best 5) To now claim that you are merely “cautious” in accepting scholar’s work is another example of weaseling.

  49. mark mcculley
    Posted March 12, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Christian Smith asks Mike Horton: If the agreement of 1999 had been presented to Luther in 1520, do you think he would have started the reformation?

    Mike Horton: “Yes, the joint declaration teaches that justification is not only the remission of sins but also the renewal of the interior man. I don’t see a renunciation of the principle of our merit contributing to the merits of Christ….It’s amazing all the effort that Rome spends to reject Christ’s righteousness being imputed to us, while it still sells indulgences that cause Mary’s righteousness to be imputed to you.”

  50. Posted March 12, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Brian,

    A good question on the preaching of the the 3rd use of the law. Whatever the answer, can we let the final word be the comfort of the gospel as the sheep head into their week? Too often the exhortation of the the law by preachers as the final word subtly, or not so subtly, clouds the good news just given. I think this is due, in part, to the fact that we (sheep) most naturally hear with ears of “law” and not faith and gratitude And partially due to the preacher wanting to get practical and make application through appeals to our responsibility to be respond faithfully. We need to be bathed one final time with mercy to feed faith as we hear the admonitions… that is the application that is always necessary, I think.

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