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#185083 - 09/02/17 10:24 PM Three functions of the Law
dedication Online   content

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Registered: 04/25/04
Posts: 4239
Loc: Canada
The question of the role of God's law in salvation is an ongoing controversy.

Because people do not understand the three functions of the law, they usually end up falling into one of the two main heresies prevalent in religion today.

1. antinomianism -- which teaches freedom from law
2. legalism -- which teaches salvation by the law

The Reformation was founded on grace and strongly emphasized that salvation did not come by the law.
Yet the law of God was not repudiated by the Reformers.

In 1537 when a certain follower of Luther, named Johann Agricola, began preaching sermons that were opposed to God's law as having any place in Christianity. Luther responded to set him straight. In turn, Agricola wrote Luther accusing him of teaching two types of "justification" one by grace, the other by law. Luther wrote several disputations against the antinomians while yet upholding his stand on justification by faith without the law.

Yet now people tend to accuse Luther of being an antinomian!

The debates are fired by a lack of understand the three uses of the law.

What are they?

1. The Law is a mirror
The law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect and awesome righteousness of God.
When that same mirror is reflecting us, it illumines human sinfulness. When seeing a view of the awful majesty of holiness, they see their own utter unworthiness, in contrast with the purity and exalted perfection of the Infinite One.
The law highlights our weakness, sinfulness, so that we might seek the redemption and strength found in Christ. Here the law acts as a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ.

The law cannot cleanse. The law cannot forgive. The law cannot save the sinner.
We are justified without the law. But the law points out our great need for a Savior and for justification and drives us to Christ.

2. A second purpose for the law is the restraint of evil. The law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust.
The law allows for a limited measure of justice on this earth, until the last judgment is realized.
This purpose of the law does not save, nor does it cleanse -- but it does offer limited protection.

3. The third purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As born-again children of God, justified by His grace, cleansed by His righteousness, we now live as representatives of Him. The law enlightens us as to what is pleasing to our Father, whom we seek to serve. The Christian delights in the law as God Himself delights in it, because it is good and holy and based upon the highest levels of love. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This is the highest function of the law, to serve as an instrument for the people of God to give Him honor and glory.

#185195 - 09/29/17 09:42 PM Re: Three functions of the Law [Re: dedication]
Daryl Online   canada

Site Administrator
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Posts: 23898
Loc: Nova Scotia, Canada
I am surprised by the number of people in the different denominations who think that the law was done away with at the Cross of Calvary.
In His Love, Mercy & Grace,

Daryl smile

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.


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