Friday, March 20, 2009

March 21- The Third Use of the Law

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

3/21- The Third Use of the Law

“How can those who are young keep their way pure? By living according to your Word. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto thy path.” (Psalm 119:8,105)

Calvin: Again, because we need not only teaching but also exhortation, the servant of God will also avail himself of this benefit of the law: by frequent meditation upon it to be aroused to obedience, be strengthened in it, and be drawn back from the slippery path of transgression. In this way the saints must press on; for, however eagerly they may in accordance with the Spirit strive toward God’s righteousness. (Inst. II.7.13)

"Law" are the commandments. "Gospel" is God’s grace. Some traditions separate them sharply. John Leith said, “John Calvin distinguished between law and gospel but he did not separate them. Behind both the law and the gospel is the gracious will of God. The law contains the gospel. The gospel also contains the law.” There is a three-fold use of the law- 1) it convicts us of where we have gone wrong; 2)it restrains public unrighteousness; 3) It guides us in life. Luther agreed to the first two uses, but he did not see the third use. One of Calvin's unique contributions to the Reformation was to see the law as our guide (the third use of the law).
The Bible is a guidebook, a map, a gps for us to plot the course of our lives, and keep us on the right road, the narrow path. There is something to be learned from each part of scripture. II Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness.
Would that we had a guidebook for our economy. I have read some who say that the stimulus plan will bring rampant inflation, and others who say it will give us the boost we need. We don't know for sure. Wouldn't it be nice if God would guide us?
He may not guide us about the economy, but He certainly longs to guide us in our lives.
Calvin says the law is not a curse any more but an exhortation. The law no longer condemns us. We must distinguish between what parts of the law are applicable for us and what parts are not. The ceremonial law (sacrifices, dietary, holidays) no longer applies to us, but the moral law applies to us. So we should pay attention to what God says to us. He is trying to shape and guide our lives according to His Word. It does no good for God to have the law available to us if we will not read it, get it into our lives, or listen to it.
There are so many ways to get the Bible into our lives, and let it guide us. The Bible is on ipod, utube, dvd, cd, internet (, and more.

Prayer: You lead us, O God. Thank you for the scripture that are a lamp unto my path.

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