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A New York Saturday

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Grab your coffee and spend a few minutes with Mike Horton in New York City. This video, graciously provided by our friends at MockingbirdNYC was shot at their recent conference. Mike Horton was the plenary speaker and after his session, he sat down with Jady Koch to talk theology: specifically the difference between grace and karma, the difference between reason and rationalism, the use and misuse of the third use of the law--even Bono makes an appearance! Good stuff to get you started on your weekend.

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  • Guest - Mitchell Hammonds

    What a great posting!
    I must admit I have had a tremendous time accepting a 3rd Use of the Law. Maybe it's somewhat of a backlash of the legalistic framework I witnessed in my former denomination... Southern Baptist.
    My question is this: Why the 3rd category? It would seem the use is contained within the condemning portion of the Law. And further the Law always condemns... right. No matter how I look at it I must come to the conclusion it is not being fulfilled in my daily life. It is fulfilled in Christ for me - by faith alone.
    Am I missing something?

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  • Guest - Michael Horton

    Mitchell, great question.

    I think we can both agree that believers--justified solely by grace through faith in Christ--are given a lot of commands in Scripture. When we're commanded to love our neighbors, it's not only to lead us to the conclusion that we can't; it's also expected of us that we will love our neighbors.

    Yes, if we seek justification and life from it, the law can only condemn us. However, with Christ's righteousness credited to us, we are free from the law's condemnation. That does not free us from the law's precepts. The law has never been the problem; YOU AND I are the problem! So we look away from ourselves and the law, to Christ alone, for our justification. Yet faith always bears fruit in good works and the law continues to define what those are. That's why both Lutheran and Reformed confessions affirm the third use, observing that if God's laws don't have a proper place in the Christian life, we'll invent new laws or turn the gospel itself into a new law.

    It's important to say that even though we are not condemned by the law, it's not as if as believers we no longer need to feel the force of the law's condemnation apart from Christ--in order to drive us to Christ. So we never move away from needing to hear the first use, leading us TO Christ and the gospel.

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  • Dr. Horton,

    Near the end you so helpfully pointed out that the 3rd use of the law needs to have forgiveness before it, around it, and behind it (or something like that). Amen. I only wish that was more the understanding and the practice than is the case amongst some of our reformed Presb. churches.

    And I loved the references to Luther and Calvin regarding the need for us to hear again and again and again the Gospel. We so easily forget that having entered by mercy we hang only by that thread (yet strong and dependable)... God's mercy in Christ and not my best works.

    My wife and I really enjoyed the conversation. Thanks,


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  • Guest - red robin

    Bono makes an appearance? Not interested.

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