The Wittenberg Trail

Law- Gospel- Third Use of the Law- Justification- Sanctification

Luther on Law, Gospel, and the Third Use of the Law

Eugene F Klug
Please do not skim this. Pay particular attention to 9-42.

Sanctification: By Grace Alone
By Rev. Dr. David P. Scaer
“Justification & Sanctification”
May - Issues, Etc. Archives
Issues, Etc. Friday, May 12 (links are correct) ... “Justification & Sanctification” Dr. Korey Maas Concordia University Irvine, CA ...

Sorry it says May 12th here, but actually scroll down one more to May 11th . You'll see this.

Issues, Etc. Thursday, May 11
KFUO Host: Todd Wilken Issues, Etc email
Hour 1 WMA Hour 1 MP3
“9th Century Missionary to the Slavs Cyril &
Dr. Richard Stuckwisch Emmaus Lutheran Church
South Bend, IN
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Hour 2 WMA Hour 2 MP3
“Justification & Sanctification”
The Third Use of the Law

‘The Law Cannot Make Us Willing’ by Terry Hahm

Born in the shadow of a law-dominated Roman Catholic church, Luther’s theology recovered the priority of the Gospel and then emphasized a proper distinction between Law and Gospel. And yet, the heirs of Luther (and all Christianity for that matter) continues to struggle with the lawful use of the Law. To say that the issue [...]

De-scription…not Pre-scription

I recently received a sermon by a Lutheran pastor from someone that was trying to turn ’round my way of thinking about the law and it’s realtionship to me. It was a very good sermon. It highlighted the problem (my sin) and handed over Christ to me, the complete forgiveness of my sins and total justification before [...]

Seeking to figure out the truth.

I am going to ask a question of all my friends (and others, if you prefer) out there in the blogesphere, that I can’t seem to figure out. I mean it. I really do want to understand the position of the advocates of the 3rd use of the law. So I ask this question in all [...]

Warning! (now I have been warned by a so-called “post Evangelical” )

Yes, that’s right…I have been warned by a so-called “post Evangelical”, to “stop warning people.” That’s rich. On this blog and some others, there has been much discussion of the law and what we ought do regarding it. Well, just read my post before this one and you’ll know where I stand on the issue. I call for a [...]

Luther, Melancthon, and the ‘third use of the Law’

Here are some nifty articles that may shed some light on the ongoing disagreement over the ‘third use of the Law’ controversy. I’d like to know your thoughts on these articles, if you get the chance. Thanks! – Steve M.

The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord

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VI. The Third Use of the Law


Definition of Monergism: The view that the Holy Spirit is the only agent who effects regeneration of Christians. It is in contrast with synergism, the view that there is a cooperation between the divine and the human in the regeneration process. Monergism is a redemptive blessing purchased by Christ for those the Father has given Him (1 Pet 1:3, John 3:5,6, 6:37, 39). This grace works independently of any human cooperation and conveys that power into the fallen soul whereby the person who is to be saved is effectually enabled to respond to the gospel call (John 1:13; Acts 2:39, 13:48; Rom 9:16). From


This is the freedom and the slavery of which Paul speaks in Rom. 6:20, 22: "When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousnessness. But now that you have been set free from sin, you have become slaves of God. But let us set this up in a diagram:

Freedom from righteousness} Service of sin}

Service of righteousness} Freedom from sin}

For he who is free from sin has become a slave of righteousness; but he who is the slave of sin is free from righteousness, and vice versa ... "Christ," he says, "has made :his freedom." It is a spiritual one to be preserved in the spirit. It is not that heathen kind, which even the pagan Persius knew was not enough. It is : freedom from the Law, but in a way contrary to what usually takes place among men. For in human freedom when laws are changed without effecting any change in men, but it is a Christian freedom when men are changed without changing the Law. Consequently, the same Law that was formerly hateful to the freew will becomes delightful, since love is pured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom.5:5). In this freedom, he teaches us we must stand strongly and steadfastly, because Christ, who fulfills the Law and overcomes sin for us, sends the spirit of love into the hearts of those who believe in Him. This makes them righteous and lovers of the Law, not because of their own works but freely because it is freely bestowed by Christ. -Martin Luther


Our Lord Jesus, Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Keep us from becoming burdened by laws fulfilled in You, and help us to live lives sanctified by Your Spirit that we might bear witness that in You all things have been made new; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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Comment by Dr. George C. Adams on May 20, 2010 at 4:53pm

Thank you, my friend in Christ, for posting these eminently worthwhile articles. Right now, on WT, itself, there is controversy over the three uses of the Law. As confessional Lutherans, we MUST be fully conversant with these three uses so that we do not fall into the errors of other churches, which do not rightly discern the proper use of the Law. Keep sending us these spiritual weapons as we battle not only the prince of this world, but also those poor souls who do not know the saving truths we should hold so dear.
Comment by Suzee on May 20, 2010 at 5:14pm
Well aware of the controversy, Doc. Just staying on the "service drive" for now. I'll let the good pastors work it out between themselves.
I must say, that even with the fruit of the Spirit, I still can't keep the Law. Even "Law as Regeneration?", I am still condemned as a sinner but righteous/justifed/sanctified because of Christ.
And to think all this time I thought it was the Holy Spirit that regenerates/sanctifes me not the Law.

I guess we don't agree this time, Doc because I still sin even with Christ in me. I will not be perfect in this world. But, definitely the next, Praise to You, O, Christ.

Thus, my prayer because the Spirit even had to give me that!
Comment by Suzee on May 20, 2010 at 6:04pm
RE: An Inquiry.....
Doc knows I am not like in " :( disagreement" with him. Doc and I are good friends. What I was saying is....Just that I don't fully understand the Third Use of the Law, obviously. The Holy Spirit will help me. :)
Comment by Suzee on May 20, 2010 at 6:11pm
Never mind me right now. Holy Spirit at work.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 NIV
8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law[a] is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Comment by Suzee on May 20, 2010 at 6:18pm
Okay I think it is sinking in.
Because I am a child of God I have pleasure in the Law. And as that Law condemns me it brings me to contrition and repentance=Regeneration. So this is how the Law is used as Regeneration.i.e. Third Use of the Law. I guess I knew that but never really put the pieces together in sentence form or called it the Third Use of the Law.

Now that I look silly, I really dont care becasue the Holy Spirit gave it to me.
Comment by Suzee on May 20, 2010 at 6:24pm
It's still the Lord's doing and blessings no matter how you look at it!
Comment by Dr. George C. Adams on May 20, 2010 at 6:26pm
I think that the three uses of the Law require really deep thought and consideration. It isn't something that just pops up to you like a tv ad. Good going, Suzee. If we all take the time to study the doctrinial foundations of our Lutheran beliefs there would be so much less controversy: people would either become more firmly rooted in those beliefs or would leave LCMS and go somewhere where they are more "comfortable".
Comment by Seth on May 20, 2010 at 6:26pm
i seem to remember the good Dr. :uther say that the Law was our schoolmaster that leads us to faith in Christ.
Comment by Suzee on May 20, 2010 at 7:05pm
Thanks, me brothers!

"The Law of God Is Good and Wise"
by Matthias Loy, 1828-1915

1. The Law of God is good and wise
And sets His will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
And dooms to death when we transgress.

2. Its light of holiness imparts
The knowledge of our sinful hearts
That we may see our lost estate
And seek deliverance ere too late.

3. To those who help in Christ have found
And would in works of love abound
It shows what deeds are His delight
And should be done as good and right.

4. When men the offered help disdain
And wilfully in sin remain,
Its terror in their ear resounds
And keeps their wickedness in bounds.

5. The Law is good; but since the Fall
Its holiness condemns us all;
It dooms us for our sin to die
And has no power to justify.

6. To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at His throne,
Saved by His grace through faith alone.

Hymn #295
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 19: 8
Author: Matthias Loy, 1863
Tune: "Erhalt uns, Herr"
1st Published in: Geistliche Lieder
Town: Wittenberg, 1543
Comment by Suzee on May 20, 2010 at 7:29pm

LSB 411 I want to walk as a child of the light.

1. I want to walk as a child of the light.
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world.
The star of my life is Jesus.

Refrain: In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

2. I want to see the brightness of God.
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear sun of righteousness, shine on my path.
And show me the way to the Father.

3. I'm looking for the coming of Christ.
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus.


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