Mike Horton (MH): The Gospel can't be lived. It's the Law that's lived. We obey the commands that we find in Scripture, we do not—the Gospel is not anything for us to do. The Gospel is an announcement for us to take to the world, and on the basis of that Gospel we do live differently in the world, but that isn't itself the content of the Gospel: it is the effect of the Gospel.
Kim Riddlebarger (KR): I think you made a brilliant point. I know there will be a number of people who will hear us, who are familiar with us, and they'll say to themselves, "well, there they go, they've been on the air two minutes talking about the Great Commission, and they're back to Law and Gospel again!" But your point is absolutely spot-on: we believe the Gospel, we obey the Law—and if you are not clear about that, then you're going to go off on a mission and as you risk, as Jesus warned, making people more fit for Hell than they were before. If you're telling people that the Gospel is doing certain things, acting certain way, behaving in a certain way, then you're just accelerating their demise and decline.
- The ceremonial law consisting of all that elements that concern worship, sacrifice, the prieshood, etc.
- The civil law consisting of all the elements that concern Israel distinctly as the covenant nation, such as regulations concerning crime and punishment, clothing, foods--clean and unclean, and the like.
- The moral law consisting of all the elements that concern moral and ethical behavior before humans and before God, such as those identified in the Ten Commandments.
- The civil use (usus politicus sive civilis). That is, the law serves the commonwealth or body politic as a force to restrain sin. This falls under the general revelation (revelatio generalis) discussion in most of the scholastics as well as natural law (cf. Rom 1-2).
- The pedagogical use (usus elenchticus sive paedagogicus). That is, the law also shows people their sin and points them to mercy and grace outside of themselves. In Muller’s summary, this is “the use of the law for the confrontation and refutation of sin and for the purpose of pointing the way to Christ” (p. 320). This can be found in the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Days 2-4.
- The normative use (usus didacticus sive normativus). That is, this use of the law is for those who trust in Christ and have been saved through faith apart from works. It “acts as a norm of conduct, freely accepted by those in whom the grace of God works the good” (p. 321). This can be found in the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Days 32-52.They believe that all New Testament commands, exhortations, and warnings that do not specifically call for faith belong to the "Third Use of the Moral Law." This "third use of the law" has created controversy among Lutherans. Many Lutherans have rejected the "third use of the law," because they contend that the law always accuses, so it cannot be used as a moral norm by the Christian. So, for Lutherans, the third use of the law essentially reverts to the second use as it drives believers to Christ again and again and away from unbelief.
Antinomianism? I’ll show you antinomianism: defiance of God’s holy will as revealed in the fourth commandment. Reformed Christians confess that God has given ten commandments. What about the fourth commandment? Most of the evangelicals I’ve known, who are wound up about the “Lordship Controversy,” are antinomian (lawless) when it comes to the fourth commandment.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.