3 Kinds of Freedom. Two are not the Christian type.



Here’s another one that may shake you up. It’s radical stuff and no matter how many times I hear it the Old Adam in me just won’t buy it (that’s why I need to hear it again and again and again – we can’t live today on yesterday’s faith) :

 Listen to > Chapter 8, Paulson’s book (Freedom from Law)


Thank you, Pastor Mark.

Thanks to fineart.com. for the photo.





Please…’Tell me what to do!’



  ( read this with a pathetic, whiney, needy, helpless voice in your head)

“Yes, Christ lives inside of me.” (Rom. 8:10)

“Yes, I have been freed from religion by the blood of the Lamb.” (John 8:36)

“Yes, I have been baptized into a death like His.”(Rom. 6)

“Yes, I have also been raised with Him.” (in my Baptism – Rom. 6)

“Yes, I have received the gift of the Holy Spirit in my Baptism.” (Acts 2:38)

“Yes, the Holy Spirit is at work in me.” (Phil. 1:6)

“Yes, Christ Jesus is the end of the law for all those who have faith.” (Rom. 10:4)

Yes, all of that is true. But I have NO idea of WHAT TO DO !

Please…someone tell me WHAT TO DO, and  HOW TO LIVE!


 Please…give me the law again…please, it’s much easier if I have a list so that I can check items off as I go through life. And someone who is really GOOD at doing ALL those things to check up on me, and to make sure I am really living the right way.


What a load of “3rd use” horse dung.

You know what to do, already. I know what to do. We just flat out refuse to do it, my friends…and that is the truth about us. We don’t need the law to make us better…we need the law to kill us off.

Sorry if I burst anyone’s bubble. (not really :D)


 Thanks to allieologyblog.com, for the photo.



‘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 Terry Hahmbetween 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 was settled by Luther (or the Lutheran confessions) overstates the case.

First, Luther’s views did not necessarily hold sway over Calvin and the other reformers – so modern evangelicalism has evolved a different view of the Law than Lutheranism. Beyond that, Lutheran theologians themselves have continued to struggle with how the Law fits into the life of the Christian. And this struggle spills over into the pastor’s way of preaching the Law and how the individual Christian responds to such preaching.

The debate within Lutheranism revolves around the so-called three uses of the Law commonly called the mirror, the curb and the guide. For Lutherans at least, the first two uses are never at issue. The third causes all the mischief.

The essence of the controversy was brought home to me when I recently went back to my little brown catechism, the version I used in confirmation classes fifty years ago. There I found the three uses, just as I had remembered them:

1. As a mirror it shows us our sin and the need of a Savior.

2. As a curb it checks to some extent the coarse outbreak of sin, thereby helping to preserve order in this sinful world.

3. As a rule it guides us in the true fear, love, and trust in God, that we willingly do according to His commandments.
– Luther’s Catechism (1956), Explanation p. 90-91

Immediately I noticed parenthesis inserted around the last clause of use #3. (that we willingly do according to His commandments.) and hand-written in the margin was the sentence: “Law cannot make us willing.”

The handwriting was not mine however. I recognized as it as my father’s. And it was written in ink! (a sin of the first order). What was up with that? Had my dad at some point taken my catechism and made his own editorial comments in it?

I flipped through the rest of the catechism. There were no other entries anywhere. This was the only one.

Then I looked at the inside front cover, where I saw my father’s name – Edgar D. Hahm. This was not my catechism after all.

Sometime between 1956 (when this catechism was published) and his death in 1991, my father felt compelled to blog this single sentence (in ink) in his own copy of Luther’s Small Catechism.

He obviously had his own concerns about the misuse of the Law.

I wish I could talk to him about this now.

                                                                     – Terry Hahm


Can the Law make us willing to do what the Law demands?

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 ov er Christ to me, the complete forgiveness of my sins and total justification before God.

So far, so good.

Then the preacher made crystal clear that now that Christ has done this for you that you just can’t live anyway you want. You ought present yourself as a living sacrifice, sins and all. That’s great. That is a description of the life of the believer.

This happens as a result of the Spirit of God working in the life of that believer.

This will not happen as a result of anyone telling you that you must do it, or how you can do it, or even that you should do it. The Holy Spirit will sanctify the chosen and called one. “He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies me as He does the whole Christian Church on earth.” Was there anything there about what you have to do?

‘Well…but you just can’t live anyway you want!’ says the well meaning (we hope) law wielder. And to that I say, “Well, you seem to be doing a very fine job at living anyway that you want to. In fact from the looks of it, following you around for a couple of days, it appears that you might not even be a believer at all. How ’bout them apples?!”

For the preacher to let you know that you are free to live out your Christian lives in service for the neighbor is fine (as if the Holy Spirit needs to be reminded of it), but for the preacher to tell you that your effort is required to make sure that all this happens is semi-Pelagian baloney.

I do know this, you can mess up a great Christ filled sermon and take Christ away from the sinner, and have the sinner start to fall back on his own performance if you go to this (wrongheaded) synergistic aspect of the life of the Christian.

The law always accuses. Anything that we should, ought or must be doing is the law.The law says’do’.  The law is the method by which God accuses, then kills us.  The gospel on the other hand is God’s Word of forgiveness. It says ‘done’. The gospel is the force of God that brings us life and creates in us a clean heart, totally apart from what we do.

The Roman Catholic way of thinking is that if you do good things you will eventually become ‘good’. That’s wrong, and one of the reasons that I am not a Roman Catholic.

The Southern Baptists believe that there is a little spark of ‘good’ inside of you and that you can choose to do good and obey God. That’s wrong, and that’s one of the reasons that I am not a Southern Baptist.

Those that feel there is somehow a little spark within us that we might cooperate with God (even a little bit) towards our sanctification are just plain wrong and all they would have to do is look in the mirror to see it.

But it has always been that men love to tell other men what they need to do in order to be acceptable, all the while living anyway they darn well please (themselves).

The law is written upon our hearts…is it not?

There is no excuse for not living the way God wants us to. There is no excuse for ignoring the plight of our neighbors (except to pay lip service to them). There is no excuse for being a hypocritical Pharisee…other than we just want to. We enjoy being bound to sin. At heart, we are basically unbelievers who do not want God.

But Jesus Christ enjoys forgiving us and creating repentance in us. 

What in the world could we possibly add to that? (before you answer, let me don my protective ‘yeah-but’ suit) 

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. question

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 earnestness, and with no ill will… just a desire to work this out in my own mind.

Here goes:

‘What benefit has the 3rd use of the law (preached to, or directed at you , either personally or as a believer in the pew) brought to your own personal life as a Christian?’

I will try and relate how the hearing of the law has affected me, being presented in only two uses, and see where the diferences and similarities might be.

Thanks for going along with me on this one.

                           – Steve M.

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 thBe careful of cautione 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 return to Jesus Christ and His righteousness, alone.

But others, well, they want to hang onto the law. “Jesus said it… we must do it.”  That’s right. How are you doing?

“Yeah, I know I cant keep it perfectly, but I must try.” As if Jesus told us somewhere he only expected our best efforts. Wrong again, Mr. Religious Project Man, your best efforts don’t count for didly squat. Plus they are all tainted with your selfish religiosity anyway. 

I haven’t warned anyone, that I can recall. I do use quotes from St. Paul, he tells people that if they want to be law keepers, to play the religious game, “…then they sever themselves from Christ.” Is that my warning? You got a beef with that one, take it up with Paul when you get there.

People love the religion game. A new book on ‘How To’ with respect to the Christian faith comes out every other day. These folks have got to read every single one of them lest they miss some great “spiritual” insight or some new tips on how to apply ‘biblical principles’.

Have you ever noticed that these folks just never seem to arrive. They’re always just one more book away, or maybe the next seminar will do it, or  Jimmy Bob Jenkins is coming to town, then I’ll finally have the rest, the peace, and the assurance Christ desires me to have.  Right.

God’s law is like an iron rod, straight and true. It’s not meant to be manipulated by selfish  idolators that want to fashion it into rings to place in the noses of people to lead them to and fro. It’s meant to be driven though the heart of the hearer, that he might die to himself. Then Christ and His gospel of forgiveness can raise that dead person to new life. Christ does this…for us, alone, by Himself, out of His grace and mercy. 

But Christ is just never enough, have you noticed?  It’s always Christ + with these people.

Well, Christ is enough for me, and lots of other folks too.

If people want to play church and decieve themselves into thinking that they are doing the things that God commands in His law…well, then that’s fine with me…have at it. But don’t get angry with me, because then you are going against what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.

The house of cards built on the law is shaking for some. They and their religious projects have been exposed for the utter failures that they are…and they don’t like it. They don’t like it one bit.

Good.  That is how it should be.

In defense of Jesus Christ and His righteousness for us, alone.

     – Steve Martin

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.



   – Steve M.