Preaching: Commands, Threats, and Promises, Part 2

Dear Church Family,

In recent weeks, I’ve been reflecting on preaching. You may read the previous installments online:

Preaching: What is the Gospel?

Preaching: The Foundation and the Superstructure

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 1

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 2

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 3

Preaching: The Same Message No Matter the Text?

Preaching: Commands, Threats, and Promises, Part 1

 

Introduction

Last week, we introduced the concept of how believers act differently based upon what each particular passage of Scripture contains. Today, we will look at some of the things that God’s Word has to say about this concept.

Insights from the Scriptures

When the Westminster Confession of Faith teaches that “by faith, a Christian…acts differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come” it does not do so arbitrarily and without biblical warrant.

Obedience to the Commands

In understanding how a Christian, by faith, responds to God’s commands in His Word with obedience, the Confession draws upon the closing benediction in the book of Romans. There the Apostle Paul declares that his “gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith” (Romans 16:25-26).

Even as God called Abraham and introduced the covenant with him and the sign of circumcision, obedience was implicit in the gospel call: “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless’” (Genesis 17:1). Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). Moses recounted the law of God to the people of Israel and they all responded with one voice, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 24:3). Daniel mourned over the exile of his people because of their lack of obedience to the message of the prophets: “we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.” John the Baptist called upon his hearers to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). It was the practice of Jesus to call for his hearers to obey His commands – for example, the command to cut off that which causes sin (Matthew 5:29-30). And, in his defense before King Agrippa, Paul summarized a portion of his gospel ministry as a call to “repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance” (Acts 26:19-20).

Trembling at the Threatenings

In understanding how a Christian, by faith, responds to God’s threatenings in His Word with tremblings, the Confession draws upon the words of Isaiah: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,’ declares the LORD. ‘But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word’” (Isaiah 66:1-2).

God looks with favor on the one who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at His word. One of the clearest places in the Old Testament where we see God use threatenings to bring about repentance is in the book of Jonah. Jonah’s message to the people of Ninevah (the enemies of God’s people) is recorded in the Bible as being a very simple message of threat: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). This was the gospel according to Jonah: Ninevah will be destroyed! What was their response? “Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.’“ (Jonah 3:5-9). And, what was God’s response? “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).

It is also illuminating to consider how Paul, near the end of his ministry, talked about faith in Christ Jesus with Felix (the Gentile) and his wife Drusilla (the Jew). Having sent for Paul, Felix and Drusilla “heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you’” (Acts 24:24-25). Paul’s explanation concerning faith in Christ Jesus included righteousness, self-control, and the future judgment (commands and threats, along with promises). Apparently, this went on for two years while Paul was imprisoned (Acts 24:26-27). In the words of Paul, “according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:16).

Embracing the Promises

In understanding how a Christian, by faith, responds to God’s promises in His Word by embracing His promises, the Confession draws upon the two passages. The first is Hebrews 11:13. Having recounted the faith of several people (from Abel to Abraham and Sarah), the writer of Hebrews says, “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). These early saints who died in faith saw the promises of God from a distance. Though they did not see the fulfillment of those promises which only comes when Christ Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God on earth, they welcomed them; by faith, they embraced the promises of God. “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40). God makes promises to those who may not have been able to experience the fulfillment of them, yet they embraced those promises by faith and desired “a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16).

The second passage that the WCF draws upon to teach how a Christian, by faith, embraces God’s promises in His word is 1 Timothy 4:8: “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” God makes promises to those who pursue godliness. The promise of reward is for both this life and the life to come. At the end of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, the people were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” To which, Peter responded with a wonderful promise of the indwelling, regenerative power of the Holy Spirit: “‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.’ And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’” (Acts 2:38-40).

This is probably why the WCF concludes paragraph 2 of chapter 14 with these words: “But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.” By faith, Christians obey God’s commands, tremble at His threatenings, and embrace His promises. All of these work together as God’s means for the bringing about and building up faith and faithfulness. Yet, saving faith has – as its principle act – accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life in the covenant of grace.

Conclusion

This last point is very important because some may read these essays and arrive at the erroneous conclusion that I am making an argument for legalism or works-righteousness. By no means! There is a difference between ends and means that we must keep in mind here. The end is accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life in the covenant of grace. The means which God uses (within the proclamation of His word) are commands, threats, and promises which God’s people, by faith, obey, tremble at, and embrace.

The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch

Preaching: Commands, Threats, and Promises, Part 1

Dear Church Family,

In recent weeks, I’ve been reflecting on preaching. You may read the previous installments online:

Preaching: What is the Gospel?

Preaching: The Foundation and the Superstructure

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 1

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 2

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 3

Preaching: The Same Message No Matter the Text?

 

Introduction

Last week, we examined the inappropriate view of preaching in which some argue that every sermon ought to have the same message: justification by faith alone in Christ alone. In that essay, I tried to show the implications of such a view of preaching with regard to the calling of a pastor to feed the sheep, some basic rhetorical issues, and how it inappropriate alters (and flattens) how believers read the Scriptures. I also tried to explain why I think this methodology of preaching the same message no matter the text is attractive.

One of the main points that I sought explicate was that while God’s people need to continually hear and be reminded of how they have been saved by faith alone in Christ alone, that the Bible has more to say to God’s people than this one message. With that in mind, today we will look at a particular portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith which helps us to see the multifaceted message of God’s Word.

Insights from the Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapters 14 & 15 of the Westminster Confession of Faith deal with faith and repentance, respectively. WCF 15.1 reads: “Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the Gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.” Plain enough – repentance and faith in Christ are to be preached by every minister of the Gospel. Chapter 15 then goes on to define and describe the different aspects of repentance.

Chapter 14, though, provides us with some insights that helps guide and direct preachers and readers of the Word, alike. Chapter 14 (Of Saving Faith) gives the definition, source, and means of faith (14.1), the effects of saving faith (14.2), and the victory of saving faith (14.3). [1 Peter 1:1-2:12 teaches all of these.] Consider, in more detail, the second paragraph:

By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace. (WCF 14.2)

 

Notice the use of the two verbs (believes and acts). By faith, a Christian believes what is revealed in the Word of God because of the authority of God speaking in the Scriptures; one of the discernable marks of saving faith is that a person believes that the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God. Then – and here’s where it gets really interesting and applicable to how a preacher preaches, and how a hearer responds – by faith a Christian acts differently depending on the particular passage and its contents: (1) obeying the commands; (2) trembling at the threatenings; (3) embracing the promises. Finally, the paragraph concludes with the principal act of saving faith: receiving and resting upon Christ alone.

This portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith helps to chart the waters in the debates over what it means “to preach the gospel.” Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps, we ought to be asking, “What does it mean to preach the Word of God?” (WLC 159). Whichever question we ask, however, we need to understand WCF 14.2 and the importance of preaching the particularities of a passage (commands, threatenings, promises, or perhaps even several of these). Then, let God work faith in the hearers, a faith that manifests itself in different ways depending on the passage of Scripture that was preached. In the end, I suppose it comes down to the preacher having faith, himself – as defined in the first sentence of this paragraph – faith in the authority of God speaking in the Scriptures.

Conclusion

Here, we’ve just introduced the concept of how believers act differently based upon what each particular passage of Scripture contains. Next week, we will examine the Scriptural basis for this idea.

The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch

Preaching: The Same Message, No Matter the Text?

Dear Church Family,

In recent weeks, I’ve been reflecting on preaching. You may read the previous installments online:

Preaching: What is the Gospel?

Preaching: The Foundation and the Superstructure

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 1

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 2

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive Historical Preaching, Part 3

 

Introduction

In this installment, we take up in more detail a specific question that I have heard some wrestle over with regard to preaching: should every sermon have the same message no matter the text? Often, this is framed in terms of a narrow view of the gospel as speaking only to the justification of the individual believer (see the first installment linked above). With that narrow view of the gospel, the subsequent, the erroneous theory is derived that individual believers are sanctified only by hearing “the gospel of justification” – and that this ought to be the same message of every sermon.

Yes, it is true that the doctrine of justification and a person’s need to trust in Christ and repent of their sins ought to be preached by every minister of the gospel (WCF 15:1). And yes, it is true that one of the motivations in sanctification is the gratitude that comes from hearing what Christ has done for us. At the same time, is what God has done for us through Christ the only message of the Scripture? Should a preacher preach only this one message because it is the only means by which men and women are sanctified?

Implications of the “same message, no matter the text” view of preaching

These are important questions that every preacher wrestles with all of the time – or, at least ought to. One of the guiding principles, however, of lectio continua preaching – preaching through a book verse by verse, chapter by chapter – is that one ought to preach the text before him. This is key and needs to be stated and understood right up front. When this is done – sticking with the doctrinal teaching of a particular text – the Word of God (in all of its variety and emphases) is systematically set before the people of God.

Too often, as is the case for most every new preacher right out of seminary, one’s tendency is to preach all of Scripture in every sermon. One of the reasons for this is because in seminaries, we are trained to think systematically about the Bible and doctrine, and we want to make sure that our hearers understand all of the nuances and caveats in every sermon. The problem is this (to paraphrase a former seminary professor of mine): if you try to say everything about something, you will inevitably wind up saying nothing about anything.

For instance, when preaching a passage that emphasizes the importance of diligently applying virtue to one’s faith (e.g. 2 Peter 1:5-15), does one have to caveat every exhortation to supply these various virtues to one’s faith by saying, “Now, remember, there is nothing that you can do to earn or add to the merit of Christ for your salvation”? The answer is simply: No. Of course, this is true. Of course, it should be stated and stated clearly so as to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. But, that is not the emphasis of the text. The question that we should be asking of a passage of Scripture is not, “What doesn’t this passage teach?” (salvation by works), but, “What does this passage teach?” (the call to press on toward godliness).

There are some basic rhetorical issues at stake here, as well. If the text is an exhortation to pursue holiness, but then the sermon is concluded with – “But, don’t worry about that. Christ died for your sins. That’s all that matters.” While the latter is true as far as it goes, it is not the emphasis or the teaching of that passage and takes away from the emphasis of that particular text. I’ve actually heard proponents of this “same message, no matter the text” theory of preaching, insist that when preaching such a text, one must always “import the ‘gospel’ from another place in the Scriptures, lest your hearers put faith or trust in something other than Christ.” So, according to this philosophy of preaching, if one preaches on the important role of elders from Titus 1:5-9 – after exhorting the congregation and the elders of the church to maintain these criteria for ecclesiastical leadership, one should conclude with something like Jesus’ statement in John 10 where He describes Himself as the only “good shepherd.”

What this does, in practice, is misapply the original meaning of the text, and it also subtly teaches the hearers that all of the imperatives of Scripture are not applicable to them because Christ already fulfilled the demands. Again, of course, it is true that Christ has fulfilled all the demands of the law for those who have placed their faith and trust in Him – for all His elect. Yet, if “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), then shouldn’t we preach and apply all Scripture in the various ways that God has purposed for us to benefit from them?

Why the “same message, no matter the text” view of preaching is attractive

There are at least three reasons why this narrow view of preaching is so attractive.

First of all, when you sit under this kind of preaching – and when you preach it – it makes you feel good. If there is never a call to do anything, to reform my ways, or change my behavior, and all I have to do is acknowledge that where I failed, Christ succeeded – I get a sense of great assurance, and I feel really good about myself. And, people are attracted to that kind of message. The problem, however, is that it leaves out many of the hard sayings of the Bible; it leaves out the Lordship of Christ; it leaves out the call to discipleship. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it tickles one’s ears (2 Timothy 4:3), but it can very easily lead to a lack of self-examination and a false assurance. Perhaps that’s why it is so appealing.

Second of all, this kind of preaching sounds biblical. In fact, it is biblical, but it is only one side of the coin. Yes, it is true that we are justified by faith alone, in Christ alone; there is not one thing that we can do to add to the merit which Christ has provided for us in His perfect life, death, and resurrection. Truly, God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yet, that is not the whole of the gospel message. Justification may be the heart of the gospel, but it not the whole of the Gospel. The good news is the gospel of the Kingdom. Last I checked a kingdom implies that there’s a king. And, the fact that there’s a king, implies that we ought to obey Him. Sometimes the only thing that people hear is that Christ is their Savior (a good thing), that they forget that He is also their Lord and King.

Third, and finally, in certain contexts – as I once found myself in as a chaplain in the army – when one is preaching mostly to unbelievers, an exclusive emphasis on justification by faith alone is often warranted. This is why we such an emphasis in many of the sermons that we have recorded for us in the book of Acts. The initial emphasis for those who have never heard of Jesus Christ needs to be an exposition of the teachings surrounding the doctrine of justification. Perhaps, this is why many on our college campuses gravitate toward this kind of preaching. Evangelistic contexts often require a different emphasis than week in and week out preaching in a congregation. That doesn’t mean that God’s people don’t need to continually hear and be reminded of how they have been saved; it simply means that that is not the only thing that they need to hear.

With the Apostle Paul, preachers ought not to shrink back from declaring to God’s people the whole purpose of God (Acts 20:27).

The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch

Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive-Historical Preaching, Part 3

Dear Church Family,

In this mini-series of weekly emails on the nature and purposes of Christian preaching, most recently we have been looking at evidences of the abuse of redemptive-historical preaching. The first two parts of “Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive-Historical Preaching” are available online here: Part 1, Part 2.

If you’ve read the previous installments of this mini-series, then you will know that I have argued that redemptive-historical preaching is the proper way of interpreting and applying the word of God. That is, interpreting and applying Scripture in light of the life, dead, resurrection, ascension, and imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, this methodology has sometimes been abused.

So, in parts one and two, we considered four evidences of the abuse of redemptive-historical preaching. Here now, in part three, we consider the fifth and final evidence.

5. "Second Use of the Law Only” Preaching

There is this idea in the abuse of Redemptive-Historical preaching that the only legitimate interpretive grid for understanding the Scriptures is what is known as the “Law-Gospel Hermeneutic.” Simply put, the Law-Gospel Hermeneutic means that every Scripture may be divided into one of these two categories: law or gospel. In the law passages there are only imperatives (only commands concerning what you must do); in the gospel passages there are only indicatives (only statements concerning what God in Christ has done for you). According to this methodology, the law is opposed to the gospel.

To be sure, there is a legitimate sense in which we may view the Scriptures this way: the law commands us to be perfect, we recognize our inability to keep the law, and then we see our need for Christ who has fulfilled the law for us (Galatians 4:4-5). At the same time, there is also a legitimate sense in which the law and the gospel are not opposed to one another, but the law actually sweetly complies with the gospel (WCF 19.7). To better understand what’s going on here, it’s helpful to consider what has historically been known as the three uses of the law. Reformed theologians have recognized, and for the most part agreed, that the law of God functions in at least three ways; the law has three uses.

First, the law of God is a goad to civil righteousness. This is the operation of God’s law in the realm of common grace. The law restrains sin and promotes righteousness. In this use, the law functions merely as a cold task-master. Second, the law of God is a tutor to drive us to Christ, a stumbling block, if you will. A person tries to keep the perfect, holy law of God, fails and comes up short, and thus sees his or her need for Christ who has kept the law for us. In this use, the law functions as a measuring stick against our sinfulness and sin, continually reminding us of our need for a perfect Savior. Third, the law of God is a rule of life, a guide. While the first two uses of the law are employed with respect to both believers and unbelievers, the third use of the law is employed only for believers because only those who have been regenerated may actually keep God’s law. John Calvin wrote that this third use of the law is “the principal use, and more closely connected with its proper end” (Calvin’s Institutes, 2.7.12). [I’ve explained these three uses of God’s law in more detail here.]

Here’s why understanding these three uses is helpful. In the abuse of redemptive-historical preaching, only the second use of the law is used. That is not to say that in true redemptive-historical preaching, there is no place for preaching the law as a rule of life and guide for believer; however, in the abuse of redemptive-historical preaching, one never finds it. The fear is that the hearer will come away from the sermon with either undue despair (there’s no way I can live that way!) or misplaced arrogance (look how good I am!). These are legitimate concerns, but the answer is not to omit the demands which God makes on His people in our preaching. The answer is to be clear, balanced, and faithfully preach the text before us.

Though the exclusive Law-Gospel approach to preaching is gaining ground among some in the Reformed community, it is interesting to note that it is actually a very Lutheran distinctive. In a paper presented to the Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Forum in 1998, Mark DeGarmeaux described this distinctive Law-Gospel approach as one of the unique contributions to worship and preaching by the Lutheran tradition. He calls this type of preaching, “sacramental preaching.” You will note that in the following quote, the author is using “the gospel” in the narrow sense as referring only to justification by the substitutionary atonement of Christ:

Luther’s understanding of the distinction between Law and Gospel shines forth clearly in the preaching done in the Lutheran church. Of course, that statement is a bit idealistic because we all at times fall short in making this distinction, but we would hope that all Lutheran preachers strive to keep this distinction clear for themselves and for their hearers. The preaching in our Lutheran congregations should be neither the “dreary preaching of the Puritans” nor the legalism or mysticism of the papists, which both so easily go along with a lack of understanding concerning Law and Gospel and the means of grace. Lutheran preaching will be evangelical in that the Gospel predominates, and it will be sacramental because that Gospel emphasis proclaims “the wonderful works of God” (Act 2:11), “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God" (2Co 5:19-20).

 

I fear that the Psalmists’ confession and exhortation to delight in God’s law (e.g., Psalm 1:2; 40:7-8; 119:77, 174) might fall into this author's category of the “dreary preaching of the Puritans”! So, it is hard to understand how this form of “sacramental preaching” (an odd phrase in itself) comports with what the Bible teaches about how believers are to view God’s law.

You seem, with this kind of an emphasis on the Law-Gospel hermeneutic as the only legitimate way to interpret the Scriptures, the proponents of this kind of preaching will often say that the preacher must always “expound the law so that people see their need for Christ, and then once they have seen their need, give them the gospel.” And, yes, this is a legitimate and necessary way of preaching from many portions of the Scriptures: law, then gospel. But, there are other forms as well: law, gospel, and then law again (where the law operates both in its second and third uses in the same sermon); gospel, then law (only the third use of the law). I could go on. The truth of the matter is that God’s people are to respond in various ways to the law of God: as that which reveals our need for Christ (e.g. Galatians 3:24ff; 2 Corinthians 5:21), as a rule of life (e.g. Exodus 20, esp. v 20; John 14:3; 1 John 5:3), as something to meditate upon (e.g. Psalm 1), as something to delight in (e.g. Psalm 119:70, 77, 92, 174), as a joy (Nehemiah 8:9-11), etc.

Conclusion

We’ll consider some of these things in future installments. For now, let me simply summarize as simply as I can the main benefit of pointing out this fifth and final evidence of the abuse of redemptive-historical preaching. To only preach the law of God in its second use – as a tutor to drive us to Christ – is to implicitly teach God’s people to have a negative view of God’s law.

Yet, according to the Apostle Paul (Romans 7:7-14), the Law isn’t the problem; our sin is the problem. So, yes, to preach the law of God in order to expose man’s need of the gospel and the forgiveness of sins that can only be found in Christ (and not in the law) is essential. This form of preaching addresses the need of the unbeliever, but it also addresses need of believers who must be continually reminded of their ultimate need of Christ and His righteousness.

At the same time, because believers are regenerate (Titus 3:5-7), born again (John 3:1-8), new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17), the law of God functions for them in an additional way: as a rule of life. By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of their natures, believers are called to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10) and to be zealous to do good deeds (Titus 2:14) in keeping with God’s law.

Thus, a proper use of the second and third uses of the law in preaching helps believers to grow in their gratitude for what Christ has done for them and how they may now live for Him in the pursuit of holiness.

The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch