A Jagged Contention: The Third Use of the Law


“For although they are regenerate and renewed in the spirit of their mind, yet in the present life this regeneration and renewal is not complete, but only begun, and believers are, by the spirit of their mind, in a constant struggle against the flesh, that is, against the corrupt nature and disposition which cleaves to us unto death. On account of this old Adam, which still inheres in the understanding, the will, and all the powers of man, it is needful that the Law of the Lord always shine before them, in order that they may not from human devotion institute wanton and self-elected cults [that they may frame nothing in a matter of religion from the desire of private devotion, and may not choose divine services not instituted by God’s Word]; likewise, that the old Adam also may not employ his own will, but may be subdued against his will, not only by the admonition and threatening of the Law, but also by punishments and blows, so that he may follow and surrender himself captive to the Spirit, 1 Cor. 9:27; Rom. 6:12, Gal. 6:14; Ps. 119:1ff; Heb. 13:21 (Heb. 12:1).”

– The Epitome of the Formula of Concord: The Third Use of the Law


A great deal of discussion and debate seems to surround the role of the Law in the life of the Christian. Do Christians still need the Law? Do you think the Formula’s explanation of the Law’s third use is clarifying or more confusing? Listen to our own Scott Keith over at the Christ Hold Fast podcast and weigh in with your thoughts.