The Federal Vision
4Apr/103

Doug Wilson on the proper use of the law

Doug Wilson responds to the accusation that his view of Law and Gospel imply a denial of Sola Fide. He includes a great quote from Turretin's Institutes.

So once saving faith comes, with regard to the broad intention and design of God, the believer principally rests in Christ alone, as He is offered in the gospel. But saving faith also understands the parts and relations of law to gospel, and sees God's overarching gracious intent. He seesĀ totus lex. This is why he can now tremble at the threatenings without that trembling being an example of unbelief. This is why he can render obedience to the laws without that obedience being a form of works-righteousness. In order to have the pedagogical use of the law and the didactic use of the law functioning at all, it is necessary that a man be able to transition between them. That transition is called getting saved.

Read full post HERE. Well worth the read!

"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (1 Tim. 1:5-8).

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  1. He quotes from Turretin, but he quotes him selectively, and out of context. For instance, he leaves out :”Nor is it absurd that in this way justification takes place by works and by faith –by the works of Christ, and by our faith.” Oh yeah, and then there’s all that stuff Francois writes about two covenants, the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, and faith apart from obedience to the Law.

    But that doesn’t make Doug’s case. So he leaves it off. And doesn’t allow those who know better to respond on his blog.

    Yes, honest scholarship, the mark of the FV.

  2. Ken, I went back and reread the whole passage. He was not quoting selectively. Doug Wilson could have included the whole chapter to further his point (but it would have been tediously long). I actually had the part you quote above underlined already from when I was given Turretin to read at New Saint Andrews. I (nor Doug Wilson as far as I can tell) have absolutely no problem with a Law Gospel Distinction. What I am opposed to is setting one against the other, limiting the use of one (the law) in particular. I am against a RIGID Law Gospel * Hermeneutic *.

    Turretin is very clear in this chapter. While one use of the law is to make one “flee to Christ” (I affirm this absolutely and completely), the law is nevertheless gracious, and even of faith! “For it is proved that faith was taught even in the Sinaitic covenant: (1) because Christ, its object, was contained in it;…” (XXI). he goes on in a similar vein.

    At the end of the chapter, section XXV, “In the latter case [the former case being the idea that the law convicts us and brings us to Christ], that covenant [the one quoted above] had the lively oracles (Acts 7:38) and contained the saving promises of the grace of Christ.”

    The law alone does not save. Any one who tries to become righteous through the law are condemned equally in both Old and New Testament. But that does not mean that Christ is not found in the law, nor does that mean that all “law passages” (as Clark would want to categorize all passages into EITHER Law or Gospel passages) are condemnation. God commands us to have faith, and he gives what he commands. And to all that have faith (and are therefore saved by grace through faith), to them both law and gospel are gracious and “of faith.”

    The law chases us to Christ. The law is good. The law is of faith.
    The gospel is a weight and condemnation to him without faith. It is a stumbling stone, and a rock on which those who wish to KEEP and fulfill the law IN THEMSELVES are broken.

  3. a biblical mandate for federal vision, would you believe that would be like the Apostle Paul calling all corinthians saints with out knowing the salvation of every attendee?


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