• Against the Law Article by Mark Jones

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2013

    There are few theological aberrations more difficult to define than antinomianism. Some simply look at the etymology of the word and conclude that antinomians are against (anti) God’s law (nomos). Others are a bit more specific, suggesting that antinomians are those who deny the third use of the law (the law as a guide for the Christian life; for example, Eph. 6:1) as normative for the Christian believer. Still others contend that we should distinguish between theoretical antinomianism—just described—and practical antinomianism. Practical antinomianism may take on two forms. The first group are those who claim to be Christians … View Resource

  • Delighting in Our Duty Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2013

    When we think of the law of God, the first thing that should come to mind is love—God’s love for us as fallen sinners, directing us to love Him, enjoy Him, and glorify Him. God’s law is a gracious gift to us, and it has three primary uses. First, the law functions as a teacher by showing us God’s perfect righteousness and our unrighteousness and sin, and it shows our danger of God’s judgment, leading us, by God’s grace, in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ who fulfilled all the righteous demands of God’s … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Stewardship Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2011

    Stewardship is the care and management of that which belongs to another. while we often speak of things as “ours,” the reality is that all that we have and all we are belongs to another — God. As the Apostle Paul put it, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7). So it is from God that WE HAVE received our lives and everything in them for which we are responsible. Temporarily — that is, until God requires them from us — we are stewards of these gifts. Though too often associated merely … View Resource

  • Evangelism and the Gospel Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2011

    It does little good to encourage people to discipline themselves to evangelize if they do not know the gospel. Try this experiment in your church, class, or small group to reveal one’s level of preparedness to share the gospel. Distribute paper and then ask people how many times they think they’ve heard the gospel. Some, if they’ve professed faith in Christ for many years, may answer that they’ve heard it hundreds or even thousands of times. “Good,” you say. “Now, please write the gospel on that piece of paper.” Then watch people freeze and stare at you as … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Worship Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2011

    There may be nothing in the realm of religion by which people vainly attempt to establish their acceptability to God more than by acts of public or private worship. As a result, worship can degrade into one of the most legalistic activities a person can pursue. In the minds of many, you are right with God if you go to church. They are convinced that anyone who worships God is accepted by Him. Though perhaps they do not expressly state it, they believe that because they discipline themselves to regularly attend an event where the gospel is proclaimed, they have … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Prayer Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Because I teach and write about spirituality, occasionally I’m asked to comment on scientific studies about the efficacy of prayer. The research always seems to include the assumption that one person’s prayers are essentially as acceptable as another’s. One of the flaws with such studies is that they do not associate prayer with the gospel. No one can begin to understand prayer until he grasps what the gospel teaches us about prayer. The Bible, rather than assuring everyone that God hears their prayers, slams heaven’s door against all who think God will hear them despite their sins: “But your iniquities … View Resource

  • The Goodness of the Law Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Oh how I love your law!” (Ps. 119:97). What a strange statement of affection. Why would anyone direct his love toward the law of God? The law limits our choices, restricts our freedom, torments our consciences, and pushes us down with a mighty weight that cannot be overcome, and yet the psalmist declares his affection for the law in passionate terms. He calls the law sweeter than honey to his mouth (Ps. 119:3). What is it about the law of God that can provoke such affection? In the first place, the law is not an abstract set … View Resource

  • Lighting the Way: The Didactic Use of the Law Article by Robert Letham

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    In Reformed theology, the law has been seen as the guide for believers in the conduct of their lives. John Calvin described this as its principal use. In this sense, we are talking about the Decalogue — the Ten Commandments — and its entailments, not the ceremonial or the civil law, nor the law in its old covenantal terms. This does not mean that the law has any inherent power to change us. Paul establishes this point in Romans 7:1–8:8. The law is weak, not because of any defect in itself but due to our sinful natures. It … View Resource

  • Our Liberating God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Why would anyone love the law of God? Why would we love that which constantly tells us what miserable wretches we are, daily points out all our shortcomings, relentlessly reminds us of all our death-deserving sins, and keeps knocking us down to our knees, leaving us crying out for help? The truth of the matter is that not just anyone loves the law of God but only those who have been set free by our law-giving, law-keeping, and law-liberating Savior. We love the law of God not because we possess some sort of inherent self-inflicting, self-deprecating sadistic disposition towards our … View Resource

  • Reflecting Sin: The Pedagogical Use of the Law Article by David Murray

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Ouch!” That first look in the mirror every morning doesn’t get any easier, does it? In fact, I’d rather do without looking in mirrors at all. And I might get away with it — for a few days. Because, although I wouldn’t know my hair was looking like a mohawk, that yesterday’s ketchup was still on my chin, or that last night’s basil was lodged between my front teeth, my wife and children would, and so would my employer and colleagues. And that might well have more painful consequences — socially and even financially — than just looking in the … View Resource

  • Restraining Sin: The Civil Use of the Law Article by David VanDrunen

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Of the three uses of the law, the so-called “civil” use may strike us as the least interesting theologically. It involves no inward transformation of the heart or Spirit-wrought righteousness that is pleasing in God’s sight. By this use, the law restrains the sinful excesses of sinners through the fear of shame and punishment, promoting an external obedience to moral standards and a measure of peace in society. It may be hard to get excited about this civil use of the law in comparison to the pedagogical use, which exposes people’s unrighteousness and drives them to repent of their sins … View Resource

  • Seeing the Gospel in the Word of God Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Surely no one reading this article needs to be convinced of the importance of feeding upon the Word of God. As Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). It is through the regular, personal intake of the Bible that we come to know God better, understand His will for our lives, experience God’s transforming presence, and much more. But have you considered the significance of daily saturation in Scripture for developing a more gospel-centered, Christ-focused life? Here’s what I mean: in your Bible reading … View Resource

  • Preaching Grace Article by Robert Norris

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2010

    Doctrine is the necessary basis for a sound spiritual life, and defective doctrine almost inevitably leads to a distorted spiritual life. Nowhere is this truth more evident than in understanding the relationship between the old covenant law and the gospel, which is a theological issue with enormous practical implications. Its importance was recognized by Martin Luther, who could write that “whoever knows well this art of distinguishing between Law and Gospel, him place at the head and call him a doctor of Holy Scripture.” The gospel always demonstrates that God’s perfect law and His love were fulfilled on the cross … View Resource

  • Christ in the Old Testament Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

    The relationship between the Mosaic covenant and the new covenant remains one of the most controversial and difficult topics in theology. As the notable American theologian Jonathan Edwards said, “There is perhaps no part of divinity attended with so much intricacy, and wherein orthodox divines do so much differ as stating the precise agreement and difference between the two dispensations of Moses and Christ.” There are those who so emphasize either discontinuity or continuity that the problem is solved by oversimplifying it. Most Christians, however, recognize that there are elements of continuity as well as discontinuity. The difficulty arises when … View Resource

  • Grace and Law? Article by John Sartelle

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2009

    You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4). When one becomes a Christian there are certain changes that usually take place in his life. It was my privilege to witness God draw an Air Force general to Christ over a two-year period. When I first met this veteran of World War II he was an atheist, and his language was as “colorful” as his personality. I soon realized that his strong words misusing the Lord’s name were permanently sewn into the fabric of his everyday life. However … View Resource