The Three Lawful Uses of the Law

You and I must study to know the lawful uses of the law, and use the law only that way.

The first of all lawful uses of the law is to bring people to Christ, that they may be justified by faith. That is the object of it,—to give the knowledge of sin, and to bring people to Christ, that they may be justified by faith. He who uses the law of God first for any other purpose than to bring men to Christ that they may be justified by faith, he who uses the law of God to sinners who have not yet received Christ for any other purpose than to bring these men to Christ that they may be justified by faith, makes an unlawful use of the law. And if any one is not able so to use the law as by it to bring men to Christ that they may be justified by faith, he is not qualified to preach the gospel. He is using the law unlawfully. He is sinning in his very preaching; and he must stop and wait unto he is endued with power from on high, so that he shall make only a lawful use of the law.

The other lawful use of the law is that it stands there and witnesses to the righteousness of God fulfilled in him who is justified by faith.

Then when the law has been used to bring people to Christ, that they may be justified by faith; and when they are justified by faith, and the law witnesses to the righteousness of God which is by faith, then that turns all the commandments into promises. All the commandments, then, are promises to those who are thus justified, and the lawful use of the commandments to them is to use them as promises. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Thank the Lord! He has said it, he has promised; that is so, and I am glad of it. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” He has promised it, and it is so good to know that it is so. He said it, and it shall be so. “Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother.” Good. “Remember the Sabbath day,”—and I can. “Thou shalt not steal.” He says I shall not, and I will not; for he says I shall not. He has justified me by faith, and he says I shall not steal any more. Good.

So there are three lawful uses of the law, and none other is lawful: the first use is to bring men to Christ to be justified by faith; the second is as a witness to the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; the third is as promises to him who is justified by faith.
So you see it is a literal fact, that we must preach the commandments of God so that nobody will see anything in them but the faith of Jesus; and we are to preach the faith of Jesus so that nobody will see anything in it but the commandments of God.

— A.T. Jones, The Review and Herald, 6/20/1899

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A photo of Ricky

Also known by his pen name, Malchiel E. Malachi, Ricky first began sharing the Gospel in 2008. His ministry has gone through a number of changes, even being renamed, but there is one thing that hasn’t changed. He is a dedicated student of the Scriptures and Ellen White’s writings and loves to share what he learns online.

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