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Phil Ledgerwood

This seems specious to me. Part of the law that is under the mercy seat is the obligation to keep yom shabbat holy.


And that is one of the things that changes in the hands of Christ!

Jesse Cook

Did Mr. Worden "take the time" to comment on the goldern urn holding the manna or Aaronn's staff?...or did he say something like: about these things we cannot now speak in detail?

Phil Ledgerwood

Well, you or I might say that, but it doesn't seem to fit with what Worden is saying. If I'm reading him correctly, the transformation in Christ comes from the Law is no longer accusatory and/or functional as a covenant of works.

But he seems specifically to define the Decalogue as "the moral law" and enjoins us to keep it even more faithfully. I'm not sure what he's saying that's different from your standard Reformed view of the Law with the exception that he owns up to it being a covenant of works prior to Christ.

I could totally be reading him wrong.


Phil, I agree that Worden in all likelihood held the standard Puritan view of the fourth commandment. So I'm not claiming him for support there. But as far as holding "your standard Reformed view of the Law," that gives the impression that there is one Reformed view. I want to question that. My point is there are different ways of formulating the third use of the law within the Reformed tradition. Some of the Puritans who were more afraid of antinomianism thought "the law in the hand of Christ" view was dangerous. This might be why it is not explicitly stated in the Westminster Confession. However, there is language there that can be interpreted in that direction (WCF XIX.5-6 and WLC #97). "The law in the hands of Christ" view of the third use was defended by orthodox men like Bolton and the Marrow Men. My thesis is that it was a minority orthodox position that seems to have been forgotten today. I think the quote from Worden adds to the growing evidence supporting that.

Phil Ledgerwood

Good point. When I said "standard Reformed view," I should have said, "view typically expressed by Reformed folks, today." Worden's language does sound a lot like Bolton's, especially the bit about the Law being a rule of "walking."

If I recall correctly, that was the one thing Bolton said that, if we affirmed, there was no quarrel.

David Rothstein

That expression, "the law in the hands of Christ," seems to be roughly equivalent to "law of Christ" and "third use of the law." IOW, it describes the law's relationship to regenerate persons by way of contrast with those who remain under the covenant of works.

But I would like to point out is that there are conflicting definitions of "the law in the hand of Moses." For example, Burgess argues against those who teach that the Mosaic covenant is a covenant of works and who therefore view "the law in the hand of Moses" as signifying the law as a covenant of works. This is specifically the position that he calls "antinomian."

Otoh, for Boston, to receive "the law from the hand of Moses" was (contrary to Burgess's opponents) not to receive the law as a covenant of works, but rather to receive it from Christ, but via a typological mediator. So for him, the phrase signifies the post-Fall uses of the law as mediated to the OT people of God.

My point is that one's view of the nature of the Mosaic covenant is determinative of what precisely he means by distinguishing "the hand of Moses" from "the hand of Christ" (and therefore whether or not some Reformed writers might view him as antinomian). However, no orthodox Reformed writer denies that Christians receive the law from the hand of Christ.

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