Categories: Daily Bible Readings

The Pedagogical Use of the Law


What does the Lord say in his law?

The Catechism lists the 10 commandments as it’s answer. They can be found in the Old Testament, in either Exodus 20:1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

How are these commandments divided?

Into two tables. The first has four commandments, teaching us what our relation to God should be. The second has six commandments, teaching us what we owe our neighbor.


The Pedagogical Use of the Law

Wednesday, July 26: Galatians 3:1-14

Today we are privileged to focus on the Pedagogical Use of the law. The law serves as a teacher of sin so that we will turn in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ. In other words, to experience joy in Jesus Christ, we must first be condemned by the law. First, the law reveals human sin. J.I. Packer’s describes sin as “an energy, an obsession, an allergic reaction to God’s law, an irrational anti-God syndrome in our spiritual system that drives us to exalt ourselves and steels our hearts against devotion and obedience to our maker. Pride, ingratitude, and self-gratification are its basic expressions” (Rediscovering Holiness. 49). So, ask yourself some hard questions. Do you trust the idols of comfort, approval and control more than Jesus (Commandment #1)? Or, do you slander, deceive or lie either to make yourself look better or to gain advantage over someone else (Commandment #9)? Second, the law reveals the consequences of sin. We are not able to help or justify ourselves (Galatians 2:16). Sin, evil, corruption, pain, hostility are all the self-inflicted acts and consequences of sinful humanity. We are not generally good people, but are, in fact, sinful and worthy of death (Romans 6:23). The implicit question, therefore, is: “Where do we turn for help?” That brings us to our third theme. The law reveals human sin in order to draw children, women and men to Jesus. This is good news: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). The law announces what we must do, reveals what we cannot do, and, ultimately, reveals the One who has fully met its righteous requirements on our behalf (Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21). What do these three themes mean for us? We all live with a sense of exile, with a sense that there must be something better (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 3:11). This feeling of exile is the fruit of sin. The hope for something better can only be found in Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection is the Father’s gift of grace, restoring broken lives into His new creation, and reconciling sinners to himself and with each other (2 Corinthians 5:16ff). The law is given to draw us to the supremacy of God and His grace. The point is clear. If we desire to live healthy and vibrant Christian lives, we must humble ourselves in repentance and faith before His throne of restoring and reconciling grace (1 John 1:5-2:2). Do you long to be set free from exile?

Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn