This.  Book.  Is.  Amazing.

I can still remember being slightly foggy on the whole idea of Sanctification, good works, and the 3rd use of the law during my last year at the Seminary.  This book makes confusion about the 3rd use of the law practically impossible.  Mint!

Engelbrecht does an amazing job of putting Luther’s 3rd use of the law in context, yea imagine that… a Lutheran concerned about context!  Engelbrecht does a great job of succinctly illustrating for the reader how the Fathers talked about the Law.  He puts the Father’s thoughts in chronological order leading up to Luther and then shows how Luther built off what they had already laid down.  It is really quite simple & beautiful.

When he finally gets to Luther’s writings he makes a rather brilliant move.  He looks at ALL the different writings of Luther.  Engelbrecht doesn’t just look in the doctrinal writings of Luther but he also looks at Luther’s sermons.  He looked to Luther’s proclamation!  What a logical place to look.  Hmmmm, is Luther preaching 3rd use? Yes… but he doesn’t believe in it!?! Anyways, Engelbrecht also points out that these postils were actually some of the most widely used of all the writings of Luther.

As Engelbrecht critics other scholars he is fair but also willing to call a thing what it is.  I am not a researcher or professor but it seemed to me like these other researchers simply did a word search for “third use” and based their conclusions on those results.  Engelbrecht also took into account when Luther was “doing” the third use to his readers while not using the exact terminology, which also tended to fluctuate within Luther’s writings.

In my humble opinion, this book belongs in the library of every Lutheran Pastor.  This book is meant for PROCLAMATION.  Every. Sunday. 🙂

In his conclusion Engelbrecht states:

“God intends that the one He has declared righteous by grace through faith may enjoy freedom in his conscience and that the righteous man may, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, bear the fruit of the Spirit to the praise of God’s surpassing grace.  In view of this, Luther taught that God’s people may daily take up the commandments of God’s Law, sing them on the way to their work, and actually use them to the benefit of their neighbours.”

That. Is. Mint.

+soli deo gloria+