Samuel Bolton (a Westminster divine) is my favorite writer on how the moral law relates to the gospel. He makes some brilliant turns here to explain what’s been traditionally called the third use of the moral law:
We look next at the case of those who are called Antinomians. Just as the Papists set up the law for justification, so the Antinomians decry the law for sanctification. We claim to be free from the curses of the law; they would have us free from the guidance, from the commands of the law. We say we are free from the penalties, but they would abolish the precepts of the law. They tell us that we make a false mixture together of Christ and Moses, and that we mingle law and Gospel together. How unjustly they lay this charge against us, let men of understanding judge. We cry down the law in respect of justification, but we set it up as a rule of sanctification. The law sends us to the Gospel that we may be justified; and the Gospel sends us to the law again to inquire what is our duty as those who are justified.
-from Samuel Bolton, The Moral Law a Rule of Obedience
Note these juxtapositions:
- We are free from the curses, but not the commands
- We are free from the penalties, but not the precepts
- We do not use the law as a means of justification, but we do use it as a means of sanctification