ch5     Pilgrim's Progress Chapter 5               
Updated: January 21, 2015

Mr. Worldly Wiseman: Law and Grace

Having escaped the Slough of Despond, the pilgrim continued across the plain toward the wicket–gate. However, his path happened to cross that of a fine gentleman named Mr. Worldly Wiseman.

First Read p 53-59


Watch Pilgrim's Progress Scene 3 Mr. Worldly Wiseman 7min video


For the Teacher:

Mr. Wiseman was a cultured, very religious man. He was older than the pilgrim and much more experienced in religious matters. Needless to say, he brought all of these “assets” to bear on the poor pilgrim in a determined bid to turn him aside from the correct way.

Mr. Wordly Wiseman (TCA 5A)
His Approach
Worldly Wiseman’s approach can hardly be faulted, except that his intent is so wicked. Let’s take a few minutes to examine it in more detail.
He Is Friendly
His opening words to the pilgrim indicate only goodwill and utter friendliness: “Hello, my good man. Where are you going all hunched over with this burden?”
He Seems Concerned
“Do you have a wife and children?”
He Is Intent on Helping the Pilgrim
“Then I’d advise you to get rid of that burden as fast as you can. Your mind will never be settled until you do.”
He Is Religious
“And neither will you enjoy the blessings that God has for you until then.”
He Is Older and Therefore Apparently Wiser
“Listen to me. I’m older than you. The way you’re going, you’ll likely run into weariness, pain, hunger, perils, nakedness, sword, lions, dragons, darkness—in a word, death and what not. I declare, I’m telling you the truth. It’s been confirmed by many witnesses.”


Lesson Objectives:

1. To expose the thinking of Mr. Worldly Wiseman

2. To biblically prove the inadequacy of the Law for salvation

3. To encourage teens to depend on Christ, not good works for salvation

1. read p 53-59

2. watch scene 3 video

3. go over student work p 60-68

He Is Logical
The pilgrim had listened to one man who had already gotten him into trouble, and Mr. Worldly Wiseman could discern that fact: “I see the dirt of the Slough of Despond on you. But that slough is only the beginning of the sorrows that will come to you if you continue in that way.” The pilgrim’s mistake is listening to a stranger. Wiseman says, “And do you thnk you should be so careless as to follow the advice of that stranger?”
He Is Deceptive
When the pilgrim tells him that the reading of the Word has given him the burden, Mr. Worldly Wiseman seeks to undermine the authority of the Word by saying that the pilgrim is not educated in such matters and therefore should not read that book! This is almost a rephrasing of William Foster’s words to John Bunyan when he interviewed him between his arrest and his trial for preaching. Foster told Bunyan that he should not preach because he could not read the original Greek and was therefore not educated. He then said the very words that Bunyan placed in Wiseman’s mouth at this point: “It’s happened to you as it has to other weak men who meddle with things that are too high for them. It distracts them, takes away their manliness, and runs them into desperate ventures. They don’t even know what they’re trying to find.”
His Appeal
Mr. Worldly Wiseman appeals to the pilgrim through the use of today’s most enticing words: better, quicker, and easier. “I could tell you how to get what you desire without the dangers that you face on the way you’re going. Yes, the remedy is right here.” Later, the pilgrim tells Evangelist that Worldly Wiseman would “show me a better and shorter way that was not so difficult as the way that you, sir, told me of.”
Some people try to make salvation easier whereas other people seek to develop strong Christian students by being easy on them. For this very reason, we make school difficult for you. There is no easy way that will make one stronger. “No pain, no gain!”
His Attitude
Evangelist exposed the true heart of Mr. Wiseman when he said that his name is a fitting description of him because
• “He loves only the doctrine of this world.”
• “He loves that doctrine because it saves him from the Cross.”
Worldly Wiseman wanted a religion that brought honor and praise to himself. He wanted nothing to do with sin, guilt, blood, or a lowly, suffering Savior.
Mr. Wiseman is still around today. He has not changed his approach, his appeal, or his attitude. He shudders to think of the Cross and the shed blood of Christ; that is beneath his dignity. Instead, he delights to think of being a good, religious man. Preaching about the Cross turns him away, but preaching that challenges men to good morals, strict keeping of the commandments, and so on draws him irresistibly.
The worst thing about Mr. Wiseman, however, is that he insists on waylaying poor strangers such as the pilgrim and seeks to turn them from the Cross.
Warn your students to beware of those who say that their way is “easier, better, quicker.” Because only one way exists, there can never be an easier, better, or quicker way to salvation.


Student Book PDF
World view study guide

Text PDF

Video whole movie:

1st Part
2nd Part

The High Hill (TCA 5b)
The pilgrim sped toward Mr. Legality’s house, which was located very close against the High Hill. According to Evangelist, this hill is none other than Mt. Sinai, where God gave the Law to Moses, and so represents the harsh demands of the Ten Commandments.
Q: If they cannot save anyone, why did God give the commandments?
Both the question and the answer are found in Galatians 3:19.
The Law Was Added to Show Us That We Are Sinners
In verse 17, God stated that man had lived under grace before God ever gave the Law. For 430 years, Israel had been sinning, but they did not know it. Romans 4:15 says, “Where no law is there is no transgression.” Romans 5:13 adds, “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
Man was a sinner, but without laws there was no way for him to know that he was a sinner. For example, I might be going too fast in my car, but if there is no law to tell me how fast I should go and if my car has no speedometer to gauge my speed, I will not know that I am going too fast. Thus, Romans 3:20 says, “For by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The Law Is Our Schoolmaster (Gal. 3:24)
A Schoolmaster Is a Teacher
Q: What did the Law teach man?
A: That he was a sinner and in need of a Savior. Because the Israelites did not have a law for 430 years, they thought that they were righteous. They boasted of their goodness. But God determined to stop their mouths and show them their guilt.
Q: How would He do that?
A: By giving them a law that they could not keep. Romans 3:19 says, “The law saith . . . to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped [that they would stop boasting of their goodness], and all the world may become guilty before God.” The Law taught man that he was guilty of sin and in no condition to save himself.
The Law Is Our Schoolmaster to Bring Us to Christ (Gal. 3:24)
The Law stops man in his tracks, condemns him, and points him to Christ as the only answer to his sin problem. Note how this happened to the pilgrim. The overhanging rocks of Mt. Sinai and the imminent threat of death stopped him and caused him to tremble with fear. Then Evangelist was able to come and easily point him to Christ, the wicket–gate.
The central theme of this section of The Pilgrim’s Progress is also the central theme of Romans and Galatians: “The just shall live by faith.” If we are to gain entrance to that Celestial City, it will not be by conquering the High Hill or living in Mr. Legality’s house. Instead, it will be because we abandon all efforts at self–salvation and by faith trust in the finished work of Christ on the Cross as payment for our salvation.
Conclusion (TCA 5C)
Think for a moment. Romans 2:12 says, “…As many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” Suppose that two roads to heaven exist. One way is the low road, which goes by way of the Cross. To travel such a road, one must admit his sin, humble himself, confess that he is nothing, and cling to Christ alone for salvation. The other way is the high road, the way of the Law and the commandments. It is said to be better because one does not have to admit sin to go this route. In fact, people admire those who travel this road because of their civility, goodness, and good reputation.
However, there is one catch. If you at any time break even one of the hundreds of laws in God’s Word, the Law immediately condemns you to die. For the Law demands absolute perfection for all who travel its pathway, and he who transgresses in even one point is guilty of violating them all (James 2:10).
The first way, on the other hand, although it is more humbling, has no fine print in its contract. As you trust Christ, you are “perfected forever” (Heb. 10:14), and His blood has cleansed you from “all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Q: Which choice will you make? Which choice have you made?
The Law can only condemn; it can never justify (declare someone to be innocent).
Q: Can I, by stopping twice at one stop sign become innocent of failing to stop at a previous stop sign?
A: Of course not! Neither can keeping the Law ever make me innocent of the laws that I’ve broken in the past. Keeping God’s laws in the future does not justify one of sins committed in the past. Only the blood of Christ can do that. It’s too bad that Mr. Worldly Wiseman wasn’t wise enough to see this truth.
Application Activities
Refer to the last page of this chapter in the student textbook for a list of optional application activities that may be used in conjunction with this lesson.

Student Manuel p 62

A Closer Look

In addition to Christian and Evangelist, three other men figure in this part of the story: Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Mr. Legality, and his son, Civility. We could call them “the unholy trio.”

The Allegorical Meaning of the Unholy Trio

What did this Trio represent?

These three men represent people who seek to gain heaven by their own efforts, such as keeping the Law, church membership, charitableness, humanitarian deeds, high moral standards, self–improvement, etc.

What did Worldly Wiseman represent?

Mr. Worldly Wiseman represents people who view life and religion from the viewpoint of man’s own human wisdom without any of the wisdom of God.

• What was Mr. Wiseman’s home town? _Carnal Policy__

This shows that those who think that religion will get them to heaven are fleshly What does carnal mean?  fleshly (that’s what carnal means), and their policy is to do only what will build their ego, satisfy their flesh, and enhance their reputation. This is Mr. Wiseman’s policy.

How do we see Mr. Wiseman’s carnal approach? (i.e., to build the pil-grim’s ego) in this story?

   He called him a good fellow, seemed concerned, advised him to follow a happy life with ease among honest neighbors; this way would be easier than the way he was then taking.

The Meaning of the High Hill

What does High Hill represent?  

The High Hill represents Mt. Sinai, where God gave Moses the Law; thus, it represents keeping the commandments. Thousands of people think that if they can keep the commandments, they can be saved. The “wise” men of this world often make this mistake.


The World’s Approach to Religion

• The world is religious! We make the mistake of thinking that Satan would not go to church.
Yet, 2 Corinthians 1:13–15 says that Satan has ministers of __righteousness__ (v. 15), but in reality they are __false apostles___ (v. 13). Satan himself can be transformed to look like _an angel of light _.

Thus, Satan can be very religious, and so can his ministers. Of course, Satan’s church has many members, and that membership is made up of people like Mr. Worldly Wiseman—men who use their religion to gain respectability and pres-tige. Let’s examine Satan’s religious approach.

The Ministers

• According to 2 Corinthians 11:13–15 , who are the preachers in the world’s church? false apostles, deceitful workers, Satan's ministers

The Congregation

• According to what we have already studied, what kind of people are generally members of this kind of church? people who want to gain God's blessings by their own effort, they are carnal and want to build their own ego satisfy their flesh

The Doctrine

We can see the doctrine of this church in the people and the places to which Worldly Wiseman refers:

Carnal Policydoing things that appeal to the flesh and build the ego

Morality Villagepretending to live a morally good life to please both men and God

Mr. Legalitykeeping the Law and commandments (which requires man’s efforts and thus brings glory to man rather than to God) to save himself

Civilitybeing courteous, considerate, polite and learning how to be very cultured and gentlemanly (not to honor God but to draw attention to one’s own goodness)

Watch Protestant Reformation e 5min video


In Conclusion:

Salvation by Grace

Grace means receiving salvation freely, without any effort and totally without deserving it either by our works or our goodness. Grace is called “unmerited favor” (God’s favoring those who do not merit, or deserve, it). Grace has also been defined using the following acronym:

God’s   Riches   At   Christ’s   Expense

How does one gain this grace? Ephesians 2:8 says that it is through faith. It is a gift of God.

• If a man worked to earn salvation, then when God gave it to him, it would not be because God was gracious but because man earned it and deserved it. How does Romans 4:4 explain this point? To him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned of grace but of debt.

What is Paul’s conclusion in Romans 3:28 ? Man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.


Thus, the doctrine of the world’s religion centers on the goodness and efforts of man rather than on his sinfulness and utter helplessness.

The Comparison of Law and Grace

Two mountains figure in this story—Calvary and Mt. Sinai. The High Hill repre-sents Sinai, and the little hill on which stands a cross (to which the pilgrim comes later) represents Calvary, salvation by the grace of God, whereas Sinai represents salvation by keeping the commandments. Note the difference between the two.

Salvation by the Law

• Does the High Hill remove the pilgrim’s burden of sin? No

• What does the Hill do to his sinful behavior? It only makes it heavier

This is but a picture of scriptural teaching concerning the fact that the Law cannot save but will instead only increase man’s burden. Read the following verses and state what they tell us about the Law.Concerning Justification

Galatians 2:16; by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified

Romans 3:20By the deed of the law shall no flesh be justified; the law gives only a knowledge of God

According to each of the following verses, if man could be justified by his own efforts, what would be true?

Romans 4:2Man could glory in himself, his own efforts


Galatians 2:21Christ's death would be in vain (i.e., there would have been no reason for Christ to die on the Cross)

Galatians 3:21Righteousness would be by the law

Galatians 5:4Christ is become of no effect.

Concerning the Law

• Why do men seek to keep the Law for salvation?
(Gal. 6:12 ) They want glory, but they don't want to suffer for Christ

• What will the Law do for man?
(Rom. 4:15 ) work wrath (i.e., judge, condemn, punish him)

Those who seek to go to heaven by keeping the Law will have to endure the curse of the Law—hell—if they disobey even one little point.

What is the purpose of the Law? If the Law condemns men rather than saves them, why did God give the Law? Note the following verses.

Romans 3:20 —By the law is the knowledge of sin.

If God had not given the Law, man would not have known that he was a sinner. Romans 4:15 says, “Where no law is there is no trans-gression,” that is, man cannot break the Law if there is no Law and would never know what a great sinner he is if God had not given the Law to show him.

Galatians 3:24the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ (i.e., the Law shows man that he cannot keep it and makes him realize further that only Christ can save).



notes from the teacher’s lesson

Mr. Worldly Wiseman

His Approach

1. He Is friendly

2. He seems concerned

3. He Is Intent on helping the pilgrim

4. He Is religious

5. He Is Older and apparently wiser

6. He Is logical

7. He Is deceptive

His Appeal

1. Better

2. Quicker

3. Easier

His Attitude

Why Did God Give the Commandments?
(Gal. 3:17–24 )

1. To Show Us We Are sinners

2. It Is Our schoolmaster

3. To Bring Us to Christ

Two Roads to Heaven

The High Road of Keeping the law

1. You’re admired

2. If You Break _one__, You Are condemned

The Low Road of Trusting Christ's Death

1. You Must Be _humble_; It Is Humiliating

2. Getting Saved Gives You a Home in __heaven_

Memory Verse #1 from Creation lesson #1

 Memory Verse # 2 from Creation lesson # 3

Hebrews (11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Memory Verse # 3 from Creation lesson # 5

1 Corinthians 13:12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Memory Verse # 4 from Creation lesson # 6

Genesis 1:1–2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Memory Verse # 5 from Creation lesson # 7

1 Corinthians 15:21–22

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive .

Memory Verse # 6 from Creation lesson # 9

Romans 3:4 ....let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:

“That You may be justified in Your words,

And may overcome when You are judged.”

Memory Verse # 7 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch1 Don't worry

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say to you,do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?...

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Memory Verse # 8 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch3

Proverbs 29:1 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy

Memory Verse # 9 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch5

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.


Quiz—Lesson 5
Mr. Worldly Wiseman: Law and Grace
Name____________________ Date ______________ Score_________

Circle the T or the F to indicate your answer.
T F 1. Mr. Worldly Wiseman approached the pilgrim in a very friendly and helpful manner.
T F 2. The pilgrim listened to Mr. Wiseman and trusted the advice that he offered.
T F 3. Evangelist struck the pilgrim as punishment for listening to a stranger.
T F 4. A nonconformist was anyone who did not conform to the doctrines of the Scriptures as taught by independent preachers.
T F 5. Two major provisions of the Conventicle Act of May 10, 1670, basically made it illegal for groups of more than four people to meet for worship outside of the existing State–approved church.

Match each of the following quotations on the left with the person who spoke it. (You may use choices more than once.)
6. “Get rid of that burden as fast as you can.”
A. The pilgrim
B. Mr. Wisemam
C. Evangelist
7. “Listen to me. I’m older than you.”
8. “Stand still awhile so I can show you the words of God.”
9. “Woe is me, for I am undone!”
10. “Beware that you don’t turn aside again.”

Short Answer
11–12. Which two characters in The Pilgrim’s Progress did not appear in the original version of the book? ______
13–15. “The unholy trio” is the term given by your textbook author to which three characters of The Pilgrim’s Progress?__________________
16–20. Complete the acronym to the left to create a definition of grace.
G _______________________________________
R __________________________________________
A ___________________________________
C ________________________________
E _____________________
21–25. List and briefly explain five of the seven characteristics of Mr. Wiseman’s approach that made him extremely dangerous to the pilgrim.