Tag Archive | Law

Laws with Appendices

JTB.SDG on the Puritan Board:

Within the law itself there is a setting apart the 10 Commandments in particular from the rest of the law. Check out Exodus 34:27-28; Deuteronomy 4:12-13; 9:9-11. Here it’s clear that the *covenant* God was making at Sinai was connected in an intimate way–not just with the law in general, but the “ten words” in particular.

One way that the ceremonial and judicial laws have been described in days past (IE, by the puritans), which I find extremely helpful, and which connects them back with the moral law, is in this way: as the first 4 commandments have to do with love for God, and the ceremonial laws have to do with Israel’s worship, the ceremonial laws are really an *appendix* to the first table of the law (the first 4 commands), as they further flesh out what love for God really looks like in their time and place.

The last 6 commandments have to do with love for neighbor, and seeing the judicial laws have to do with Israel’s civil state, they are like an appendix to the last 6 commandments; they flesh out what it really looks like in their time and place to love their neighbor. So, both ceremonial and judicial laws are *rooted* in the 10 Commandments.

But while the moral law of the 10 Commandments is perpetually binding (see the NT letters where you can find reference to each of the 10 Commandments binding believers to keep them), the judicial and ceremonial laws were for a particular people (the jews) who lived in a particular time (before the coming of Christ) and therefore served a temporary purpose and are no longer binding.

Now, they DO contain permanent principles (as Iain pointed out); but the particular application has changed. Which is why Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 cites a phrase used in the OT for the death penalty but changes the application to excommunication; and why he cites an OT verse about muzzling an ox but changes the application to financially supporting gospel ministers. They still express permanent principles; but Paul doesn’t apply them literally–he recognises they have a new application in the new covenant.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/covenant-theology-and-the-moral-law.95191/, Comment 17

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Three Kinds of Precepts

Thomas Aquinas:

We must, therefore, distinguish three kinds of precept in the Old Law; viz., moral precepts, which are dictated by the natural law; ceremonial precepts, which are determinations of the Divine worship; and judicial precepts, which are determinations of the justice to be maintained among men.

(Summa Theologica, Volume 2, p. 1034)

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/covenant-theology-and-the-moral-law.95191/, Comment 16

The Moral Law As Found In Scripture

Poimen on the Puritan Board:

Summarizing Turretin, Witsius (Economy, on the Sinai Covenant and the 10C specifically
https://www.monergism.com/decalogue-covenant-works-or-covenant-grace) etc., the moral law (or 10 commandments) is distinctly found in scripture as follows:

1) They are written by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18 & Deuteronomy 9:10) to establish their permanence (as opposed to the law of the heart which was effaced by the fall).
2) The stone tablets upon which they are written are placed in the ark (Exodus 25:21, Deuteronomy 10:2,5), the place of God’s presence.
3) They are rewritten after the rebellion indicating their continued importance place as a moral guide (Exodus 34:1ff).
4) They are republished or reiterated by Moses for another generation (Deuteronomy 5:6) and applied anew (vs. 15) in light of God’s redemptive acts.
5) Like circumcision etc., they are identified as the covenant of God (Exodus 34:28) because these are central to our relationship with him.
6) They are numbered so that these are distinguished from all others (Exodus 34:28). Jesus summarized them as two for “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
7) These are promised to be written in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).
8) The moral law is upheld while, in the same breath, the ceremonial is abolished (Psalm 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:4-10).
9) They are cited and upheld by Jesus in critical times of his ministry and teaching.

  • First commandment: “For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only thou shalt thou serve.” Luke 4:8
  • Second commandment: “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Mark 7:7
  • Third commandment: “he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” Mark 3:29
  • Fourth commandment: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” Mark 2:27
  • Fifth commandment: “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother” Matthew 15:4
  • Sixth commandment: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders…” Matthew 15:19
  • Seventh commandment: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery” Luke 16:18
  • Eighth commandment: “Thou knowest the commandments… Do not steal” Luke 18:20
  • Ninth commandment: “Ye are of your father the devil… he is a liar, and the father of it.:” John 8:44
  • Tenth commandment: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15

10) They are upheld by the apostles by way of summary (Romans 13:8:-10, James 2:8-12) and in various places cite it as authoritative (Ephesians 6:1:ff, 1 John 5:21). Paul even tells us that the Gentiles know this law in their hearts (Romans 2:14-15) as is evident from biblical examples (Genesis 20:1ff.) and the history of man (pagan moralists).

As to the relationship between the 10 commandments and Adam’s knowledge of righteousness in the garden consider:

1) That marriage is a creation ordinance (Matthew 19:4-5).
2) As is the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28).
3) Adam knew God and served him uprightly (Genesis 1&2 – 1st, 2nd and 3rd commandments).
4) There was no death and Adam was expected to uphold life (Genesis 2:16ff. – 6th commandment).
5) Adam knew his wife and was not ashamed (Genesis 2:25 – 7th commandment).
6) He was expected to keep himself from that which was not his (Genesis 2:17 – 8th commandment).
7) Adam was expected to believe God’s word (Genesis 2:16ff. – the ninth commandment).
8) The whole law was violated by the breaking of the tenth commandment (Genesis 3:6 cf. Romans 7:7).

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/covenant-theology-and-the-moral-law.95191/, Comment 15

Because They Are Moral

The Heidelblog:

We know that the earliest post-Apostolic Christians read the Ten Commandments in their worship services. We have evidence of that in the letter of Pliny the Younger to the Roman Emperor Trajan (c. 112 AD), where he described the Christian worship services in Asia Minor.

Christians are not under the Ten Commandments as a schoolmaster. Jesus has satisfied the law for us and has taken away the curse of the law but we are under the law as the rule and guide of the Christian life. We are under them not because they Mosaic but because they are moral. They are God’s moral law.

Read more: https://heidelblog.net/2018/05/are-the-ten-commandments-for-christians/

It Is Mercy That Premises Threatenings

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 399:

It is strange to think what mercy is mixed with the most wrath-like strokes and threatenings. There is no prophet whose office and commission is only for judgment; nay, to speak the truth, it is mercy that premises threatenings. The entering of the law, both in the commands and curses, is to make sin abound, that grace may superabound, so that both rods and threatenings are the messengers of Jesus Christ, to bring sinners to him for salvation. Every thing should be measured and named by its end; so, call threatenings promises, call rods and judgments mercies; name all good, and good to you, if so be you understand the purpose of God in these.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/call-threatenings-promises.89771/, Comment 1

The Glass of God’s Holy Law

Robert Traill (The Lord’s Prayer, John 17:24), Works 2:245:

MirrorThe law makes a representation of believers that they must not receive, but set Christ’s representation against it. Whoever seeth his own face in the glass of God’s holy law, seeth a hateful spotted face: For by the law is the knowledge of sin, Rom. 3:20. Now, if a believer think, that just as he seeth himself in this clear glass, so doth he appear in the presence of God, that were dreadful indeed. But there is another representation that Christ makes of them unto God, that the law knows not of. The more a man knows of the law, the more he knows of his own sin and danger. And this sad condition remains till he look beyond and above the law unto the righteousness of Christ, who hath satisfied and fulfilled the law by himself, and makes this over to a believer, and represents him to God, as clothed with it.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-glass-of-god%E2%80%99s-holy-law.91676/

Not Under the Law Except as a Rule of Life

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 19, Section 6:

Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience. It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin: and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof: although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works. So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and, not under grace.