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The Moral Law of God in Genesis

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Reformed, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    The 17th-century theologian Edward Fisher authored The Marrow of Modern Divinity in 1645. The book contained a four-way fictional dialogue between Evangelista (a Minister of the Gospel), Nomista (a Legalist), Antinomista (an Antinomian) and Neophytus (a young Christian). The book begins with a discussion of the Covenant of Works. The Covenant of Works is a covenant God made with mankind in Adam. In Marrow, Evangelista describes the Covenant of Works thus:

    In response to Evangelista citing the Covenant of Works, Nomista said, "But, sir, you know the word “covenant” signifies a mutual promise, bargain, and obligation between two parties. Now, though it is implied that God promised man to give him life if he obeyed, we do not read that man promised to be obedient." To this, Evangelista replied, "I ask you to take notice that God does not always tie man to verbal expressions, but often contracts the covenant in real impressions in the heart and frame of the creature; and this was the manner of covenanting with man at first. For God had furnished his soul with an understanding mind whereby he might discern good from evil, and right from wrong: and not only this, but there was also in his will the greatest uprightness, Eccl. 7.29; and his instrumental parts were framed to obedience and order. The truth is, God, engraved in man’s soul wisdom and knowledge of His will and works, and integrity in the whole soul, and such a fitness in all its powers, that the mind neither conceived, nor the heart desired, nor the body executed anything except what was acceptable to God; so that man, endued with these qualities was able to serve God perfectly." So, Evangelista makes the point that Adam was created with the innate ability to discern between good and evil. Additionally, Adam was created in the moral likeness of God (Imago Dei; Genesis 1:26), ergo, Adam was under the unspoken obligation to act in concert with his moral nature.

    The preceding brings us to the subject of the moral law of God. The moral law of God pre-dates the Mosaic Law. It was at the heart of the Covenant of Works which Adam broke. Even though Adam broke God's moral law, and suffered the consequences for doing so (Genesis 2:17), he was still obligated to obey it; he was still obligated to do right. The moral law of God was at the heart of Cain knowing it was wrong to kill his brother Abel (Genesis 4:5-8). This God-given knowledge of right and wrong continued unabated until finally codified in the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. While following the Decalogue cannot impart righteousness, the divine moral imperative it contains has not passed away. Later, God commanded Moses to give to Israel what became known as the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law contained civil, ceremonial, and moral aspects. CARM does a good job of breaking down the three divisions of the law: What are the Main Divisions of The Old Testament Law. You can visit the CARM link I just provided to read the detail. I am going to paste how they explain the Moral Law because it exactly expresses my view:

    Moral - No Expiration because it is based on God's character. "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy," (Lev. 19:2)
    1. Idolatry (Lev. 26:1-13)
    2. Love God (Deut. 6:4)
    3. Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18)
    4. Oppress your neighbor (Lev. 19:13)
    5. Stealing or lying (Lev. 19:11)
    6. Sacrifice children to Molech forbidden (Lev. 20:1-5)
    7. Sexual sins: adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. (Lev. 18:20; 20:9-21; Num. 5:12-15)
    Jesus came to fill the requirements of the Law. He, Himself, is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). There is no longer a requirement to obey dietary, sacrificial, or even certain civil aspects of the Mosaic Law*. Also, Jesus displayed perfect obedience to the moral law. He fulfilled the Covenant of Works as the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), and by doing so become a life-given spirit. But while Jesus perfectly obeyed the moral law, His obedience does not remove our obligation to obey God's moral commands. 1 Peter 1:15-16 "but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

    Righteousness is not found in obeying the moral law. Righteousness can only be found in Christ. However, man is still created Imago Dei. The law of God (moral) is written on his heart. He cannot escape it.

    Romans 2:14-15 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

    As children of the living God, we are to emulate our head who is Christ. Paul wrote, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1). Imitating Christ also means imitating His perfect moral nature. We will fail to do that perfectly, especially when measured against our Lord Himself. Thankfully, we are forgiven. But we get up and continue to move forward. We continue to, "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14).

    *We are under obligation to obey human laws to the extent they do not violate God's law.
     
    #1 Reformed, Apr 21, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
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  2. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    From A Baptist Catechism with Commentary; by W.R.Downing pg85,86...used by permission-

    The term “law” is used in Scripture in several different ways. Care must be taken to make the proper distinctions within the given context. Mark the following uses in Scripture:
    the entirety of the Word of God (1 Jn. 2:3–4; 3:4).

    The entire Old Testament
    (Matt. 5:17–18; Rom. 2:17–20; Heb. 10:1).

    The Five Books of Moses, or the Pentateuch (Lk. 24:44; Rom. 3:21).

    The whole Mosaic legislation. Human law or custom (Rom. 7:1–3). Various principles or powers of operation that exist in the created spiritual or moral order of things (Rom. 3:27; 7:21–23; 8:1–3).

    The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1–17).

    The Moral Law is epitomized in the Decalogue or Ten Commandments, and answers to the law ontologically embedded in man’s nature at creation as the image–bearer of God (Rom. 2:11–16).

    The Moral Law was neither formulated nor instituted at Sinai; rather, it was codified and epitomized at
    Sinai in the Decalogue.


    The Moral Law expresses the moral self–consistency or absolute righteous character of the triune God.

    The Moral Law was codified as part of the progressively–revealed redemptive purpose (Rom.5:20–21). [All post–Fall Divine revelation is essentially redemptive in nature].

    The Moral Law was revealed to Moses and given to Israel in a codified and epitomized or summary form. Israel, as the covenant people of God, formed the repository of the Divinely revealed and codified Moral Law until the gospel took the true knowledge of God and his moral self–consistency to all the nations of the earth.

    What is the purpose of the law for the unbeliever?

    First, it is revelatory.
    The Law gives the proper recognition of God. It is primarily a revelation of the Divine nature and character. It is particularly a transcript of the perfect righteousness or moral self–consistency of God and what God requires of man (Ex. 20:1–17; Eccl. 12:13–14; Matt. 22:35–40).

    Second, The Law was meant to bring a restraint upon sin (Rom. 2:14–16; 7:7).

    Third, The Law also aggravates the unregenerate mind or heart and causes it to both rebel againstthe commands of God and to lust after that which is forbidden (Rom. 7:7–13).

    Fourth, it is the God–ordained medium of conviction of sin (Rom. 3:19–20; 5:20; 7:7–13; 1 Cor. 15:56; Gal. 3:24; 1 Tim. 1:8–11).

    Finally, it is designed to lead the sinner to Christ (Gal. 3:23–24).
    [Note that the Gk. perfect tense in Gal. 3:24 ought to be translated “The law was and continues to be our
    schoolmaster to lead us to Christ…”].
     
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  3. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Hmm what role does the Spirit of God play in this book?

    Genesis 6
    3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

    In this age, we are not under the law but led of the Spirit.

    Galatians 5
    16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
    17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other:
    so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

    18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
     
  4. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Are we then free to sin with impunity since we are under grace? By what standard are we found to be lead by the Spirit? If there is a standard, does not that operate as a law; and by law, I do not mean a law that can impart righteousness, since by the works of the law no man will be justified (Romans 3:20). I mean a law - a standard - that governs divine right from wrong, good from evil?
     
  5. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Yes we are and I have in the past as a son sinned with impunity.

    But it was not the Spirit who led me away, I did that on my own and every time I have wandered I have been brought back usually with a stop at the woodshed.

    Also when I have walked away from grace yes I find myself subject to the retribution of a law for which on one occasion I was almost brought home in heaven.

    This comes under the Law of Love that our father has for His children.

    Here is the standard you speak of

    Hebrews 12
    5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
    6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."
    7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
    8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

    In the world of Jesus and the apostles Roman scourging oft times was mortally fatal.

    But I am by no means discouraged by the chastening of the LORD but on the contrary encouraged and yes as He promised have enjoyed the resultant peaceable fruit of righteousness to give me victory over a sin I was unable in my ability to conquer.

    Of course He desires a life free from actual sin:

    1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
    2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    And if/when we do sin we have an advocate (LAWYER) in the court of heaven - Jesus Christ the righteous whom I hear has not yet lost a case.
     
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