The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 19: Of the Law of God - Commentary

...e Jews from the Gentiles were laws given specifically to separate them like circumcision (Gen. 17:14) or food laws (Lev. 20:24-26) which we know from the rest of the NT (e.g. Acts 10) were problematic for the infant church. Therefore, we see in this passage that the Apostle declares the abolishing and destruction of such ceremonial laws while not speaking a word about the abolishing of the moral law, but rather, elsewhere arguing that it is common for all men (Rom. 1:18-32; 2:12-15). This he could not have done if he had not seen a certain division within the law.

See also 1Cor 7:19 below.

The Commandments Summed up

In Romans 13:8-10 the Apostle cites 4 laws from the second table of the Decalogue and then adds “any other commandment” and finally concludes that this is fulfilled in loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. What other commandment could the Apostle have in mind other than moral commands like the fifth commandment about honoring our parents, or the ninth commandment not to lie or bear false witness. It is the commandments of the Decalogue and those derived from them that fulfill the “law”. How is love shown to neighbor by being circumcised, not eating certain foods or offering sacrifices? Rather, if we love our neighbor we will not do anything morally wrong to them, but rather will love them and thereby fulfill the moral law.

Conclusion

Putting all the biblical evidence together, especially from the Old Testament itself, we see a certain and in some cases a threefold division arise in Mosaic Law. The law is divided between the moral law which is unchanging and always binding; the ceremonial law which was typical, shadowy and temporary; and the civil law which was the constitution of Israel and also had a temporary character. But these things will be discussed later in the appropriate paragraphs.


§2 The Same Law...Delivered by God...in Ten Commandments

  1. The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the Fall, 1 and was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables, the four first containing our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man. 3
      • 1st Commandment: Gen. 35:1-4; Exod. 18:11; Job 31:28; 42:1-2; Josh. 24:2
      • 2nd Commandment: Gen. 35:1-4; Lev. 18:21, 27
      • 3rd Commandment: Exod. 5:2; Lev. 18:21, 27; Job 2:9
      • 4th Commandment: Gen. 2:2-3; Exod. 16; Gen. 7:4; 8:10, 12; Mark 2:27
      • 5th Commandment, Gen. 3:17; 9:20-27; 37:10
      • 6th Commandment: Gen. 4:3-15; John 8:44; Exod. 1:15-17; Job 24:14
      • 7th Commandment: Gen. 12:17; 39:7-9; Lev. 18:20, 27; Job 24:15; 31:1
      • 8th Commandment: Gen. 3:11; 30:33; 31:30-32; 40:15; 44:8-9; Job 24:14
      • 9th Commandment: Gen. 3:4, 13-14; 12:11-13; 27:12; 29:25; Job 24:25; 27:4; 36:4; John 8:44
      • 10th Commandment: Gen. 3:6; 6:2, 5; 13:10-11; Exod. 15:9-10; Job 31:1, 9-11
    1. Rom. 2:12a, 14-15
    2. Exod. 32:15-16; 34:4, 28; Deut. 10:4

In this paragraph we will take a look at the moral law of God contained in the Ten Commandments, both at their giving on Mt. Sinai and also the knowledge of these commandments before Moses. The primacy of the Decalogue has been argued for above.

Continuity Between The Moral Law and The Decalogue

The moral law, which is binding upon all men and which all men know, was summarized in Ten Commandments. The Confession says that the moral law is “a perfect rule of righteousness" ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate - Commentary

..., but I do not doubt that is an important aspect of our lives on earth. I'm not versed in political theories and things. I usually keep a distance, But I agree with Dr. Samuel Waldron concerning the fact that the sovereignty of God extends itself over all things, including politics and His people should influence those in high positions. Also, “To restrict Christianity to the ‘spiritual’ realm is, ultimately, to destroy it.”[1]

In this chapter, we will concern ourselves with the civil government as ordained by God, its purpose, and power. What does Romans 13 teach? Must we obey the government in all things? May Christians work in the government?


§1 God Hath Ordained Civil Magistrates To Be Under Him, Over The People

  1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, 1 for his own glory and the public good; 2 and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers. 3
    1. Ps. 82:1; Luke 12:48; Rom. 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:13-14[2]
    2. Gen. 6:11-13 with 9:5-6; Ps. 58:1-2; 72:14; 82:1-4; Prov. 21:15; 24:11-12; 29:14,26; 31:5; Ezek. 7:23; 45:9; Dan. 4:27; Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:3-4; 1 Tim. 2:2; 1 Peter 2:14
    3. Gen. 9:6; Prov. 16:14; 19:12; 20:2; 21:15; 28:17; Acts 25:11; Rom. 13:4; 1 Peter 2:14

Subject To God

There are two things which are first of all asserted: 1) God is the supreme Lord, and 2) civil governments are to be subject to Him. That God is the supreme over all we need not need to mention here. But we may say a few things about the civil government being under the authority and headship of God. The civil government should subject itself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Any government which does not acknowledge Jesus Christ is in rebellion against God. This is the description of all, if not most of, governments in our world. The civil government should acknowledge that they're a tool in the hand of God for the good of its citizens. God has put them in the positions that they are in. It is God who ordained them according to their roles as a president, governor and so on.

The government should rule under the authority of God over the people. The government and those who work there have a higher responsibility and position in the world. They are to reign over the people for the people's good. They are to protect them and provide for them and promote peace and righteousness. It does not take us anytime to notice that this is not actually the world in which we live. This is a broken and rebellious world. Most governments in the western world promote homosexuality and abortion, among other things which the Bible condemns. The ideal picture is that of a government which submits to the Lordship of Christ and serves its people in righteousness and peace. And citizens which submit to the Lordship of Christ and for Christ's sake submit to their governments too. But this sadly not the case.

Romans 13

The primary passage which the Confession draws on here and which is used in discussions concerning the place of the government is Romans 13:1-7. Therefore, it would be helpful for us if we take a look at the passage. I come to the passage and by no means do I intended to give a long exegesis about it. I'm merely sharing my short thoughts about the passage and its implications. As I said, politics is not my favorite subject.

Rom. 13:1-7 Let every pers...