Moral Law Scriptures
For this reason too, by applying all diligence, you provide moral excellence in your faith, and knowledge in your moral excellence, but immorality, or any impurity or greed, is not to be called even among you, as befits the saints; There is much debate in theology about the threefold application of the law. The first is political usage, which uses the moral law as a solid basis for deciding what constitutes a good or bad law in the political arena. The second use of the law is the pedagogical use of the law, where the law is a teacher.1 In ancient times, the teacher ensured that the student focused on his studies and disciplined him when he was not. In the same way, the law convinces people of their sin, exposes them, and helps them see their sin more clearly through the mirror of the law. But what about the priesthood of the Old Testament? In the New Testament, as believers, we are all priests before God according to 1 Peter 2:9. So how can we translate God`s moral law to obey the judgment of priests at the time of the New Covenant? Well, the priests were more than those who made sacrifices for the people. They were also called to be the moral and spiritual authorities of the people, and that is why we sometimes see God say that the elders of the city would decide certain things and other things that the priests would decide. In a theocracy like Israel, there is always an overlap between civil government and church government. We also see it in several fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries, for example Chrysostom and Augustine, who both referred to the laws of the OT “ceremonial laws”, which are different from the moral law.
The enduring validity of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) was a date in ancient and medieval churches. “Is it permissible to divorce one`s wife for any reason?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,5 saying, `Therefore shall man leave his father and mother and cleave himself firmly to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? 6 They are therefore no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has united, man should not separate. 7 And they said to him, Why then did Moses command you to issue a certificate of divorce and send it away? 8 He said to them, Because of the hardness of your heart, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not. 9 And I say unto you, whoever divorces his wife, except because of sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matthew 19:3–9; ESV). And he said, “What comes out of a person is what contaminates them. For from within, from the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, desire, wickedness, deception, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, madness. All these bad things come from within, and they pollute a person. It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and an immorality of such a kind that does not exist even among the pagans that one has his father`s wife. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, conflict, jealousy, tantrums, rivalries, discord, divisions, envy, drunkenness, and so on. I warn you, as I have already warned you, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Old Testament is a treasure trove of information about God`s conception of gender roles and marriage and many other things. We just need to understand how to separate ceremonial aspects, civil punishments, and reparations from moral laws. These are the two tables of the moral law: love of God and love of neighbor. Religious laws, that is, ceremonial laws, and the laws of the courts are not the moral law. Washing hands and abstaining from eating shellfish is not an eternal obligation for Christians. In fact, the Holy Spirit revealed it directly to Cornelius and the apostle Peter: for you can be sure that anyone who is sexually immoral, unclean, or greedy (i.e., an idolater) has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. The law has a third use as a principle or as a guideline. It shows us what is right and helps us discern in the tangled jungle of moral choices we face.
Because of the Church`s emphasis on the second use of the Law, this third use has often been forgotten. Professor and Old Testament author Dr. Bruce Waltke speaks of a period in his life when he had an inadequate view of the law. Someone came to his house and gave him a cup with the inscription of the Ten Commandments. When his guest left, Waltke went to his aft deck and broke the cup on the stone. He did so because he was freed from the constraints of the law because of his saving faith in Christ. Later in life, however, he realized how much he had neglected the biblical teaching in Romans that the law is “holy, just, and good,” and even “spiritual.” 3 In other words, the problem lies not in the law, but in those who break the law. Although Christ`s grace freed His people from the consequences of violating His mandates, the law still condemns and guides. The purpose of the second, condemning the use of the law, is to lead us to Christ, and the third use impels us to live faithfully by it. Thus, as noted above, there are two results if no distinction is made between moral or natural law as permanent and ceremonial (religious) and judicial law as temporary. One of the results is that, as we see in Smethurts` approach, with the death of Christ, the entire law of the Old Testament dies with him.
The other, as already mentioned, is the theonomic approach, in which court laws are not considered “expired” and therefore continue to exist. They say this in contradiction with the Westminster Creed (19:3-5), where the Reformed professes: Smethurst affirms his desire to maintain the substance of morality, but typically the purpose of his position (called “New Covenant”) is to free Christians from the burden of observing the 2nd and especially the 4th commandment. As mentioned above, it almost recognizes what magisterial and confessional Protestants (Lutheran and Reformed) called (and called) the third application of the law. Christ is our Vicar. The law and its punishments were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Christ is our victorious representative, but this reality never means to Paul that the moral law, which is the law of Christ – after all, it was Jesus who led us out of Egypt (Jude 5) and the rock from which we drank in the wilderness, and the manna that fed us was Christ (1 Corinthians 10: 1-4) – and Paul regularly applies it to Christians as the norm of their new life. Flee from immorality. All other sins that a person commits are outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Social tolerance is equally important. Jesus calls us to love not only our neighbor, but everyone, even our enemies.
The love of Christ has a centrifugal power that throws us beyond the deepest divisions of race, ethnicity, religion, and moral convictions. The first thing we notice about all these civil laws mentioned above is that each is actually a violation of God`s moral law. This shows the principle that many civil laws God gave Israel also contained His moral law. Now the acts of the flesh are obvious, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, conflicts, jealousy, outbursts of anger, quarrels, discord, factions, envy, drunkenness, merry-go-round, and the things I warn you about, just as I warned you that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, kindness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 5. The moral law binds all, justified and otherwise, to their obedience forever; and not only in relation to the thing contained therein, but also in relation to the authority of God, the Creator who gave it. Christ, too, does not dissolve in any way in the Gospel, but greatly strengthens this commitment. But to answer the bigger question is that although the Old Testament priesthood is not an exact correlation with church pastors (although our Catholic friends try to say otherwise), they are the closest equivalent. In this case, New Covenant believers would see that the moral law of Deuteronomy 17:12 corresponds to Hebrews 13:7 concerning the judgment of priests: ceremonial laws and laws of judgment have been abrogated by divine authority.
The moral law was not abrogated because it was never temporary. It was essentially revealed to Adam. He had to love God with all his abilities and his neighbor (Eve and us) by obeying God and defeating the wicked. Obviously, mysteriously, he didn`t and here we are. The moral law was known by nature before the law was given at Sinai. God`s invisible attributes, His eternal power, and His divine nature have been evident to all since creation by nature (Romans 1:20). The Gentiles who did not have the Mosaic law (the ceremonial and judicial laws) nevertheless had the law: “For if the Gentiles who do not have the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law unto themselves, even if they have not the law” (Romans 2:14; ESV).