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Westminster Confession of 1646: Of the Law of God

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Chapter XIX. Of the Law of God

I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which He bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it, (Gen 1:26, 27; Gen 2:17; Rom 2:14-15; Rom 10:5, 12, 19; Gal 3:10, 12; Ecc 7:29; Job 28:28).

II. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables, (Jam 1:25; Jam 2:8, 10-12; Rom 13:8-9; Deu 5:32; Deu 10:4; Exd 24:1): the four first commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man, (Mat 22:37-40).

III. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, His graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits, (Hbr 9; Hbr 10:1; Gal 4:1-3; Col 2:17); and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties, (1Co 5:7; 2Co 6:17; Jud 23). All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament, (Col 2:14, 16-17; Dan 9:27; Eph 2:15-16).

IV. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judical laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require, (Exd 21; Exd 22:1-29; Gen 49:10; 1Pe 2:13-14; Mat 5:17, 38-39; 1Co 9:8-10).

V. The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, (Rom 13:8-9; Eph 6:2; 1Jo 2:3-4, 7-8); and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it, (Jam 2:10-11). Neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation, (Mat 5:17-19; Jam 2:8; Rom 3:31).

VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned, (Rom 6:14; Gal 2:16; Gal 3:13; Gal 4:4-5; Act 13:39; Rom 8:1); 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, (Rom 7:12, 22, 25; Psa 119:4-6; 1Co 7:19; Gal 5:14, 16, 18-23); discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives, (Rom 7:7; Rom 3:20); so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, (Jam 1:23-25; Rom 7:9, 14, 24); together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience, (Gal 3:24; Rom 7:24-25; Rom 8:3-4). It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, (Jam 2:11; Psa 119:101, 104, 128): 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, (Ezr 9:13-14; Psa 89:30-34). The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof, (Lev 26:1-14; 2Co 6:16; Eph 6:2-3; Psa 37:11; Mat 5:5; Psa 19:11): although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works, (Gal 2:16; Luk 17:10). 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, (Rom 6:12, 14; 1Pe 3:8-12; Psa 34:12-16; Hbr 12:28-29).

VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it, (Gal 3:21); the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done, (Eze 36:27; Hbr 8:10; Jer 31:33).



DISCLAIMER: Creeds, catechisms, and confessions do not replace Scripture, nor the authority of Scripture. The creeds, catechisms and confessions are included herein for purposes of reference. Blue Letter Bible aims to provide resources that cover a range of traditional, orthodox, conservative Christianity, for the benefit of all of our users. The inclusion of the creeds, catechisms, and confessions does not necessarily mean that the ministry agrees with each and every point in each, since some are coming from different Christian perspectives of faith, practice and worship. The user may find them useful as tools to assist in understanding or teaching the Scriptures, since they were drafted based upon Scripture. Used in their proper context, they can continue to aid us as much today as they did for our forefathers in centuries past.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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