What Law is binding today in substance?

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WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Which categories of God's Law are binding today on all peoples in substance (not necessarily in administration)?

In other words, is all of God's Law still binding on people today, or only portions of the Law (the Decalogue for example)?

By "all of the Law," I do in fact mean the ceremonial law and judicial/case laws as well, but in application/substance, not in the particular administration as found in OT Israel. For example, Paul applied the judicial/case laws several times in the New Testament. One instance is when he appealed to the case law for not muzzling a treading ox in order to prove that pastors should receive their wages (along with Jesus' teaching in the gospels to pay the laborer his wages, showing that the Law of Christ is 100% compatible with the Law of Moses ...).

While the Ten Commandments are likely almost universally accepted on this board to be binding today, how can they be applied without definitions?

For example, we know that adultery is wrong, but the Decalogue doesn't say beastiality is wrong ... that is a case law, helping explain the intent of the Decalogue. Homosexuality as well.

Another example would be that we are told not to murder in the Decalogue, but the judicial/case laws explain how this is to be applied (as in putting a guard rail around the roof of your house so your guests don't fall off and accidentally die).

I don't see how you can hold the Decalogue to be binding but not the case laws (the judicial law) as well, since they define and apply the Decalogue and, in essence, define it as well.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
The answer is not found as an option. It is: the moral law, and the general equity of the judicial law. Viz:

WCF 19:3 Besides 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;(1) and partly of divers instructions of moral duties.(2) All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the new testament.(3)

[size=-1](1)Heb. 9; Heb. 10:1; Gal. 4:1,2,3; Col. 2:17.
(2)1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 6:17; Jude 23.
(3)Col. 2:14,16,17; Dan. 9:27; Eph. 2:15,16.[/size]

WCF19:4 To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.(1)
[size=-1]
(1)Exod. 21; Exod. 22:1-29; Gen. 49:10; 1 Pet. 2:13,14; Matt. 5:17,38,39; 1 Cor. 9:8-10.[/size]

WCF 19:5 The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;(1) 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.(2) Neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.(3) 
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Perhaps you misunderstand or I was not clear enough in my initial post.

I wholeheartedly agree that "All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the new testament" in practice and in administration.

However, the substance of the ceremonial laws are still binding on us today. The purpose of most of the ceremonial law was to show a separation in cleanliness and holiness between the pagans and God's people. We are still to uphold this principle today, as we are the salt of the earth and the light in the darkness. The substance of the ceremonial law still applies, although its administration has undergone a huge shift in light of Christ's death and resurrection.

The administration of these laws has been abrogated, and the dividing wall between the Jews and Gentiles has been torn down (Eph 2), but the principle of still remaining holy and set apart for the Lord as God's holy priesthood and nation still applies, and this is, I believe, the substance of the ceremonial law.

Thoughts?
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Also, the entirety of the judicial laws cannot be abrogated IN SUBSTANCE, because the judicial law explains and applies the moral law.

We know we are not to murder, but what about accidental murder? Self defense? War? What if an axe head flies off a handle while in use and kills an innocent bystander?

We know we are not to commit adultery, but what about homosexuality? Beastiality? Incest?

We know we are not to steal, but what if we borrow someone's lawnmower and it breaks while we are using it?

Without the judicial laws (case laws), the moral law has no defined application or explanation beyond our subjectivity. Of course the manner in which the case laws apply are different today, but they can and MUST be applied today (as Paul applied the judicial law in the New Testament to prove pastors must receive their wages).
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Perhaps you misunderstand or I was not clear enough in my initial post.

I wholeheartedly agree that "All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the new testament" in practice and in administration.

However, the substance of the ceremonial laws are still binding on us today. The purpose of most of the ceremonial law was to show a separation in cleanliness and holiness between the pagans and God's people. We are still to uphold this principle today, as we are the salt of the earth and the light in the darkness. The substance of the ceremonial law still applies, although its administration has undergone a huge shift in light of Christ's death and resurrection.

The administration of these laws has been abrogated, and the dividing wall between the Jews and Gentiles has been torn down (Eph 2), but the principle of still remaining holy and set apart for the Lord as God's holy priesthood and nation still applies, and this is, I believe, the substance of the ceremonial law.

Thoughts?

Gabriel,

I think you have it practically, but theological you come at it backwards. The principle of holiness is not the "substance of the ceremonial law," but rather the substance of the moral law:

For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. (Lev. 11:45

as further explained by Peter:

1 Peter 1:13-16 herefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

The ceremonial law was a shadow to point Israel to the substance of the moral law. Now that the moral law (both in its keeping and in the payment for its breach) has been shown in Christ, there is no more use for the ceremonial law whatsoever.

Notice how the Confession defines the ceremonial law in 19.3, it is:

1. prefiguring Christ, and
2. divers instructions of moral duties

Does that make sense?
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Think about, for a moment, the dietary laws.

The Israelites were not to eat "unclean" meat or use "unclean animals" in sacrifice. It was all about cleanliness, using things that were holy and set apart. This typified how God's people are to be. We are not to partake of "unclean" things, nor are we to mix-in among us "unclean" people (i.e. don't marry an unbeliever, being unequally yoked - another application of case law).

This is what I mean in that the ceremonial laws do, in substance, teach separation from the world (ethically speaking, not geographically).

Does not the substance of the ceremonial law still apply today, but in fulfilled form (not shadow form)?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Think about, for a moment, the dietary laws.

The Israelites were not to eat "unclean" meat or use "unclean animals" in sacrifice. It was all about cleanliness, using things that were holy and set apart. This typified how God's people are to be. We are not to partake of "unclean" things, nor are we to mix-in among us "unclean" people (i.e. don't marry an unbeliever, being unequally yoked - another application of case law).

This is what I mean in that the ceremonial laws do, in substance, teach separation from the world (ethically speaking, not geographically).

Does not the substance of the ceremonial law still apply today, but in fulfilled form (not shadow form)?

No. There is no "substance" to the ceremonial law. The ceremonial law was merely a "skin" to show the shape of the moral law. Take this as an example. It is as if you had never seen an elephant in your life. So someone brings you an object wrapped in a large linen cloth. From the outline of the cloth, you can see that it has a large body, big ears, a long nose, etc. You can tell a great deal about the elephant without ever having actually seen it.

Then later, someone brings you an actual elephant. Would you ask for the cloth again, so you could understand the elephant better that is right before your eyes?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by fredtgreco
The answer is not found as an option. It is: the moral law, and the general equity of the judicial law. Viz:

WCF 19:3 Besides 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;(1) and partly of divers instructions of moral duties.(2) All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the new testament.(3)

[size=-1](1)Heb. 9; Heb. 10:1; Gal. 4:1,2,3; Col. 2:17.
(2)1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 6:17; Jude 23.
(3)Col. 2:14,16,17; Dan. 9:27; Eph. 2:15,16.[/size]

WCF19:4 To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.(1)
[size=-1]
(1)Exod. 21; Exod. 22:1-29; Gen. 49:10; 1 Pet. 2:13,14; Matt. 5:17,38,39; 1 Cor. 9:8-10.[/size]

WCF 19:5 The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;(1) 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.(2) Neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.(3) 

:ditto:
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Thanks for helping me think through this.

Anyone else care to contribute?

Thanks. That was a good question to raise, and I think it has important implications, especially as more in Reformed circles try to make Pauline doctrine about Jew/Gentile (ceremonial) distinctions.
 

Puritanhead

Puritan Board Professor
The end of my inquiry with a former roommate who was a dispensationalist after his antinomian affirmations...

Q. "So grace is a license to sin?"
A. "Darn straight!"
 

Puritanhead

Puritan Board Professor
How can anyone say ceremonial law is still binding? Ironically, a lot of antinomian Dispensationalists toss out any relevance to the law, but have reverence for the ceremonial law (i.e. more animal sacrifices) in the new millennium in their particular version of the premil scheme.
 

Texas Aggie

Puritan Board Freshman
God's law is God's law. The only thing I can find in the entire bible which indicates a change in the law are two things:

1. Animal Sacrifices
2. The Priesthood

In my opinion, the judgments and moral law are still binding. God made His ways known to Moses. The question concerns the ceremonial law. I see the ceremonial law as three things:

1. The Priesthood
2. The Sacrifices
3. The Times (Sabbaths and Holy Days)

I can clearly see where the priesthood and sacrifices have been abrogated. I can not find where the times have changed. We have thrown out all of the ceremonial law including the times. I find it absolutely amazing most Christians do not observe God's Holy Days (especially Passover). Easter has replaced the Passover (how wonderful).
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Texas Aggie
God's law is God's law. The only thing I can find in the entire bible which indicates a change in the law are two things:

1. Animal Sacrifices
2. The Priesthood

In my opinion, the judgments and moral law are still binding. God made His ways known to Moses. The question concerns the ceremonial law. I see the ceremonial law as three things:

1. The Priesthood
2. The Sacrifices
3. The Times (Sabbaths and Holy Days)

I can clearly see where the priesthood and sacrifices have been abrogated. I can not find where the times have changed. We have thrown out all of the ceremonial law including the times. I find it absolutely amazing most Christians do not observe God's Holy Days (especially Passover). Easter has replaced the Passover (how wonderful).

Would you really rather have a sacrificed animal than the living God for your sins? I find it amazing that anyone would desire shadow for substance, straw for brick, grist for steak.
 

Texas Aggie

Puritan Board Freshman
No, I would rather not have sacrificed an animal to atone for my sins as opposed to the living God. Not sure how you got this idea from my last post.

As I mentioned above, I can clearly see where the animal sacrifices and the priesthood have been done away with (i.e. the book of Hebrews).

All I am saying is I can not find anywhere in the scriptures where the times have changed. For example, where in the scripture has God changed His Sabbaths? Where and when did God do away with Passover? What part of Easter is acceptable to God?... you can probably pile Christmas on top of that one as well.

From my perspective, the times (Sabbaths and Holy Days) were part of the ceremonial law. Please show me chapter and verse where the Holy Days and Sabbaths have been nullified (and don't give me some article to read or WCF answer... just chapter and verse from His Word).

As for shadow vs. substance.... are all the Holy Days fulfilled Fredrick? As Hebrews indicates, what are the shadows of good things to come? Is the Spirit not talking about fulfillment of the rest of the Holy Days in context to the ordinances of divine service? Looks to me like He is talking about the ceremonial law (His Holy Days in particular).

I see significance to the ceremonial law in relation to the Sabbaths and Holy Days whether they have all been fulfilled or not. The physical priesthood and sacrifices are no longer (this was the necessity for a change in the law). The sacrifices and priesthood may possibly mean something spiritual under the New Covenant.... you are now the high priest over your body which is the temple of God. You are now to present yourself as a living sacrifice to God. I think there is something to learn from the sacrifices as well as the priesthood in terms of spiritual application to worship. The tabernacle that God gave to Moses represents something. At any rate, Christ is now our High Priest at the throne providing intersession and the animals now should be extremely glad there is no more shedding of their blood.

As far as the Holy Days and Sabbaths, our observance of anything else other than God's prescribed way is unacceptable to Him. Again, please show me chapter and verse where His Days have been abrogated. Show me where He prefers Easter to the Passover.
 
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