A brand new book has just passed through my hands by Philip Ross, From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Basis for the Threefold Division of the Law. It is rather a lengthy title and it is a book that is quite academic but it's argument is very important. It is this. The law of God manifests a threefold division; the moral, ceremonial and civil aspects of the law. While our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all aspects of the law in his perfect life of obedience and his atoning death, the moral law does forever bind all, as the Westminster Confession rightly explains.
Does this affect you? Definitely! It is because we see many churches abandoning the role of the law for Christians and churches and the consequences are disastrous. Let me ask you; can you recite the Ten Commandments? Do not feel guilty, but your answer reveals the neglect that the moral law of God has undergone. Of course we are not saved by the law but by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-5) but the law of God frames our way of worship and our way of life.
When the moral law of God is side-lined by the church, there are two immediate consequences. Firstly, worship will be taken over by man-made methods. Why? Because the first four of the Ten Commandments teach us that Scripture regulates how we are to worship God. By abandoning the law of God, indirectly the consequence is, that we now need to decide how to worship God instead of Scripture. Often an obsession with evangelism, rather than the purity of God-centred worship, then begins to drive the agenda.
Secondly, the power of gospel preaching is weakened because an understanding of sin is weakened. Why?
'Through the law comes the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:20'.
Here is some homework for you.
1. Read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17.
2. Read Romans Chapter 7 to hear Paul's positive view of the role of the law in the life of the church.
3. Read Chapter 19 of the Westminster Confession 'Of the Law of God'.