WCF 19 – “Sweeter Than Honey and the Honey Comb”
Of the Law of God
19:1 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, Gen_1:27 with Gen_2:17; Job_28:28; Ecc_7:29; Rom_2:14, Rom_2:15; Rom_5:5, Rom_5:12, Rom_5:19; Gal_3:10, Gal_3:12).
19:2 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 (Exo_34:1; Deu_5:32; Deu_10:4; Rom_13:8, Rom_13:9; Jam_1:25; Jam_2:8, Jam_2:10-12): the four first commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six our duty to man (Mat_22:37-40).
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 (Gal_4:1-3; Col_2:17; Heb 9:1-10:1); and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties (1Co_5:7; 2Co_6:17; Jud_1:23. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament (Dan_9:27; Eph_2:15, Eph_2:16; Col_2:14, Col_2:16, Col_2:17).
19:4 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 (Gen_49:10, with 1Pe_2:13, 1Pe_2:14; Ex 21:1-22:29; Mat_5:17, with Mat_5:38, Mat_5:39; 1Co_9:8-10).
19:5 The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof (Rom_13:8-10; Eph_6:2; 1Jo_2:3, 1Jo_2:4, 1Jo_2:7, 1Jo_2:8); 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, Jam_2:11); neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation (Mat_5:17-19; Rom_3:31; Jam_2:8).
19:6 Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned (Act_13:39; Rom_6:14; Rom_8:1; Gal_2:16; Gal_3:13; Gal_4:4, Gal_4:5); 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 (Psa_119:4-6; Rom_7:12, Rom_7:22, Rom_7:25; 1Co_7:19; Gal_5:14, Gal_5:16, Gal_5:18-23); discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives (Rom_3:20; Rom_7:7); so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin (Rom_7:9, Rom_7:14, Rom_7:24; Jam_1:23-25); together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience (Rom_7:24, Rom_7:25; Rom_8:3, Rom_8:4; Gal_3:24). It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin (Psa_119:101, Psa_119:104, Psa_119:128; Jam_2:11): 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 (Psa_89:30-34; Ezr_9:13, Ezr_9:14). 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, Lev_26:10, Lev_26:14 with 2Co_6:16; Psa_19:11; Psa_37:11 with Mat_5:5; Eph_6:2, Eph_6:3); although not as due to them by the law, as a covenant of works (Luk_17:10; Gal_2:16). 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, Rom_6:14; Heb_12:28, Heb_12:29; 1Pe_3:8-12 with Psa_34:12-16).
19:7 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; Heb_8:10 with Jer_31:33).
Summary statements we are taught:
A. The Law of GoD Is The Standard That Was Imposed Upon Adam As The Standard Of Perfect Obedience At Creation (WCF 19.1)
B. The Demands Of The Law Of God Were Absolute (WCF 19.2)
C. The Demands Of This Law Have Never Ceased (WCF 19.2)
D. The Demands Are For All Men Everywhere And Were Written On Two Tables Of Stone At Sinai (WCF 19.2)
E. God Gave The Nation
F. The Ceremonial Law Is Distinct From The Moral Law (WCF 19.3)
G. The Ceremonial Law Is Now Abrograted (WCF 19.4)
H. The Moral Law Remains In Effect And Is Understood In The Old Testament To Be So (WCF 19.5)
I. True Believers Are Not “Under Law” As A Covenant Of Salvation (WCF 19.6)
J. Christians Are “Under Law” As (WCF 19.6):
a. A Rule Of Practice
b. A Means Of Knowing Our Sin And The Need Of Christ
C. A Revelation Of The Lord’s Perfection
K. The Law Of God Is Operative Upon The Unregenerate (WCF 19.6)
A. To Restrain
B. To Warn
C. To Reveal God To Them
L. These Uses Of The Law Do Not Go Contrary To The Gospel Of Grace (WCF 19.7)