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Theonomy

Theonomy is a term that refers to God's Law as the source for civil law. This was actually the view of many of the Reformers. 

New Geneva Bible on 3 uses of the Law

Scripture shows that God intends His law to function in three ways, which Calvin crystallized in classic form for the church’s benefit as the law’s threefold use.

Its first function is to be a mirror reflecting to us both the perfect righteousness of God and our own sinfulness and shortcomings. As Augustine wrote, “the law bids us, as we try to fulfill its requirements, and become wearied in our weakness under it, to know how to ask the help of grace.” The law is meant to give knowledge of sin (Romans 3: 20; 4: 15; 5: 13; 7: 7-11), and by showing us our need of pardon and our danger of damnation to lead us in repentance and faith to Christ (Galatians 3: 19-24).

A second function the “civil use,” is to restrain evil. Though the law cannot change the heart, it can to some extent inhibit lawlessness by its threats of judgment, especially when backed by a civil code that administers punishment for proven offenses (Deut. 13: 6-11; 19: 16-21; Romans 13: 3, 4). Thus it secures civil order, and serves to protect the righteous from the unjust.

Its third function is to guide the regenerate into the good works that God has planned for them (Eph. 2: 10). The law tells God’s children what will please their heavenly Father. It could be called their family code. Christ was speaking of this third use of the law when He said that those who become his disciples must be taught to do all that He had commanded (Matt. 28: 20), and that obedience to His commands will prove the reality of one’s love for Him (John 14: 15).

Salvation and Law. The Christian is free from the law as a system of salvation (Rom. 6: 14; 7: 4, 6; 1Cor. 9: 20; Gal. 2: 15-19; 3: 25) but is “under law toward Christ” as a rule of life (1Cor. 9: 21; Gal. 6: 2).   (p. 258, New Geneva Study Bible, (1995), R.C. Sproul - editor).

 

Law in Action

God’s Moral Law Has Three Purposes (J. I. Packer)

 I would not have known what sin was except through the Law. Romans 7: 7

Scripture shows that God intends his law to function in three ways, which Calvin crystallized in classic form for the church’s benefit as the Law’s three-fold use.

Its first function is to be a mirror reflecting to us both the perfect righteousness of god and our own sinfulness and shortcomings. Thus, “the law bids us, as we try to fulfill its requirements, and become wearied in our weakness under it, to know how to ask the help of grace” Augustine. The law is meant to give the knowledge of sin (Romans 3: 20; 4: 15; 5: 13; 7: 7-11) and, by showing us our need of pardon and our danger of damnation, to lead us in repentance and faith to Christ (Galatians 3: 19-24).

Its second function is to restrain evil. Though it cannot change the heart, the law can to some extent inhibit lawlessness by its threats of judgment, especially when backed by a civil code that administers present punishment for proven offenses (Deuteronomy 13: 6-11; 19: 16-21; Romans 13: 3-4). Thus it secures some civil order and goes some way to protect the righteous from the unjust.

Its third function is to guide the unregenerate into good works that God has planned for them (Ephesians 2: 10). The law tells God’s children what will please their heavenly Father. It could be called their family code. Christ was speaking of this third use of the law when he said that those who belong his disciples must be taught to keep the law and to all that he had commanded (Mathew 5: 18-20, 28: 20), and that it is obedience to his commandments that will prove the reality of one’s love for him (John 14: 15). The Christian is free from the law as a supposed system of salvation (Romans 6: 14; 7: 4; 6: 1, Corinthians 9: 20; Galatians 2:15-19; 3: 25; Galatians 6: 2).  

Title: Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs
Section: God Revealed as Redeemer
Author: Packer, J.I. (James Innell)
Index: Concise Theology index – CLICK HERE

http://www.oocities.org/gary_bee_za/packer/lawinaction.htm

 




In the following video the concept is discussed in more detail by Gary Demar and associates from American Vision. 


Theonomy


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