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Theonomy

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

New Geneva Bible on 3uses of the Law

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

Its first function is to be a mirror reflecting to usboth 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 ofgrace.” 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 leadus 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 inhibitlawlessness by its threats of judgment, especially when backed by a civil codethat administers punishment for proven offenses (Deut. 13: 6-11; 19: 16-21; Romans 13: 3, 4). Thus itsecures civil order, and serves to protect the righteous from theunjust.

Its third function is to guide the regenerate into thegood works that God has planned for them (Eph. 2: 10). The law tells God’s children what will pleasetheir heavenly Father. It could be called their family code. Christ wasspeaking of this third use of the law when He said that those who become hisdisciples must be taught to do all that He had commanded (Matt. 28: 20), andthat 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 lawas 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 arule of life (1Cor. 9: 21;Gal. 6: 2).   (p. 258, New Geneva StudyBible, (1995), R.C. Sproul - editor).

 

Law in Action

God’s Moral Law HasThree 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 inthree ways, which Calvin crystallized in classic form for the church’s benefitas the Law’s three-fold use.

Its first function is to be a mirror reflecting to usboth the perfect righteousness of god and our own sinfulness and shortcomings.Thus, “the law bids us, as we try to fulfill its requirements, and becomewearied 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 ofdamnation, to lead us in repentance and faith to Christ (Galatians 3: 19-24).

Its second function is to restrain evil. Though itcannot change the heart, the law can to some extent inhibit lawlessness by itsthreats of judgment, especially when backed by a civil code that administerspresent 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 protectthe righteous from the unjust.

Its third function is to guide the unregenerate into goodworks that God has planned for them (Ephesians 2: 10). The law tells God’schildren what will please their heavenly Father. It could be called theirfamily code. Christ was speaking of this third use of the law when he said thatthose who belong his disciples must be taught to keep the law and to all thathe had commanded (Mathew 5: 18-20, 28: 20), and that it is obedience to hiscommandments 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: ConciseTheology index – CLICK HERE

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

 

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


Theonomy