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Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #40 & 41

Doctrinal Standard #40 & 41 (2 of 4 weeks)

  • Q. What rules did God first reveal for man to obey?
  • A. The rules He first revealed were the moral law.
  • Q. Where is the moral law summarized?
  • A. The moral law is summarized in the Ten Commandments.

Memory Verses

  • “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24, ESV).

Scripture

  • Study Passage: Romans 7:7-13
  • Support Passages: Romans 2:14-15, Acts 24:24-25, Matthew 14:1-10, I Timothy 1:9-10, Galatians 3:24, Romans 1:20, Galatians 3:10
  • Bible Story: Acts 24

Thoughts

  • There is a common misunderstanding in regards to the law of God and it often shows itself through the teaching of antinomianism theology. While this term could be rather broad it often refers to those who reject the notation that Christians are commanded to keep the moral law. This is not to say that they support unethical living but rather they believe that scripture teaches that the law has served its purpose and is finished and now you live solely by the Spirit. I believe that this heretical teaching is a result of not fully understanding Paul’s teaching on the law. There are many times when Paul seems to speak harshly about the law not because the law is bad or unholy but because of what it does to man. For example, Romans 7:8 says “but sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.” Romans 7:11, “for sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.” But Paul also speaks very highly of the law in Romans 7:12-13, “so the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.” Paul makes it rather clear that the laws of God are good, holy, and righteous. God’s law does not cause the sin in man but rather point out the sin that is already within their hearts.
  • If God’s commands are holy, righteous, and good and man is inherently sinful and evil then what needs to change, man or God’s law? The obvious answer is man. Instead of expecting a holy, righteous, and unchangeable God to change is character and in doing so changing is moral laws he sent his son to do earth to do what no man could ever do, live a perfect obedient life to the law and die a perfect sacrifice for the sins of those who believe. God’s law and expectations have not changed but rather through his mercy and love provided a way for man to be accepted before him.
  • As the memory verse teaches us it is through our faith in Jesus’ perfect life and death that makes a sinner are justified. Salvation is apart from keeping any commands. But we must be careful not error in thinking that the commands play no part in the life of a believer. God’s commands teach us what is good and acceptable and how we should live. His law is what the Holy Spirit uses in the life of a believer sanctifying them, making them more and more like Jesus.

Discussion Questions

  • Describe God’s character?
  • How closely tied is God’s character to his laws?
  • Read through Romans 7:7-13. What does God’s law reveal in an individual?
  • Does God’s law cause people to sin? Explain
  • God’s law points people to whom? Explain
  • How does Paul describe God’s law in the passage of scripture?
  • If God’s law is good and people are sinful what needs to change?
  • How does God make people acceptable before himself and his law?
  • If Jesus lived a perfect life for us what use does the law have for Christians?

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