Models for Reformed Faith and Life: What is the Reformed faith and what details show evidence of its life?

A. TULIP: Canon’s of Dort: The Canons of Dordt develops the doctrines of ULTIP in this order particularly and give Scriptural proof texts. Later this acronym was changed to TULIP (flower name) to aid memory.

1. Summary

a.       U︰Unconditional election, not based on foreseen faith

b.      L︰Limited atonement for the elect only

c.       T︰Total depravity or mankind, unable to believe

d.      I︰Irresistible grace to the elect

e.       P︰Perseverance unto eternal life

2. Evaluation: I would say that generally speaking, Dort’s TULIP corresponds roughly to sola gratia, salvation by grace alone, the manner of God’s gracious salvation to totally depraved sinners in contrast to an Arminian view of salvation that supposes man has a morally neutral free will to choose what God merely offers him. Thus, TULIP cannot give us the full model for Reformed faith and life.

B. FIVE SOLAS:

 1. Summary: One of the most common ways of expressing the Reformed faith has been the five solas of the Reformation in refuting Roman Catholic errors:

a.      Soli Deo [Trinitatis Dominus] Gloria: The Triune God receives all glory for his works in salvation and judgment, rejecting any glory for mediation by saints or our own good works.  

b.      Sola Christos: Christ alone is mediator, rejecting need for priest to perform mass for salvation by receiving wafer ex opere operato, prayers to Mary & saints.

c.       Sola Gratia: God’s electing grace plans and provides all that we need for salvation from our bondage to sin into eternal life, rejecting any human merit of our own by penance or good works or the merits of the saints on our behalf.

d.      Sola Fide: Justification is by faith alone, receiving the credited righteousness of Christ, rejecting any justification from a combination of faith and works resulting from infused righteousness in baptism.

e.       Sola Scriptura: Our Christian faith and life is founded upon only what the sixty-six books of OT-NT Scriptures teach, which is clear enough for all who are elect to understand (so, Bible translation is needed for all nations) and be saved, rejecting the Latin Vulgate as the preferred translation, the necessity of the Roman Catholic church to interpret the Bible, the other councils, sacred traditions and creeds of the church as having equal authority with Scripture, the need for a lectionary, or the magisterium or pope as have infallible teaching authority.    

2. Uses and Evaluation:

a.       The Five solas are a way of describing the why and the how of God’s salvation of his people, in contrast to the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, developed long after the Reformation. They form a framework or model for the core Reformed Gospel themes we preach today, and some of the marks of a healthy church, and gives us themes to guard Gospel integrity in the church and test professions of faith in individuals.[1] As such, it is a good summary of the types of questions elders should ask candidates for church membership parents of infant baptism candidates and evidence of grace-to-believe baptism candidates.

b.      However, the solas have been defined in various ways by evangelicals (to Reformed believers, sola gratia, “grace alone” means something like TULIP, but to Arminian believers it means that God graciously offers salvation to men who have free will to choose him), so the solas are not explicitly Reformed in their modern uses. Thus, we need the Reformed confessions and catechisms to give us the details of the Reformed faith and life.

c.       By comparing the chapters of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, we can see that the five solas do not cover all the important doctrinal topics or nuance related topics. We confess Sola Scriptura, but believe interpretation is not merely my private understanding; well-recognized Christian authors, pastors, teachers and corporately affirmed creeds and confessions in all ages can help us understand and interpret Scripture.[2] We confess sola fide (faith alone), but nuance that by insisting that saving faith is never without true righteousness in submission to the law of Christ. We confess sola Christos (Christ alone), but nuance that with the clarification that each person of the Trinity works to save his elect people. We confess soli Deo Gloria (all glory to God alone) but recognize biblical teaching that the elect saints are raised and glorified with Christ to share in his inheritance and receive honor and emulation for their godliness on earth.

d.      The sola themes are actually perspectives on all historical, systematic and practical theology topics: all is accomplished by Christ, all written in Scripture, all requires faith, all reveals God’s grace to the praise of his glory. Also to the traditional five solas we could add four more solas that overlap all the categories: Solus Ecclesia (church alone is Christ’s righteous kingdom of those who believed the Gospel promises in all ages from Adam to the second coming of Christ), Sola Spiritus (Spirit alone applies all of the work of Christ in all ages), Soli Lex Christi (the law of Christ alone, summarized by love, defined by creation ordinances, renewed at Sinai, fulfilled by Christ, applied by the Spirit to God’s elect and fulfilled in the new Jerusalem as the standard for righteousness), and Sola Spes (starting since the fall, the righteous hope for the unopposed reign of the righteous king in his submissive kingdom, and final removal of the unrighteous, suffering and death). These are all themes of likeness to Christ in obedient living in the Christian life that I have coined to help balance out the other solas with a more complete arrangement of biblical doctrines and duties of the Christian life.

Perspectives: Whose Leadership, Whose Tune, Whose Interpretation?

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” (Matt. 11:16-19)

I am jealous for the Lord’s righteousness when I observe how many different tunes, songs and interpretations have overwhelmed and fragmented our seminary instruction and theological books (historical, systematic, practical). In part, this is because we have neglected the wisdom of our Westminster heritage! So many scholars have focused on the minutia of sub-disciplines with much less time considering the importance of their studies for building up believers into the righteous likeness of Christ. So many talents and resources have been expended studying the separate details of each sub-discipline of theological study. From these sub-disciplines we have built mini-models out of fragments, while missing the larger integrating patterns that Westminster uses to link them all together and give them coherence. Biblical counseling has focused on the likeness of Christ and the Gospel, but largely missed Westminster’s larger, portable, meta-narrative of righteousness, which gets my nomination for a “grand unifying theory (GUT) of systematic and pastoral practice”[3] and its essential moral law as the counseling gold standard of Christ’s likeness. The longer I focus on the gift given to the church by the wise men who authored the Westminster Standards, looking at both their contents and their theological methods, while comparing what they wrote with Scripture, the more I see what a unifying and integrated perspective they have provided on Scripture. Their flute, their song, their interpretation of the Son of Man is wisdom justified by her deeds. In my first book,[4] I utilized a Westminster integrative method to link the doctrine of God’s glory revealed in both blessed and cursed faces, to, on, in and by his elect (WCF 2:2). Now, within that same WCF 2:2 pattern, I have discerned another thematic perspective that links the irreducible complexity of the righteous life, expressed by the law of the kingdom, the lex Christi or the law of Christ, with the righteousness of God revealed in the meta-narrative of his kingly dominion. Of course, it is not the only biblical perspective, but when a neglected but significant perspective becomes persuasive again, Reformed seminary teachers, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, preachers and biblical counselors may start to grasp the breadth and relevance of Westminster’s model. My hope is that we can see a new, reviving work of the Spirit’s power that realigns all the theological sub-disciplines of the ministerial education model for the next generation along its integrative meta-narrative. I have more hope that this is possible among Reformed Chinese than anywhere else in the theological world since their culture tends to admire historical Reformed authenticity more than novelty.      

Since Christ and his apostles proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom[5] as the primary meta-narrative structure for their teaching, we can develop our Reformed faith under a variation of this theme. Since the words “kingdom” and “righteousness” or “righteous” are also linked in Scripture, we can augment the theme with the word “righteous”.[6] We will link the additional categories of gospel, historical, systematic and practical theology under a new, synthesized title called the meta-narrative of the righteous king’s dominion (RKD).[7]  To develop the meta-narrative outline, we will consider connections between theological topics that use these or synonymous words. Since the Reformed life is defined in WCF 19:2 by the moral law as “a perfect rule of righteousness,” these topics are linked by searching for the related sets of words “righteous,” “righteousness,” “holy,” “holiness,” “godly,” “godliness,” and the meta-narrative words “gospel” and “kingdom” in the Westminster Standards and Scripture, with particular attention to Romans, which uses the word righteousness 32 times (exceeding all other NT books by 4x’s or more), only exceeded by OT books Isaiah (48x’s) and Psalms (58x’s).

 

Discerning Westminster’s Model

Interdependent morality model: the Moral Law’s Individual Commands Interpret the Other Commands and Join Together with Irreducible Complexity

The irreducible complexity of these commands received together is a test for balanced maturity.

1.       One who claims to love God with all his heart, cannot be double-hearted, friends with the world (Jas. 1:8; 4:1-4).

2.      One who holds the faith of the Lord Jesus cannot be partial to the rich (Jas. 2:1-9).

3.      Faith in God (commands 1-4a) must be shown by good works to men (commands 4b-10) (Jas. 1:25; 2:8-14).

4.      One who claims to love God cannot also hate his brother (1 John 4:20-21).

5.      The love of money is the root of all evil, so coveting is the root of all material greed and idolatry (1 Tim 6:9-10; Eph 5:5; Col 3:5).

6.      Discernment developed: Legalists and pharisees who boast in their doctrine but neglect loving those in need. Social Gospelites who care for the needy without love for God.

7.       Based on this model, we can explore other similar interdependent connections not explicitly mentioned by Westminster.   

 

WLC 99 rules for interpreting the ten commandments shows that individual commandments can be used to interpret and apply other commandments. In order the list the entire set of eight rules as a set, comments related to how other multiple commands interpret each rule are footnoted. 

Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments?

A. For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed:

1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth everyone to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience forever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin.[8]

2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.[9]

3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments.[10]

4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.[11]

5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times.[12]

6. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto.[13]

7. That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places to endeavour that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.[14]

8. That in what is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them; and to take heed of partaking with others in what is forbidden them.[15]

 

Extending the Applications of Westminster’s Interdependent Morality Model

1)     1st, 5th & 9th commandment perspectives:

a.       As an epistemological authority over all creatures: Scripture represents the authority of God, the superior to which all other superiors must submit, the norm which evaluates all other norms, condensed into the beauty and harmony of the Ten Commandment, an irreducible complexity representing God as superior of the universe, the Triune Lord, to which all the inferior creatures, their cultures, religions, philosophies, epistemologies, languages, thoughts, affections, wills and practices must submit, either in obedience to reward or disobedience to judgment.

b.      As a relational perspective on all the others, inferiors, equals and superiors all supporting obedience and resistance to disobedience for each person’s places and callings (such as, some married, some single, have various duties to perform and sins to resist, but assist each other in righteous living), in the fear of the one true God, contentedly trusting him for his provision in life, relationships, property, and reputation,[16] not the fear of men, thus boldly critiquing false witness and proclaiming the truth, derived from omni-harmonious reflections. This relational perspective has implications for true friendships whose purpose should be to reinforce new covenant moral-law righteousness in one another and shows the differences between other religions and their views of relationships that are modeled on their relationship to gods or spirits or atheistic humanism or idol worship, with a lack of emphasis or standard for teaching on relationships. Christianity can show its attractive value stems from relational modeling of the Lord to his people, and his people with each other.

2)      That the 2nd and 3rd commandments are the gateways to the Gospel, defining the way God must be worshiped: the obedience of faith (Rom 1:5; 16:26). The full demanded righteousness of the law has been satisfied in Christ’s active righteousness (proven by his resurrection, shattering the curse and bondage of death) and the terror of the law’s curse has been broken by Christ’s passive righteousness (enduring the declared curse of the law on the cross for the propitiation of his elect, meriting forgiveness to all who believe in his substitutionary atonement), so that the helpless sinner need only look in faith to the whole work of Christ, (past, present and promised future), “Lord be merciful to me a sinner” bringing whatever confused or correct legal conviction for unbelief and sin he or she may have, but with no necessary required prior qualifying repentance or preparatory sorrow, and further, than no such convictions have any saving merit. Such repentance (grief, sorrow and separation from sins against the moral law) and vivification (delight in righteous submission to the moral law) shall commence after regeneration to saving faith (Alexander, 2016, pp. citing Ferguson, 2016). We can obey the 6th commandment to put off anger and resentment and forgive those who sin against us because the Lord has shown us saving mercy.

3)      That the 2nd C is a perspective on all the other C’s:

a.     The 2nd commandment’s duties (in addition to proper worship of God) are to view created things, including mankind, as God’s display of his eternal power and divine nature and to be thankful and delight in God by that glory revealed in created things, such that we also use those created things to their full potential to support worship of the true God and human flourishing. We hate all false worship or service to the creature and created things (Rom. 1:20-25). This duty preserves and enriches the duties of the other commandments as they are about created people and things, for example, 5th God’s glory is revealed through godly authorities, equals, inferiors, 6th 8th 10th God’s glory is revealed in his provision for physical life and teaching contentment, 7th God’s glory is revealed in sexually respecting and honoring all people made in his image, taking advantage of none, using no one for personal pleasure, seeking godly marriage to satisfy sexual desires, 9th God’s glory is revealed in valuing and speaking truthfully and honorably about others made in his image.

b.     All visible creation is a reflection of the eternal power and divine nature of God, and God-reflective creation must never be turned into objects for worship, nor commanded to worship itself as his/her idol. (so uttering blasphemies 3rd C. as though it were representing a god, submitting to human philosophies and traditions as idols above the Word of God or a cult leader commanding submission to himself or his principles, 1st -5th- 6th C’s using for selfish advantage, slavery, unjust government, anger and oppression to command others to do our absolute bidding as their god, 4th C: corrupting their God-given orders of time; 7th C: corrupting their conjugal faithfulness) 8th C: prohibiting or removing their right to private property 8th , 9th C: abusing and slandering their good name for our own advancements, 10th C: inciting them to economic slavery by offering them trinkets of the world for their allegiance. Plurality of mature elders as prevention of human idolatry, the little emperor-pastor or ministry leader who gathers worshippers of himself and punishes all who disagree.    

4)     That, What is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound according to our integrity to use the Lord’s name properly to witness for the Lord’s Word and works (3rd C), to do so in the fear of God, not the fear of men, thus boldly witnessing to the truth (Matt. 13:21; Rev. 21:8 contra cowardly in face of persecution, as seed on rocky soil). Truthful testimony for the Lord includes speaking to promote each of the commandments in all of our personal and social contexts.

5)     That man’s sin has brought the Lord’s curse on man’s labor, the fruits of the earth and the human body with pain, disasters, deformities, frustrations, sickness and death (Gen 3:16-19), directly introducing chaos into 6th commandment flourishing. The moral law puts a priority on individual priestly-mercy-ministry-apologetic engagement with the ungrateful and evil people of the world, such that the Lord’s people should reflect the 6th commandment merciful kindness of the Lord to the ungrateful and evil, and when they are falsely cursed by persecutors, or hated, abused or mistreated, should bless, do good, pray for them and lend in return (Luke 6:27-36; Rom. 12:14), seeking to overcome evil with good, leaving it the Lord to curse them and take vengeance (Gen 12:3; Rom. 12:17-21). This can include use of law, lawyers, magistrates, police or military to protect or ensure safety in societies that have such protections, even as Paul appealed to Caesar for protection from his Jewish accusers as a Roman citizen (Acts 25-26).  Thus, we could extrapolate that the evangelistic-apologetic task is directed not only to the contradictions of the mind using Scriptural epistemology (didactic doctrinal teaching) and the harmony of the Christian worldview with all reality (as typified in the Christian liberal arts college), but especially toward the will and emotions of the conscience using models of mercy ministries that restore peace among men (medical, family and marriage counseling, pro-life ministries from conception to death, elderly care, sexual integrity support, marketplace ministry training & ethical business, media and academia truth-telling, care-groups), God-felt-glory displaying preaching in Lord’s Day worship and personal and small group use of creative arts that touch the soul (worship, story, illustration, poetry, music, drama, movie clips and songs) either illustrating the veracity of the moral law as the most liberating relationship to the Lord (compared to other religions and gods) and the most harmonious relational reality among men OR showing how relational chaos and tormenting guilt result from rebellion against the moral law, and pointing to Christ as the righteous one who fulfilled the law’s demands for us, applied by the Spirit in saving faith (propitiation and justification; repentance and vivification; glorification). Doing movie discussions, (Turnau & Turnau, 2009) when led by moral-law-mature believers who can briefly compare and contrast the moral law with the movie, may be an excellent approach to evangelism. To engage the psychological professionals or its psychologized counselee-disciples, we need authentic mercy ministries, God-delighting preaching and personal evangelism-apologetics.

6)       7th command as perspective on all others: omni-faithful reflections or unfaithfulness to promises and covenants. Each commandment requires faithfulness, endurance and trustworthiness, but the 7th commandment seem especially concerned to preserve the sanctity and faithfulness of the marriage relationship of one man to one woman in the context of all other available or potentially available sexual immoralities. Adultery breaks trust and potentially shatters the protection normally provided by the other commands, beginning with coveting another person’s sexual satisfaction, false witness to hide the immorality, waste or loss of property or resources on a sexual thief and any children that might result or costs for abortion, potential health problems due to sexually transmitted diseases and in cases of resulting pregnancy, killing an unborn child to hide the sin, destroying the respect due as an authority, and spending wasteful time in sinful pursuits     

7)     4th, 6th, 8th and 10th commandments form mutually reinforcing perspectives on all others: that the command to labor six days, to care for human life, to cultivate stewardship of property and cultural-social flourishing and to be content with our lot has a direct relationship to the cultural mandate (Gen. 1:26-28) and that these and all the other commands have much to do with contentment in, loving and caring for physical, created things, including our own bodies, not only in relationship to loving God and man. The 5th commandment proper duties of superiors include provision of all things necessary for the physical needs of their inferiors’ bodies. The 7th commandment to sexual fidelity to spouse or to chastity as a single has much to do with how physical resources are preserved and prospered, as well as the security and provision for those children born from that fidelity bound couple. Bearing false witness about physical things is also part of the sins against the 9th commandment. The source of all physical and material produce is the Lord, who should be glorified, worshiped, thanked and petitioned for our daily bread and all the things He knows we need and provides so richly (Matt 6:11, 25-34; Phil 4:19-20; 1 Tim. 6:17; Rom. 1:20-21; 1 Tim. 4:3-5)

8)    9th command as perspective on all others:

a.       truthful witness involves knowing the reputation of persons with whom we have dealings. We should require time-tested and trusted testimonial proof of Ten-Commandment-integrity for before entering into relationships, like friendship (Prov. 17:17; 18:24; 27:6, 9-10), engagement to marriage (1 Cor. 7:39), setting apart for church leadership (1 Tim. 3:2-10; 5:22), taking vows, signing contracts or business deals (Prov. 6:1-5; 11:15) with more responsibilities, longer commitments and higher risks if failure happens. We should never make high risk commitments with strangers.

b.       9th C is a perspective on all extra-biblical knowledge, such that science, psychology, news reporting, history writing must be normed by truth-telling about reality, as much as we can certify, and where uncertain, we either remain silent or indicate our uncertainty. We recognize the sociology of prevailing knowledge held by gate-keepers and power-players in any profession or institution will seek to deny, suppress or contradict negative information or alternate theories that discredit their professions or institutions. We integrate witness that is truthful into our larger meta-narrative of righteousness or use apologetic redefinition to make the ideas or words compatible with the biblical worldview, and support truth-tellers and use truth in ways that enhance and promote both tables of righteousness, in other words, so that hearer-readers can receive a benefit because it fits the occasion and gives grace (Eph 4:29; 1 Cor. 13:4-7). All doctrines of men that deny plain biblical teaching about man’s nature, the power of God to change man into the image of Christ (goal/standard) by the Word (method/tool) and Spirit (mysterious, God-directed and timed power that resists scientific replication) in the assembly of the righteous (body life context or various gifts building up each other) are wrong.

9)      10th command as a perspective on all others, omni-sufficient, omni-holy reflections: sinful desire or coveting is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:9; Jam. 4:1-2; 1 John 2:15-16), together with corollary ungodly affections like fear of not having what we sinfully desire or having it taken away, pride at obtaining what we sinfully desire, and every prohibition in each command begins with controlling the desires of the heart (Prov 4:23; Matt. 15:19-21). Holy desire, love and joy in the glory of God and the flourishing of man, and contentment with and thankfulness for our lot, are the roots of all righteousness.

 

 

Supra-morality model:  All biblically relevant teachings for new covenant believers about righteousness (duty) and unrighteousness (sin) can be integrated under various commandments. NOTE WLC 99-150 explicates all the duties defining righteous renewal into the likeness of Christ and all the sins requiring repentance under the Ten Commandment structure.

1.       Significance: The specific details of what needs to change and what needs to be strengthened is reveal to us here. You must know what you are dealing with, what you should comfort or seek reconciliation for being sinned against and what you can encourage as righteous strengths and what you need to confront as unrighteous sins. If they aren’t on this chart, your not dealing with anything very significant, or your counselee has lost focus on what is significant and moved to trivia, vanity. Based on this model, we can explore other similar supra-morality connections not explicitly mentioned by Westminster.     

The exhaustive treatments of the moral law in Christian Ethics by Grudem (2018) and Doctrine of the Christian Life by Frame (2008) point us in the direction of individuals embracing ethical choices lifestyles or rejecting unethical choices and lifestyles. WLC 99-150 takes this same sanctification trajectory, which in summary biblical terms, means showing individual Christians the way to put off sin and put on righteousness, both in the heart, in individual and corporate worship of the Lord and in family and community relationships (Eph. 4:20-6:9), and to assist others in that process according to our location, callings, roles and gifts (Eph. 4:11-16; 5:11, 25-27; 6:4, 18-20; WLC 99:7-8). When careful readers observe the WLC proof texts for the various duties and sins defined under each commandment, they realize that the Westminster Assembly intended to exposit a comprehensive biblical ethic, linking all the heart and behavioral duties and sins of Scripture under the various commandments. This exposition is an excellent foundation for the Christian life! It is also the nature of the renewed reflection of God in man, the goal to which all human change should conform (Eph. 4:24).

In Principles of Conduct, John Murray (1957, pp. 21-26) shows the commands to love God and neighbor are the ways to fulfill or carry into effect the moral law as a motive and active principle, not as a NT substitute for the Ten Commandments. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” means that the law is something other than these two commands. Love is not equal to the whole law, nor does this motive let us experiment and reason our way to what it means to love. Instead, the Lord revealed to Adam what that law was, that law that love was to fulfill, then restated those laws in the Ten Commandments given to Moses.

Lex Christi: the law of Christ, the law of the kingdom, interpreting all Ten Commandments (10): protolex, duolex, trilex, quadralex, quintalex, hexalex, septalex, octolex, nonalex, decalex. These newly coined words are listed by order of commandments using Latin phrases for numerals one to ten combined with “lex” as the word for law.[17]

Specific Development of Each Commandment

Protolex: 1st commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 104-105

DUTY: Whole-hearted love and obedience for God as the only true God, our God, knowing him as he reveals himself, with humility, trust, fear, joy, worship and honor in all our thoughts and choices, showing zeal to please him by doing his will, and sorrow at all sins against him. [in this command, the 1st table of the law includes the Gospel of the new covenant]

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove ignorance, forgetfulness, false opinions, resisting self-love and self-seeking, lukewarmness and deadness, trying to discover God’s unrevealed secrets, heresy, distrust, despair, making men the lords of our faith and conscience, slighting and despising God and his commands, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, ascribing the praise of any good, we either are, have, or can do to fortune, idols, ourselves or any other creature.  

 

Duolex: 2nd commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 108-109

DUTY: All that pertains to biblically defined worship and ordinances must be received, observed and keep pure (fasting & prayer, ministry of the Word, administration of sacraments, oaths and vows, church government and discipline). [in this command, the 1st table of the law includes faith in the Gospel of the new covenant]

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove all false worship, human-devised traditions of worship, visible or mental idols, superstitions, simony, sacrilege, contempt for, hindering of and neglect of true worship.

 

Trilex: 3rd commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 112-113

DUTY: Holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, worship, Word and ordinances and living with integrity as an ambassador of his reputation and glory. [in this command, the 1st table of the law includes faithful witness to the Gospel of the new covenant]

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove all misuse of God’s names, titles, attributes, worship, Word and ordinances, hypocrisy, or the neglect of proper uses of God’s name, reputation and glory.

 

Quadralex: 4th commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 116-120

DUTY: Prepare for set apart times established by God in his Word, namely, the Lord’s Day, by resting from our employments and recreations and spent it in worship with works of necessity and mercy. [in this command, the 1st table of the law includes the Gospel of the new covenant]

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove negligence, laziness, weariness in observing, and distractedness, as this command to worship one day in seven through worship, prayer and ministry of the Word, is at the root of reinforcing all other commands.

NOTE: When we consider themes that still need to be developed, we could note that the exposition of the Fourth Commandment only explains the ways to observe the Lord’s Day, but omits the importance of observing six days of labor. This is partially covered in the Eighth Commandment to work to supply our own needs and the needs of those we are responsible for. 

 

Quintalex: 5th commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 127-132

DUTY: Delight in, practice and promote the proper relations of superiors, inferiors and equals.

Inferiors to Superiors: honor them from the heart, and with words and behaviors, praying for and giving thanks for them, imitating their virtues and graces, obeying their lawful counsels and commands, submitting to their corrections, allegiance to and defense of their persons and offices, bearing with their infirmities and covering them with love.

Superiors to Inferiors: love, pray for, bless, instruct, counsel, admonish, rewarding those who do well, discouraging and correcting those who do evil, providing for their souls and bodies, and being an example of integrity to preserve the honor due to your authority.

Equals: serve, give honor, praise and thanks to others above yourself

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove all improper relations of superiors, inferiors and equals:

Inferior to Superior: envy and contempt of, cursing, mocking, rebellion against authorities

Superior to Inferior: neglect of duties to, self-seeking by them, unlawful commands, unable to perform, encouraging evil, discouraging good, excessive correction, carelessly exposing them to sin, temptation and danger, provoking them to anger, or giving a bad example. 

Equals: neglect of duties, undervaluing, envying, grieving at advancement of others, putting yourself above others

 

Hexalex: 6th commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC  135-136

DUTY: Increasing knowledge and lawful actions (sober use of foods, drinks, medicines, sleep, work and rest) to preserve our own and other’s lives, protection of innocent life by just authorities, humble, patient submission to God’s difficult providences, cheerfulness, thinking the best of others and showing the fruits of the Spirit to them, willing to reconcile and forgive, paying back good for evil, and comforting the distressed. 

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove all thoughts purposes, passions, opportunities, temptations to or practices that lead to unjust taking of life (not including just execution, lawful war or necessary defense), sinful anger, provoking, fighting, hatred, envy, revenge, hitting, wounding, oppression, distracting cares, immoderate use of foods, drinks, medicines, sleep, work and rest.

 

Septalex: 7th commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 138-139 about

DUTY: Sexual purity of and protection of affections, mind, words behavior and body, and helping others to this goal, associating with pure examples, dressing modestly, getting married to enjoy sexual pleasure with spouse by living together (if no gift of singleness), and staying busy with six days of labor to avoid idleness and opportunities for immorality.

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, bestiality, and any other unnatural lusts, unclean fantasies, affections, thoughts, purposes or ways of speaking, or listening to or associating with others unclean imaginations or exploits, lustful looking at people, or seductively portraying yourself, immodest dress, prohibiting lawful marriage, unlawful divorce, prostitution, unnecessary vows of singleness, delaying marriage unduly, polygamy, desertion, idleness, use of any sexually seductive entertainment (adult stores, nude bars, pornography or sexually explicit movies). 

 

Octolex: 8th commandment: Here is a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 141-142

DUTY: Protecting of the value and use of each person’s private property, rendering to each what has been promised or what is due: contracts, taxes, making restitution for damage or theft, giving and lending freely according to our ability and other’s needs, moderating our affections, judgments and will towards worldly goods, choosing a calling and faithfully working to supply our own needs and those we are responsible for, frugality, and encouraging others to do the same.

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove, neglect of duties, theft, kidnapping, use of stolen goods, fraud, cheating, bribery, breaking contracts, taking interest from brothers, unnecessary lawsuits and taking on unnecessary debts, oppression, hostile take-overs, inflating prices, coveting, love of the world’s goods, distracted by getting keeping and using them, envy, idleness, wastefulness, gambling.

 

Nonalex: 9th commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 144-145

DUTY: Preserve, stand for and promote truth between people, our own and our neighbor’s good reputation, speaking the whole truth clearly and truthfully from the heart in matters of justice and judgment, and having as a positive of a view as possible of our neighbor and rejoicing in any good, gifts, graces and innocence we observe in their reputation. We keep our promises and focus on whatever is true, honest, lovely and of good report. We are ready to receive good reports, while discouraging evil reports, gossip, flattery, slander We sorrow for and cover their infirmities. 

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove all prejudice against the truth and our own and the good name of our neighbors, (especially in courts of law), false evidence, false witnesses, knowingly defending an evil cause, calling evil good, speaking wrongly and suppressing the truth, unjust legal sentencing or discipline based on faulty evidence, breaking contracts, rewarding the wicked, forgery, hiding the truth, undue silence on a just cause, not speaking up for justice or correcting evil, speaking truth without love, with malice or for other sinful purposes, altering the meaning by doubtful and equivocal expressions to prejudice the truth and justice, lying, slander, back biting, gossip, scoffing, reviling, rash or harsh statements, willfully misinterpreting the plain meaning of another person’s motives, words and actions, flattery, boasting, thinking or speaking too highly of ourselves, denying that these are all God’s gifts and graces, making a small matter too big, hiding, excusing, or over-emphasizing others sins, acting like a police-sin inspector to all faults, starting rumors, receiving and accepting evil reports, preventing just defense and truthful speaking, evil suspicion, envy or grief or suppression of another’s deserved credit, rejoicing in their disgrace, contempt for others. 

 

Decalex: 10th commandment: a brief summary of duties and prohibitions in WLC 147-148

DUTY: Full contentment with our own condition and a loving, gracious positive attitude to all that rightfully belongs to our neighbor, wanting him to receive all good that is due him.

SINS: Resist, oppose and remove all discontentment, envy, grief at our neighbor’s prosperity or good.

 

Extending the Applications of Westminster’s Supra-Morality Model

Theological Perspectives on the Commandments as a Whole System

1)     That the moral law is a reflection of the Triune Lord’s righteousness, (doctrine of God) his Triune person fully partaking of all the omni-attributes, working in history to reveal blessed and cursed faces and the derivative reflections in the elect and reprobate. Though it oversimplifies in some measure, we can see how some commands have closer affinities with the specific derivative attributes of God in man, and Yates’ eight derivative attributes have been inserted below in [brackets].

“All the original attributes of God impart specific derivative attributes that make elect believers awaken to the fullness and beauty of the commandments: God’s omni-holiness (gives love for God and man), omniscience (gives knowledge of himself and all the commands), omnipotence (gives power to do all the commands) omni-faithfulness (gives us faithfulness to keep the commands, gives us final resurrection to unchangeable righteousness), omni-historicity (gives us existence within chronological time to obey the law and in then in eternity; shapes our view of time past that he gave the law, present that the moral law is my duty, and future that he will judge law-breakers), omni-harmoniousness (gives us the law to submit for our earthly shalom), omni-sufficiency (gives material, pastoral, and civil-social resources to support obedience to the commands and gives us contentment in keeping all the commands derived from the self-existence of God), and omnipresence (gives us existence in physical space and is with us by the Spirit to apply all his attributes to bless us in fellowship/communion to do the commands with us).” 

“Blessed-Face Applications of the Ten Commandments

“Here is a simple list providing the most obvious logical links between major omni-attributes, their derivative reflections and each commandment (Deut. 5:7-21). There is overlap, such that we could explore all eight omni-attributes’ blessed faces in relation to each command, but only one is selected for representative purposes.

1st “You shall have no other gods before me.”  Omni-holy: proper love and hate defined by the true God. [holiness]

2nd “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or . . . bow down to them or serve them.” Omnipresent: proper worship of the invisible, present LORD [presence]

3rd “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” Omniscient: proper reverence to revealed truth. [knowledge]

4th “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, . . . Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work . . . You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” Omni-historical: proper structure of historical memory and routines of time. [theosynchrony]

5th “Honor your father and your mother.” Omni-harmonious: proper relations of authority and submission. [unity]

6th “You shall not murder.” Omnipotent: proper use of power. [rule]

7th “You shall not commit adultery.” Omni-faithful: proper fulfillment of promises. [integrity]

8th “You shall not steal.” Omni-sufficient: proper stewardship of material resources. [provision]

9th “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Omniscient: proper witness of reality. [knowledge]

10th “You shall not covet.” Omni-sufficient: proper contentment. [provision] (Yates, 2017, pp. 105-106)

 

2)    That, the first table of the law (man relationship to God) has parallel commands in the second table (man’s relationship to man) such that each table mutually reinforces the other table. The two tables together form an irreducible complexity, such that one table cannot long be honored in family, church, society or nation without insistence on, proclamation of and maintaining the integral harmony of the other. Or put another way, both tables of the law condemn those who only accept half of it: the religious hypocrite who claims to love God, but is uncaring toward fellow man, and the moral agnostic who serves neighbor but snubs the Creator (Jas. 3:9-10; 1 John 3: 11-12, 15-17) (Dixon, 2016, pp. 41, 125, 164). Love for God (defined by the 1st-4th commandments) establishes the patterns of love for our neighbor (5th-10th commandments). The authorities we should honor (5th commandment, parents, prophets, priests, kings, judges) will honor of the true King (1st commandment) and his kingdom laws (Rom. 2:10; 13:3-4, 7; Phil. 2:29; Rev. 7:12) (Walton, 1987, pp. 215-217). Seven-day cycles of labor and worship-thanksgiving-rest are the Lord’s requirement (4th commandment). By these cycles, God gifts and enables mankind to produce personal goods and services, which shall not be coveted or stolen by authorities or neighbors (Deut. 8:18; 10th & 8th commandments). God’s covenant faithfulness is the pattern for marital faithfulness (Ephesians 5:24-33; 7th commandment). The Lord’s name and reputation must be represented with integrity (3rd commandment) even as we truthfully represent our neighbor’s reputation (9th commandment). Contentment in God and his saving grace brings contentment with relationships and material goods in this world (10th commandment). There are no contradictions between the tables, since God is both loving and all-powerful to permit sins among men and suffering in the world that breaks the second table of the law. The second table of the law is a God-designed reality for human flourishing, such that Christians modeling this type of sub-culture will be light and salt for the society and the nations (Matt. 5:3-20). The second table depends on the first table, such that a family, culture, marketplace, or nation that fears, knows and worships the true Lord has the new covenant transformed heart to keep the second table as well (Prov. 1:7; Heb. 8:10-12). Those ignoring, contradicting and supplanting the second table of the law will usually bring individual, familial, marketplace, socio-cultural and national chaos (Rom. 1:18-32). The second table depends on the first table, such that any family, workplace, culture or nation that seeks to adhere only to the second table as a kind of free-floating morality,[18] while denying and supplanting the first table (atheism, humanism, deism, communism, other false religions), will ultimately suppress and resist the church’s ministry proclaiming the power of Word-Spirit heart-transformative ethics promised in the new covenant for individuals, families, the marketplace, and the socio-cultural-national contexts. These suppressing cultural and national contexts will simply try to establish their own “first table” with something or someone other than the true God as king to be worshipped. In democracy, the people are king, and the moral code is subject to every wind of popular culture vote. In totalitarianism (communism, fascism, socialism, islamism), the dictator or the ruling council is king, and any subject that threatens their absolute authority, either actually or only suspected, is liable to deprivation, torture or death, but still expecting a kind of social morality of the second table among their subjects that they themselves do not model.

3)    That it is the fountainhead of all righteousness, such that its proper exposition will be able to connect the two great commands and specifics of the moral law with all corollary biblical commands that are relevant to the new covenant believers, including principles for meta-theories in epistemology. “Your commandment is exceedingly broad,” (Ps. 119:96). “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts,” (Ps. 119:99). Adapting the realist interpersonal covenant knowing model of Meek (2011, pp. 400-403, 408-409, 411, 417, 425-468), such that reality responds favorably to this kind of etiquette with self-disclosure:

a.     10th commandment: Spirit-Word renewed desires (passive longing, active loving of the law of the Lord Ps. 119:10, 16, 20; 103, 135);

b.     9th Commandment proper witness to self about self: personal qualities relating to self that are required to know (called composure: fidelity to our renewed nature, knowing and being ourselves as righteous before God (Ps. 119:30, 73), knowing and comfortable with our healthy self-differentiated virtue (Ps. 119:21-23, 29, 37, 136), skillfully developing use of our five bodily senses to engage reality and appreciating how body senses confirm correct perception of human flourishing reality (Ps. 119:18, 38), , openness to learn (Ps. 119:26-27), and embracing pain (Ps. 119:50-51, 71, 75-76);

c.      5th commandment, (Scripture represents the authority of God, the superior to which all other superiors must submit, condensed into the beauty and harmony of the Ten Commandment, an irreducible complexity representing God as superior Lord, to which all the nations and all epistemologies must submit; humility to learn from godly superiors, elders who faithfully represent biblical authority and the moral law); 6th commandment (many details of daily-life knowledge acquisition is related to functional living, safety and good health); personal qualities needed to engage or relate to the yet-to-be-known (called comportment or candidacy: a pledge to invest in, care about learning, trust that the investment is worthwhile, responsible submission-obedience to the reality revealed, humility to receive what is revealed, patience to slowly learn, alert to reflections of God in the reality we find);

d.     5th commandment to learn from superiors (Scripture represents the authority of God, the superior to which all other superiors must submit; psychology establishment as misusing their authority, lording their theories over the population, exceeding their rightful authority to heal the body, and claiming to heal all types of mental disorders with a false “gospel”); methods to learn (called strategy: pursue the best means of knowing from the life and words of authoritative guides (Phil. 2:19-23; 4:9), developing foundational  competencies and skilled use of tools to grasp new patterns of reality (God defines all reality, so we reject false religions and gods, and all theories and philosophies that claim independent authority to define reality and truth 1st; using biblical vocabulary to describe God and his world in his terms 3rd; work, proper structure of historical memory, interpretation of history and events in history and routines of time. Proper interpretation of sovereign cause over all effects 4th, living 6th, gender and sexual boundaries 7th, economics and property stewardship 8th, communication and truth-telling, proper witness of reality, using biblical vocabulary to describe what we see. Psychologies are bearing false witness to reality of man, the way of change, the goals and standards for change, denying the existence of God and his definition of man in the fallen world 9th, moderation of desires to learn, without faith in an all-sufficient Creator-Provider, false religions and humanism can only promote lifeless forms of self-control or promote sublimated desires, exchanging one kind of coveting for another, to obtain various kinds of this world’s treasures and pleasures, or trying to avoid its trials and troubles 10th), creative-value-assigning-attention-to the law (Ps. 119:66, 72, 104, 111, 127, 136; 1st-10th), collaboration and active listening (5th), integrate a subsidiary range of knowledge or academic fields looking for unrealized or unexpressed integrative possibilities or interpretations of the reality by the moral law (1st-10th), indwelling the moral knowledge to use as a lens to seeing more patterns, as a connected knower, seeing with fear and delight (Ps. 119:112, 120; 1st) ; and

e.      consummation: (in the likeness of the covenant the Creator established and sustains with all creation, developing new loving, creation-caring, transforming friendships and shalom-healing communions with the constitution of reality—blessing all the created world, including ourselves and other people, to be more fully itself/ourselves/themselves (4th-10th, Ps. 119:63, ), and responsibly voicing or characterizing the Lord’s righteous self-disclosure into the known world (3rd, Ps. 119:54, 62, 64), to a cloud of witnesses that accord interpretive value to our efforts (5th)—that lead us to ultimate conversation-communion with the Lord, knowing and being known, seeking and being sought out, through the “sacramental” eating and drinking of all reality 1st-4th).

4)    That it is the fountainhead of all righteousness (“On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 22:37-40; 19:16-21; Luke 10:25-37), such that its proper exposition will be able to connect the two great commands and specifics of the moral law with all corollary biblical commands that are relevant to the new covenant believers, including principles for all practical theology foundations, such as Reformed worship, hermeneutics, administration of sacraments, biblical counseling, family ministry, marketplace ministry for any type of work, apologetics, missions, evangelism, leadership, pastoral ministry, Christian education, preaching, church planting, elder-deacon qualifications see (Biblical Eldership Resources Team, 2018) and Christian journalism. All ministries of the people of God are structured on moral-law-righteousness, how we fit into the meta-narrative of righteousness, the moral-law-righteousness modeling of the variously gifted individuals within a flourishing community of faith, coupled with moral-law-righteousness applied to all practical theology. All abiding New Covenant biblical commands or instructions are contained in seed form in the moral law, such that we can start with any new covenant instruction, and trace it back to a corresponding commandment. Example: ‘humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.’ (1 Pet. 5:6) 4th commandment Lords Day rest requires humility to put away our doing and enjoy being in communion with Christ. As Walton (1987, p. 215) explains that the spirit of the 1st commandment is exposited in Deuteronomy 6-11, this commandment means that we must have God alone as our God, to love him, to submit to all his disciplines without testing or grumbling, and to obey all his commandments, since he is our good and powerful God who orders all things for our good and his glory. No other gods or supposed gods can compare with his mighty hand, make a covenant to elect, save, bless and protect in the way he does, or exalt the humble in due time. Practically speaking, this exposition should be able to root all the biblical practical theology principles and practices developed in the history of the church and in modern day seminary education. Missions-evangelism-preaching will proclaim, nourish and demonstrate a community of moral-law-righteousness and call men before God to account for their unrighteousness. Apologetics will bring every darkened worldview into submission to moral-law-righteousness, the standard to which all nations and people will be called to account.[19] The tenets of the righteousness that pleases God have been defined in their broad contours, so all other sources of integrated knowledge can only serve as applications of this pre-defined righteousness (Rom. 12:1-2). All regenerate engagement of the elect with the world must be processed through and compatible with this new covenant operating system of righteousness. Biblical counselors will model moral-law-righteousness and counsel using applied moral-law-righteousness for the comparative categories that both affirm present maturity and point to areas of needed growth, and teaches counselee to integrate, reform or reject all other forms of knowledge based on conformity to moral-law-righteousness. Similar to the task of a Christian doing psychological research and writing, Christian journalists will understand their task to help readers connected truthful, original, particular stories with man’s moral imagination, universalizing human experience within the grand meta-narrative into which we all fit (Sillars, 2018). Our Christian goals, vision statements, purposes, church-Christian-school- seminary educational objectives, discipleship agendas, must all be shaped by the goals of the moral law to produce lovers of God and man, and haters of sin and evil. Failure to do so will fragment practical theology from its new covenant knowledge of sin leading us to repentance and faith in Christ’s propitiation for the forgiveness of sins, fragment practical theology from its natural faith foundation in Christ’s credited righteousness and fragment practical theology from the Spirit’s promised work to write the law on believers’ hearts. Because of this failure, practical theology, with its various specialty seminary courses, has become abstracted principles and methods with no organizing or integrating core.

5)     Moral conscience and the law: this section is developed from ideas in Stoker (2018, pp. 28-30, 49-50, 120-124, 138-140, 143-146, 270, 315-318, 321-322, 325, 328-333).

a.     That the law is written on the core of the individual conscience of every person and is reflected in the social ethics and laws of the nations. Mankind shows general conformity to the second table of the moral law (4th-10th commandments) in their families and societies, awareness of and behaviors that conform to the moral law and grief over relational and social chaos caused by immoral behaviors.

b.     The depraved conscience operates in relation to any subjective sense of what is my personal evil (any ultimate conviction or moral value about what should not be, what is abnormal, sick and evil in me revealed in my various duties and roles), combined with relative knowledge and values learned from social history, biological personality and choices, that are integrated into the emotionally-felt soul, called “ontical transformation” (Stoker, 2018, p. 140). As such the depraved conscience can be wrong due to God giving them up because they suppress the truth of the moral law written on their hearts, have incorrect moral knowledge, are deceived by erroneous moral values, are defiled, have ignored pangs of true guilt, have numbed themselves by distractions, or have doubts about whether any absolute values exist (Rom. 1:18-32; 2:15; Tit. 1:15-16). A primary bad conscience gives embodied, immediate, authoritative accusations of emotional guilt and disclosure of own’s own real, personal choice to be or do evil (I did what I thought was evil), a warning conscience is stirred when one contemplates or sees self as desiring possible personal evil (I was tempted by what I perceive to be evil), and a good conscience is choosing to seek what I perceive as good, desiring and loving good, giving ourselves in humility and love to what is valuable, and realizing it, though tempted by personal evil (I choose to do good, rather than what I thought was evil). The primary bad conscience makes an emotionally-felt judgment that “I am bad,” (Rom. 2:14-15) usually causing a secondary bad conscience that produces “You are bad” responses of deep inward self-estrangement, self-hatred, isolation, torment, alarm, dread, anxiety, depression, alienation, shame, hiding, remorse, fear of being found out, some forms of mental illness, self-punishment or injury, and anger toward ourselves, or alternately, causing a secondary relieved conscience  because of self-defense, self-deception, or excuse-making to pretend innocence.

c.      Satan, as accuser, seeks to manipulate a bad conscience to bring further chaos and destruction (John 13:27; Acts 1:16-20; Rev. 12:10), or deceive with false guilt or false assurances of self-righteousness (Rom. 9:30-10:3; Phil. 3:4-6; Gal. 5:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:23-26) or to fabricate other superstitions, magic arts or works of religions to placate angry spirits or gods (Rom. 1:20-25; Acts 17:16-31; 19:18-19).

d.     Both our depraved conscience and our actual moral guilt for personal evil requires punishment or forgiveness from transcendent Judge who calls all men to account because the conscience factors in our biological morality and the promise of eternal life or eternal death (Rom. 1:32). By the Spirit working through the Word, after regeneration to saving faith, our consciences can be “indirectly” ontically transformed, influenced by knowledge and love, by learning from and following the examples provided by the best and wisest leaders and integrating knowledge, life-experienced harmony created and maintained by moral values or the grief over relational and social chaos resulting from lack of moral values (Ps. 119:136, 139), moderation of the will and affections to conform to the moral law, causing guilt for what is truly sin, leading to true grief and sorrow for sin that leads to repentance (“those feel guiltiest who are morally best” (Stoker, 2018, p. 145) 2 Cor. 7:10-11; Heb. 5:11-14) and showing us the way of forgiveness through the propitiation of Christ and the way of liberty in obedience. Yet no one can boast for any righteousness, as salvation comes from the Lord (1 Cor 1:29-31; 15:10; Jas. 4:16).

e.      “The world’s greatest preachers [we could add apologists, biblical counselors, story-tellers, journalists, evangelists and worship leaders] have mastered the art of influencing these deeply important human emotions” (Stoker, 2018, p. 112). Thus, the moral law provides a foundation for influencing the conscience, and should be used in all practical theology to give us knowledge of sin and lead us to self-examination, but our most important tasks are to use the moral law to display the active moral righteousness and passive moral-law-curse-bearing righteousness of Christ and call all men, no matter what their ignorant debaucheries or their self-made religious legalisms against the flesh, to look to the whole Christ in saving faith (Pederson, 2016, pp. citing Ferguson, 2016), and to display the moral value of the law’s application to liberating worship of the true God and human flourishing (Ps. 119:165, 175) and conversely expose the religious and human chaos that results from discrediting the value of the moral law (Ps. 119:158), proclaimed by witnesses with modeled integrity of love for God and man. 

6)    The full conformity of the whole man to righteousness includes submission the Lord’s authority over all human thought: (Sola Scriptura and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th commandments substantiate presuppositional apologetics perspective on moral law, because the moral law is binding on all humanity and will be used to judge humanity Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8): Because there is only one true Lord who defines himself as the source and interpreter of all reality, and defines the content, practices and timings of our worship and character of our witness, all our foundational life-orienting thoughts must be analogical to his Word and all other fields of knowledge must be brought into submission to his Word (2 Cor. 10:5). The moral law also critiques all other theories of knowledge (epistemologies), religions and worldviews and knowledge based on conformity to or distortion of the moral law, whether it tends to or can be used in service of true worship of the true God (1st-4a C’s), or tends to or can be used in service of human flourishing (4b-10 C’s).

7)     That man’s sin, meaning moral unrighteousness, lack of conformity to the moral law, has brought the Lord’s curse on all aspects of the moral law. In relation to knowledge of the Lord, Adam’s offspring, born in sin, no longer know Him, their Creator or Redeemer, directly introducing chaos into 1st-4th commandment flourishing. Man’s sin has brought the Lord’s curse on harmony in human relationships, directly introducing chaos into 5th commandment flourishing (Gen. 3:16). Thus, the moral law defines and gives the knowledge of sin, and leads us to Christ for forgiveness, since he bore the law’s curse of death on himself, on behalf of the elect. The moral law is revealed in the perfect righteousness of Christ, proven by his resurrection from the dead. The Spirit’s primary work in the new covenant, and best and more sure evidence of his saving application of the work of Christ, is to write the moral law on our hearts (Heb 10:16; 1 Cor. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 1:5).

8)    Practically speaking, this means that all the trajectories of new covenant obedience and all New Testament commands directing believers to any sort of obedience or any sort of prohibition are founded in the moral law. Essentially, each commandment forbids lusts within the heart and the behaviors that spring from those lusts, together with resistance to acceptance or integration of “all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations.” Thus, because the seventh commandment forbids sexual immorality in the heart or the behavior, it also forbids integration of any worldview, philosophy, religion, that would promote sexual immorality, create a culture of opportunity for sexual freedom, and resistance against all media (graphic arts, literature, movies, poetry, music, theater, website, chat rooms, social media groups) that might incite or promote sexual immorality. Other commandments are relevant in that we are told to resist integration with anything that causes provokes or give the appearance of permitting or encouraging disobedience to it. We must not sinfully provoke or incite others to sin, or support sinful deeds, but instead, should provoke others to express more love and good deeds (Heb.10:24-25; 1 Thess. 5:22; Jude 1:23; Gal. 5:26; Col. 3:21).

9)    The irreducible complexity of the righteous community obeying all the commandments together as witnesses to each other and the world of the Creator-Redeemer designed pattern for human flourishing (John Dixon, A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments 2016, pp. 42-47): like the capstone case-study of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 showing the attractive qualities of God-fearing wisdom, Romans’ most significant worldview engagement presents models of righteous saints within the righteousness-nourishing community. They will be lovers of God and men (Rom. 12:1-2, 9-10; 13:9-10; 2 Tim. 1:7). They will model social constructivity with an excellent work ethic, using gifts, skills and time to provide life support for their families, pay taxes to government and social mercy for the weak and poor (4b [20], 5th, 6th, 8th, 10th commands; Rom. 6:19; 12:11, 13; 13:6-14). They will model social harmony with a proper honor and submission to various positions of authority, proper respect for equals, and proper use of authority to bless those they serve, and proper witness to the best in others (1st, 5th 9th commands; Rom. 12:3-8, 14-16; 13:1-7; Eph. 5:23-6:9). They will model social integrity in duties, promises, contracts and vows, and speak with integrity about those social relationships (7th 8th 9th 10th commands; Rom. 12:9-12; 13:1-10). They will model social enjoyment by contentment with their own life situations (10th command; Rom. 13:9; 7:7-8; 1:29). The righteous individual participating in the community of the righteous will share the Spirit-confirmed, moral-law in-total, social identity affirmation of being “in Christ Jesus,” “acceptable to God and approved by men” (1st-10th commands; Rom. 14:18; 8:1-16; 5:1-2; Acts 2:47; 5:13; 7:10). The Christian community living with righteous integrity will be the best apologetic witness to the surrounding communities living in darkened worldviews. The witness of peace-loving, moral-law righteousness will put enemies and false accusers to shame and overcome and convert some of them with good (Rom. 12:17-21; 1 Pet. 3:1-16; 1 Cor. 14:24-25).

 

RKD META-NARRATIVE: Law of the Kingdom as an Integrating Perspective on the Righteous King’s Dominion including themes in historical, systematic and practical theology.

1.       Significance:

a.       Saving faith knows God through this story, and we understand ourselves in light of the kingdom of God narrative, from election to creation (what did we lose?), fall (explains why life is difficult, why sin is so destructive and entangling), redemption (what is in process of restoration?) and consummation (what is our hope for eternity?).

b.      Westminster establishes the pattern that many of its categories of historical, systematic and practical theology can be integrated within this meta-narrative structure.

c.       The Lord’s promise to change his elect is joined with the command to yield ourselves and instruments or slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:13, 19; 8:1-4; Heb. 10:16)

d.      Discipleship and all practical theology starts to make sense.

e.       Our biblical counseling model will use two related NT terms that seem to capture the essential meaning, “the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2; 1 Cor. 9:21) and the synonymous phrase ‘the royal law that gives liberty’ or the ‘law of the kingdom’ (Jas. 1:25; 2:8-12).[21] Notice how the law of the kingdom (Jas. 2:8) functions as an integrating perspective on all the RDK meta-narrative, or in other words, can help explain various parts of historical, systematic and practical theology.

f.        Based on this model, we can explore other similar meta-narrative connections not explicitly mentioned by Westminster.  

 

Historical & Systematic Theology: Scripture Given for Necessary Training & Correction in Righteousness (WCF proof text in 2 Tim. 3:15-17)

WCF 1:6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life[22], is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:

Historical & Systematic Theology: Election unto Holiness or Righteousness

WCF 3:5 Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory (citing Eph. 1:4 that we are chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before him  [or righteous])

3:6 As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

Historical & Systematic Theology: Adam’s Original Righteousness Reflects God’s Image in Man

WCF 4:2 “endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it”

Historical & Systematic Theology: Adam’s Falls from Original Righteousness into Unrighteousness

WCF 6:2 By this sin they fell from their original righteousness, and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. (citing Rom. 3:10, “there is no one righteous”)

Historical & Systematic Theology: Redemption for the Elect Accomplished by the Righteous Christ, Propitiation for the Elect by a Righteous Sacrifice Absolves the Righteous Wrath of the Lord Against the Elect, Resurrection-Exaltation as Proof of His Righteousness, Righteous Mediator for the Elect at God’s Right Hand

 

WCF 8:3. The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell; to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father, who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.

WCF 8:4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered, with which also He ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of His Father, making intercession, and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.

WCF 8:5. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.

Practical Theology: Moral Law Defines Righteousness and Discerns Unrighteousness for Repentance

Practical Theology: “You Shall” Aspects of the Moral Law Given in Garden, Restated in more “You Shall Not” Terms at Sinai, is the Rule of the Christian Life

WCF19:1 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.[23]

WCF 19:2 This law,[24] after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments,[25] and written in two tables: the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.

Practical Theology: Moral Law for Use in Missions, Apologetics and Evangelism

WCF 19:5 The moral law does forever bind all,[26] as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;[27] 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.[28] Neither does Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.[29]

Practical Theology: Moral Law for Use in Gospel-Centered, Saving Faith (looking to Christ, united with him by the Spirit, for justification, vivification and repentance WCF 14:2)

WCF 19:6 Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned;[30] 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;[31] discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives;[32] so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin,[33] together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience.[34] It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin:[35] 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.[36] The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof:[37] although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works.[38] So as, a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law: and not under grace.[39]

WCF 19:7 Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it;[40] 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, requires to be done.[41]

Practical Theology: Moral Law Used in Church Membership and Discipline

And because the powers which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased[42] are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.[43] And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature,[44] or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship,[45] or conversation[46]), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ has established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to account,[47] and proceeded against, by the censures of the Church [and by the power of the civil magistrate].[48]  

Systematic Theology: Eschatology: Righteousness as the Standard for Final Judgment, Showing Eternal Wrath to the Unrighteous in Hell and Eternal Love to the Righteous in the New Heavens and New Earth

WCF33:1. God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.

WCF 33:2. The end of God's appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of His justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord: but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.

 

Extending the Applications of Westminster’s RKD Meta-Narrative Model

The meta-narrative pattern observed in WCF could be expanded using this outline of the righteous king’s dominion (RKD) for the elect.

1.       RKD Revealed: SCRIPTURE: revealed to man in history by special revelation, his holy Word,[49] for training in righteousness,[50] and for interpreting general revelation, leading the saints to saving faith,

2.      RKD Planned: KING & KINGDOM: all glory be given to the righteous Triune Lord revealed in his kingly dominion,[51] the Father who by grace alone decreed the fall while righteously choosing his elect in Christ in union with the Spirit for royal-law-righteousness and justly passing by the rest in their sins,[52]

3.      RKD Founded: RIGHTEOUS KINGDOM FOUNDED-LAW OF CHRIST GIVEN-REBELLION BY  UNRIGHTEOUSNESS: (original righteousness): creating man in his righteous-kingly-dominion image to rule over the earth,[53] writing the royal law of Christ on his heart to receive creation ordinances as perfect rule of righteousness,[54] (original sin): that he disobeyed and fell into bondage to sin, the Lord permitting the fall for the display of his righteousness and condemning sin due to lack of conformity to royal-law-righteousness,[55]

4.      RKD Promised: SHADOWS OF KINGDOM GOSPEL: Gospel proclaimed,[56]

5.      RKD Renewed: LAW OF CHRIST: refreshed the creation ordinances’ perfect rule of righteousness in the royal law[57] and the evident historical inability of all men in Adam to perfect royal law righteousness,[58]

6.      RKD Accomplished: GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM ACCOMPLISHED & APPLIED: fulfilled in Christ’s Gospel ministry, who as King, establishes an eternal kingdom of righteousness by uniting his elect kingdom citizen-priests and ambassadors under his dominion by saving faith[59] 

a.       the Son, as second person of the Trinity, fully God with all the omni-attributes[60]

b.      taking full humanity upon himself, as Christ, filled with the Spirit to fulfill royal-law-righteousness, the law of Christ,[61]

c.       enduring the passion and crucifixion, suffering the wrath and curses of the law as King, for Gospel propitiation on behalf of the moral-law unrighteousness of the elect,[62]

d.      raised and exalted to the Father’s right hand for crediting royal-law righteousness in Gospel justification of the elect by faith,[63]

e.       sending the Righteous Spirit, to convict the elect of unrighteousness unto repentance for forgiveness of sins[64] and to write royal-law righteousness on the sanctified hearts of the elect from among all nations,[65] that they may pursue righteousness as a kingdom of priests,[66] rewarding the righteous,[67] keeping them in saving faith by his providence,[68]

f.        having authority over the elect angels, sending them to serve for the perseverance of the saints all over the world in all ages,[69]

7.       RKD Applied: GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM REALIZED: (RKD vision applied by royal law)

a.       CH Church History shows the promised endurance of God’s righteous kingdom[70]

b.      PT Evangelism, Missions, Apologetics proclaimed and demonstrated by his righteous ambassadors and other assembly ministries,[71]

c.       PT Assembly: worship (his Sabbath days transformed to the Lord’s Day worship[72]) prayer,[73] partaking of righteous signs and seals of the covenant of grace[74] preaching, church government administering church discipline to guard righteousness by his appointed elders,[75] 

d.      PT Biblical Counseling for Marriage and Family: righteous husbands and wives giving birth to and raising righteous children,[76]

e.       PT/Marketplace Ministry (MM) Righteous stewardship in the Cultural Mandate

 

8.      RKD Applied: GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM FINALIZED:

a.       raising the souls of the elect, who die before his second coming, to perfection in righteousness until their bodies are raised,[77]

b.      returning to glorify the elect by conquering the last enemy of death, raising their bodies in perfected moral-law-righteousness, ‘giving them crowns of righteousness,’[78] to dwell forever with the him and the elect angels in the new kingdom-creation of righteousness,[79] and to destroy all other unrighteous rule, power and authority, righteously judging the wicked by turning all his omni-attributes to curse them forever, and delivers the perfectly righteous, moral-law submissive kingdom to the Father.[80]

 

RKD Summary Catechism

Q. 1: Elect believer, what do you believe about the meta-narrative of the righteous king’s dominion (RKD)?

A. 1: That the righteous triune King has graciously given his self-breathed Scripture for establishing his dominion of righteousness on the earth among mankind: to us for revealing his righteous election, and in his time, in us working saving faith by the Spirit, uniting us to Christ, the righteous Savior-Lord-King, to know our unrighteousness unto repentance for forgiveness of our sins by the propitiation of his cross and applying the dominion of his righteousness to us by Christ’s resurrection, credited in justification, written on the heart for daily sanctification, joining us to his righteous assembly to bless us with edifying gifts, and to enduring hope in the finalization of his kingdom by bringing us body and soul into his newly prepared creation, the home of righteousness; to others, by the mystery of his sovereign will, these same means are used to provoke his enemies’ unrighteousness, to blind and harden them unto religious pluralism, laziness, worldly wealth, cares of this world, fear of those who can kill the body, ignorance, superstition, idol worship, false religion, atheism, humanism, national and political pride, hatred and persecution, passing them by and leaving them in their sins, providing for their physical needs, administering temporal judgments, patiently enduring until he finally executes his unrestrained, eternal wrath in his prepared hell. 

 

Scripture is for Training and Correcting in Righteousness

While the Two Great Commandments enjoin us to love God and our neighbors and seek their shalom (Ps. 119:165), the commandments also enjoin hatred of all that God hates and hatred of all that destructs and destroys the shalom of our neighbors and the human community (by self-discipline and repentance, church discipline, and where possible, social-legal-citizen engagement). Various genres of Scripture give support to the moral law’s duties and prohibitions (Biblical Theology perspective on moral law): narrative that approves obedience to it, and condemns and shows consequences for disobedience to it; poetry and songs that praise the law and its faithful followers and heap just condemnations and judgments on the wicked; prophecy that enjoins moral obedience and shows condemnation, captivity and rejection/divorce of the Lord’s people for their perpetual disobedience; Gospels that show Jesus’ reinforcement of the spiritual dimensions of the moral law; apocalyptic that shows eternal rewards and eternal judgment in relation to the moral law and that the moral law is eschatologically fulfilled in the new heaven’s and new earth.  God’s two faces of blessing and cursing are shown in response to man’s obeying or disobeying the moral law.[81] In the New Covenant, the Spirit writes the law on our hearts,[82] and elect disciplers will delight in it, meditate on it, and obey it to the bearing of good fruit, rejecting all counsel (philosophies, education, psychology, sociology, genetics), behaviors (joining the majority culture in lawless excess) or seats of authority (governments, rulers, governors, commissioners, security police, judges) that ignore, belittle, discredit, deny or falsify the moral law.[83] They will model, teach and correct disciples based on these laws which illuminate sin, highlight the need for a Savior, and teach them what to love and hate, what to do, and what is forbidden.

 

The Moral Law is the Foundation of all Practical Theology Ministries

A.     The Westminster Assembly intended to point to the moral law as the framework that can be used to assemble all details of biblically defined righteousness and unrighteousness. In their labors the Reformed church has an excellent starting point for further reflection and development. But that foundational work needs upgraded and refined hermeneutical principles using current theological vocabulary to truly grasp the implications of Westminster’s theological model.   

B.     For example, when we evaluate the titles and contents of typical Master of Divinity practical theology course lists that are intended for training future pastors, we don’t generally see any obvious reliance on the Ten Commandments. In courses like preaching, evangelism, missions, apologetics, biblical counseling or pastoral theology, and the related books used to teach these subjects, there are gaps that neglect the coherence between the righteousness of God, man’s fall into unrighteousness, the perfect human righteousness of the Christ, his propitiation on the cross for human unrighteousness received by faith, his resurrection-exaltation as proof of his righteousness credited by faith, receiving the new covenant gift of the Spirit to write the righteousness of the moral law on the heart through all the various ministries and gifts of the assembly. The outline of usual topics in various modern practical theology courses are as diverse as the operating framework of the teachers and the textbooks they have selected. In conservative Reformed seminaries that uphold the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, these frameworks will generally be biblical, but they lack coherence with other practical theology and systematic theology courses.[84] Noting this fragmentation, some programs have even combined systematic theology with practical theology topics.[85] If all seminary departments chose to follow the Westminster framework, a significant coherence would be restored for seminary students. Practical theology books would start to reapply this coherence. Graduates would be using and transferring a more coherent model in church ministries.          

C.      Grudem (2018, p. loc. 782) develops a brief point about the necessity of the moral law for evangelism: the nations will observe the wisdom and understanding of our moral law and the nearness of our Lord to hear and answer our prayers (Deut. 4:5-7); the use of the 1st commandment to establish the only true Lord of heaven and earth as the self-sufficient Creator, and the 2nd commandment in convicting of sin and calling for repentance in light of the fact that these righteous standards will be used to judge the world on the Last Day through Jesus Christ (Acts 17:16-31; Rom. 1:32).

D.     A way to renew our hermeneutical principles involves careful comparison of WLC commandment categories of duties and sins with a more expansive set of biblical duties, such as the topics of practical theology in a seminary curriculum. 

E.     These insights lead us to develop more explicit links between the moral law as a foundation for all practical theology ministries and re-establishes a neglected link in the literature between topics of systematic theology and practical theology. To move us in the direction of reforming our practical theology teaching and practice, we will start with the ten mandates defined by Yates as a reasonable perspective on meta-practical theology (2017, pp. 166-174) built on and connected to his earlier chapters 3-9 integrating the other major theological topics of the Word and Spirit revealing to us the glorious omni-attributes of Triune Lord derivatively reflected in the righteous humanity of Christ, who declared forgiveness and righteousness on us (propitiated for his elect at the cross, and worked justification by faith-union with Christ’s death and resurrection), and who vivified righteousness in us to fulfill the New Covenant promises to write the moral law on our hearts and who displays that righteous law by us to the nations. 

1.       Assembly ministries, as defined by Yates (2017, pp. 167-168, 171) develops two categories that represent the Lord blessed and cursed faces among the assembled believers (any groups where two or more are assembled in Jesus’ name, whether in family, church, Christian schools, seminaries, para-church, Christian business; Matt. 18:20), one of peacemaking the other of enmity. To each of the following mandates Yates proposes, we can add new covenant righteousness themes and Ten-Commandment-clarifying details, showing that the moral law is the foundation for all assembly ministries. Peacemaking ministries include the Great Assembly Mandate (earthly saints are spiritually raised to New-Jerusalem-centered worship with God, modeled on the moral-law based songs of Scripture (especially Psalms and Revelation), who judges all according to his righteous law, with the Righteous Christ as mediator of the new covenant by his propitiating blood, the righteous angels, and with the spirits of just men who are made perfect according to the righteousness of the moral law; Eph. 2:6; Heb. 12:22-24), the Great Commission Mandate (to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that Christ commanded, summed in saving faith [WCF 14:2] that trusts in Christ alone for justified [moral law declared on us in union with Christ (Jones, 2015)] and sanctified [moral law written in us and shown by us] application of the Two Great Commandments and the moral law; Heb 10:16; Matt. 28:18-20), the Great Reformation Mandate (reforming earthly assemblies to reflect the righteous likeness of the heavenly assembly’s true knowledge of the Triune Lord’s person and work, forgiveness of sins without bitterness or grudges, purity of heart and life, and loving unity; Heb 8:11; 10:17; Matt. 13:43; John 17:21-23), and the Great Discipline Mandate (based on the standards of the moral law, believers practice self-discipline against the old sin nature and church discipline against any unrepentant sinners-their disordered desires and behaviors; Eph. 4:22; Matt. 18:15-19).

2.      Creation ministries, as defined by Yates (2017, pp. 168, 171) develops two categories that represent the Lord blessed and cursed faces among the creatures and created world, one of peacemaking the other of enmity. To each of the following mandates Yates proposes, we can add new covenant righteousness themes and Ten-Commandment-clarifying details, showing that the moral law is the foundation for all creation ministries. Peacemaking ministries include the Great Investment Mandate (believers store up treasures in heaven by investing their lives in works that maintain and promote the glory of God, creation stewardship and human flourishing according to the Two Great Commandments and their details in the moral law. They prepare to bring the glory and wealth of those investments as an offering in the new heaven and renewed earthly kingdom; Matt 6:20; Eccles. 2:4-10; Rev. 21:24; Isa. 60:1-17), the Great Cultural Mandate (because of their knowledge and fear of the Lord, believers repent of creation worship [1st-4th commandments] and exercise stewardship over creation, subduing the earth, having children, enjoying creation as a reflection of God, and repenting of misuse of creation [4th-10th commandments]; Gen. 1:26-28; Acts 20:32-35; Rom. 1:20-25) and the Great Frustration-Mercy Mandate (because man broke all of God’s moral law in Eden (Jones, 2015), now believers have to patiently endure frustration, along with all the creation, and desire to be released from the bondage and curse between man and creation that causes enmity, decay, rust, thorns, pain, groaning, sweat, sin, illness, injury and unpredictability, but also that believers try to mitigate these sorrows with physical works of mercy and comfort because they properly worship the one true God [1st-4th commands] and moderate their use of this world’s gifts, positions and pleasures [4th-10th commands] so they can bless and help the poor and weak; Gen. 3:15-19; 9:2; Rom. 8:20-23; Eccles. 9:11; Matt. 6:19; Jas. 1:27; Matt. 25:34-40; 1 Tim. 5:1-16)

3.      Diaspora ministries, as defined by Yates (2017, pp. 170-173) develops two categories that represent the Lord blessed and cursed faces among the unbelievers, one of peacemaking the other of enmity. To each of the following mandates Yates proposes, we can add new covenant righteousness themes and Ten-Commandment-clarifying details, showing that the moral law is the foundation for all diaspora ministries. Peacemaking ministries include the Great Ambassador Mandate (evangelism that proclaims the new covenant empowered Ten-Commandment-way to love God and seek peace among men in Christ that that the ones chosen to eternal life will believe; Luke 1:50-54; 2:14; 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20; Acts 13:48), the Great Emigration Mandate (sharing in Christ’s sufferings as pilgrims and strangers in the greater Exodus of those who are hated by the world for Ten-Commandment-honoring lives, being delivered from the temptations of this evil age, to obtain the heavenly kingdom; Luke 9:31; Gal. 1:4; Phil. 3:10-11; Heb 11:13-16) and the Great Reformation Mandate (build and reform earthly shadows to conform to heavenly, eternal realities, such as missionary and tent-making mercy ministries to support human labor and social flourishing or earthly peacemaking between nations and people in the shape of heavenly peace [4th-9th Commandments; Rev. 22:2; Matt. 5:9] or to plant churches and teaching institutions that support the proper worship of the true Lord [1st-4th commandments]). Enmity ministry is related to the Great Warfare Mandate (earthly: reflect some ways that God deals with Ten-Commandment-defined sin in the world, exposing it, condemning it, giving men up to their lusts and separating from it in various ways, and preparing for persecution for resisting evil people; Eph. 5:11; Rom. 8:3; 1:24; 1 Pet. 4:1-5; heavenly: spiritual warfare against principalities in heavenly realms by prayer founded on saving faith; WCF 14:2; Eph. 6:10-18).

 

Specific Uses for Developing Practical Theology

Biblical counseling and counselor training are basically applications of saving faith the RKD meta-narrative and the law of the kingdom to specific types of counseling cases. Marriage and parenting are largely focused on establishing clarity and firm faith on the RKD meta-narrative, united to the Righteous Christ by the Righteous Spirit, to live as instruments of righteousness, no longer offering our members as instruments of unrighteousness. Each of the commandments addressed specific issues relevant to family life.

Preaching and pastoral ministry uses the RKD meta-narrative as an interpretive tool to provide a nuanced perspective on textual and intertextual relationships, while looking for ways to textually connect that with the law of the kingdom for daily living. Preacher training and sermon evaluation needs to refocus on the ethics of preacher and the ethical atmosphere engendered by his preaching. Is the sermon bearing authentic witness about the Lord and his work (3rd) and the proper way to worship through faith in the Gospel of the risen Christ (2nd) and about other groups and spreading positive reports (9th), respecting authorities promoting harmony among superiors, inferiors and equals (5th), and helping believers to control emotions and thoughts (6th)? Is the preacher submitted to the supreme authority of the Lord revealed in his Word to evaluate all other sources of knowledge and speaking with faith, awe and joy in Him (1st), content without the affirmation of the listeners (10th) while remaining humbly open to their truthful witness about the impact of the sermon on their lives (9th)? Does the preacher have any anger, bitterness or resentment to the listeners or any others that comes out in his words and facial expressions (6th)?  Does the preacher love the listeners?

Apologetics, Evangelism and Missions is trusting God as revealed in, submitting to and witnessing to and calling other to submit to the RKD meta-narrative in obedience to the law of the kingdom in front of family, proximate neighbors or professionals. We resist worldviews, knowledge and teachings that cannot integrate with this RKD model. Paul’s evangelistic sermon in Athens (Acts 17:22-32) is a reflection on the 1st and 2nd commandments and a call to repent based on the proof of the righteous king’s dominion, his resurrection to the place of all authority and return to judge everyone by his law. The works of the Lord’s blessings and judgments throughout the Bible are based on either the individual’s relationship to the moral law, or a representative leader’s relationship to the moral law. Egypt’s Pharaoh resisted the 1st Commandment to listen to the voice of the Lord through Moses. Canaan’s judgment by the Israeli post-Exodus conquest was for their wicked worship practices of idol worship and child sacrifice (contra 1st, 2nd and 6th commands). Israel’s Babylonian Captivity was for their disobedience to the moral law. The cross of Christ is the judgment of the moral law declared on a representative substitute. Also, the pronouncements of blessing and cursing throughout the Bible represent the Lord’s perspective, and are linked to the moral law, from the Great Cultural Mandate of God blessing Adam and Eve, to the blessing on (Gen. 12:3) and by patriarchs (Gen 49:1-27), to the Deuteronomic blessing-curse pronouncements (Deut. 28-30), Balaam’s blessings (Num. 22-24), Psalms (ie. Ps. 1 as gateway to the Psalms) and Prophets, the four Gospels and the teaching of Christ, and the rest of the New Testament (Acts 8 Peter to Simon the magician; Paul’s curse on the Judaizers in Galatians 1:8-9 represents God’s assessment of their disobedience to the 2nd commandment, circumcision as an idol of false worship, and the 3rd commandment, circumcision as false witness about the Word, works and way of salvation proclaimed by the true Lord; the decisions of the elders acting in unity binding some to the Lord in membership and loosing some to excommunicative discipline parallel the perspective of the Lord’s blessing or cursing Matt. 18:17-19). The Lord will judge the nations using the moral law (Ps. 119:126). As people all over the earth suffer injustice, including Christians who suffer additional persecutions for their adherence to God’s holy law and their proclamation of the New Covenant accomplished in Christ, we wait for the justice and wrath of God to be poured out on his and our enemies (Ps. 1:5; Rom. 1:18-32; Rev. 18:20; 21:8; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Pet. 2:23; 4:1-4, 19; Matt. 5:10-20; 1 Cor. 15:19, 30, 32; Acts 4:16-22). If they will not be converted, we pray that God would “look upon their threats” and intervene with the extension of his kingdom rule as well as his evil-limiting, proud-humiliating, rich-impoverishing, throne-displacing judgments (Psalm 2 as used in the prayer of Acts 4:24-31; Luke 1:51-53; Acts 12:20-23; Dan. 4-5). “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” (Heb. 10:31). 

Missions usually gathers seeker interest by caring for the needs of the local people in their contexts, often related to work and material-physical stewardship required by the 4th, 6th 8th and 10th commandments. We can accept and integrate psychological research that enables the human body to flourish or helps us resist diseases (6th) as long as other commandments are also obeyed in applying that knowledge.             


[1] For an interesting integration of the 5 solas with a practical Christian life topic see Bloodlines: Race, the Cross and the Christian by John Piper (how our salvation, especially the 5 points of TULIP Calvinism and the 5 solas ought to affect our views of ethnicity)

[2] See Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity by Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Brazos Press 2016)

[3] Phrase proposed by David Powlison as an important task for the biblical counseling movement in The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context (New Growth Press, 2010) , 281-283.

[4] Timothy Paul Yates, Foundations: God’s Glory as an Integrating Perspective on Reformed Theology (Unveiled Faces Reformed Press, 2017), 21-30.

[5] Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 10:7; Luke 8:1; 9:2, 60; Acts 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31; Heb. 12:28; Jas. 2:5; 2 Pet. 1:11; Rev. 1:9; 12:10

[6] Isa. 9:7; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; 13:43; Rom 14:17

[7] The Scriptures and confessions (WCF 8:1; HC 31-32) show the Christ is anointed to three offices of king, priest and prophet, but this outline selects the predominant office that runs throughout Scripture and expounded in the Gospels as the king ruling over his kingdom (Matt 21:5; 27:11, 29, 37, 42; John 1:49; 12:13-15; 18:33-39) and related phrases used by Christ like the “gospel of the kingdom” and kingship parables (Matt. 18:23-35; 22:1-14; 25:31-46).  

[8] Obedience to every law is required as a total system of righteousness. Breaking one law is breaking them all (Jas. 2:10).

[9] The 10th commandment not to covet but to be content, reaches the understanding will and affections related to all the other commandments. Each commandment has a heart as well as behavioral requirement.

[10] WLC proof-texts show that coveting, greed and love of worldly things is the root of all evils and thus contentment and love for and trust in God is part of each commandment.

[11] Some commandments are positive duty, “Do this . . .”; others are negative sins, “Do not do that . . .”. But the pattern of positive or negative in various commandments are combined into a double pattern “positive duty/negative sin” that applies to all the commandments. 

[12] Some commands are more relevant for the immediate circumstances and life situations, so the total package of commands has a weighting priority upon some commands over others at certain times.

[13] Each command has clusters of duties and sins for the heart, behavior, combined with tendencies of the individual, relationships and circumstances.

[14] The rule is related to how the 5th commandment applies to all the others, in that superiors, equals and inferiors each have influence on others to keep all the other commandments. It also relates to the individual’s circumstances in life, in that some may be married, some may be single, and each has different obligations to the 7th commandment.

[15] This rule also is related to how the 5th commandment applies to all the others, in that superiors, equals and inferiors each have influence on others to keep all the other commandments. It also relates to the individual’s circumstances in life, in that some may be own property and have material possessions, some may not, but each has different obligations to the 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th commandments. 

[16] Schreiner’s explanation of the “Mosaic Covenant” (2013, p. 42) notes that the first commandment can interpret all the others.

[17]All the phrases are Latin forms, except six/hexa is a Greek form due to likely misinterpretation of Latin prefix sex- meaning six, with its possible misidentification with English word “sex” as part of 7th commandment. One purpose of using Latin words is to create new reader-learner associations between the commandments and the moral theology that defines human flourishing and diagnoses dissolution. The Latin terms represent the more complex Westminster-catechisms-based understanding of the biblical-systematic theology of the moral law and its applications to modern day life, since using the name “First Commandment” could be misunderstood as simply meaning the words of the Exodus 20:3 command, “You shall have no other gods before me.”

[18] This term adapted from Keller (2009:148-164).

[19] Sillars (2018), writing about Christian journalism, notes that there are good non-Christian journalism publications that “tell great stories, and have the broad credibility to inform, build community, hold the powerful accountable and foster discussion across cultural and political divides.” Using the moral-law to engaging darkened worldviews of journalism, we can integrate non-Christian knowledge that tells the truth by artfully informing or exposing evil (9th), and builds community and civil discussion (5th). 

[20] 4b means the second part of the 4th command “six days you shall labor, and do all your work” (Exod. 20:9). 4a means the first part of the 4th command to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exod. 20:8).

[21] See Richard Bauckham, James: The Wisdom of James, Disciple of Jesus the Sage, (Routlege 1999), 142-147 for explanation of how James uses the term “royal” to mean “the law of the kingdom of God” (142) and “law” to mean “the law interpreted by Jesus in his preaching of the kingdom” (143) and “liberty” means heart deliverance out of sin’s bondage (Jas. 1:14-15) into renewal by the implanted word of truth (Jas.1:18, 21) to love God and neighbor. James 2:1-5:12 offers an extended exegesis of Leviticus 19:12-18 (Lev. 19:12, 13, 15, 16, 17b, 18a cited or alluded to in Jas. 5:12; 5:4; 2:1 & 9; 4:11; 5:20; 5:9 respectively) including citing the command to love neighbor (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:40) (143). But James also shows that the teaching of Jesus is the authoritative interpretation of the law (cf. Jas. 4:11; 5:9; 5:12 with Matt. 7:1; 7:1-2; 5:33-37 respectively) (145).  

[22] In Scripture and in the WCF the Christian faith is integrally linked to the meta-narrative of original righteousness, fall into unrighteousness, redemption by the righteousness of Christ, application of redemption by the Righteous Spirit, and enabling us to know what is necessary for life as defined by the righteousness of the moral law.

[23] In Principles of Conduct by John Murray (Murray, 1957, pp. 14-19, 25-44, 90, 126) he clarifies WCF by showing that the Lord gave Adam (and Eve) creation ordinances, (what I call the law of Christ) in the Garden of Eden. Murray (1957, pp. 189-194, 201) highlights that Paul calls this the law of Christ (Gal 6:2; 1 Cor. 9:21). To highlight its unique meaning in Pauline theology, this dissertation will use a Latin phrase lex Christi to describe this full biblical, theological, new covenant interpretation of the moral law.[23] Sabbath and labor (4th commandment in Gen. 2:3; 1:26, 28 “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.  . . . Let them have dominion over the [creatures] . . . . Subdue [the earth].”); procreation (6th commandment in Gen. 1:28 “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth”); marriage (7th commandment in Gen. 2:24 “a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh”). We could expand on Murray and further clarify WCF 19:2, related to other implied commands and also note that the language describes Adam as representative king and ruler over the kingdom the Lord created: Authority of the Lord-Creator to be loved above all else, to believe and obey his Word regarding all the commands, (1st commandment); worshiped in his defined ways, to be thankful and bless the Lord for all his good gifts of the Garden, a wife (2nd commandment); truthful witness of Adam and Eve to each other about the Lord’s creation commands; feared as just judge for any disobedience (3rd commandment in in Gen. 1:26, 28; 2:17 “Let them have dominion over the [creatures] . . . . Subdue [the earth]. . . . of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”); authority of Adam over Eve (5th commandment in Gen. 2:20 “a helper fit for him”); stewardship of the Garden and the world (8th commandment in Gen. 1:26, 28; 2:15, 19 “Let them have dominion over the [creatures] . . . . Subdue [the earth]. . . . The Lord God . . . put him in the garden to work it and keep it. . . . And he brought [the creatures] to the man to see what he would call them”); truthful witness of Adam and Eve to each other about their identity as creatures made in God’s image, about Adam as head, Eve as helper in labor and obedience to the Lord; giving appropriate names to the creatures that Eve would learn and naming Eve, all signifying their identity, special characteristics and function (9th commandment in Gen. 1:27; 2:19 “ in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. . . . And he brought [the creatures] to the man to see what he would call them . . . This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man”); contentment by not eating from the forbidden tree (10th commandment in Gen. 1:29; 2:9, 16-17; 3:6 “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. . . . Out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. . . . You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. . . . when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”).

[24] Meaning the law given to Adam in Eden with emphasis on duties, “You shall . . .” (Gen. 1:26-2:24).

[25] Now that same law is given through Moses with emphasis on sins or prohibitions “You shall not . . .”.

[26] Here we should note that the Westminster Assembly holds all men accountable to the moral law, thus we can infer that they understand it as the supreme apologetic tool for engaging worldviews. The universal apologetic usefulness of the moral law to engage worldviews is further developed in WCF 19:6.1-2 below, informing all men, “true believers . . . as well as others,” of their duty to obey the will of God, their sins against God, and their need of Christ as Savior. 

[27] Rom. 13:8-10; Eph. 6:2; 1 John 2:3-4, 7-8

[28] Jas. 2:10-11

[29] Matt. 5:17-19; Jas. 2:8; Rom. 3:31

[30] Rom. 6:14; Gal. 2:16; 3:13; 4:4-5; Acts 13:39; Rom. 8:1

[31] Rom. 7:12, 22, 25; Ps. 119:4-6; Gal. 5:14, 16, 18-23

[32] Rom. 7:7; 3:20

[33] Jas. 1:23-25; Rom. 7:9, 14, 24

[34] Gal. 3:24; Rom. 7:24-25; 8:3-4

[35] Jas. 2:11; Ps. 119:101, 104, 128

[36] Ezra 9:13-14; Ps. 89:30-34

[37] Lev. 26; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 6:2-3; Ps. 37:11; Matt. 5:5; Ps. 19:11

[38] Gal. 2:16; Luke 17:10

[39] Rom. 6:12, 14; 1 Pet. 3:8-12; Ps. 34:12-16; Heb. 12:28-29

[40] Gal. 3:21

[41] Ezek. 36:27; Heb. 8:10; Jer. 31:33

[42] A liberty under the law of Christ as the best design for human flourishing 1 Cor. 9:21; Eph. 6:3; 1 Tim. 4:8 (Dixon, 2016, pp. 42-47)

[43] The lawful power of the church is to exercise church discipline on those who disobey the moral law and refuse to repent, including any who resist legitimate powers, which is a sin against the 5th commandment. The separation of church and state in some Western countries and some mental health contexts resist the ordinance of God in forbidding the lawful exercise of Christian counselors, therapists or psychiatrists giving unfettered biblical counsel in military, government-controlled secular institutions, hospitals and mental health clinics. Some places do permit chaplains to serve with a great deal of freedom.

[44] Likely, because of the law written on the human heart, this means socially common laws that affirm the second table of the law Romans 2:14-16 and later references to second table examples of adultery and stealing 2:21-22, with specific reference to 7th commandment such as homosexuality giving up “natural relations” Rom 1:26-27, also 6th commandment malice and murder, 9th commandment such as strife, deceit, gossip, slanderers, since Rom 1:32 is cited in #16 proof text, 8th and 10th commandments such as covetousness, envy, evil, and 5th commandment such as insolent, haughty, boastful, disobedient to parents.

[45] First table of the law 1st-4a commandments

[46] Second table of law 4b-10th commandments

[47] Rom. 1:32; 1 Cor. 5:1, 5, 11, 13; 2 John 1:10-11; 2 Thess. 3:14; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 6:3-5; Tit. 1:10-11, 13; Matt 18:15-17; Rev. 2:2, 14-15; 3:9

[48] This phrase deleted from the American revision, but it might still be maintained if understood that, while not involving itself in internal church discipline, a righteous civil government and police force does protect the church from disruptive protesters, frivolous lawsuits, destruction of property and violence from her enemies. This meaning is part of the American revision of WCF 23: “Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.” Deut. 13:6-11; Rom. 13:3-4; 2 John 1:10-11; Ezra 7:23, 25-28; Rev. 17:12, 16-17; Neh. 13:15, 17, 21-22, 25, 30; 2 Kings 23:5-6, 9, 20-21; 2 Chron. 34:33; 15:12-13, 16; Dan. 3:29; 1 Tim. 2:2; Isa. 49:23; Zech. 13:2-3.

[49] WCF 16:1; Ps. 119:160

[50] 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 5:13

[51] WCF 2:1-2; 15:2; 1 Chron. 29:11; Ps. 72:1-20; 145:11-13; Isa. 9:7; 32:1; Dan. 2:44; 4:1-3; 7:27; Matt. 4:23; 6:33; 9:35; 22:1-14; 24:14; Mark 16:15; Acts 20:25; Rom. 1:1, 9, 15-16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 14:17; 15:16, 19-20; 16:25; 1 Cor. 15:1-8; Gal. 3:8; Rev. 14:6. In The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, Schreiner (2013) develops similar OT-NT biblical theology themes of the king uniting all kingdom citizens into his eternal kingdom. Job 36:3; 37:23; Ps. 7:17; 22:31; 31:1; 33:5; 35:24, 28; 37:6; 45:4, 7; 50:6; 65:5; 89:14; 98:2; 99:4; 103:6; 111:3; 112:9; 119:142; Isa. 5:16; Isa. 9:7; 11:5; 45:23-24; Jer. 9:24; 23:6; John 17:25; Rom. 1:17-18; 3:5, 21-22, 25-26; Lev. 19:2; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 2 Pet. 1:1; Rev. 15:4. Righteousness is not a single attribute, but a meta-attribute describing all the Lord’s perfections, shared by each person of the Trinity, with synonyms of holiness, godliness and spiritual Foundations: God’s Glory as an Integrating Perspective on Reformed Theology (Yates, 2017, pp. 96-97), shown in justification as imputation of Christ’s righteousness—all that God requires of believers—because of all that Christ accomplished (Rom. 5:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18). The terms are interchangeable in describing the saints (Rev. 22:11b). Heavenly glory is described as the hope of righteousness, a summary of the beauty and perfections of the new heavens and new earth, where righteousness dwells (Gal. 5:5; 2 Pet. 3:13). To the praise of his glory: Eph. 1:6, 12, 14.

[52] WCF 5:4, 6; Eph. 1:4; Rom. 9:11-23; Jas. 1:25; 2:8-12. “Royal law” in James 2:8 could be translated “kingdom law” again showing that the law is part the rule of Christ the king over his kingdom.

[53] Gen. 1:26; Acts 17:25-26; Eph. 4:24; WCF 4:2; 6:2

[54] WCF 4:2; 19:1-2; see Principles of Conduct (Murray, 1957, pp. 25-44) for clarifications on creation ordinances of procreation (6th) and marriage (7th), the Sabbath and labor (4th), and expanding on Murray and clarifying WCF 19:2, other implied commands, such as the authority of Adam over Eve (5th), stewardship of the Garden and the world (8th), truthful witness that reinforced the creation commands of God (9th) contentment by not eating from the forbidden tree (10th), and the authority of the Lord-Creator to be loved above all else (1st), worshiped in his defined ways (2nd) and feared as just judge for any disobedience (3rd). In the NT this is called the law of Christ (lex Christi) and the entire outline includes this idea when speaking of righteousness.  

[55] WCF 5:4, 6; 6:1, 6; Isa. 46:12; 48:18; 58:2; 59:14; Rom. 3:5, 10; 9:31; 10:3, 5; Gal. 3:21; Jas. 1:20; 2:8; see online article “Adam Broke Ten Commandments in the Garden” (Jones, 2015) for a perceptive expansion of how Adam broke all Ten Commandments in eating the forbidden fruit.

[56] WCF 7:5-6; 8:6; Gen. 3:15; 12:3; 15:6; Rom. 4:3, 5-6, 9, 11, 13, 22; Gal. 3:6, 8, 21; Heb. 11:1-12:4; Jas. 2:23; Rev. 13:8

[57] WCF 6:6; 15:2; 19:2; Exod. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:1-21; Rom. 7:12

[58] Rom. 9:31; 10:3; 2 Cor. 3:9; Gal. 2:21; Phil 3:9; Tit. 3:5

[59] WCF 8:5, 8; 25:2; Exod. 19:6; 2 Sam. 7:12-13, 16; Ps. 45:6; Isa. 9:7; Jer. 33:15; Dan. 2:44; Luke 1:33; Rom. 1:17; 10:4; 14:17; 2 Cor. 3:9; 5:20; 9:9; Phil. 1:11; 3:20-21; Col. 1:13; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:4-8

[60] WCF 8:2; John 1:1; 4:10; 8:24, 58; 14:1; 20:28

[61] WCF 8:2-3; 11:1-2; Ps. 99:4; Isa. 11:1-5; 16:5; 32:1; 42:1-9; 53:11; 59:16-17; 63:1; Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Zech. 9:9; Matt. 3:15; 5:17-18; 27:19; John 12:13-15; Acts 3:14; Rom. 5:17-18; Heb. 1:9; 7:2; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 2:1, 29. He also fulfilled the civil and ceremonial law to point us to the new covenant realities they foreshadowed, WCF 19:3-4.

[62] WCF 8:4-5; Matt. 27: 11, 37; Rom. 3:25-26; Col. 1:20-23; Pet. 3:18

[63] WCF 11:1-2; 14:2; Ps. 106:31; Isa. 53:11; Rom. 3:31-22; 4:3, 5-6, 9, 11, 13, 22; 5:17-21; 8:4; 9:30; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9; 2 Tim. 2:8

[64] WCF 15:1-6; Luke 24:47; John 16:8-10; Acts 2:37-41; 13:10; 17:31; Rom. 8:4, 10; 14:17; 1 Tim. 3:16. Based on connections in the verses in this footnote and the following explanation, though not explicitly used in Scripture, Righteous Spirit, Godly Spirit and Holy Spirit could all be used to describe the third person of the Trinity. “Holy” is not the only biblical adjective used to describe the Spirit. He is also called the “Spirit of the Lord” (Judg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam. 10:6; 16:13), “Spirit of God” (Matt. 12:28), “Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), “Spirit of truth” (John 16:13), “Spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4), “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2), “Spirit of adoption” (Rom 8:15), “Spirit of his Son” (Gal. 4:6), “Spirit of wisdom” (Eph. 1:17), “Spirit of grace” (Heb 12:29), “Spirit of glory” (1 Pet. 4:14), and especially note Isaiah 11:2, “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” We conclude that the Spirit can be described by his ambassadorial sending to represent the other persons of the Trinity, and by the various derivative attributes he imparts to men, including the Spirit’s fruits (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:9 where some textual variants and the KJV translates as “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth). Thus, we can infer the term “Righteous Spirit” is a biblically derived phrase, synonymous with “Holy Spirit” and use it in this outline to show coherence with the righteous/righteousness theme it expounds.

[65] WCF 11:5; 13:1, 3; 16:2; Rom. 8:4, 10; Heb. 8:10; 10:16

[66] WCF 20:3; Exod. 19:4-6; Ps. 23:3; Jer. 22:3; Hos. 10:12; Zeph. 2:3; Matt. 5:6, 19-20; 6:33; Rom. 6:13, 16, 18-20; 8:10; 14:17; Eph. 4:24; 1 Thess. 2:10; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; Jas. 3:18; 1 Pet. 2:9, 24; 1 John 2:29; 3:7; Rev. 19:8

[67] 1 Sam. 26:23; 1 Kings 8:32; Ps. 85:10-13; 89:16; 106:3; Prov. 8:18-20; 11:4-6, 18-19; 12:28; 14:34; 16:12; 21:21Isa. 32:17; 54:14; 58:8; 60:17; 1 Pet. 3:12

[68] WCF 5:1, 4, 5; 33:3; Isa. 51:5-8; Jer. 18:7-9; Matt. 5:10; Rom. 8:28-30; Heb. 12:5-14; 1 Pet. 3:14; 5:6-10

[69] Heb. 1:13-14; Ps. 37:7; Ps. 91:11-12; Dan. 6:22; Acts 12:7; Matt. 1:20; 2:13; 24:31; Rev. 22:16

[70] Heb 12:1-4; 13:7; Dan. 2:44; Matt 16:18

[71] Here the categories of practical theology can be integrated with the moral law. WCF 14:1-2; 25:2; 26:2; Matt. 21:32; 24:14; Luke 24:48-49; Acts 1:8; 20:25; 24:25; Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Pet. 2:5

[72] WCF 21:7-8; Exod. 20:8

[73] WCF 14:1; 21:3-4; Matt. 6:9-13

[74] WCF 14:1; 27:1

[75] WCF 20:4; 30:2-3; Acts 20:28-31; 2 Cor. 6:7

[76] WCF 24:2-3; Mal. 2:15; 1 Cor. 7:14; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 6:4

[77] WCF 32:1; Heb. 12:23

[78] 1 Cor. 15:24-26; Gal. 5:5; 2 Tim. 4:8

[79] WCF 33:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 27; Matt. 13:43; 25:46; 2 Pet. 3:13

[80] WCF 33:1; Ps. 9:8; 96:13; 98:9; Isa. 10:22; 11:4; 26:9-10; 28:17; 60:12; Acts 17:31; Rom. 1:32; 2:5; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 19:11

[81] Deut. 28-30

[82] Heb. 10:16

[83] Ps. 1:1-3

[84] Based on my observations as a seminary faculty member for twenty years, teaching and studying books in Old and New Testament, preaching, biblical counseling, apologetics, evangelism, missions, my own Westminster Theological Seminary student experience as well as studying other seminary curriculum models to refine our own model in East Asia.

[85] For example, I developed biblical counseling courses called “Counseling Theology” and “Biblical Theology and Counseling.” Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS), in cooperation with Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) developed integrative courses called “Human Personality,” “Dynamics of Biblical Change” “Counseling in the Local Church” and “Counseling and Physiology” that combine various elements of systematic theology with counseling themes. Most practical theology courses will develop some analogical patterns in Christ as our pattern for Christian living.

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