Shortly after leaving the Catholic belief, a friend introduced me to Dr. R.C. Sproul’s teachings. My foundations of belief were rocked. Our women’s group did a study from his book, Pleasing God and my ministry director did a study from The Holiness of God. “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” (Titus 2:2)
Dr. Sproul was like a spiritual father to me, directing me to God’s heart, “but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”(Jeremiah 9:24)
Last year, his ministry had a conference where an important question was asked.
The question from the audience was, “What parts of the law are still relevant to us today?”
Dr. Sproul’s answer was, “In one sense all of it. We make distinctions among the ceremonial law, the dietary law, the moral law, and the civil law. To the Jew, every law in the Old Testament commanded by God was moral. In the sense that it had moral significance to it. But it is a useful distinction to distinguish the moral law from the ceremonial law. Because we know that the ceremonial law has been fulfilled in the perfect work of Christ. We know that the dietary laws have been set apart. They had a historical significance that differs from the moral law of the Old Testament. We make a distinction in the Old Testament between the natural law of the Old Testament and the proposive law of the Old Testament. Now, that is easy to get confused because we make a distinction also between the natural law and the revealed law. But that is not the distinction in view here. The distinction in view here is that there are laws that God gives in the Old Testament, and in the new, that are an expression of his own character. That is immutable, so that if we set them aside or if he set them aside he would be doing violence to his own character. For example, if God would say now in the New Covenant that it is okay to worship idols. God would be denying his own deity and supremacy at that point. But when we talk abut proposive laws we are talking about laws that God gave for a specific historical purpose preparing the world for the fulfillment of those proposive laws in the person and work of Christ. Now this is a question that I don’t think would be a mistake for us to talk about for the rest of our time here because we are living in a time since the reformation of unprecedented antinomianism. The idea that the law of God, particularly the moral law of God in the Old Testament has no relevance once so ever for the New Testament Christian. And I remember making a statement years ago of those who say the moral law of the Old Testament has no relevance to the New Testament Christian is antinomianism. I received a letter from a professor at a seminary, he had his PhD in Biblical Studies, and he said to me, “Why are you calling us antinomians?” “We are not antinomians because we believe in the commandments of Christ. We don’t believe that the Old Testament law is relevant to us, but the New Testament law is.” I said, “What you are now articulating to me is the classic example and definition of antinomianism because what antinomianism refers to is the Old Testament law and its relevance to us today.” (“Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”) (Matthew 5:19)
The Christian ought to be able to say with the Psalmist, “Oh, How I love your law!”, because we make a distinction between the word of God and the law of God. But God’s word is His law and His law is His word. (John 1:14-17, Romans 13:8-10) And that moral law is something that the church needs to hold with great precision and care. It is what Calvin called the third use of the law. God’s revelation of what is pleasing to Him from His people. I said at the beginning that I would say yes to all of it because all of the law has its other purposes. It is a mirror that reflects our sinfulness, it reveals to us the holiness of God. It is the school master that drives us to Christ. We preach the law so that people can be pushed to the gospel. It is also a restraint to evil doers…”After Darkness, Light National Ligonier Conference February 2015
I am eternally grateful for Dr. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries, his monthly magazine, Tabletalk, and his radio program, Renewing Your Mind.
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,” Titus 2:7