In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. Last time we started looking at God’s requirement that humans obey his revealed law. But to what extent does the law of God apply to humanity.
Firstly, we must understand that the law of God applies to all humans. It is not as though obedience to God is only required of certain nations. Paul said that all nations need to obey God: ‘Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him’ (Romans 16:25-26).
Secondly, God’s law applies to everyone personally. If your parents are Christians that isn’t sufficient. God requires personal obedience to his law. Jesus dealt with this in his answer to the Jews who claimed that they were right with God because they were descendants of Abraham. Jesus said: ‘If you were Abraham’s children…then you would do the things Abraham did’ (John 8:39).
Thirdly, the whole of God’s law applies to humans. It is not as though you get to pick and choose which laws you will obey. You must keep God’s law perfectly. James says: ‘For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it’ (James 2:10).
Fourthly, God’s law applies all the time. It is not as though certain days of the week you get a free pass. Or in old age you don’t have to worry about being obedient to God. Moses said: ‘Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always’ (Deuteronomy 11:1). A literal translation of the Hebrew word at the end of that verse is ‘all the days’. In other words, every day of your life you are to keep God’s law.
Fifthly, God’s law applies to your whole self. It is not as though you can just obey God with your body, but in your heart break his laws. Jesus makes this clear when he speaks to a Jewish leader: ‘On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28).
So the Bible teaches that God’s law applies to all humans, it applies personally/individually, it applies wholly (all of it is to be obeyed), it applies all the time, and it applies to the whole of the person.
Now, you should be feeling pretty guilty right now. Due to the wide extent of God’s law, none of us can claim to have been obedient to God’s law. Therefore, none of us deserve to live. All of us deserve to be punished.
But thankfully Christ came and lived obediently under God’s law to its full extent. And by his grace, he allows us to be counted as law keepers if we trust in him.
So have you kept God’s law completely through faith in Christ?