Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 72) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 11)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

For the past several posts, our attention has been focused on various aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith. We noted previously that the Confession spoke of the abiding “general equity” of God’s Law; but how much did God’s Law really come to bear on the Westminster Confession of Faith and specifically, the Westminster Larger Catechism? In this series of posts, we want to look at questions 104-148, that revolve around the Decalogue, and note the multitude of references to Old Testament texts to support the doctrine. I am not going to intermix my own comments in what follows but just let the Westminster Larger Catechism speak for itself (with bolding of Old Testament texts for emphasis).

Question 115


Which is the fourth commandment?


The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested in the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath-day and hallowed it. (Exod. 20:8–11)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:8–11 – 8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates. 11 For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 116


What is required in the fourth commandment?


The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, (Deut. 5:12–14, Gen. 2:2–3, 1 Cor. 16:1–2, Matt. 5:17–18, Isa. 56:2,4,6–7) and in the New Testament called The Lord’ s day. (Rev. 1:10)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Deuteronomy 5:12–14 – 12 Be careful to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. Do not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or donkey, any of your livestock, or the resident alien who lives within your city gates, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do.
Genesis 2:2–3 – 2 On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation.

1 Corinthians 16:1–2 – 1 Now about the collection for the saints: Do the same as I instructed the Galatian churches. 2 On the first day of the week, each of you is to set something aside and save in keeping with how he is prospering, so that no collections will need to be made when I come.
Matthew 5:17–18 – 17 “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished.
Isaiah 56:2 – Happy is the person who does this, the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
Isaiah 56:4 – For the LORD says this: “For the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose what pleases me, and hold firmly to my covenant,
Isaiah 56:6–7 – 6 As for the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to become his servants— all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold firmly to my covenant— 7 I will bring them to my holy mountain and let them rejoice in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Revelation 1:10 – I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a trumpet

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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Question 117


How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?


The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, (Exod. 20:8,10) not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; (Exod. 16:25–28, Neh. 13:15–22, Jer. 17:21–22) and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy (Matt. 12:1–13) ) in the public and private exercises of God’ s worship: (Isa. 58:13, Luke 4:16, Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:1–2, Ps. 92, Isa. 66:23, Lev. 23:3) and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day. (Exod. 20:8,56, Luke 23:54, Exod. 16:22,25-26,29)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:8 – Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy:
Exodus 20:10 – but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates.
Exodus 16:25–28 – 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. Today you won’t find any in the field. 26 For six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” 27 Yet on the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they did not find any. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and instructions?
Nehemiah 13:15–22 – 15 At that time I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in stores of grain and loading them on donkeys, along with wine, grapes, and figs. All kinds of goods were being brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned them against selling food on that day. 16 The Tyrians living there were importing fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah in Jerusalem. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them: “What is this evil you are doing—profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do the same, so that our God brought all this disaster on us and on this city? And now you are rekindling his anger against Israel by profaning the Sabbath!” 19 When shadows began to fall on the city gates of Jerusalem just before the Sabbath, I gave orders that the city gates be closed and not opened until after the Sabbath. I posted some of my men at the gates, so that no goods could enter during the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and those who sell all kinds of goods camped outside Jerusalem, 21 but I warned them, “Why are you camping in front of the wall? If you do it again, I’ll use force against you.” After that they did not come again on the Sabbath. 22 Then I instructed the Levites to purify themselves and guard the city gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, my God, and look on me with compassion according to the abundance of your faithful love.
Jeremiah 17:21–22 – 21 This is what the LORD says: Watch yourselves; do not pick up a load and bring it in through Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, just as I commanded your ancestors.

Matthew 12:1–13 – 1 At that time Jesus passed through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick and eat some heads of grain. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry: 4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the bread of the Presence—which is not lawful for him or for those with him to eat, but only for the priests? 5 Or haven’t you read in the law that on Sabbath days the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” 9 Moving on from there, he entered their synagogue. 10 There he saw a man who had a shriveled hand, and in order to accuse him they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 11 He replied to them, “Who among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out? 12 A person is worth far more than a sheep; so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other.
Isaiah 58:13 – “If you keep from desecrating the Sabbath, from doing whatever you want on my holy day; if you call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, seeking your own pleasure, or talking business;
Luke 4:16 – He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.
Acts 20:7 – On the first day of the week, we assembled to break bread. Paul spoke to them, and since he was about to depart the next day, he kept on talking until midnight.
1 Corinthians 16:1–2 – 1 Now about the collection for the saints: Do the same as I instructed the Galatian churches. 2 On the first day of the week, each of you is to set something aside and save in keeping with how he is prospering, so that no collections will need to be made when I come.
Psalm 92:1–15 – 1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praise to your name, Most High, 2 to declare your faithful love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, 3 with a ten-stringed harp and the music of a lyre. 4 For you have made me rejoice, LORD, by what you have done; I will shout for joy because of the works of your hands. 5 How magnificent are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts! 6 A stupid person does not know, a fool does not understand this: 7 though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be eternally destroyed. 8 But you, LORD, are exalted forever. 9 For indeed, LORD, your enemies— indeed, your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. 10 You have lifted up my horn like that of a wild ox; I have been anointed with the finest oil. 11 My eyes look at my enemies; when evildoers rise against me, my ears hear them. 12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of the LORD, they thrive in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, 15 to declare: “The LORD is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
Isaiah 66:23 – All mankind will come to worship me from one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another,” says the LORD.
Leviticus 23:3 – “Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there is to be a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; it is a Sabbath to the LORD wherever you live.
Exodus 20:26 – Do not go up to my altar on steps, so that your nakedness is not exposed on it.

Luke 23:54 – It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
Exodus 16:22 – On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, four quarts apiece, and all the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses.
Exodus 16:25–26 – 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. Today you won’t find any in the field. 26 For six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.”
Exodus 16:29 – Understand that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he will give you two days’ worth of bread. Each of you stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 118


Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?


The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own. (Exod. 20:10, Josh. 24:15, Neh. 13:15,17, Jer. 17:20–22, Exod. 23:12)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:10 – but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates.
Joshua 24:15 – But if it doesn’t please you to worship the LORD, choose for yourselves today: Which will you worship—the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living? As for me and my family, we will worship the LORD.”
Nehemiah 13:15 – At that time I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in stores of grain and loading them on donkeys, along with wine, grapes, and figs. All kinds of goods were being brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned them against selling food on that day.
Nehemiah 13:17 – I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them: “What is this evil you are doing—profaning the Sabbath day?
Jeremiah 17:20–22 – 20 Announce to them, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, kings of Judah, all Judah, and all the residents of Jerusalem who enter through these gates. 21 This is what the LORD says: Watch yourselves; do not pick up a load and bring it in through Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, just as I commanded your ancestors.
Exodus 23:12 – “Do your work for six days but rest on the seventh day so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave as well as the resident alien may be refreshed.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 119


What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?


The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, (Ezek. 22:26) all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; (Acts 20:7,9, Ezek. 33:30–32, Amos 8:5, Mal. 1:13) all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; (Ezek. 23:38) and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations. (Jer. 17:24,27, Isa. 58:13)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Ezekiel 22:26 – Her priests do violence to my instruction and profane my holy things. They make no distinction between the holy and the common, and they do not explain the difference between the clean and the unclean. They close their eyes to my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Acts 20:7 – On the first day of the week, we assembled to break bread. Paul spoke to them, and since he was about to depart the next day, he kept on talking until midnight.
Acts 20:9 – and a young man named Eutychus was sitting on a window sill and sank into a deep sleep as Paul kept on talking. When he was overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was picked up dead.
Ezekiel 33:30–32 – 30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking about you near the city walls and in the doorways of their houses. One person speaks to another, each saying to his brother, ‘Come and hear what the message is that comes from the LORD!’ 31 So my people come to you in crowds, sit in front of you, and hear your words, but they don’t obey them. Their mouths go on passionately, but their hearts pursue dishonest profit. 32 Yes, to them you are like a singer of passionate songs who has a beautiful voice and plays skillfully on an instrument. They hear your words, but they don’t obey them.
Amos 8:5 – asking, “When will the New Moon be over so we may sell grain, and the Sabbath, so we may market wheat? We can reduce the measure while increasing the price and cheat with dishonest scales.
Malachi 1:13 – You also say: ‘Look, what a nuisance!’ And you scorn it,” says the LORD of Armies. “You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?” asks the LORD.
Ezekiel 23:38 – They also did this to me: they defiled my sanctuary on that same day and profaned my Sabbaths.
Jeremiah 17:24 – “ ‘However, if you listen to me—this is the LORD’s declaration—and do not bring loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it,
Jeremiah 17:27 – But if you do not listen to me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying a load while entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, I will set fire to its gates, and it will consume the citadels of Jerusalem and not be extinguished.’ ”
Isaiah 58:13 – “If you keep from desecrating the Sabbath, from doing whatever you want on my holy day; if you call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, seeking your own pleasure, or talking business;

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 120


What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?


The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself in these words, Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: (Exod. 20:9) from God’ s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: (Exod. 20:10) from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath-day, and hallowed it. (Exod. 20:11)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:9 – You are to labor six days and do all your work,
Exodus 20:10 – but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates.
Exodus 20:11 – For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 121


Why is the Word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?


The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment, (Exod. 20:8) partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, (Exod. 16:23, Luke 23:54,56, Mark 15:42, Neh. 13:19) and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, (Ps. 92:13–14, Ezek. 20:12,19–20) and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; (Gen. 2:2–3, Ps. 118:22,24, Acts 4:10–11, Rev. 1:10) and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, (Ezek. 22:26) for that there is less light of nature for it, (Neh. 9:14) and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; (Exod. 34:21) that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it; (Deut. 5:14–15, Amos 8:5) and that Satan with his instruments labours much to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety. (Lam. 1:7, Jer. 17:21–23, Neh. 13:15–23)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:8 – Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy:
Exodus 16:23 – He told them, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Tomorrow is a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you want to bake, and boil what you want to boil, and set aside everything left over to be kept until morning.’ ”

Luke 23:54 – It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
Luke 23:56 – Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
Mark 15:42 – When it was already evening, because it was the day of preparation (that is, the day before the Sabbath),
Nehemiah 13:19 – When shadows began to fall on the city gates of Jerusalem just before the Sabbath, I gave orders that the city gates be closed and not opened until after the Sabbath. I posted some of my men at the gates, so that no goods could enter during the Sabbath day.
Psalm 92:13–14 – 13 Planted in the house of the LORD, they thrive in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,
Ezekiel 20:12 – I also gave them my Sabbaths to serve as a sign between me and them, so that they would know that I am the LORD who consecrates them.
Ezekiel 20:19–20 – 19 I am the LORD your God. Follow my statutes, keep my ordinances, and practice them. 20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, and they will be a sign between me and you, so you may know that I am the LORD your God.”
Genesis 2:2–3 – 2 On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation.
Psalm 118:22 – The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Psalm 118:24 – This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Acts 4:10–11 – 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone.
Revelation 1:10 – I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a trumpet
Ezekiel 22:26 – Her priests do violence to my instruction and profane my holy things. They make no distinction between the holy and the common, and they do not explain the difference between the clean and the unclean. They close their eyes to my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Nehemiah 9:14 – You revealed your holy Sabbath to them, and gave them commands, statutes, and instruction through your servant Moses.
Exodus 34:21 – “You are to labor six days but you must rest on the seventh day; you must even rest during plowing and harvesting times.
Deuteronomy 5:14–15 – 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. Do not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or donkey, any of your livestock, or the resident alien who lives within your city gates, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Amos 8:5 – asking, “When will the New Moon be over so we may sell grain, and the Sabbath, so we may market wheat? We can reduce the measure while increasing the price and cheat with dishonest scales.
Lamentations 1:7 – During the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious belongings that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into the adversary’s hand, she had no one to help. The adversaries looked at her, laughing over her downfall.

Jeremiah 17:21–23 – 21 This is what the LORD says: Watch yourselves; do not pick up a load and bring it in through Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, just as I commanded your ancestors. 23 They wouldn’t listen or pay attention but became obstinate, not listening or accepting discipline.
Nehemiah 13:15–23 – 15 At that time I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in stores of grain and loading them on donkeys, along with wine, grapes, and figs. All kinds of goods were being brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned them against selling food on that day. 16 The Tyrians living there were importing fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah in Jerusalem. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them: “What is this evil you are doing—profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do the same, so that our God brought all this disaster on us and on this city? And now you are rekindling his anger against Israel by profaning the Sabbath!” 19 When shadows began to fall on the city gates of Jerusalem just before the Sabbath, I gave orders that the city gates be closed and not opened until after the Sabbath. I posted some of my men at the gates, so that no goods could enter during the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and those who sell all kinds of goods camped outside Jerusalem, 21 but I warned them, “Why are you camping in front of the wall? If you do it again, I’ll use force against you.” After that they did not come again on the Sabbath. 22 Then I instructed the Levites to purify themselves and guard the city gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, my God, and look on me with compassion according to the abundance of your faithful love. 23 In those days I also saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Previous Post in this Series

The previous post in this series can be found here.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 71) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 10)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

For the past several posts, our attention has been focused on various aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith. We noted previously that the Confession spoke of the abiding “general equity” of God’s Law; but how much did God’s Law really come to bear on the Westminster Confession of Faith and specifically, the Westminster Larger Catechism? In this series of posts, we want to look at questions 104-148, that revolve around the Decalogue, and note the multitude of references to Old Testament texts to support the doctrine. I am not going to intermix my own comments in what follows but just let the Westminster Larger Catechism speak for itself (with bolding of Old Testament texts for emphasis).

Question 111


Which is the third commandment?


The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exod. 20:7)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:7 – Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 112


What is required in the third commandment?


The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes, (Matt. 6:9, Deut. 28:58, Ps. 29:2, Ps. 68:4, Rev. 15:3–4) ordinances, (Mal. 1:14, Eccl. 5:1) the word, (Ps. 138:2) sacraments, (1 Cor. 11:24–25,28–29) prayer, (1 Tim. 2:8) oaths, (Jer. 4:2) vows, (Eccl. 5:2) lots, (Acts 1:24,26) his works, (Job 36:24) and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holy and reverently used in thought, (Mal. 3:16) meditation, (Ps. 8:1,3–4,9) word, (Col. 3:17, Ps. 105:2,5) and writing; (Ps. 102:18) by an holy profession, (1 Pet. 3:15, Micah 4:5) and answerable conversation, (Phil. 1:27) to the glory of God, (1 Cor. 10:31) and the good of ourselves, (Jer. 32:39) and others. (1 Pet. 2:12)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Matthew 6:9 – “Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy.
Deuteronomy 28:58 – “If you are not careful to obey all the words of this law, which are written in this scroll, by fearing this glorious and awe-inspiring name—the LORD, your God—
Psalm 29:2 – Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 68:4 – Sing to God! Sing praises to his name. Exalt him who rides on the clouds— his name is the LORD—and celebrate before him.

Revelation 15:3–4 – 3 They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; just and true are your ways, King of the nations. 4 Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you because your righteous acts have been revealed.
Malachi 1:14 – “The deceiver is cursed who has an acceptable male in his flock and makes a vow but sacrifices a defective animal to the Lord. For I am a great King,” says the LORD of Armies, “and my name will be feared among the nations.
Ecclesiastes 5:1 – Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Better to approach in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they ignorantly do wrong.
Psalm 138:2 – I will bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your constant love and truth. You have exalted your name and your promise above everything else.

1 Corinthians 11:24–25 – 24 and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:28–29 – 28 Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
1 Timothy 2:8 – Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.
Jeremiah 4:2 – then you can swear, “As the LORD lives,” in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then the nations will be blessed by him and will pride themselves in him.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 – Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

Acts 1:24 – Then they prayed, “You, Lord, know everyone’s hearts; show which of these two you have chosen
Acts 1:26 – Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Job 36:24 – Remember that you should praise his work, which people have sung about.
Malachi 3:16 – At that time those who feared the LORD spoke to one another. The LORD took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the LORD and had high regard for his name.
Psalm 8:1 – LORD, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth! You have covered the heavens with your majesty.
Psalm 8:3–4 – 3 When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, 4 what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?
Psalm 8:9 – LORD, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth!

Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Psalm 105:2 – Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell about all his wondrous works!
Psalm 105:5 – Remember the wondrous works he has done, his wonders, and the judgments he has pronounced,
Psalm 102:18 – This will be written for a later generation, and a people who have not yet been created will praise the LORD:
1 Peter 3:15 – but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
Micah 4:5 – Though all the peoples each walk in the name of their gods, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.

Philippians 1:27 – Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel,
1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
Jeremiah 32:39 – I will give them integrity of heart and action so that they will fear me always, for their good and for the good of their descendants after them.
1 Peter 2:12 – Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 113


What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?


The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’ s name as is required; (Mal. 2:2) and the abuse of it in an ignorant, (Acts 17:23) vain, (Prov. 30:9) irreverent, profane, (Mal. 1:6–7,12, Mal. 3:14) superstitious (1 Sam. 4:3–5, Jer. 7:4,9–10,14,31, Col. 2:20–22) or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, (2 Kings 18:30,35, Exod. 5:2, Ps. 139:20) ordinances, (Ps. 50:16–17) or works, (Isa. 5:12) by blasphemy, (2 Kings 19:22, Lev. 24:11) perjury; (Zech. 5:4, Zech. 8:17) all sinful cursings, (1 Sam. 17:43, 2 Sam. 16:5) oaths, (Jer. 5:7, Jer. 23:10) vows, (Deut. 23:18, Acts 23:12,14) and lots; (Esth. 3:7, Esth. 9:24, Ps. 22:18) violation of our oaths and vows, if lawful (Ps. 24:4, Ezek. 17:16,18–19) and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; (Mark 6:26, 1 Sam. 25:22,32–34) murmuring and quarrelling at, (Rom. 9:14,19–20) curious prying into, (Deut. 29:29) and misapplying of God’ s decrees (Rom. 3:5,7, Rom. 6:1) and providences; (Eccl. 8:11, Eccl. 9:3, Ps. 39) misinterpreting, (Matt. 5:21–48) misapplying, (Ezek. 13:22) or any way perverting the word, or any part of it; (2 Pet. 3:16, Matt. 22:24–31,25,28–30) to profane jests, (Isa. 22:13, Jer. 23:34,36,38) curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; (1 Tim. 1:4,6–7, 1 Tim. 6:4–5,20, 2 Tim. 2:14, Tit. 3:9) abusing it, the creatures, or any thing contained under the name of God, to charms, (Deut. 18:10–14,11–12, Acts 19:13) or sinful lusts and practices; (2 Tim. 4:3–4, Rom. 13:13–14, 1 Kings 21:9–10, Jude 4) the maligning, (Acts 13:45, 1 John 3:12) scorning, (Ps. 1:1, 2 Pet. 3:3) reviling, (1 Pet. 4:4) or any wise opposing of God’ s truth, grace, and ways; (Acts 13:45–46,50, Acts 4:18, Acts 19:9, 1 Thess. 2:16, Heb. 10:29) making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; (2 Tim. 3:5, Matt. 23:14, Matt. 6:1–2,5,16) being ashamed of it, (Mark 8:38) or a shame to it, by unconformable, (Ps. 73:14–15) unwise, (1 Cor. 6:5–6, Eph. 5:15–17) unfruitful, (Isa. 5:4, 2 Pet. 1:8–9) and offensive walking, (Rom. 2:23–24) or backsliding from it. (Gal. 3:1,3, Heb. 6:6)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Malachi 2:2 – If you don’t listen, and if you don’t take it to heart to honor my name,” says the LORD of Armies, “I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. In fact, I have already begun to curse them because you are not taking it to heart.
Acts 17:23 – For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: ‘To an Unknown God.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
Proverbs 30:9 – Otherwise, I might have too much and deny you, saying, “Who is the LORD?” or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.
Malachi 1:6–7 – 6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is your fear of me? says the LORD of Armies to you priests, who despise my name.” Yet you ask: “How have we despised your name?” 7 “By presenting defiled food on my altar.” “How have we defiled you?” you ask. When you say: “The LORD’s table is contemptible.”
Malachi 1:12 – “But you are profaning it when you say: ‘The Lord’s table is defiled, and its product, its food, is contemptible.’
Malachi 3:14 – You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the LORD of Armies?
1 Samuel 4:3–5 – 3 When the troops returned to the camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the LORD defeat us today before the Philistines? Let’s bring the ark of the LORD’s covenant from Shiloh. Then it will go with us and save us from our enemies.” 4 So the people sent men to Shiloh to bring back the ark of the covenant of the LORD of Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 5 When the ark of the covenant of the LORD entered the camp, all the Israelites raised such a loud shout that the ground shook.
Jeremiah 7:4 – Do not trust deceitful words, chanting, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.”
Jeremiah 7:9–10 – 9 “ ‘Do you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known? 10 Then do you come and stand before me in this house that bears my name and say, “We are rescued, so we can continue doing all these detestable acts”?
Jeremiah 7:14 – what I did to Shiloh I will do to the house that bears my name—the house in which you trust—the place that I gave you and your ancestors.
Jeremiah 7:31 – They have built the high places of Topheth in Ben Hinnom Valley in order to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, a thing I did not command; I never entertained the thought.

Colossians 2:20–22 – 20 If you died with Christ to the elements of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: 21 “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? 22 All these regulations refer to what is destined to perish by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines.
2 Kings 18:30 – Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on the LORD by saying, “Certainly the LORD will rescue us! This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” ’
2 Kings 18:35 – Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued his land from my power? So will the LORD rescue Jerusalem from my power?’ ”
Exodus 5:2 – But Pharaoh responded, “Who is the LORD that I should obey him by letting Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
Psalm 139:20 – who invoke you deceitfully. Your enemies swear by you falsely.
Psalm 50:16–17 – 16 But God says to the wicked: “What right do you have to recite my statutes and to take my covenant on your lips? 17 You hate instruction and fling my words behind you.
Isaiah 5:12 – At their feasts they have lyre, harp, tambourine, flute, and wine. They do not perceive the LORD’s actions, and they do not see the work of his hands.
2 Kings 19:22 – Who is it you mocked and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!
Leviticus 24:11 – Her son cursed and blasphemed the Name, and they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, a daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan.)
Zechariah 5:4 – I will send it out,”—this is the declaration of the LORD of Armies—“and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by my name. It will stay inside his house and destroy it along with its timbers and stones.”
Zechariah 8:17 – Do not plot evil in your hearts against your neighbor, and do not love perjury, for I hate all this”—this is the LORD’s declaration.
1 Samuel 17:43 – He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?” Then he cursed David by his gods.
2 Samuel 16:5 – When King David got to Bahurim, a man belonging to the family of the house of Saul was just coming out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he was yelling curses as he approached.
Jeremiah 5:7 – Why should I forgive you? Your children have abandoned me and sworn by those who are not gods. I satisfied their needs, yet they committed adultery; they gashed themselves at the prostitute’s house.
Jeremiah 23:10 – For the land is full of adulterers; the land mourns because of the curse, and the grazing lands in the wilderness have dried up. Their way of life has become evil, and their power is not rightly used
Deuteronomy 23:18 – Do not bring a female prostitute’s wages or a male prostitute’s earnings into the house of the LORD your God to fulfill any vow, because both are detestable to the LORD your God.

Acts 23:12 – When it was morning, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.
Acts 23:14 – These men went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn curse that we won’t eat anything until we have killed Paul.
Esther 3:7 – In the first month, the month of Nisan, in King Ahasuerus’s twelfth year, the Pur—that is, the lot—was cast before Haman for each day in each month, and it fell on the twelfth month, the month Adar.
Esther 9:24 – For Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them. He cast the Pur—that is, the lot—to crush and destroy them.
Psalm 22:18 – They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.
Psalm 24:4 – The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not appealed to what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully.
Ezekiel 17:16 – “ ‘As I live—this is the declaration of the Lord GOD—he will die in Babylon, in the land of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke.
Ezekiel 17:18–19 – 18 He despised the oath by breaking the covenant. He did all these things even though he gave his hand in pledge. He will not escape! 19 “ ‘Therefore, this is what the Lord GOD says: As I live, I will bring down on his head my oath that he despised and my covenant that he broke.

Mark 6:26 – Although the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her.
1 Samuel 25:22 – May God punish me and do so severely if I let any of his males survive until morning.”
1 Samuel 25:32–34 – 32 Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! 33 May your discernment be blessed, and may you be blessed. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the LORD God of Israel lives, who prevented me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, Nabal wouldn’t have had any males left by morning light.”
Romans 9:14 – What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
Romans 9:19–20 – 19 You will say to me, therefore, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”
Deuteronomy 29:29 – The hidden things belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.

Romans 3:5 – But if our unrighteousness highlights God’s righteousness, what are we to say? I am using a human argument: Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath?
Romans 3:7 – But if by my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?
Romans 6:1 – What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?
Ecclesiastes 8:11 – Because the sentence against an evil act is not carried out quickly, the heart of people is filled with the desire to commit evil.
Ecclesiastes 9:3 – This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live; after that they go to the dead.
Psalm 39:1–13 – 1 I said, “I will guard my ways so that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle as long as the wicked are in my presence.” 2 I was speechless and quiet; I kept silent, even from speaking good, and my pain intensified. 3 My heart grew hot within me; as I mused, a fire burned. I spoke with my tongue: 4 “LORD, make me aware of my end and the number of my days so that I will know how short-lived I am. 5 In fact, you have made my days just inches long, and my life span is as nothing to you. Yes, every human being stands as only a vapor. Selah 6 Yes, a person goes about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them. 7 “Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you. 8 Rescue me from all my transgressions; do not make me the taunt of fools. 9 I am speechless; I do not open my mouth because of what you have done. 10 Remove your torment from me. Because of the force of your hand I am finished. 11 You discipline a person with punishment for iniquity, consuming like a moth what is precious to him; yes, every human being is only a vapor. Selah 12 “Hear my prayer, LORD, and listen to my cry for help; do not be silent at my tears. For I am here with you as an alien, a temporary resident like all my ancestors. 13 Turn your angry gaze from me so that I may be cheered up before I die and am gone.”

Matthew 5:21–48 – 21 “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister, will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire. 23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him to the court, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. 28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. 31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. 32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. 34 But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, because it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Do not swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one. 38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Ezekiel 13:22 – Because you have disheartened the righteous person with lies (when I intended no distress), and because you have supported the wicked person so that he does not turn from his evil way to save his life,
2 Peter 3:16 – He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
Matthew 22:24–31 – 24 “Teacher, Moses said, if a man dies, having no children, his brother is to marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second also, and the third, and so on to all seven. 27 Last of all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.” 29 Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 31 Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God:
Matthew 22:25 – Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother.
Matthew 22:28–30 – 28 In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.” 29 Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven.
Isaiah 22:13 – But look: joy and gladness, butchering of cattle, slaughtering of sheep and goats, eating of meat, and drinking of wine— “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
Jeremiah 23:34 – As for the prophet, priest, or people who say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ I will punish that man and his household.
Jeremiah 23:36 – But no longer refer to the burden of the LORD, for each man’s word becomes his burden and you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of Armies, our God.
Jeremiah 23:38 – But if you say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ then this is what the LORD says: Because you have said, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ and I specifically told you not to say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’

1 Timothy 1:4 – or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith.
1 Timothy 1:6–7 – 6 Some have departed from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, although they don’t understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on.
1 Timothy 6:4–5 – 4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain.
1 Timothy 6:20 – Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding irreverent and empty speech and contradictions from what is falsely called knowledge.
2 Timothy 2:14 – Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to fight about words. This is useless and leads to the ruin of those who listen.
Titus 3:9 – But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and worthless.
Deuteronomy 18:10–14 – 10 No one among you is to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire, practice divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery, 11 cast spells, consult a medium or a spiritist, or inquire of the dead. 12 Everyone who does these acts is detestable to the LORD, and the LORD your God is driving out the nations before you because of these detestable acts. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God. 14 Though these nations you are about to drive out listen to fortune-tellers and diviners, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do this.
Deuteronomy 18:11–12 – 11 cast spells, consult a medium or a spiritist, or inquire of the dead. 12 Everyone who does these acts is detestable to the LORD, and the LORD your God is driving out the nations before you because of these detestable acts.

Acts 19:13 – Now some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists also attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus that Paul preaches!”
2 Timothy 4:3–4 – 3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. 4 They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Romans 13:13–14 – 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t make plans to gratify the desires of the flesh.
1 Kings 21:9–10 – 9 In the letters, she wrote: Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people. 10 Then seat two wicked men opposite him and have them testify against him, saying, “You have cursed God and the king!” Then take him out and stone him to death.
Jude 4 – For some people, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.
Acts 13:45 – But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what Paul was saying, insulting him.
1 John 3:12 – unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
Psalm 1:1 – How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers!
2 Peter 3:3 – Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires,
1 Peter 4:4 – They are surprised that you don’t join them in the same flood of wild living—and they slander you.
Acts 13:45–46 – 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what Paul was saying, insulting him. 46 Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles.
Acts 13:50 – But the Jews incited the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district.
Acts 4:18 – So they called for them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Acts 19:9 – But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples, and conducted discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
1 Thessalonians 2:16 – by keeping us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. As a result, they are constantly filling up their sins to the limit, and wrath has overtaken them at last.
Hebrews 10:29 – How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, who has regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
2 Timothy 3:5 – holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people.
Matthew 6:1–2 – 1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 2 So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.
Matthew 6:5 – “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.
Matthew 6:16 – “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.
Mark 8:38 – For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Psalm 73:14–15 – 14 For I am afflicted all day long and punished every morning. 15 If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people.
1 Corinthians 6:5–6 – 5 I say this to your shame! Can it be that there is not one wise person among you who is able to arbitrate between fellow believers? 6 Instead, brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers!
Ephesians 5:15–17 – 15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Isaiah 5:4 – What more could I have done for my vineyard than I did? Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes, did it yield worthless grapes?
2 Peter 1:8–9 – 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.
Romans 2:23–24 – 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written: The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.
Galatians 3:1 – You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
Galatians 3:3 – Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh?
Hebrews 6:6 – and who have fallen away. This is because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding him up to contempt.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 114


What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?


The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, [The Lord thy God,] and, [For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,] (Exod. 20:7) are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us; (Lev. 19:12) especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment; (Ezek. 36:21–23, Deut. 28:58–59, Zech. 5:2–4) albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men. (1 Sam. 2:12,17,22,24, 1 Sam. 3:13)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:7 – Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name.
Leviticus 19:12 – Do not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God; I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 36:21–23 – 21 Then I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went. 22 “Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: It is not for your sake that I will act, house of Israel, but for my holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will honor the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the LORD—this is the declaration of the Lord GOD—when I demonstrate my holiness through you in their sight.
Deuteronomy 28:58–59 – 58 “If you are not careful to obey all the words of this law, which are written in this scroll, by fearing this glorious and awe-inspiring name—the LORD, your God—59 he will bring wondrous plagues on you and your descendants, severe and lasting plagues, and terrible and chronic sicknesses.
Zechariah 5:2–4 – 2 “What do you see?” he asked me. “I see a flying scroll,” I replied, “thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.” 3 Then he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land, for everyone who is a thief, contrary to what is written on one side, has gone unpunished, and everyone who swears falsely, contrary to what is written on the other side, has gone unpunished. 4 I will send it out,”—this is the declaration of the LORD of Armies—“and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by my name. It will stay inside his house and destroy it along with its timbers and stones.”
1 Samuel 2:12 – Eli’s sons were wicked men; they did not respect the LORD
1 Samuel 2:17 – So the servants’ sin was very severe in the presence of the LORD, because the men treated the LORD’s offering with contempt.
1 Samuel 2:22 – Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
1 Samuel 2:24 – No, my sons, the news I hear the LORD’s people spreading is not good.
1 Samuel 3:13 – I told him that I am going to judge his family forever because of the iniquity he knows about: his sons are cursing God, and he has not stopped them.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Previous Post in this Series

The previous post in this series can be found here.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 70) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 9)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

For the past several posts, our attention has been focused on various aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith. We noted previously that the Confession spoke of the abiding “general equity” of God’s Law; but how much did God’s Law really come to bear on the Westminster Confession of Faith and specifically, the Westminster Larger Catechism? In this series of posts, we want to look at questions 104-148, that revolve around the Decalogue, and note the multitude of references to Old Testament texts to support the doctrine. I am not going to intermix my own comments in what follows but just let the Westminster Larger Catechism speak for itself (with bolding of Old Testament texts for emphasis).

Question 107


Which is the second commandment?


The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exod. 20:4–5,6)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:4–5 – Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ iniquity, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me,
Exodus 20:6 – but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 108


What are the duties required in the second commandment?


The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word; (Deut. 32:46–47, Matt. 28:20, Acts 2:42, 1 Tim. 6:13–14) particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; (Phil. 4:6, Eph. 5:20) the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; (Deut. 17:18–19, Acts 15:21, 2 Tim. 4:2, James 1:21–22, Acts 10:33) the administration and receiving of the sacraments; (Matt. 28:19, 1 Cor. 11:23–30) church government and discipline; (Matt. 18:15–17, Matt. 16:19, 1 Cor. 5, 1 Cor. 12:28) the ministry and maintainance thereof; (Eph. 4:11–12, 1 Tim. 5:17–18, 1 Cor. 9:7–15) religious fasting; (Joel 2:12,18, 1 Cor. 7:5) swearing by the name of God; (Deut. 6:13) and vowing unto him; (Isa. 19:21, Ps. 76:11) as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship; (Acts 17:16–17, Ps. 16:4) and, according to each one’ s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry. (Deut. 7:5, Isa. 30:22)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Deuteronomy 32:46–47 – 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all these words I am giving as a warning to you today, so that you may command your children to follow all the words of this law carefully. 47 For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Matthew 28:20 – teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Acts 2:42 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
1 Timothy 6:13–14 – 13 In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and of Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you 14 to keep this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Ephesians 5:20 – giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Deuteronomy 17:18–19 – 18 When he is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes.
Acts 15:21 – For since ancient times, Moses has had those who proclaim him in every city, and every Sabbath day he is read aloud in the synagogues.”
2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.
James 1:21–22 – 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Acts 10:33 – So I immediately sent for you, and it was good of you to come. So now we are all in the presence of God to hear everything you have been commanded by the Lord.”
Matthew 28:19 – Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
1 Corinthians 11:23–30 – 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep.
Matthew 18:15–17 – 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. 17 If he doesn’t pay attention to them, tell the church. If he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you.
Matthew 16:19 – I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.”
1 Corinthians 5:1–13 – 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even tolerated among the Gentiles—a man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Shouldn’t you be filled with grief and remove from your congregation the one who did this? 3 Even though I am absent in the body, I am present in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who has been doing such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I am with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 hand that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. 11 But actually, I wrote you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister and is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 God judges outsiders. Remove the evil person from among you.
1 Corinthians 12:28 – And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, various kinds of tongues.
Ephesians 4:11–12 – 11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,
1 Timothy 5:17–18 – 17 The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and, The worker is worthy of his wages.
1 Corinthians 9:7–15 – 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not drink the milk from the flock? 8 Am I saying this from a human perspective? Doesn’t the law also say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Do not muzzle an ox while it treads out grain. Is God really concerned about oxen? 10 Isn’t he really saying it for our sake? Yes, this is written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes should thresh in hope of sharing the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it too much if we reap material benefits from you? 12 If others have this right to receive benefits from you, don’t we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right; instead, we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who perform the temple services eat the food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the offerings of the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel. 15 For my part I have used none of these rights, nor have I written these things that they may be applied in my case. For it would be better for me to die than for anyone to deprive me of my boast!
Joel 2:12 – Even now— this is the LORD’s declaration— turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Joel 2:18 – Then the LORD became jealous for his land and spared his people.

1 Corinthians 7:5 – Do not deprive one another—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Deuteronomy 6:13 – Fear the LORD your God, worship him, and take your oaths in his name.
Isaiah 19:21 – The LORD will make himself known to Egypt, and Egypt will know the LORD on that day. They will offer sacrifices and offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and fulfill them.
Psalm 76:11 – Make and keep your vows to the LORD your God; let all who are around him bring tribute to the awe-inspiring one.

Acts 17:16–17 – 16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed when he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with those who worshiped God, as well as in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.
Psalm 16:4 – The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves will multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.
Deuteronomy 7:5 – Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn their carved images.
Isaiah 30:22 – Then you will defile your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images. You will throw them away like menstrual cloths, and call them filth.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 109


What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?


The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, (Numb. 15:39) counselling, (Deut. 13:6–8) commanding, (Hosea 5:11, Micah 6:16) using, (1 Kings 11:33, 1 Kings 12:33) and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; (Deut. 12:30–32) the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; (Deut. 4:15–19, Acts 17:29, Rom. 1:21–23,25) all worshipping of it, (Dan. 3:18, Gal. 4:8) or God in it or by it; (Exod. 32:5) the making of any representation of feigned deities, (Exod. 32:8) and all worship of them, or service belonging to them, (1 Kings18:26,28, Isa. 65:11) all superstitious devices, (Acts 17:22, Col. 2:21–23) corrupting the worship of God, (Mal. 1:7–8,14) adding to it, or taking from it, (Deut. 4:2) whether invented and taken up of ourselves, (Ps. 106:39) or received by tradition from others, (Matt. 15:9) though under the title of antiquity, (1 Pet. 1:18) custom, (Jer. 44:17) devotion, (Isa. 65:3–5, Gal. 1:13–14) good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever; (1 Sam. 13:11–12, 1 Sam. 15:21) simony; (Acts 8:18) sacrilege; (Rom. 2:22, Mal. 3:8) all neglect, (Exod. 4:24–26) contempt, (Matt. 22:5, Mal. 1:7,13) hindering, (Matt. 23:13) and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed. (Acts 13:44–45, 1 Thess. 2:15–16)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Numbers 15:39 – These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the LORD’s commands and obey them and not prostitute yourselves by following your own heart and your own eyes.
Deuteronomy 13:6–8 – 6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’—which neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 any of the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other—8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity, and do not spare him or shield him.
Hosea 5:11 – Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, for he is determined to follow what is worthless.
Micah 6:16 – The statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house have been observed; you have followed their policies. Therefore, I will make you a desolate place and the city’s residents an object of contempt; you will bear the scorn of my people.”

1 Kings 11:33 – For they have abandoned me; they have bowed down to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, to Chemosh, the god of Moab, and to Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. They have not walked in my ways to do what is right in my sight and to carry out my statutes and my judgments as his father David did.
1 Kings 12:33 – He offered sacrifices on the altar he had set up in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. He chose this month on his own. He made a festival for the Israelites, offered sacrifices on the altar, and burned incense.
Deuteronomy 12:30–32 – 30 be careful not to be ensnared by their ways after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, asking, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I’ll also do the same.’ 31 You must not do the same to the LORD your God, because they practice every detestable act, which the LORD hates, for their gods. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 Be careful to do everything I command you; do not add anything to it or take anything away from it.
Deuteronomy 4:15–19 – 15 “Diligently watch yourselves—because you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you out of the fire at Horeb—16 so you don’t act corruptly and make an idol for yourselves in the shape of any figure: a male or female form, 17 or the form of any animal on the earth, any winged creature that flies in the sky, 18 any creature that crawls on the ground, or any fish in the waters under the earth. 19 When you look to the heavens and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the stars in the sky—do not be led astray to bow in worship to them and serve them. The LORD your God has provided them for all people everywhere under heaven.

Acts 17:29 – Since we are God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.
Romans 1:21–23 – 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Romans 1:25 – They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
Daniel 3:18 – But even if he does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
Galatians 4:8 – But in the past, since you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods.
Exodus 32:5 – When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: “There will be a festival to the LORD tomorrow.”
Exodus 32:8 – They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, ‘Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ ”
1 Kings 18:26 – So they took the bull that he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound; no one answered. Then they danced around the altar they had made.
1 Kings 18:28 – They shouted loudly, and cut themselves with knives and spears, according to their custom, until blood gushed over them.
Isaiah 65:11 – But you who abandon the LORD, who forget my holy mountain, who prepare a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,

Acts 17:22 – Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect.
Colossians 2:21–23 – 21 “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? 22 All these regulations refer to what is destined to perish by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines. 23 Although these have a reputation for wisdom by promoting self-made religion, false humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value in curbing self-indulgence.
Malachi 1:7–8 – 7 “By presenting defiled food on my altar.” “How have we defiled you?” you ask. When you say: “The LORD’s table is contemptible.” 8 “When you present a blind animal for sacrifice, is it not wrong? And when you present a lame or sick animal, is it not wrong? Bring it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you or show you favor?” asks the LORD of Armies.
Malachi 1:14 – “The deceiver is cursed who has an acceptable male in his flock and makes a vow but sacrifices a defective animal to the Lord. For I am a great King,” says the LORD of Armies, “and my name will be feared among the nations.
Deuteronomy 4:2 – You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the LORD your God I am giving you.
Psalm 106:39 – They defiled themselves by their actions and prostituted themselves by their deeds.

Matthew 15:9 – They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands.”
1 Peter 1:18 – For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold,
Jeremiah 44:17 – Instead, we will do everything we promised: we will burn incense to the queen of heaven and offer drink offerings to her just as we, our fathers, our kings, and our officials did in Judah’s cities and in Jerusalem’s streets. Then we had enough food, we were well off, and we saw no disaster,
Isaiah 65:3–5 – 3 These people continually anger me to my face, sacrificing in gardens, burning incense on bricks, 4 sitting among the graves, spending nights in secret places, eating the meat of pigs, and putting polluted broth in their bowls. 5 They say, ‘Keep to yourself, don’t come near me, for I am too holy for you!’ These practices are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long.
Galatians 1:13–14 – 13 For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I intensely persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.
1 Samuel 13:11–12 – 11 and Samuel asked, “What have you done?” Saul answered, “When I saw that the troops were deserting me and you didn’t come within the appointed days and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash, 12 I thought, ‘The Philistines will now descend on me at Gilgal, and I haven’t sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.”
1 Samuel 15:21 – The troops took sheep, goats, and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”

Acts 8:18 – When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
Romans 2:22 – You who say, “You must not commit adultery”—do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob their temples?
Malachi 3:8 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me!” “How do we rob you?” you ask. “By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions.
Exodus 4:24–26 – 24 On the trip, at an overnight campsite, it happened that the LORD confronted him and intended to put him to death. 25 So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son’s foreskin, threw it at Moses’s feet, and said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” referring to the circumcision.

Matthew 22:5 – “But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business,
Malachi 1:7 – “By presenting defiled food on my altar.” “How have we defiled you?” you ask. When you say: “The LORD’s table is contemptible.”
Malachi 1:13 – You also say: ‘Look, what a nuisance!’ And you scorn it,” says the LORD of Armies. “You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?” asks the LORD.

Matthew 23:13 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.
Acts 13:44–45 – 44 The following Sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what Paul was saying, insulting him.
1 Thessalonians 2:15–16 – 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us. They displease God and are hostile to everyone, 16 by keeping us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. As a result, they are constantly filling up their sins to the limit, and wrath has overtaken them at last.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 110


What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?


The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; (Exod. 20:5–6) are, besides God’ s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, (Ps. 45:11. Rev. 15:3–4) his fervent zeal for his own worship, (Exod. 34:13–14) and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; (1 Cor. 10:20–22, Deut. 32:16–20) accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; (Hosea 2:2–4) and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations. (Deut. 5:29)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Exodus 20:5–6 – 5 Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ iniquity, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, 6 but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.
Psalm 45:11 – and the king will desire your beauty. Bow down to him, for he is your lord.

Revelation 15:3–4 – 3 They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; just and true are your ways, King of the nations. 4 Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you because your righteous acts have been revealed.
Exodus 34:13–14 – 13 Instead, you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, and chop down their Asherah poles. 14 Because the LORD is jealous for his reputation, you are never to bow down to another god. He is a jealous God.
1 Corinthians 10:20–22 – 20 No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons! 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
Deuteronomy 32:16–20 – 16 They provoked his jealousy with different gods; they enraged him with detestable practices. 17 They sacrificed to demons, not God, to gods they had not known, new gods that had just arrived, which your fathers did not fear. 18 You ignored the Rock who gave you birth; you forgot the God who gave birth to you. 19 When the LORD saw this, he despised them, angered by his sons and daughters. 20 He said: “I will hide my face from them; I will see what will become of them, for they are a perverse generation— unfaithful children.
Hosea 2:2–4 – 2 Rebuke your mother; rebuke her. For she is not my wife and I am not her husband. Let her remove the promiscuous look from her face and her adultery from between her breasts. 3 Otherwise, I will strip her naked and expose her as she was on the day of her birth. I will make her like a desert and like a parched land, and I will let her die of thirst. 4 I will have no compassion on her children because they are the children of promiscuity.
Deuteronomy 5:29 – If only they had such a heart to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that they and their children would prosper forever.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Previous Post in this Series

The previous post in this series can be found here.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 69) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 8)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

For the past several posts, our attention has been focused on various aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith. We noted previously that the Confession spoke of the abiding “general equity” of God’s Law; but how much did God’s Law really come to bear on the Westminster Confession of Faith and specifically, the Westminster Larger Catechism? In this series of posts, we want to look at questions 104-148, that revolve around the Decalogue, and note the multitude of references to Old Testament texts to support the doctrine. I am not going to intermix my own comments in what follows but just let the Westminster Larger Catechism speak for itself (with bolding of Old Testament texts for emphasis).

Question 104


Question – What are the duties required in the first commandment?


Answer – The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; (1 Chron. 28:9, Deut. 26:7, Isa. 43:10, Jer. 14:22) and to worship and glorify him accordingly, (Ps. 95:6–7, Matt. 4:10, Ps. 29:2) by thinking, (Mal. 3:16) mediating, (Ps. 63:6) remembering, (Eccl. 12:1) highly esteeming, (Ps. 71:19) honouring, (Mal. 1:6) adoring, (Isa. 45:23) choosing, (Josh. 24:15,22) loving, (Deut. 6:5) desiring, (Ps. 73:25) fearing of him; (Isa. 8:13) believing him; (Exod. 14:31) trusting (Isa. 26:4) hoping, (Ps. 130:7) delighting, (Ps. 37:4) rejoicing in him; (Ps. 32:11) being zealous for him; (Rom. 12:11, Num. 25:11) calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, (Phil. 4:6) and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; (Jer. 7:23, James 4:7) being careful in all things to please him, (1 John 3:22) and sorrowful when in any thing he is offended; (Jer. 31:18, Ps. 119:136) and walking humbly with him. (Micah 6:8)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

1 Chronicles 28:9 – “As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him wholeheartedly and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will reject you forever.
Deuteronomy 26:7 – So we called out to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our cry and saw our misery, hardship, and oppression.
Isaiah 43:10 – “You are my witnesses”— this is the LORD’s declaration— “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. No god was formed before me, and there will be none after me.
Jeremiah 14:22 – Can any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Or can the skies alone give showers? Are you not the LORD our God? We therefore put our hope in you, for you have done all these things.
Psalm 95:6–7 – 6 Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep under his care. Today, if you hear his voice:

Matthew 4:10 – Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
Psalm 29:2 – Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Malachi 3:16 – At that time those who feared the LORD spoke to one another. The LORD took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the LORD and had high regard for his name.
Psalm 63:6 – When I think of you as I lie on my bed, I meditate on you during the night watches
Ecclesiastes 12:1 – So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, “I have no delight in them”;
Psalm 71:19 – Your righteousness reaches the heights, God, you who have done great things; God, who is like you?
Malachi 1:6 – “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is your fear of me? says the LORD of Armies to you priests, who despise my name.” Yet you ask: “How have we despised your name?”
Isaiah 45:23 – By myself I have sworn; truth has gone from my mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to me, every tongue will swear allegiance.
Joshua 24:15 – But if it doesn’t please you to worship the LORD, choose for yourselves today: Which will you worship—the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living? As for me and my family, we will worship the LORD.”
Joshua 24:22 – Joshua then told the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you yourselves have chosen to worship the LORD.” “We are witnesses,” they said.
Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Psalm 73:25 – Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you.
Isaiah 8:13 – You are to regard only the LORD of Armies as holy. Only he should be feared; only he should be held in awe.
Exodus 14:31 – When Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.
Isaiah 26:4 – Trust in the LORD forever, because in the LORD, the LORD himself, is an everlasting rock!
Psalm 130:7 – Israel, put your hope in the LORD. For there is faithful love with the LORD, and with him is redemption in abundance.
Psalm 37:4 – Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Psalm 32:11 – Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Romans 12:11 – Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.
Numbers 25:11 – “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the Israelites because he was zealous among them with my zeal, so that I did not destroy the Israelites in my zeal.
Philippians 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Jeremiah 7:23 – However, I did give them this command: ‘Obey me, and then I will be your God, and you will be my people. Follow every way I command you so that it may go well with you.’
James 4:7 – Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 John 3:22 – and receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commands and do what is pleasing in his sight.
Jeremiah 31:18 – I have surely heard Ephraim moaning, “You disciplined me, and I have been disciplined like an untrained calf. Take me back, so that I can return, for you, LORD, are my God.
Psalm 119:136 – My eyes pour out streams of tears because people do not follow your instruction.
Micah 6:8 – Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 105


Question – What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?

Answer – The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, Atheism, in denying or not having a God; (Ps. 14:1, Eph. 2:12) Idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God; (Jer. 2:27–28, 1 Thess. 1:9) the not having and avouching him for God, and our God; (Ps. 81:11) the omission or neglect of any thing due to him, required in this commandment; (Isa. 43:22–24) ignorance, (Jer. 4:22, Hos. 4:1,6) forgetfulness, (Jer. 2:32) misapprehensions, (Acts 17:23,29) false opinions, (Isa. 40:18) unworthy and wicked thoughts of him; (Ps. 50:21) bold and curious searching into his secrets; (Deut. 29:29) all profaneness, (Tit. 1:16, Heb. 12:16) hatred of God; (Rom. 1:30) self-love, (2 Tim. 3:2) self-seeking, (Phil. 2:21) and all other inordinate and im-moderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part; (1 John 2:15–16, 1 Sam. 2:29, Col. 3:2,5) vain credulity, (1 John 4:1) unbelief, (Heb. 3:12) heresy, (Gal. 5:20, Tit. 3:10) misbelief, (Acts 26:9) distrust, (Ps. 78:22) despair, (Gen. 4:13) incorrigibleness, (Jer. 5:3) and insensibleness under judgments, (Isa. 42:25) hardness of heart, (Rom. 2:5) pride, (Jer. 13:15) presumption, (Ps. 19:13) carnal security, (Zeph. 1:12) tempting of God; (Matt. 4:7) using unlawful means, (Rom. 3:8) and trusting in lawful means; (Jer. 17:5) carnal delights and joys; (2 Tim. 3:4) corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal; (Gal. 4:17, John 16:2, Rom. 10:2, Luke 9:54–55) lukewarmness, (Rev. 3:16) and deadness in the things of God; (Rev. 2:1) estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God; (Ezek. 14:5, Isa. 1:4–5) praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures; (Rom. 10:13–14, Hosea 4:12, Acts 10:25–26, Rev. 19:10, Matt. 4:10, Col. 2:18, Rom. 1:25) all compacts and consulting with the devil, (Lev. 20:6, 1 Sam. 28:7,11, 1 Chron. 10:13–14) and hearkening to his suggestions; (Acts 5:3) making men the lords of our faith and conscience; (2 Cor. 1:24, Matt. 23:9) slighting and despising God and his commands; (Deut. 32:15, 2 Sam. 12:9, Prov. 13:13) resisting and grieving of his Spirit, (Acts 7:51, Eph. 4:30) discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us; (Ps. 73:2–3,13–15,22, Job 1:22) and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do, to fortune, (1 Sam. 6:7–9) idols, (Dan. 5:23) ourselves, (Deut. 8:17, Dan. 4:30) or any other creature. (Hab. 1:16)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Psalm 14:1 – The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.” They are corrupt; they do vile deeds. There is no one who does good.
Ephesians 2:12 – At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.
Jeremiah 2:27–28 – 27 say to a tree, “You are my father,” and to a stone, “You gave birth to me.” For they have turned their back to me and not their face, yet in their time of disaster they beg, “Rise up and save us!” 28 But where are your gods you made for yourself? Let them rise up and save you in your time of disaster if they can, for your gods are as numerous as your cities, Judah.
1 Thessalonians 1:9 – for they themselves report what kind of reception we had from you: how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God
Psalm 81:11 – “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel did not obey me.
Isaiah 43:22–24 – 22 “But, Jacob, you have not called on me, because, Israel, you have become weary of me. 23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings or wearied you with incense. 24 You have not bought me aromatic cane with silver, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.
Jeremiah 4:22 – “For my people are fools; they do not know me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good.”
Hosea 4:1 – Hear the word of the LORD, people of Israel, for the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth, no faithful love, and no knowledge of God in the land!
Hosea 4:6 – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as my priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons.
Jeremiah 2:32 – Can a young woman forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding sash? Yet my people have forgotten me for countless days.

Acts 17:23 – For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: ‘To an Unknown God.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
Acts 17:29 – Since we are God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.
Isaiah 40:18 – With whom will you compare God? What likeness will you set up for comparison with him?
Psalm 50:21 – You have done these things, and I kept silent; you thought I was just like you. But I will rebuke you and lay out the case before you.
Deuteronomy 29:29 – The hidden things belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.

Titus 1:16 – They claim to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.
Hebrews 12:16 – And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal.
Romans 1:30 – slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
2 Timothy 3:2 – For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
Philippians 2:21 – all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:15–16 – 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 Samuel 2:29 – Why, then, do all of you despise my sacrifices and offerings that I require at the place of worship? You have honored your sons more than me, by making yourselves fat with the best part of all of the offerings of my people Israel.’
Colossians 3:2 – Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:5 – Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.
1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Hebrews 3:12 – Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
Galatians 5:20 – idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,
Titus 3:10 – Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning.
Acts 26:9 – In fact, I myself was convinced that it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Psalm 78:22 – because they did not believe God or rely on his salvation.
Genesis 4:13 – But Cain answered the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear!
Jeremiah 5:3 – LORD, don’t your eyes look for faithfulness? You have struck them, but they felt no pain. You finished them off, but they refused to accept discipline. They made their faces harder than rock, and they refused to return.
Isaiah 42:25 – So he poured out his furious anger and the power of war on Jacob. It surrounded him with fire, but he did not know it; it burned him, but he didn’t take it to heart.

Romans 2:5 – Because of your hardened and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed.
Jeremiah 13:15 – Listen and pay attention. Do not be proud, for the LORD has spoken.
Psalm 19:13 – Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule me. Then I will be blameless and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
Zephaniah 1:12 – And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who settle down comfortably, who say to themselves: The LORD will not do good or evil.

Matthew 4:7 – Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”
Romans 3:8 – And why not say, just as some people slanderously claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved!
Jeremiah 17:5 – This is what the LORD says: Cursed is the person who trusts in mankind. He makes human flesh his strength, and his heart turns from the LORD.
2 Timothy 3:4 – traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Galatians 4:17 – They court you eagerly, but not for good. They want to exclude you from me, so that you would pursue them.
John 16:2 – They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God.
Romans 10:2 – I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Luke 9:54–55 – 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them,
Revelation 3:16 – So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.
Revelation 2:1 – “Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: Thus says the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands:
Ezekiel 14:5 – so that I may take hold of the house of Israel by their hearts. They are all estranged from me because of their idols.’
Isaiah 1:4–5 – 4 Oh sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, brood of evildoers, depraved children! They have abandoned the LORD; they have despised the Holy One of Israel; they have turned their backs on him. 5 Why do you want more beatings? Why do you keep on rebelling? The whole head is hurt, and the whole heart is sick.

Romans 10:13–14 – 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 14 How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher?
Hosea 4:12 – My people consult their wooden idols, and their divining rods inform them. For a spirit of promiscuity leads them astray; they act promiscuously in disobedience to their God.
Acts 10:25–26 – 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up and said, “Stand up. I myself am also a man.”
Revelation 19:10 – Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers and sisters who hold firmly to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Matthew 4:10 – Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
Colossians 2:18 – Let no one condemn you by delighting in ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm. Such people are inflated by empty notions of their unspiritual mind.
Romans 1:25 – They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
Leviticus 20:6 – “Whoever turns to mediums or spiritists and prostitutes himself with them, I will turn against that person and cut him off from his people.
1 Samuel 28:7 – Saul then said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I can go and consult her.” His servants replied, “There is a woman at En-dor who is a medium.”
1 Samuel 28:11 – “Who is it that you want me to bring up for you?” the woman asked. “Bring up Samuel for me,” he answered.
1 Chronicles 10:13–14 – 13 Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the LORD because he did not keep the LORD’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance, 14 but he did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

Acts 5:3 – “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?
2 Corinthians 1:24 – I do not mean that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in your faith.
Matthew 23:9 – Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven.
Deuteronomy 32:15 – Then Jeshurun became fat and rebelled— you became fat, bloated, and gorged. He abandoned the God who made him and scorned the Rock of his salvation.
2 Samuel 12:9 – Why then have you despised the LORD’s command by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hethite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife—you murdered him with the Ammonite’s sword.
Proverbs 13:13 – The one who has contempt for instruction will pay the penalty, but the one who respects a command will be rewarded.

Acts 7:51 – “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit. As your ancestors did, you do also.
Ephesians 4:30 – And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption.
Psalm 73:2–3 – 2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. 3 For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Psalm 73:13–15 – 13 Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing? 14 For I am afflicted all day long and punished every morning. 15 If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people.
Psalm 73:22 – I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward you.
Job 1:22 – Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.
1 Samuel 6:7–9 – 7 “Now then, prepare one new cart and two milk cows that have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. 8 Take the ark of the LORD, place it on the cart, and put the gold objects that you’re sending him as a guilt offering in a box beside the ark. Send it off and let it go its way. 9 Then watch: If it goes up the road to its homeland toward Beth-shemesh, it is the LORD who has made this terrible trouble for us. However, if it doesn’t, we will know that it was not his hand that punished us—it was just something that happened to us by chance.”
Daniel 5:23 – Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of the heavens. The vessels from his house were brought to you, and as you and your nobles, wives, and concubines drank wine from them, you praised the gods made of silver and gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or understand. But you have not glorified the God who holds your life-breath in his hand and who controls the whole course of your life.
Deuteronomy 8:17 – You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’
Daniel 4:30 – the king exclaimed, “Is this not Babylon the Great that I have built to be a royal residence by my vast power and for my majestic glory?”
Habakkuk 1:16 – That is why they sacrifice to their dragnet and burn incense to their fishing net, for by these things their portion is rich and their food plentiful.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Question 106


Question – What are we specially taught by these words [before me] in the first commandment?


Answer – These words [before me] or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation: (Ezek. 8:5–6, Ps. 44:20–21) as also to persuade us to do as in his sight, whatever we do in his service. (1 Chron. 28:9)

The Westminster larger catechism: with scripture proofs. (1996). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

What follows are the specific references for the previous question:

Ezekiel 8:5–6 – 5 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.” I looked to the north, and there was this offensive statue north of the Altar Gate, at the entrance. 6 He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing here—more detestable acts that the house of Israel is committing—so that I must depart from my sanctuary? You will see even more detestable acts.”
Psalm 44:20–21 – 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God and spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 wouldn’t God have found this out, since he knows the secrets of the heart?
1 Chronicles 28:9 – “As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him wholeheartedly and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will reject you forever.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Dt 15:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Previous Post in this Series

The previous post in this series can be found here.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 68) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 7)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

Let’s start with a pop quiz for my Reformed readers. What was the immediate concern for the Westminster Assembly?

  1. Arminianism
  2. Postmillenialism
  3. Convenant Theology
  4. Antinomianism

I dare say that most would vote on #1 or #3. The answer? It’s #4. Whitney Gamble wrote a fascinating book on the Westminster Assembly titled, “Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly (STUDIES ON THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY)“.

On August 10, 1643, the Long Parliament (1640–1660) received an urgent petition from its advisory assembly for religious matters, just a few weeks after the committee was formed. Parliament had tasked the committee, otherwise known as the Westminster Assembly, to bring biblical reformation to England. As the above quote from the assembly’s petition shows, it called on Parliament to act quickly against antinomianism, one of the fastest-growing religious movements of the early seventeenth century. In the eyes of the assembly, if Parliament did not act to suppress antinomianism, the welfare of the city and nation was at stake—as already “many well affected but ignorant” people were turning to follow the sect.

Gamble, Whitney G. Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly. Reformation Heritage Books, 2018.

Further…

In the early decades of seventeenth-century England, these questions were debated in the context of the rise and, eventually, triumph of Arminianism. In reaction against that triumph, antinomianism initially was an extreme anti-Arminian movement from within the Reformed camp. However, by 1643, when the Westminster Assembly was given the task to bring reformation to England, the assembly singled out antinomianism, not Arminianism, as England’s greatest theological threat.

Gamble, Whitney G. Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly. Reformation Heritage Books, 2018.

How wise were those in the Westminster Assembly? They knew that antinomianism would destroy the nation. Look around us in the USA, how many love God’s Law? What is the state of our nation?

What is “antinomianism”?

What was antinomianism, and why was the assembly so concerned to alert Parliament of its growth? The label of antinomianism certainly was pejorative, and the assembly applied it with a broad brush, supplying Parliament with a list of culpable ministers in its petition. Antinomians can be described as those who deny in some way the ongoing relevance of some part or even the whole of the moral law.

Gamble, Whitney G. Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly. Reformation Heritage Books, 2018.

A couple of the principal people the Westminster Assembly were at odds with were John Eaton and Tobias Crisp (italics added for emphasis):

It was Eaton’s structure of biblical redemption, specifically his view of the Old Testament, that earned him the “antinomian” title. Eaton created a system of redemption that excluded the Old Testament from God’s grace and effectively silenced its role in the believer’s life.

Gamble, Whitney G. Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly. Reformation Heritage Books, 2018.

Dear friends, what the Westminster Assembly was up in arms about is what the average died-in-the-wool Christian is taught, believes, and practices. When was the last message you heard from the book of Deuteronomy? In our day, there are some as bold as Andy Stanley that tweet:

God didn’t create you so there would be someone to keep his rules.

I did find a site that took issue with Andy’s tweet. Beloved, the Westminster Assembly would have, without hesitation, added Andy Stanley to their list of combatants. They would have torn up Andy Stanley and Andy Stanley’s message! Tore it up!

How did the Westminster Assembly interact with John Eaton? (italics added for emphasis)

Specifically, Eaton’s opponents disagreed with his understanding of the nature of the relationship of the Old Testament to the New. Burton and Taylor pointed out the difficulties with Eaton’s position: How could God bring His people into a saving relationship differently in the two testaments? They rejected Eaton’s teaching that the Old Testament prophets and holy men lived under the terror of having to fulfill the law and claimed that the moral law was given as part of God’s gracious relationship with His people, and thus the law was a perpetual rule of life for God’s people.

Gamble, Whitney G. Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly. Reformation Heritage Books, 2018.

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The previous post in this series can be found here.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 67) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 6)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

Steve Halbrook pulled together a number of quotes supporting the states obligation to enforce the Law of God from leaders throughout the history of the protestant church. His post can be found here. The post includes quotes from John Wycliffe, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Heinrich Bullinger, John Knox, Pierre Viret, and many, many others.

Previous Post in this Series

The previous post in this series can be found here.

Dr. Fauci, Quarantine vs. Social Distancing, and Leviticus 13

It would be rare indeed for anyone in our time to consider God’s Law for insights on how to deal with infectious disease. After all, we’re now well “educated” and “people of science”.

The reality is that the God of the Old Testament is the same God that created the physical world and the physical sciences that under-gird the physical world. He isn’t scrambling to offer solutions to problems as they happen but offering insight into how the physical world functions and how we should interpret/respond.

At this time, the USA has been grappling for months with the COVID-19 outbreak and how to respond. In the end, Dr. Fauci won the day emphasizing social distancing (i.e., those who are not sick are quarantining themselves). There has been no end of disagreement about this approach including the governor of Florida resisting pleas to lock down the state. What does the Bible say about infectious disease? Does it say anything at all?

To that end, take a moment to read Leviticus 13 (seriously, go read ityou can use the hyperlink). The chapter is largely dealing with leprousy. Now, someone will immediately object that leprousy isn’t nearly as contagious as COVID-19. True, but, it is contagious and therefore addresses concerns regarding a contagion.

Note some high-level observations of Leviticus 13:

  • Careful observation must be made of the person suspected of having leprousy
    • If the person suspected of having leprousy truly does have it, they are then quarantined
      • Historically, the medical profession has been on board with this approach as I saw a video recently from that profession making this very point
      • In Leviticus 13, all of Israel isn’t quarantined, just the person(s) who have been examined and found to have leprousy
  • Careful observation must be made of items that have come into contact with the person suspected of leprousy
    • Affected items may need to be cleaned or destroyed

At all times, in all circumstances, it behooves us to mine God’s word for everything it speaks to directly or indirectly.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 66) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 5)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

Greg Bahnsen wrote an article defending Theonomy in general and his book, ‘Theonomy in Christian Ethics’. The article was titles, ‘The Authority of God’s Law’ and can be found here. The article, in defending Theonomy, touches on the Westminster Confession of Faith, views held by the WCoF commissioners, and defends the overall position exegetically. It’s a great article and well worth your time.

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The previous post in this series can be found here.

Is the Church Supporting the Family?

During the Coronovirus pandemic, a lot of concern was raised regarding governmental institutions going beyond their constitutional boundaries. Much concern was raised regarding the governor of Michigan and one could easily find daily video of the police breaking up legitimate gatherings where social distancing was being observed.

Are there other areas where authority oversteps its boundary? Even more broadly, many people, including myself, have grave concerns about the affect of the government and government schools on the legitimate authority structure of the family itself. The government has no concern about rolling over the authority of parents and of the head of the home – the father. This should not be! God’s design was for the family, church, and civil government to each have their specific areas of authority and oversight with none of the three subduing the other two.

In our day, I see areas in which the church oversteps its authority in the life of the family. To begin, where is the responsibility of training children? The parents:

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 – ESV

How does the church overstep its authority? It is very common in churches to break apart the family for Sunday School and even during the worship service. The church is the one place on Earth where the family should stay together. I don’t see any indication in the OT or NT that families were divided during assemblies (OT) or to hear Paul’s letters (NT). They stayed together. Families should stay together at church. Our children have never left us at church. At some we attended, it was an issue but I let it stay an issue.

Secondly, there has been an explosion of unbiblical church offices in our time. The only church offices that truly exist are Elder, Deacon, and Deaconess (I realize some don’t recognize ‘Deaconess’). Today, I see paid offices in the church that include: Youth Pastor, Discipleship Pastor, Worship Pastor, Care and Counseling Pastor, Lead Pastor, Executive Pastor, Teaching Pastor, Creative Arts Pastor, Kids and Special Needs Pastor, Spiritual Care Pastor, Campus Pastor, etc., etc., etc. Ridiculous. Many of the ‘offices’ I just mentioned have at the heart of their ‘ministry’ working with children for spiritual training and growth. This is wrong-headed. It’s subverting the authority and responsibility of the family and creates confusion. What churches should do instead is focus on making sure the parents – and especially the father – is able to properly lead the family. It is the responsibility of the parents – and especially the father – to train the family.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 65) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 4)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

Greg Bahnsen wrote a great article outlining historical support for Theonomy titled, ‘The Westminster Assembly and the Equity of the Judicial Law’ which can be found here. The article covers the general political setting at the time of the WCoF as well as many quotes from the Scottish commissioner, George Gillespie.

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The previous post in this series can be found here.

Yahweh! Elohim! Jehovah?

It is not uncommon to see in hymns and popular Christian music the word ‘Jehovah’. I hear it mentioned from even Reformed pastors as well. Is ‘Jehovah” a proper name for God though? Where does ‘Jehovah’ come from?

To begin, when the Jews first wrote the Hebrew bible, they only wrote the consonants and what’s where we get “YHWH” – that is called the tetragrammaton. Today, including the vowels that were likely removed, it’s believed the word would have been transliterated as “Yahweh”.

In Old Testament times though, to avoid pronouncing the sacred name of God, the tetragrammaton was combined with the vowels from ‘Adonai’ which is then ultimately transliterated into the English word “Jehovah”. Note what was done because the particulars are vital – one of God’s revealed names is combined with another word ‘Adonai’ to create a name for God that He never revealed. This is not a small issue. God is zealous that He be imaged and worshiped in the way He determines. Calling Him by names He never revealed, however good the intent, is no better than calling Him, ‘George’ or ‘Harry’.

If I stood in a pulpit and referred to God has ‘George’ or ‘Harry’, I would rightfully receive the strongest of condemnations. Why tolerate ‘Jehovah’? As a practical application of this, I refuse to sing or say the word ‘Jehovah’ – it’s simply not a proper name for God. If I see it in our hymnal, I simply substitute a proper name of God in its place.

Many that read this post will say this is ridiculous and I must have misunderstood something along the way. Did I? Here’s how many time ‘Jehovah’ is used in major translations:

  • KJV – 7 times
  • ESV – 0 times
  • CSB – 0 times
  • NIV – 0 times
  • NASB – 0 times

If ‘Jehovah’ is a legitimate name for God, how in the world could it be used zero times in the: ESV, CSB, NIV, and NASB? To say it another way, it it can’t be found in the Bible, why are we using it? Note that I did mention it is found in the KJV which is where it likely found entrance into the English speaking world?

As an apologetics upshot of this, the next time the Jehovah’s Witnesses come knocking on your door, ask them who they represent?

For a deeper dive into this topic, here is the front matter from the NET Study Bible:

How is the Divine Name translated in the Old Testament?

The translation of the Divine Name represents special problems for all English Bibles. The most difficult issue is the handling of the so-called tetragrammaton, the four consonants which represent the name of God in the Old Testament. This was rendered traditionally as “Jehovah” in the King James Version, but it is generally recognized that this represents a combination of the consonants of the tetragrammaton, יהוה (YHWH), and the vowels from a completely different Hebrew word, אֲדֹנָי (̒adonai, “master”), which were substituted by the Masoretes so that pronunciation of the Divine Name could be avoided: Whenever יהוה (YHWH), appeared in the text, the presence of the vowels from the word אֲדֹנָי (̒adonai) signaled to the reader that the word אֲדֹנָי (̒adonai) was to be pronounced instead.
Today most Old Testament scholars agree that the vocalization of the Divine Name would originally have been something like Yahweh, and this has become the generally accepted rendering. The Executive Steering Committee of the NET Bible spent considerable time discussing whether or not to employ Yahweh in the translation. Several Old Testament editors and translators favored its use, reasoning that because of its use in the lyrics of contemporary Christian songs and its appearance in Bible study materials, the name Yahweh had gained more general acceptance. In spite of this, however, the Committee eventually decided to follow the usage of most English translations and render the Divine Name as “LORD” in small caps. Thus the frequent combination אֶלֹהִים יְהוָה (Yahweh ̒elohim) is rendered as Lord God.
Other combinations like יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת (Yahweh Tséva̒ot), traditionally rendered “LORD of hosts,” have been translated either as “the Lord who rules over all” or “the Lord who commands armies” depending on the context. Such instances are typically indicated by a translators’ note [tn].

Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.

Here is the front matter from the ESV:

The Translation of Specialized Terms


In the translation of biblical terms referring to God, the ESV takes great care to convey the specific nuances of meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek words. First, concerning terms that refer to God in the Old Testament: God, the Maker of heaven and earth, introduced himself to the people of Israel with a special personal name, the consonants for which are YHWH (see Exodus 3:14–15). Scholars call this the “Tetragrammaton,” a Greek term referring to the four Hebrew letters YHWH. The exact pronunciation of YHWH is uncertain, because the Jewish people considered the personal name of God to be so holy that it should never be spoken aloud. Instead of reading the word YHWH, therefore, they would normally read the Hebrew word ’adonay (“Lord”), and the ancient translations into Greek, Syriac, and Aramaic also followed this practice. When the vowels of the word ’adonay are placed with the consonants of YHWH, this results in the familiar word Jehovah that was used in some earlier English Bible translations. As is common among English translations today, the ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) by the word LORD (printed in small capitals). An exception to this is when the Hebrew word ’adonay appears together with YHWH, in which case the two words are rendered together as “the Lord [in lowercase] GOD [in small capitals].” In contrast to the personal name for God (YHWH), the more general name for God in Old Testament Hebrew is ’elohim and its related forms of ’el or ’eloah, all of which are normally translated “God” (in lowercase letters). The use of these different ways to translate the Hebrew words for God is especially beneficial to English readers, enabling them to see and understand the different ways that the personal name and the general name for God are both used to refer to the One True God of the Old Testament.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 64) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 3)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

Ken Gentry wrote a great article outlining historical support for Theonomy in three different areas:

  • Theonomy in the PCA
  • The Meaning of ‘General Equity’ in the Standards
  • The Records of the New Haven Colony (1641-1644)

Ken’s article, ‘Theonomic Ethics and the Westminster Confession’ can be found here.

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The previous post in this series can be found here.

Proper Theocentric Gospel Invitations

I continue to hear gospel invitations that just make me ill. How many times a week do you hear:

  • Accept Jesus
  • Let Jesus into your heart
  • Allow Jesus in

Is that what the early church said? Let’s survey Acts and see what was actually said:

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:37-38 – ESV

18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,

Acts 3:18-20 – ESV

18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”

Acts 8:18-23 – ESV

27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Acts 16:27-31 – ESV

In the Acts passages, I see a complete lack of the nauseating “accept”/”let Him in” language that permeates the American church. Why is this such a big deal?

  • It is God that has commanded that men should repent and believe. We’re not letting Him in, He’s letting us in.
  • Using “repent” makes sin a salvation issue. “Accept” makes nothing an issue.
  • We’re not trying to smooth over the terms of salvation. People must come to terms with Christ or they haven’t had a real salvation experience.

Reforming the Church's Understanding of the OT (Post 63) – Historically the Church has Upheld the Use of the Law (Part 2)

In the previous series of blog posts, we established that the New Testament authors assumed the Law’s continuance and thought deeply about the Law as evidenced by the multitude of quotes and references. Beyond evidence in the New Testament, what do we find in the history of the church?

Westminster Confession of faith

The previous post contained direct citations from the Westminster Confession of Faith’s support of the law. What did those involved with the WCoF say about the law? Greg Bahnsen writes:

One of the commissioners to the Westminster Assembly was Samuel Bolton, a reverent Reformed scholar who was disturbed by the claims being made in his day by those called “antinomians” (those who were against the law of God as a rule of obedience, on the alleged ground of God’s free grace in the New Testament). In 1645, while the Westminster Assembly was still at work, Bolton published a treatise entitled, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom. In it he laid out argument upon argument from Scripture to prove that we are not free today from the moral obligations of the law of God and that the law was compatible with God’s grace. The thrust of Bolton’s treatise is summarized in these words from it: “We cry down the law in respect of justification, but we set it up as a rule of sanctification. The law sends us to the Gospel that we may be justified; and the Gospel sends us to the law again to inquire what is our duty as those who are justified.”

Speaking of Matthew 5:17–18, Bolton said, “this seems to be very full and very plain for the continuance of and obligation to the law,” and he went on to buttress his observation by appeal to Romans 3:31; 7:12, 22, 25; James 2:8; and 1 John 2:4; 3:4. “Therefore, since Christ, who is the best expounder of the law, so largely strengthens and confirms the law (witness the Sermon on the Mount, and also Mark 10:19); since faith does not supplant, but strengthens the law; since the apostle so often presses and urges the duties commanded in the law of God in his mind, and that he was under the law of Christ (1 Cor. 9:21); I may rightly conclude that the law, for the substance of it, still remains a rule of life to the people of God.… If Christ and His apostles commanded the same things which the law required, and forbade and condemned the same things which the law forbade and condemned, then they did not abrogate it but strengthened and confirmed it. And this is what they did: see Matt. 5:19.… But he that breaks the law does sin, as- says the apostle: ‘Sin is the transgression of the law’ (1 John 3:4), and ‘Where no law is there is no transgression’ (Rom. 4:15). Therefore Christians are bound, if they would avoid sin, to obey the law.”

http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/docs/a_pdfs/newslet/bahnsen/8006.pdf

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Is the Gospel Something You Believe or is it Something You Do?

In the last week, I saw a prominent member of a leading Reformed seminary tweet something to effect that the gospel is something that you believe and not something that you do. The tweet also referenced Michael Horton from The White Horse Inn who is also a loud proponent of the “believe not do” position.

So, which is it? Is the gospel something you believe? Is it something you do? Which is it? I submit to you that the question is a false conundrum. It’s both!

What is at the root of the question is blatant antinomianism. Plain and simple. To be fair, the folks that want to separate “believing” and “doing” are zealous to preserve “sola fide” (by faith alone). In other words, we believe that justification is on the basis of Christ’s merit and nothing else. Is that the sole consideration though? Where this goes off the rails is failing to speak to sanctification as well. Does God’s law-word play a part in my sanctification?

I saw someone reply to the tweet citing 2 Thes 1:8 (italics added for emphasis):

when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

2 Thes 1:8 – ESV

I admit that this text also immediately popped into my head when I read the tweet. It’s not really a text that speaks to antinomianism though. Paul is simply saying here that those who reject the gospel are not obeying the gospel. God commands that all repent and believe. If you reject God’s demand, you’re not obeying the gospel.

So, that text aside, does the Bible speak to the antinomian issue? It surely does.

6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

1 John 1:6 – ESV

3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked

1 John 2:3-6 – ESV

9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

1 John 2:9 – ESV

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:15 – ESV

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

1 John 2:19 – ESV

29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

1 John 2:29 – ESV

2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning

1 John 3:2-8 – ESV

9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

1 John 3:9-10 – ESV

I’m going to stop citing texts from 1 John. There are more texts from 1 John that could be considered. 1 John is really, really tough on the antinomian “believe not do” crowd.

So, let’s be cautious about making broad statements about the gospel itself when we are thinking of justification instead. This is not a small issue. The American church has been totally weaned off of the Old Testament – God’s law-word – and craves the “believe not do” mindset. This further bolsters their opinion that they can do anything they want – including not even read their Bible. If that’s your mindset, re-read the 1 John citations above and tremble at the prospect of the final judgment.