Of the Law of God.
Chapter 19, Paragraph 1.
“God gave to Adam a Law of universal obedience written in his Heart, and a particular precept of not eating the Fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; by which he bound him, and all his posterity to personal entire exact and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.”
Rules. Regulations. Do’s and don’ts. Not something many people enjoy. Not something many Christians like to study. Why learn about God’s law anyway? Aren’t we saved by grace? Aren’t we simply told to love God and love our neighbor?
Knowing about God’s law and its role in the life of the believer is crucial to understanding just what loving God and loving our neighbor looks like. Understanding what was broken in the Garden, and what is broken today, helps us to see just how much we need God’s grace. Through understanding what God’s law actually is, we steer clear of putting demands on others that God does not require. Knowing what delights Him aids us as we grow in sanctification.
To understand the law of God, we need to revisit Adam in the Garden. When Adam was created, he had knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. The law of God was written on his heart. What does that mean? It means that there were commands of God that were intrinsic to Adam’s nature. Adam originally did good because those good works flowed from the law of God written upon his heart. He knew what God required of him, and had the ability to fulfill those requirements.
However, God gave Adam a command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This specific command Adam would not have known, since it was not part of the law written upon his heart. This is why in the Confession the command not to eat is called a particular precept. It was specifically charged to Adam to obey at that time in history. Through Adam’s obedience to the universal law and the particular precept, he and his posterity would enjoy life, but if disobeyed would bring death. This universal law as well as the specific precept was to be kept not only by him but also his descendants, completely and exactly, forever.
We all know the result. Adam and Eve ate the fruit, disobeying God’s specific command. The law written on their hearts was blurred and smudged due to their transgression. All mankind born of ordinary generation inherit this corruption and blurry knowledge of the law of God.
Questions to Consider
- What law of God is binding upon all mankind?