Of the Law of God.
Chapter 19, Paragraph 4.
“To them also he gave sundry judicial Laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution; their general equity only, being of moral use.”
1 Corinthians 9:8-10
With all the laws that God gave to the people of Israel, we can see three categories: moral, ceremonial, and judicial or civil. The moral law was codified in the Ten Commandments, and is the law that is all people know intrinsically, although their knowledge is faulty due to the Fall. The ceremonial laws regulated the worship of Israel. When Christ came, He abrogated those laws, as they were types that pointed to Him. The final category of laws given to Israel are civil laws. Are they to be obeyed today?
The civil laws are those laws given to govern the nation of Israel in everyday occurrences. Disputes over property, punishment for crimes, and other applications of justice were among these laws. When Israel ceased being a nation, those laws ceased with them. No longer does stoning have to be a punishment, or cities specifically set aside for rash murderers avoiding revenge. Other nations are not expressly set up by God, and thus do not need to follow Israel’s laws to the letter.
While not applicable for other nations, the civil laws given to Israel serve a moral use to Christians today. Through them, we see principles that we can apply to our own situations. How do we deal with our neighbor? What is our obligation when we damage someone’s property? The action taken may be different than what the law to Israel specified, but the spirit of the law is implemented in our response to the modern-day situation.
Questions to Consider
- Can you take a civil law given to Israel and see how the general equity can apply to yourself?