The Universality of God’s Law

It is put forth by false systems of theology that God’s law is only for Israel, or some say only for the church, but they do not say it as the Bible says it—that God’s law is the universal standard for all mankind. This is important because part of the good news is that the law will finally and ultimately reach the coastlands. Isaiah says,

Isaiah 2:3–5 ESV “and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.”

and

Isaiah 42:4 ESV “He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.”

So, it is no wonder that in the great commission that we read that on the basis of Christ’s universal authority on heaven and on earth that after people are made disciples and baptized they will be taught to obey all that Christ has commanded them (Matthew 28:18–20).

Bahnsen and Gentry write,

Unlike many modern Christian writers on ethics, God did not have a double standard of morality, one for Israel and one for the Gentiles (cf. Lev. 24:22). Accordingly, God made it clear that the reason why the Palestinian tribes were rejected from the land was precisely because they had violated the provisions of His holy law (Lev. 18:24–27). This fact presupposes that the Gentiles were antecedently obligated to obey those provisions. Accordingly, the Psalmist condemned “all the wicked of the earth” for departing from God’s statutes (119:118–119). Accordingly, the book of Proverbs, intended as international wisdom literature, directs all nations to obey the laws of God: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (14:34).1

There is therefore a continuity in the law throughout the Bible and all of history. It does not change. And Jesus does not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. That which mankind fell short of—the glory of God in all his beauty including his holy character for which the law does communicate—Christ came to fulfill both in penalty for our sins and power for our living holy. So, we don’t read anywhere that Christ came to set up a different law, nor to remove the law, but that he came to fulfill the law. We don’t read anywhere that Christ changed the standard of God, nor do we read anywhere that Christ made different standards for the church and the world. Rather, we read that the abiding universal standard for righteousness was and is the law of God. And thus to lead us to Christ and in calvinistic thinking to guide us in the way of gratitude and blessing.

R.J. Rushdoony observed in seven years ministering to Indians in the United States that the Indian lost faith in the Indian religion as well as in the white man’s religion (as it was called). The Christianity that was offered to replace their religion appeared no better than their own because it really changed no one nor required nothing of change. This is the cause of Rushdoony’s helpful contribution that there was no respect for the Christian message until it actually did something and changed lives. The civil government of our nation sought to do too much by micro-socialism that led to the Indian forgetting how to hunt, fight, work, etc. And thus they went toward alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and became derelicts in their society. They needed a gospel that would change them to become what God’s created them to be. God’s standard is a means of sanctification, and we dare not forget that or we will become quite the same as the Indian reservations in our nation and be unable to help them either.

The universality of God’s law really matters. I recall early in my Christian faith a Bible teacher in my church who got on to some teaching about so-called “grace” that removed the definition of law as a way to sanctify our lives. He no sooner fell for that teaching of cheap grace as he did wreck his marriage and his ministry. A grace that does not lead to obedience to Christ is no grace at all. And it is the same for all through all times. Our mission to reach the nations is one to also bring the law to these nations so they can fulfill the dominion mandate, which is the great commission in seed. What I mean is that the great commission is basically a republication of God’s original commission to mankind. He is to fill the earth and take dominion over all creatures. Those who veer from this create all kinds of false teachings about the Old Testament Scriptures. They will speak in terms of it being insufficient, and will exalt discontinuity to the extent that they will become Marcion heretics.2 No matter, there is not discontinuity, but rather an upward trajectory of fulfillment from Genesis leading up to Revelation 22. And the world is our Father God’s world, and it is Satan who has ruined it anywhere. The good news is that this will be undone, and one day the peoples throughout the world will no longer believe a lie, but commit themselves to obedience to God’s truth. Humanism will ultimately fall, and God will be all in all (1 Cor 15:25–28). The labor of the church will not be in vain (1 Cor. 15:56–58).

1

A House Divided, The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology, p.39.

2

Marcion is reportedly the first heretic of the early church who said God was different in the Old Testament than the New Testament. He eventually created his own “denomination” and canon of the Bible that removed the Old Testament and just kept the new (and even rejected some of those books as well).