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August 30, 2013

TISCIONE: The rule of law

By LOU TISCIONE

The giving of the law and God’s ordination of civil authority are two blessings of God that intersect each other.

The blessing of the law is stated in Deuteronomy 11:26-28. It was given to the Church of the Old Testament.

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.”

The Apostle Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia, “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions…” (Galatians 3:19)

He called believers to “walk by the Spirit,” (Galatians 5:16). Believers live by the Spirit by applying the word of God in their lives. 

He later wrote to the church in Rome, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad …” (Romans 13:3)

He reminded the members of the church that God is the one who ordains all authority. Those who are in authority are His ministers for the good and welfare of all people.

In Deuteronomy 11:26-28 and Galatians 3:19 the focus is on the Law of God, which is the word of God and, more precisely, the Ten Commandments.

In Romans, Paul was referring to civil authority and by implication civil laws. God is the one who ordains all civil authority. God’s purpose is to provide for an ordered society. Those who are governmental officers are God’s ministers for the good of all. They are charged with keeping order so as to promote good. As God is the source of all that is good, civil authorities and civil laws are subordinate to God’s law.

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