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August 30, 2013

TISCIONE: The rule of law


The Bible declared a situation in which there was a conflict between God’s law and man’s law. When the leaders of Israel commanded the Apostles to cease preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Peter and John responded, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

To help understand the importance of the law and law in general there are, what the Protestant Reformers called, three uses of the law as they are revealed in scripture. The first use of the law is to point to man’s hopelessness and his desperate need for a savior. The second use of the law is to restrain men who are untouched by any care for what is just and right unless compelled by hearing the dire threats in the law. The third use of the law is to guide the life of a believer in pleasing God.

These descriptions of the three uses of the law have been paraphrased from Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, book 2, chapter 7, sections 9-10. John Calvin articulated what the Bible teaches concerning the law in Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 11:26-28, Galatians 3 and 5 and Romans 13.

The intersection of the blessing of the law and civil authority is the second use of the law. It is the means given by God to put bounds around sinful mankind. It is this use of the law that is the foundation of every society.

It is accurate to say, “All truth is God’s truth,” especially when speaking of the rule of law. We are experiencing the disregard of law by duly elected members of our government. We read about our executive branch ignoring laws enacted by our legislative branch of government. 

Apparently we have laws that don’t apply to all. Those who have been charged by the people to execute and enforce our laws only do so selectively. This makes for a dangerous time.

May we once again understand that it is because of God’s blessing of law that we will be able to guard those rights that He has given all men: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).

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