Are non-Chrisians obligated to follow God's Law?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by shackleton, Jul 23, 2008.

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  1. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    This is inspired by the McDonald's restaurant business and similar actions by other restaurants.

    Since these companies are not Christian's or run by them should they be expected to obey God's Law and run their companies accordingly?

    Or since God gave commands to Adam and we are all descendants of him are we all obligated to obey God whether we want to or not? Is all of mankind responsible to obey God like it says in Romans 1? The Laws apply to everyone since we were put here by God and have responsibilities even in light of the fall?
  2. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    All mankind is not only obligated to obey Gods law, they are all obligated to worship him.

    In the end they all do.
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Yes, all creation is bound to obey their Creator's Law.

    God's wrath is coming upon all who disobey Him and do not have the perfect obedience that Christ alone affords. One day He will judge all men righteously by the standard of their obedience to His Law.
  4. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    But with a few caveats. A case in point is that you can't eat road kill but you can sell it to the heathen. There are other examples of laws which only apply to believers. Although I guess the point could be made that if those specific laws were done away with, the whole world is under the same law. Can't think of any NT examples off the top.
  5. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate

    :2cents: We should expect them to act according to their nature.

    Romans 8:7
    Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
  6. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    If our obeying Gods laws requires evangelical obedience, do you think pagans are going to obey them? Isn t that the purpose of Gods decretive authority? He has declared that all rulers are corrupted and are under sin. When they die , they are forgotten. Only God is perfectly able to work justice and equity through His promises and decrees , in spite of corrupted man. We have no other option but to bow down and kiss the Son.
  7. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    There are three uses of the law (not two), one of which is to govern society, and to reign in the wickedness of the unregenerate.

    V. The moral law does forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. Neither does Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

    VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience.

    Note, regenerate and unregenerate are to obey the Law of God, and to deny this is to deny "the authority of God the Creator, who gave it".

    It is hard for me to fathom how this could even be an issue for anyone even moderately committed to the Westminster Standards.

  8. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes i agree, but there is a difference between a law and a scheme. Its Gods law that is perfect. God examines every authority under the sun, and He doesnt need man to carry out the law in order to punish the wicked. First because every man is already facing punishment for sin. And God can easily see man slip that slippery slope into hell in order to make things equal. God also protects his children from mens oppressive rule. He doesnt need man to carry out his justice. God metes out retribution every day. And all though He is loving and His anger is withholding mostly yet men can be defined in a way that they would incur Gods retributive justice. But His own children only see his protection by covenant. Since we are still sinners then justification by faith is in that protection on this side of heaven. Read Calvin on the psalms.
  9. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate

    I am fully aware of the three uses of the law. I do not deny the authority of God the creator. You are making far too much of my simple comment. My comment does not dismiss the obligation of the unregenerate, but is simply acknowledgment of the fact as heathen, they will act according to their nature, not according to God's law. As Jeremiah says, The Eithiopian cannot chnge the color of his skin, nor can the leapoard change his spots, so then, those who are accustomed to doing evil can not do that which is good.

    Indeed, in the judgment God will hold them accountible for not keeping His law, and this be their condemnation.

    But, for the time being, no--I do not expect the heathen to act in any other way than as heathen, apart from the saving grace of God in their lives. WE can not legislate holiness. That is God's work!
  10. Anton Bruckner

    Anton Bruckner Puritan Board Professor

    :up::up: I might add, "In Spirit and in Truth".
  11. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Indeed, we cannot legislate holiness, and this is the work of God. But this is not what the third use of the law refers to.

    We can and must legislate morality, or our society will fall to pieces. This is why the magistrate is bound to the moral law as his guiding light, and the judicial law's marrow to meet out punishments. Without these, wickedness runs openly in the streets. With these, wickedness is driven back into the shadows:

    To those who help in Christ have found
    And would in works of love abound
    It shows what deeds are His delight
    And should be done as good and right.

    When men the offered help disdain
    And willfully in sin remain,
    Its terror in their ear resounds
    And keeps their wickedness in bounds.

    If we strip the law of its civil terrors and say "oh well, they're unbelievers" then wickedness triumphs in society, and sodomites demand the "right to marry". The church has done this to us.


  12. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    "they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience."

    This is how we are to pray and long for and see as the only hope for our twisted society and church. Kiss the Son lest He be angry and you be taken out of the way.
  13. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree. The civil magistrate is ordained by God to uphold the law in society. I do not seek to strip the law of its civil terrors, nor do I say "oh well, they're unbelievers" with the intent of excusing the wicked.

    My point was simply that I, personally, am not suprised when the heathen act as heathens and violate God's Laws.
  14. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree, i dont think our attitude should be the lowest common denominator.But we should see ourselves as sinners first and then see how these workings are connected in society even in an oppressive magistrate and pray accordingly. If we are caught in these schemes then , we are to always be having God as our shield and help since He makes all of these twisted schemes turn for our good. We really need to feel according to what we know by our wisdom in these matters. Or we will just end up being a pawn.
  15. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Thank you for correcting my misunderstanding! At first, I took your meaning to be contrary to what you have stated.


  16. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate

    No problem. Glad we got that cleared up! :handshake:
  17. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    Letting the world govern themselves, so to speak, is similar to the Dispensational notion that the world is going to hell anyway so why polish brass on a sinking ship? If we live with the notion that we are going to be around here for awhile we will fight to keep as much morality in culture as possible.
  18. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    You have, perhaps, put your finger on the key issue: eschatology.

  19. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    What about issues of the will? The unsaved are in bondage to follow the things that displease God. Read Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and for a modern take Sproul. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, the inclination to evil is the direction they will take.:2cents:
  20. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior

    All of mankind is responsible to the standard of perfection before the Father, and will be held accountable for it. So, they all fall under that idea that some called natural law. The rewriting of the natural law into a law designed to run God's chosen nation of Israel was for Israel and Israel alone. Moses did not apply this law, with all of it's ceremonies and sacrifices, to other nations surrounding him. Others were not circumcised and told to sacrifice and tithe unless they wanted to become converts and placed under the banner of God's nation. Now, we come to wonder what we are to do today, as we find no longer a nation on the earth that is God's nation. So, we are back to studying situations like Abraham, Lot, and David when he lived with the Philistines, to draw our examples from for what to do. Abraham and Lot did not strive with great effort to make the nations in which they sojourned become Godly nations, and neither did David when he lived under the banner of the Philistines. Rather, they subjected themselves to the normal laws that were already in place there, so long as it did not compromise their personal submission to God's ways and standard of holiness. I'm sure that had a vote been given to any of them while they were under the kings of other nations, they would have encouraged them towards laws that reflected godliness. And they would be like Lot, who, when the situation was pressed upon him, encouraged the men towards godliness by pointing out to those who came to his door to not do this great evil by having relations with those he took in. And, so should we.

    So, if I am driven to be a politician in the country in which I live, I will be the strongest advocate for laws that reflect the holiness and godliness, and as a citizen, I will strive to exemplify holiness and godliness as well. And, when encountered and pressed upon by the sinfulness of others, I will encourage them to not do evil. But, if the current law of that country allows for things like the McDonald's situation, then I cannot do anything to alter that except to become a politician and work to influence the leaders to make better decisions. I don't think Lot was walking around Sodom and Gomorrah with picket signs encouraging the boycotting of places where homosexuality was being practiced. And, I don't think David did the same in the Philistine land around the places where they practiced the worship of other gods. But, each must be true to his calling. So, in short,.......yes, all are required to submit to the standard of holiness and godliness. That's my opinion for now.
  21. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    My friend, it is not about being required, it is about ability, how can an unsaved man be Holy outside of Salvation?:detective:
  22. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Don't take one side of Calvin, Luther and Augustine without the other side. They saw this as true, what you are saying, but we're not talking about changing people's hearts. We're talking about striking fear into the hearts of those who would do evil (Romans 13).

    Let's be clear that the thread asked if unbelievers are to be required to obey God's law. Calvin, Luther and Augustine, along with Scripture and our Confession, give a resounding "YES!"


  23. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry brother,.......I didn't see your post until after I posted mine. I was trying to respond to what I think was in the OP. But, I agree with you. The unsaved have zero ability to be holy!

  24. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate


    Here is the point our earlier misunderstanding.

    The original post asked:
    Certainly God requires their obedience. An obedience which they can not and will not give apart from His grace and enabling. Thus, apart from that gracious work of God, we should not expect the heathen to run their companies according to God's Law.
  25. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    Exactly what I was driving at, I once asked a Pastor how certain people could conduct themselves in such evil matters, the response was a simple: "They are NOT Regenerated! A heathen will act like a heathen without the Grace of the Holy Spirit." You can talk to them about obeying God's Holy Law, they will laugh in your face. The Commandments mean nothing to them outside of Regeneration. Why would they care if they are in depravity (and worse) like it that way?
  26. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    This is not the case. There were unregenerate people in the 1830's. Yet a woman could travel alone for several weeks and not expect to be rapted, beaten, murdered etc. You can see this documented in DeToqueville.

    What's the difference today? 1. The church has not required and expected the civil magistrate to enforce God's law against all offenders. And guess what? 2. He hasn't. producing 3. The mess we have today.

    Basically, the difference is eschatology. I believe all nations will become Christ's disciples before Christ returns. The kingdom of Satan will be destroyed, the fullness of the nations called, the Jews re-called, and ourselves and all others converted. Thus, I see hope in working toward a Christian society. If you don't think this will happen, then we say we don't expect to see things change; even for the unregenerate. I do. As God's special and common grace become fuller and fuller on the earth.


  27. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    I guess part two would be, if God requires their obedience, even though in their falleness they cannot obey, were does that leave us in these matters of their disobedience? As Christ's body and as the salt and light of the world how are we to go about seeing that the world is not overrun with ungodliness, because even in spite of their sin it should be their responsibility to obey God?

    Just because ought does not equate to ability does not mean lack of ability leads to lack of responsibility and being able to do whatever one wants and hide under their lack of ability.

    In other words, just because they cannot obey does not take away their responsibility to obey. I am assuming they will still be accountable to God for their actions. The other nations may not have been under the sacrificial systems of the Jews but they were still dieing which proved they were just as guilty as the Jews.

    Paul in Romans talks about everyone dieing even before the Law was given, proving all are guilty, because death proves guilt. The Law was given to point out that guilt, the sacrifices were given to teach them what to do about that guilt and thus lead them to Christ. The heathens did not know about that system but that did not make them less responsible. Paul talks about the things that were overlooked under the old covenant will not be overlooked in the new covenant. It seems to say, they no longer have the excuse of not hearing.

    I hope that makes sense...
  28. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Even more, God dispossessed and judged the Canaanites for specific levels of sin. The land vomited them out:

    Leviticus 18:24-26 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:

    The sins for which God judged the Amorites were sexual and religious: forbidden degrees of consanguinity, adultery, sodomy, bestiality and blasphemy. In Abraham's day "the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full". By the days of Moses, they were, and therefore God came to execute them by the hand of Israel.

    All that to say, not only does God require and expect obedience to His laws from total pagans, He also has instituted enforcement mechanisms to ensure that this takes place.

    A helpful distinction needs to be made as well. Total depravity, or man's sin nature, does not mean absolute depravity. Just because a man is always defiled in God's courtroom DOES NOT mean that he is always guilty in man's courtroom. The "obedience" of the heathen does not concern inward attitudes of the heart (the gospel is what deals with this). What I'm talking about is external compliance with civil laws. They are TWO totally separate issues, and I think they have been confused in this thread. The question is: should businesses be expected to / required to obey God's law. Yes. Because if we fail to keep their wickedness in bounds, we will be taken down in judgment with them. More than this, the House of God will partake of the judgment first.


  29. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    This is again not true. Ungodly men are created in the image of God. If the church refuses to demand that God's law be enforced on all men, then YES, they will begin to mock God's law and refuse to obey. However, once the gospel infuses the society to which it comes, men are no longer allowed to mock God's law. They may do so in their hearts, but when they run their businesses, and social lives in accordance with divine law. If they don't, they will find that their lives and their goods may be at stake. This, my friend, will silence their mockery, if even in public. This will drive the bestialist back into the closet, rather than him pushing for a constitutional right.

    Why are the wicked so bold? Because the church has refused to take public sin seriously. "Oh well, boys will be boys". This is likewise related to views on covenant, old testament law, and eschatology.


  30. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    Yes. Non-Christians are obliged to follow God's Law.

    God's law is the rule which they are held accountable to, and the reason it was necessary for there to be a Christ and, therefore, non-Christians who have no Christ.

    If non-Christians were not obliged to follow the law, there would logically be a universalism present in death, because non-Christians would be guilty of nothing, and Christians would be guilty but paid for.

    Moreover, Christ's death would be pointless if non-Christians weren't obliged to follow the Law, because prior to God converting us, we are all non-Christians, and we would therefore have already been debt-free. In converting us, God would be simultaneously incurring a debt on our behalf and paying it, all in the same instant, to put us in the place we were prior to our conversion.

    To espouse such a thing is nonsense and it turns Christianity on its head.
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