Question 91: What is the duty which God requireth of man? The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to his revealed will.
Behind the Law stands God, the source of that Law, whose character is reflected in that Law....because God is God He has the right to command whatever He will of His creatures. (515-516)
"The moral Law in man is a copy of the Divine nature, and what God wills in the moral Law is so “consonant to that eternall justice and goodness in Himself,” that any supposed abrogation of that Law would mean that God would “deny
His own justice and goodnesse” [Burgess]. “To find fault with the Law, were to find fault with God” [Venning], for “the original draft is in God himself” [Manton]."
4. Kevan, The Grace of Law, 63, partially in quotation of Burgess, Venning, and Manton. (516)
Our obligation to obey God is rooted in our creaturehood before our Creator: “O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Ps. 95:6). However, our obligation is intensified, not lessened, by virtue of our redemption in Christ by grace, because “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required” (Lk. 12:48). Having been bought with the price of Christ’s precious blood, we are not our own, therefore we are now to glorify God in the entirety of our lives (1 Cor. 6:20). (517)
The will of God is one, and yet the Bible teaches us to distinguish between the secret things in that will and the things revealed, therefore we speak of the secret will of God and the revealed will of God, always conscious of the fact that we are not speaking of two wills, but of revealed distinctions in God’s will. God’s “revealed
will” is that which prescribes WHAT WE SHOULD DO (Matt. 7:21; 12:50; John 4:34; 7:17; Rom. 12:2); and God’s “secret will” is that which declares WHAT GOD WILL DO, or WHAT GOD HAS DECREED (Ps. 115:3; Dan. 4:17, 25, 32, 35; Rom. 9:18, 19; Eph. 1:5, 9, 11; Rev. 4:11)....This “expressed will” is the moral law of God which is to be our rule of life forever. (517-518)
In no way are God’s secret will and His revealed will working against each other or in opposition to each other. They are two harmonious aspects of the will of God. (518)
Those who are recipients of God’s mercy in Jesus Christ are urged to present [their] bodies a living and holy sacrifice to God. Obedience in behavior means nothing without this presentation of our bodies to God, i.e., everything we are inside and out—the whole person—must be devoted to the God of mercy and to His service. (520)
“It is a body alive from the dead that the believer is to present, alive from the dead because the body of sin has been destroyed.… It is possible that the word “living” also reflects on the permanence of this offering, that it must be a constant dedication.” 8. Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 2:111. (521)
Our devotion an obedience do not begin with behavior, but with the very center of
our consciousness. (522)
"He has told you, O man, what is good,” i.e., what the Lord requires of you, [Micah] 6:8. (524)
The central point here is that man knows for certain what God requires of Him, he knows the good he is to do and the evil he is to avoid, because God has told him, i.e., He has revealed in His written Word what He requires of man, what is good, and what His will is for us to follow. What has God told us to do?
First, He has told us to “do justice.” The Hebrew word here is mishpat, “to judge.” To judge, or to do justice is an activity of discrimination and vindication. It is the process of discerning between right and wrong, condemning what is wrong and obeying and vindicating what is right. More specifically, since the judgment is God’s
(Deut. 1:17), the standard by which we distinguish between good and evil and identify what is required of us is in what He has revealed, i.e., in the Biblical revelation. ...
Second, He has told us to “love kindness.”...We are not only to be kind, show mercy, and be faithful, but we are to love to be kind, to show mercy and be faithful, so as to take pleasure and delight in it. And it is kindness (chesed) that we are to love. ...
The Hebrew word chesed is one of the most important words in the Old Testament, translated a variety of ways into English: kindness, mercy, love, lovingkindness, loyalty, righteousness, faithfulness, devotion. It denotes “loving covenant-bond loyalty and faithfulness.” ....
Third, He has told us to “walk humbly with [our] God.”...We walk with Him not so that He might be our God, but we walk with Him because He is our God by grace through faith....To walk with God humbly is to walk with Him submissively and obediently, recognizing His glorious majesty and beautiful holiness, and our depravity and wretchedness and need of His Son as our Savior. (524-527)
God-honoring moral conduct is more than correct ceremonial form. It is futile to attempt to rely on rituals and sacrifices when what God requires of us is obedience to His revealed will. (528)
Because the Law of God originates with a rational God, that Law is rational and reasonable, although fallen man, unaided by revelation, cannot discover or submit to it—because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for “it does not subject itself to the Law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Rom. 8:7). (531)
Human beings not only stand in accountability before God’s Law, they have an inner moral awareness that they so stand before that Law. This is saying more than the fact that human beings are created self-conscious beings. In addition to self-consciousness and rationality, human beings were created as recipients of the revelation of the moral relation in which they stood. They were given a
conscience.....That Law was “engraved,” “imprinted,” “written,” as an “inscription” on their hearts. (531)
All human beings since Adam possess a conscience that condemns them when they go against it and defends them when they follow it, because the work of the Law [is] written in their hearts. “Man’s inherent sense of right and wrong, [although blurred by sin and suppressed by him in unrighteousness], is due to the fact that
he cannot escape the claims of the Law of God [written in his conscience].” 27. G. I. Williamson, The Westminster Confession of Faith For Study Classes (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1964), 138. (532)
"There is therefore a two-fold writing in the hearts of men; the first, of knowledge and judgment, whereby they apprehend what is good and bad: the second is in will and affections, by giving a propensity and delight, with some measure of strength, to do this upon good grounds." 29. Anthony Burgess, quoted in Kevan, The Grace of Law, 59. (532)
God revealed His Law to Adam. He spoke the creation mandates to him, and He inscribed His Law on his conscience. If, as Romans 2:14–15 teaches, human beings after the fall have the work of God’s Law written on their consciences, how much more clearly and perfectly would unfallen Adam have that Law written on his
...according to the Confession, the Law God gave Adam was the Law of the Ten Commandments, later published in stone. (533)
This Law given to Adam, in its moral demands, has never been abrogated and stands for all people everywhere as summarized in the Ten Commandments. (534)