The rest of the chapter then, springboards off LC questions 96 and 97.
Ninty-six first: What particular use is there of the moral law to unregenerate man?
A.: The moral law is of use to unregenerate men, to awaken their consciences to flee from the wrath to come, and to drive them to Christ; or, upon their continuance in the estate and way of sin, to leave them inexcusable, and under the curse thereof.
Dr. Morecraft first identifies the unregenerate for us:
The unregenerate are those unbelieving people who are still in rebellion against God, dead in their trespasses and sins, who have not been born of God (John 1:13), and to whom the Holy Spirit has not applied the benefits of redemption. (587-588)
The Law of God is used by the Holy Spirit in the lives of unregenerate (but elect) people convicting them of their sin and misery, awakening their conscience to flee from the wrath of God by repentance and faith in Christ, giving them the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of (their) sins,
as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, moving them to apprehend God’s mercy in Christ and to grieve for and hate their sins as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavouring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments (WCF, XV, ii). (588)
When the Holy Spirit convicts unregenerate (but elect) people, he awakens their consciences to the profound awareness of their necessity to flee from the wrath of God which abides on their sin. He convinces them that: (1) The Law of God is good; (2) The Law must be used for the purpose for which it was intended, i.e., to condemn our sin and drive us to Christ; (3) When the Law is used properly it condemns us for our specific transgressions against the Ten Commandments and against “whatever else is contrary to sound teaching;” (4) It condemns us for our unbelief in “the glorious gospel of the blessed God,” which unbelief is inexcusable disobedience to God’s command (588-589)
Two words in the Catechism’s statement must be clearly understood, when it tells us that in unregenerate people the use of the Law of God is to awaken their consciences to flee from wrath to come…
First, the word consciences. God has placed a conscience in all human beings (Rom. 2:15) with “the work of the Law written in their hearts,” to which that conscience bears witness, “and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending themselves.” The conscience functions as a Law, prescribing the path of duty, and as
a Judge, in pronouncing sentences against transgressions, “a conscience which impresses every man with a sense of right and wrong, and which often visits the sinner with the inward pangs of conviction and remorse.” 105
However, the conscience, while it serves many beneficial purposes, is not sufficient in its present condition, corrupted by sin, to awaken the heart and soul of a person to a full sense of his true condition before God, although it is able to render that person responsible to God as his Judge. The reasons the conscience cannot awaken the soul of a person to a due sense of his own depravity are: (1) The conscience has been affected, as has every other human faculty, by the ruinous and degenerative effects of man’s fall into sin; and the spiritual blindness and darkness caused by sin prevents the conscience from seeing its own moral corruption. (2) The tendency of habitual sin to sear and deaden the conscience, whereby the conscience becomes weaker as sin grows stronger in a person, until the sinner may arrive at the point of depravity at which God gives him over to a reprobate mind. (3) It is most difficult to focus the human mind on any proper consideration of the wickedness and danger of sin. Hence the sinner’s conscience needs
to be, not only convicted, but enlightened and awakened from its spiritual darkness and sleep of spiritual death in sin.
Second, we need to understand the Catechism’s use of the word awaken....He awakens the unconverted to the EVIL of his sinful state and to the DANGER the sinner is in because of his sin, therefore, it is really an awakening to sin itself, as well as to the danger of sin.
105 James Buchanan, The Holy Spirit (London: The Banner of Truth Trust,  1966), 59. (589-590)
Conviction of sin by the Law in the power of the Spirit has good results when it incites those who experience this conviction to flee from the wrath of God their sins deserve to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, their only refuge from the wrath of God, resting in Him alone for salvation. (594)
"Whenever the preaching of the law is positively objected to, and the preaching of the gospel is proposed in its place, it will be found that the “gospel” means that good-nature and that easy virtue which some mortals dare to attribute to the Holy
and Immaculate Godhead! He who really, and in good faith, preaches the Cross, never opposes the preaching of the law." 112 W. G. T. Shedd, Sermons to the Natural Man (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1886), vii. (598)
Those people who continue in their unbelief, impenitency and rebellion against God are completely inexcusable for all their sinful thoughts and actions, and if they die in that condition their judgment will be just because it is deserved. (598-599)
Romans 1:18–32 tells us that persistent rebels against God are all inexcusable for their sinful way of life. (1) They deliberately are working to suppress what they know is true in unrighteousness, to deceive themselves into believing that they do not believe what they do believe. (2) The will and glory of God are clearly evident in their conscience and very constitution as human beings made in the image of God. (3) The glory of God is clearly and unmistakably revealed in every atom of this universe, so that if a person does not see it or understand it through this creation, he is “without excuse.” (4) Although the unbeliever “knows” God, he suppresses what he knows to be true so as not to “honor Him as God or give thanks.” (5) All human beings have been made in the image of God with consciences that “know the ordinance of God.” (6) They also know that those who break the ordinance of God are “worthy of death.” (7) And yet they are not content to damn themselves, they want to damn others along with themselves. (599)
"We like to think of a God who blesses rather than of a God who curses. Some people have tried to escape the dilemma by pointing out that Paul writes not of the curse of God, but of “the curse of the Law” (verse 13). It is very doubtful, however, if the Biblical authors would have recognized this distinction. The Law can never be isolated from God, for the Law is God’s Law, the expression of His moral nature and will. What the Law says, God says; what the Law blesses, God blesses; and what the Law curses, God curses." 113. Stott, The Message of Galatians, 79. (600)
Jesus promised His disciples that He would send His Holy Spirit to “convict the world of sin” (John 16:8–11)....Since that time He has been active, convicting, enlightening, liberating and transforming people, and His power has not in the least diminished.
Biblical Law by itself cannot bring conviction of sin without the work of the Holy Spirit of God....The Holy Spirit takes the Law of God and opens up to us the sinful pollution of our lives, so that we may come to deep conviction, humiliation and grief for our sin, and may see our great need of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
By God’s Law, the Spirit convinces us of sin’s presence, criminality, danger and deserved consequences (Rom. 7:9–10). (601)
The awakening of the conscience to the peril of sin is the work of the Holy Spirit using the Law of God. (603)
Q. 97: What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
A.: Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified nor condemned; yet, besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to provoke them to more
thankfulness, and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience.
Once again, Dr. Morecraft begins by identifying who is spoken of:
Regenerate people are those who have been “born of God” (John 1:13), given new heart (Ezek. 36:26), passed from death to life, and who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and who are therefore believers in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. (604)
In fact, believers not only remain under the obligation to obey the Law of the Creator, as do all human beings, but their obligation is increased by God’s grace, not diminished by it. Although we are freed from the curse of the Law, we are not freed from obedience to it. Now with new hearts and the indwelling Spirit we have the desire and ability to obey God from the heart, because His Law is written
on our new hearts (Ezek. 36:26; Jer. 31:33)... (604-605)
"The moral law is to be considered in two respects, as a rule of life, and so no one is delivered from it [as such]; or as a covenant of works, in the same sense in which it was given to man in innocency [before the Fall], the condition of which was his
performing perfect obedience, in default whereof he was liable to a sentence of death. In the latter respect a believer is delivered from it." 134. Ridgeley, Commentary on the Larger Catechism, 2:304. (411-412)
The Law is the same but the Covenants differ. In the Covenant of Grace in which the believer lives, God’s Law is as lasting as God’s Grace, and the believer not only has the work of that Law written on his conscience by virtue of his creation, nor does he only have that Law “written on tablets of stone,” but he also has that Law written on his new heart by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ezek. 36:26; Jer. 31:31). (412-413)
No one can earn forgiveness of sins and acceptance with God by obeying God’s Law. Doing the right things does not “make points” with God. We are justified by faith in Christ alone and not by the works of the Law. The Law has no power to justify, only condemn when it is transgressed....Salvation is by grace through faith and not by works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8–9). (613)
Christ’s perfect obedience to the Law of God secures our release from the necessity
of personally keeping the Law as a condition of justification....His righteousness is credited to us so that we will be accepted in Him with God and no longer condemned by Him. (614-615)
 The more convicted a believer is of the remaining wretchedness of indwelling sin in him, the more he recognizes and rejoices in his total dependence upon Jesus Christ and in His active and passive obedience to God as the basis of his eternal salvation. Jesus obeyed all the “jots and tittles” of God’s Law in our place so as to credit his
life of perfect righteousness to our account with God, because all our righteousness is as filthy rags. Jesus died on the cross in our place to bear the full penalty of the Law our sins deserved, and to satisfy God’s Law and God’s justice as our Substitute and Redeemer. (616)
 Consciousness of the perfection of God’s Law and its fulfillment in Christ’s life and satisfaction in His death for all who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior moves (provokes) the believer to more thankfulness for he has greater inducements to gratitude than any other human beings. (618)
 Believers’ awareness that salvation is by sheer grace and not by the works of the Law and that they are eternally secure in Christ not only provokes intense gratitude in them, but that gratitude stirs them to greater care, greater determination, consecration, diligence and perseverance in conforming themselves—inside and outside—to God’s Law as the rule of their obedience, for when Christ became their Savior He did not cease to be their Sovereign, whom now they love with all their hearts and whose glory is the chief end of their lives....“The Law does not cease to be the Law now that the Christian has come to love it.” 144 Kevan, The Grace of Law, 217. (621)
Those who have received the saving mercy of God in Christ are enabled and motivated to present themselves in the entirety of their being to God as “a living and holy sacrifice.” In doing so they are not to be “conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of [their] mind, that [they] may prove what the will of God is.” In other words, the reception of mercy in Christ and our consciousness of being recipients of that saving mercy should motivate believers to submit to Christ out of gratitude, and to separate from the pressures to sin in this evil culture. (623)
A person thankful for God’s mercy in saving him from the condemnation of God’s Law in Christ, will continually be in the process of transforming himself in a Christian direction, in his outlook, dispositions, worldview, habits, preferences, priorities, behavior, relationships and forms of self-expression. This spiritual
and ongoing transformation grows out of the Spirit’s thorough conforming of us into the image of Christ, as God’s goal for all Christians (Rom. 8:29). (623)
The means of this continuing transformation in the believer, which are pressed on us here as a duty which we perform in the strength of God are: (1) The renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:3–8), and (2) The renewal by the Bible (Rom. 6:17). The point is that believing Bible study, put into practice, does something to us. It shapes and molds our lives and minds in more ways than we can count. (624)
Biblical Law guides our sanctification. God’s Law offers positive, infallible, and specific direc tions for Christian living. (625-626)
 Some have said that Christians should only obey the laws of the New Testament; others have said only the laws of the New Testament after the Day of Pentecost; others say only the Ten Commandments have to be obeyed in the Old Testament along with the principles of the New Testament, while others want only
nine of the Ten Commandments, excluding the Sabbath commandment as ceremonial and not moral in nature. (626)
The Christian is to take seriously all the laws of God found anywhere in the Bible. The entirety of Biblical Law is to be studied, interpreted and applied in different ways, but all of the laws of the Bible are to be taken seriously. The ceremonial laws
are to be studied to grasp their underlying gospel-principles, although, as we have seen, their literal observance is no longer obligatory for us. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of Biblical morality and Christian ethics. Every case-law, proverb, exhortation and ethical principle in the entire Bible is based on
them. The case-laws of the Old Testament, being practical applications of the Ten Commandments to every day life, are also to be included in the moral law of God to which Christians, and all mankind, today are responsible. (626-627)
This book [De Regno Christi] presents a strategy whereby human society can be genuinely Christianized by the gospel and the application of God’s Law, including the Old Testament case-laws, in the power of the Holy Spirit. It shows how Biblical Law deals with everything from the reform of the church to the reform of marketing, from the celebration of nuptials to the care of public inns. (627-628)
The general equity of the Old Testament case-laws that we are still required to obey refers to
"the underlying moral principle which is illustrated by the particular cases mentioned in the judicial laws.… For the Westminster Puritans, the substance of the judicial laws was just as binding as the Ten Commandments. The judicial laws
served to give definition to the Ten Commandments; to invalidate the former would therefore be to invalidate (or alter) the [latter].… Notice, next, that the writers of the Westminster Confession were quite precise in their declaration about the judicial laws of Moses. According to them these laws were not “abrogated,” which is the language used of the ceremonial law (19.3), which was set aside due to the change of covenantal administration from Old to New Covenants, (7.5–6). The Confession teaches us, not that the judicial laws were abrogated, but rather that they “expired” due to the expiration of Israel as a “political body.” When the particular political body for which they were worded passed away, the literal wording or specific form of the judicial laws was put out of gear. Only the underlying principle (“equity”) of those historical illustrations continues to be obligatory. “Expired” cannot mean, in Confessional context, that modern Christians
are free from obligation to the judicial laws.… Their equity was taken to be perpetually binding. 151 Greg Bahnsen, “The Westminster Assembly and the ‘Equity of the Judicial
Law,’” Penpoint, Vol. 4, No. 7 (Southern California Center for Christian Studies, CA: October, 1993). (629-630)
When He used the phrase, “the Law or the Prophets,” He was focusing on the ethical stipulations contained in the entire Old Testament....As He begins His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7), He is defining the relation of the Old Testament Law to His own doctrine, to His teaching ministry. In other words, He will not teach anything that will have the effect of abolishing the ethical stipulations of “the Law or the Prophets,” i.e., the Old Testament. (634)
The Bible presents us with one system of morality—the “jots and tittles” of Biblical Law. (635)
First, the foundational laws, i.e., the Ten Commandments, are always applicable and are to be obeyed in every situation (Ex. 20:1– 17).
Second, the underlying principles of righteousness, i.e, the general equity, of the case-laws are always applicable, since they are practical applications of one or more of the Ten Commandments (Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor. 9:9, 10, 14; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18). This point is the central one in interpreting case-laws. When the Christian today interprets Old Testament case-laws, his primary concern is not the literal law itself, but the underlying principle of righteousness which the case-law was meant to apply and illustrate. ....
Third, where the historical, cultural context of the interpreter is similar to the historical, cultural context of the case-law, the literal case-law itself is applicable. ...
Fourth, the ceremonial laws and rituals have reached a termination point in Jesus Christ, therefore they are not to be literally observed in the Church.
Fifth, the underlying gospel truths of the ceremonial laws still remain in full authority and are to be believed (Heb. 9:2–10).
Sixth, in some instances even these ceremonial laws illustrate moral principles of abiding authority (Lev. 2:1–16; 1 Cor. 5:7).
Seventh, the case-laws are to be applied wisely and progressively as the historical situation allows. ....
Eighth, the case-laws are “often illustrations of the extent of the application of the law; that is, by citing a minimal type of case, the necessary jurisdictions of the laws are revealed [1 Cor. 9:9–14].” 159 Rousas J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, 11. (637-640)
...since God’s holy character is unchanging, His Law, which is a written revelation of His holy character, is holy and perpetual. (640)
...when the Divine Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22) issues a law, only He may dictate the duration or termination of our duty to obey it....Only God may set the boundaries of His law, and unless He has clearly done so in His written Word, we must assume His laws continue in force....Jesus Christ expressly states that the coming of the New Testament dispensation (the Christian era) in no way abrogated the Biblical morality of the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17–19); rather, Christ came to confirm Biblical morality and to put it into effect. (640)
Ceremonial law is comprised of all those rituals and regulations that had as their purpose to teach the covenant people what to believe about redemption from sin and reconciliation with God and how it is accomplished in Christ. These laws are highly symbolic, figurative, and “typical;” in one way or another, they taught the people about Christ and His salvation. (641)
It is not always easy to distinguish ceremonial laws from moral laws in the Old Testament. One reason is that there are moral principles to be found among some ceremonial laws (Lev. 2:1–16). But one principle of interpretation which may be helpful in identifying ceremonial rituals is this: if a law or regulation, such as those laws involving the release of blood or bodily fluids, is meaningless apart from the sacrificial system, it must be viewed as a part of that system. (641)
The ceremonial laws of the Old Testament were “shadows” that pointed God’s covenant people to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who is the “substance” or reality symbolized by all these Old Testament ceremonies and rituals....As the apostle Paul describes the relation of the Old Testament ceremonies to Christ: they are “things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance
[literally, “the body”] belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:17). (641)
"With Christ’s obedient life, sacrificial death, and the accomplishment of salvation under the New Covenant, the ceremonies have been finally observed for all God’s people." 162. Bahnsen, Theonomy and Christian Ethics, 207–10. (643)