What are unjust statutes and oppressive decrees?

What are unjust statutes and oppressive decrees? By Jack Kettler

This study is not an in-depth study on the source of the law and the application of the law for society. This is a brief primer setting forth basic ideas about righteous and unrighteous laws. How do we determine what is a good law? As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, and commentary evidence for the purpose to glorify God in how we live.

Contemporary definitions and synonyms:

A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a city, state, or country.

A decree is an edict, command, commandment, mandate, and proclamation.

Unjust: not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.

Synonyms: biased, prejudiced, unfair, inequitable, discriminatory, partisan, preferential, weighted, partial, one-sided, influenced, slanted, bigoted

Oppressive: unjustly inflicting hardship and constraint.

Synonyms: harsh, cruel, brutal, repressive, crushing, tyrannical

The biblical description of statutes:

Statute

“The statutes of the covenant range from apodictic law (thou shalt not under any circumstances), to casuistic law (if this is the case, then do this), to detailed descriptions of ritual regulations to be observed by the priests and the community. For Israel, everything required by the covenant was a matter of life and blessing, if properly observed, or of death and cursing, if ignored or forsaken. There are no circumstances that allow for the antisocial act of one human being killing another human being with no legal sanction: thou shalt not commit murder.

Ignorance of a given statute was no excuse. Any failure to obey a statute, ordinance, or judgment of the law was a sin. The statutes related to sacrifices for the unwitting sin are a good example of case law. If someone was guilty of an unwitting sin, the sinner performed the sacrifice when he learned of his sin (Lev 4).

Leviticus 10 provides a good example of ritual law based on a specific case that results in an apodictic statute: Nadab and Abihu had been drinking before they entered the tabernacle to perform their duties. Because they were unable to distinguish “between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean,” they died in a blaze of fire before Yahweh. Thus, the everlasting statute through all generation is given. Priests are to drink no wine or strong drink when performing their duties lest they die (vv. 1-11).

Israel understood that the statutes applied to everyone equally, whether native born or resident alien. Uriah the Hittite is a good example of an alien who had joined himself to Yahweh and Israel. His faithful adherence to the statutes related to holy war resulted in his “murder” by David. This incident also illustrates another important point. When an Israelite sinned against another human being, he also sinned against the community and Yahweh. There was no distinction between public and private morality (Deut. 29:18-21).

A theological problem that continues to haunt us today is taking the promise of God’s blessing for observance of all the statutes as an almost magical formula. One tries to evaluate his or her relationship with God in terms of outward circumstances. If everything is fine, one is basking in God’s favor. If one is ill or oppressed or poor, one is under God’s curse and needs to repent of sin or lack of faith. The Book of Job deals with this issue. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man speaks to it as well. Often our faith in God is in spite of circumstances, not because of them (Luke 6:19-31; cf. Jer. 44).” Mark D. McLean (1)

The biblical description of decrees:

Decrees

“Decrees issued by rulers, written commands having the effect of law, and the metaphor of God as King of the world provide the imagery behind the Bible’s references to God’s “decrees.”

Terms translated “decree” in Hebrew and/or Aramaic include dat [t’D] (a loanword from Persian) used in Daniel, Ezra, and Esther for decrees of God and human (especially Persian) monarchs, taam [[;f] for the orders of high officials including kings, hoq/huqqaa [q,qej] used especially of God’s laws, esar [r’s\a] (lit. “something binding”), and gezeraa [h’rzG] (“something decided”); and in Greek dogma [dovgma] (“a [public] decree, decision”). The idea of “decree” may be present even where a specific technical term for “decree” does not occur.

God and Human Decrees. Even in decrees by human monarchs God shows his own decrees or purposes to be sovereign.

In Exodus 7-14 God shows his decrees to be sovereign over Pharaoh’s by “hardening” Pharaoh’s heart. This “hardening” involves the creation of an irrational mind-set. Despite the miraculous plagues, Pharaoh refuses to do the reasonable thing (decreeing Israel’s release from bondage), thereby bringing further disaster on himself and his land. In the early stages of the story Pharaoh appears to be a free agent, hardening his own heart (Exod. 8:15), but as the story develops God is increasingly portrayed as the direct cause of Pharaoh’s stupidity. Pharaoh is ultimately reduced to a mere puppet of Yahweh (Exodus 14:4 Exodus 14:8).

The decrees of Cyrus (Ezra 5:13-15; 6:3-5; 1:2-4) to allow the Jews to return from Babylonian exile and rebuild Jerusalem was prophesied beforehand (Isaiah 44:26-45:4 Isaiah 44:13) and providentially prompted by God, who “stirred up” Cyrus’s spirit to issue it (2Chron 36:22; Ezra 1:1). Nonetheless, Ezra-Nehemiah sees a cooperation of heaven and earth in which human initiative (via Zerubbabel, Joshua, Ezra, and Nehemiah) and divine control are both prominent. Hence, the rebuilding of Jerusalem is said to be both “by the command of God” and “by the decrees” of several Persian monarchs (Ezr. 7:13).

God delivers Daniel and his friends from various human decrees — one by Nebuchadnezzar to kill the sages of Babylon (Dan 2:13), another to cremate anyone not worshiping the image of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3:10-11), a third “immutable” decree to cast to lions anyone praying to a god or person besides Darius the Mede (Dan 6:7-9). Providence reverses Ahasuerus/Xerxes’ decree to exterminate the Jews (Es 3:7-15) so that the enemies of the Jews are destroyed by royal decree instead (Est 8:8-9:16). The decree of Caesar Augustus for a census (Luke 2:1) is providentially used to ensure the fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; cf. Matt 2:4-6).

God’s Decrees and the Law. The terms hoq/huqqaa [q,qej] ordinarily translated “statue,” “prescription,” or “ordinance” in reference to God’s laws, are from the root (hqq [q; ‘j]), meaning to “engrave, carve; write; fix, determine.” This root always involves an action of a superior that affects an inferior, and in some contexts refers to human decrees (Isa 10:1 “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees”). Use of hoq/huqqaa [q,qej] seemingly conceptualizes God’s “laws” as “decrees” (so NIV cf. Deuteronomy 4:1 Deuteronomy 4:5-6 Deuteronomy 4:8).

Colossians 2:14 (cf. Eph. 2:15) states that Christ by the cross canceled the certificate of debt consisting of “decrees” (NASB; Gk. dogmata [dovgma]) against us. Evidently this is in reference to God’s laws that we have violated and which, apart from the cross, condemn us.

Prophetic Decrees. Predictive prophecies resemble decrees by God determining the course of history: “The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed (lit. “written”)” in the prophets ( Luke 22:22 ; cf. Matthew 26:53-54 Matthew 26:56 ). God decrees Ahab’s doom (1Kings 22:23) and destruction on Israel (Isa 10:23); “Seventy sevens” (often understood as “weeks of years”) have been decreed for the history of Daniel’s people (Dan 9:24). The scroll sealed with seven seals in Revelation 5:1 perhaps represents a divine decree determining the destiny of the world.

Sometimes predictive “decrees” can be abrogated, repentance averting punishment and disobedience annulling blessing (Jer. 18:7-10 Jonah 3:10). Hence, despite the “decree” of the destruction, Zephaniah can call the people to seek God “before the decree takes effect Perhaps you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger” (2:1-3 NASB).

Political and Cosmic Order. Poetic texts describe God’s decrees as having established political and cosmic order.

Psalm 2, an enthronement psalm, states that it was by the Lord’s decree (hoq [qoj]) that each Davidic king was adopted as a son of God at his coronation (cf. 2 Sam 7:14). The language of this psalm was never literally fulfilled by any Davidic king during the monarchy, but rather finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ. Romans 1:4, which says Jesus Christ was “declared [or possibly decreed] with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead,” may well allude to the “decree” of Psalm 2:7.

The psalmist describes God’s gift of the land as a decree (Psalm 105:10). Job felt his suffering was by divine decree (Job 23:14). Lamentations 3:37 states that all things, good or bad, have been decreed by God. God gave a lasting decree that fixed heavenly bodies in their places (Psalm 148:3-6).

God’s Decrees and Election. Calvin understood God’s choosing us in Christ before creation and predestinating us to adoption “in accord with his pleasure and will” (Eph. 1:3-5) as an immutable, divine decree.

Church Decrees. Paul and Timothy disseminated the Jerusalem church’s decrees (the decision of Acts 15), presumably providentially guided, concerning relations between Jewish and Gentile Christians (Acts 16:4). Paul in his epistles never utilized this decree of Acts 15 as church “law,” however, even where he could have. Ultimately in the postapostolic church this term for decree (dogma [dovgma]) comes to refer to authoritative teachings of church councils.” Joel M. Sprinkle (2)

How do we know if a statute or decree is righteous? As seen in the two above biblically based citations, for the Christian, the only place we can find the truth is the Scriptures.

The Scriptures define right and wrong:

The Ten Commandment listed in (Exodus 20:1-17):

1. You shall have no other Gods before me

2. You shall not make for yourselves an idol

3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God

4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy

5. Honor your father and your mother

6. You shall not murder

7. You shall not commit adultery

8. You shall not steal

9. You shall not give false testimony

10. You shall not covet

“Now these are the commands, decrees, and ordinances that the LORD commanded me to teach you. Obey them in the land you are entering to possess.” (Deuteronomy 6:1 ISV)

“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8 KJV)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 ESV)

“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18 ESV)

“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20 ESV)

“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7 ESV)

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2Timothy 3:16 ESV)

The Scriptures on unjust and oppressive laws:

“Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and issue oppressive decrees” (Isaiah 10:1 BSB)

“Those who bear false testimony against a person, who entrap the one who arbitrates at the city gate and deprive the innocent of justice by making false charges.” (Isaiah 29:21 Net Bible)

“Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” (Psalm 94:20 KJV)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers Psalm 94:20:

“(20) Throne of iniquity.–This is an apt expression for an oppressive and unjust government. The word rendered “iniquity” might mean “calamity” or “destruction” (see Psalm 57:1, and comp. Psalm 91:3: “noisome”), but in Proverbs 10:3 it seems to mean “lawless desire,” which best suits this passage.

Have fellowship–i.e., be associated in the government. Could the theocracy admit to a share in it, not merely imperfect instruments of justice, but even those who perverted justice to evil ends?

Which frameth mischief by a law?–i.e., making legislation a means of wrong. Others, however, render, “against the law.” But the former explanation best suits the next verse.” (3)

In Isaiah’s day, the rulers enacted statutes and decrees, which legitimatized sin. In Romans chapter 13, we learn that the real power of government is to punish evildoers. Today, just as in the days of Isaiah, evil leaders use unjust statues.

A short list of examples of contemporary unjust statutes:

· Statutes that favor sexual deviants

· Pro-abortion or child killing statutes

· Preferential standing for the pagan religion of Mohammedism by decree

· Statutes and banning biblical truth and practice from the public square

· Indoctrination of children in government schools by decree

· Statutes banning the execution of criminals for death penalty crimes

Some explanation of what constitutes a decree or statute in the above bullet list:

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects the rights of citizens to criticize the religion of Mohammad. Despite this, politicians, politically correct media pronouncers, the owners of social media and other Internet platforms have taken it on themselves by decree to ban critiques of Islam rather than have an actual statute passed by Congress to this end.

Indoctrination of children in the fed gov schools and banning expressions of Christianity in the public square is by the decree of unelected people who wear black robes.

Statutes supporting child killing, promotion of sexual deviancy, and laws against the death penalty start with decrees of the black robe people and then rootless, foundationless politicians enact ungodly statutes under the cover of these decrees.

The prophet Isaiah pronounces woe upon wicked rulers who have made unjust statutes and issued oppressive decrees:

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

From John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Isaiah 5:20:

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that call evil actions good, and good actions evil; that excuse the one, and reproach the other; or that call evil men good, and good men evil; to which the Targum agrees. Some understand this of false prophets rejecting the true worship of God, and recommending false worship; others of wicked judges, pronouncing the causes of bad men good, and of good men evil; others of sensualists, that speak in praise of drunkenness, gluttony, and all carnal pleasures, and fleshly lusts, and treat with contempt fear, worship, and service of God. It may very well be applied to the Scribes and Pharisees in Christ’s time, who preferred the evil traditions of their elders, both to the law of God, that is holy, just, and good, and to the Gospel, the good word of God, preached by John the Baptist, Christ and his apostles, and to the ordinances of the Gospel dispensation:

That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; for calling good evil, and evil good, is all one as putting these things one for another; there being as great a difference between good and evil, as between light and darkness, sweet and bitter; and it suggests, as if the perversion of these things was not merely through ignorance and mistake, but purposely and wilfully against light and knowledge; so the Jews acted when they preferred the darkness of their rites and ceremonies, and human traditions, before the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ; which showed they loved darkness rather than light, John 3:19 and chose that which would be bitter to them in the end, than the sweet doctrines of the grace of God; the bitter root of error, rather than the words of Christ’s mouth, which are sweeter than the honey, or the honeycomb. The Targum is,

Woe to them that say to the wicked who prosper in this world, ye are good; and say to the meek, ye are wicked: when light cometh to the righteous, shall it not be dark with the wicked? And sweet shall be the words of the law to them that do them; but bitterness (some read “rebellion”) shall come to the wicked; and they shall know, that in the end sin is bitter to them that commit it.” (4)

How do we establish just statues and non-oppressive decrees in modern society? In the Old Testament, Israel had the Mosaic Law. What is the foundation today? The basis today is inescapably the same. We would say today, all of Scripture governs us. As said earlier, the Christian must go to the whole of Scripture where God speaks.

For a brief introduction to the concept of using Scriptures in their entirety as a source for just statues, consider the following entry from the Institutes of Biblical Law Vol. 1:

“The biblical concept of law is broader than the legal codes of the Mosaic formulation. It applies to the divine word and instruction in its totality:

‘. . . the earlier prophets also use torah for the divine word proclaimed through them (Isa. viii. 16, cf. also v. 20; Isa. xxx. 9f.; perhaps also Isa. i. 10). Besides this, certain passages in the earlier prophets use the word torah also for the commandment of Yahweh which was written down: thus Hos. viii. 12. Moreover there are clearly examples not only of ritual matters, but also of ethics.

Hence it follows that at any rate in this period torah had the meaning of a divine instruction, whether it had been written down long ago as a law and was preserved and pronounced by a priest, or whether the priest was delivering it at that time (Lam. ii. 9; Ezek. vii. 26;Mal. ii. 4ff.), or the prophet is commissioned by God to pronounce it for a definite situation (so perhaps Isa. xxx. 9).

Thus what is objectively essential in torah is not the form but the divine authority.’” (5)

Just like as seen in the above reference, this was the view for the source of law that was common in early America:

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – Noah Webster (1758-1843)

Back to the Bible. The only place to find righteous statutes and decrees. The following article will further introduce the idea of the whole Bible as the source of ethics:

BIBLICAL ETHICS, The Entire Bible, Our Standard Today

By Greg L. Bahnsen, Th.M., Ph.D.

All of life is ethical, and all of the Bible is permeated with a concern for ethics. Unlike the organization of an encyclopedia, our Bible was not written in such a way that it devotes separate sections exclusively to various topics of interest. Hence, the Bible does not contain one separate, self-contained book or chapter that completely treats the subject of ethics or moral conduct. To be sure, many chapters of the Bible (like Exodus 20 or Romans 13) and even some books of the Bible (like Proverbs or James) have a great deal to say about ethical matters and contain vary specific guidance for the believer’s life. Nevertheless, there will not be found a division of the Bible entitled something like ‘The Complete List of Duties and Obligations in the Christian Life.” Instead, we find a concern for ethics carrying through the whole word of God, from cover to cover — from creation to consummation.

This is not really surprising. The entire Bible speaks of God, and we read that the living and true God is holy, just, good, and perfect. These are attributes of an ethical character and have moral implications for us. The entire Bible speaks of the works of God, and we read that all of His works are performed in wisdom and righteousness — again, ethical qualities. The world which God has created, we read, reveals God’s moral requirements clearly and continuously. History, which God governs by His sovereign decrees will manifest His glory, wisdom and justice. The apex of creation and the key figure in earthly history, man, has been made the image of this holy God and has God’s law imbedded in his heart. Man’s life and purpose take their direction from God, and every one of man’s actions and attitudes is called into the service of the Creator — motivated by love and faith, aimed at advancing God’s glory and kingdom. Accordingly the entire Bible has a kind of ethical focus.

Moreover, the very narrative and theological plot of the Bible is governed by ethical concerns. From the outset we read that man has fallen into sin — by disobeying the moral standard of God; as a consequence man has come under the wrath and curse of God — His just response to rebellion against His commands. Sin and curse are prevailing characteristics, then, of fallen man’s environment, history, and relationships. To redeem man, restore him to favor, and rectify his wayward life in all areas, God promised and provided His own Son as a Messiah or Savior. Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to qualify as our substitute, and then died on the cross to satisfy the justice of God regarding our sin. As resurrected and ascended on high, Christ rules as Lord over all, bringing all opposition into submission to His kingly reign. He has sent the Spirit characterized by holiness into His followers, and among other things the Holy Spirit brings about the practice of righteousness in their lives. The church of Christ has been mandated to proclaim God’s good news, to advance His kingdom throughout the world, to teach Christ’s disciples to observe everything He has commanded, and to worship the Triune God in spirit and in truth. When Christ returns at the consummation of human history, He will come as universal Judge, dispensing punishment and reward according to the revealed standard of God’s word. On that day all men will be divided into the basic categories of covenant-keepers and covenant-breakers; then it will be clear that all of one’s life in every realm and relationship has reflected his response to God’s revealed standards. Those who have lived in alienation from God, not recognizing their disobedience and need of the Savior, will be eternally separated from His presence and blessing; those who have embraced the Savior in faith and submitted to Him as Lord will eternally enjoy His presence in the new heavens and earth wherein righteousness dwells.

It is easy to see, then, that everything the Bible teaches from Genesis to Revelation has an ethical quality about it and carries ethical implications with it. There is no word from God, which fails to tell us in some way what we are to believe about Him and what duty He requires of us. Paul put it in this way: “Every scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, in order that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). If we disregard any portion of the Bible, we will — to that extent — fail to be thoroughly furnished for every good work. If we ignore certain requirements laid down by the Lord in the Bible our instruction in righteousness will be incomplete. Paul says that every single scripture is profitable for ethical living; every verse gives us direction for how we should live. The entire Bible is our ethical yardstick, for every bit of it is the word of the eternal, unchanging God; none of the Bible offers fallible or mistaken direction to us today. Not one of God’s stipulations is unjust, being too lenient or too harsh. And God does not unjustly have a double-standard of morality, one standard of justice for some and another standard of justice for others. Every single dictate of God’s word, then, is intended as moral instruction for us today if we would demonstrate justice, holiness, and truth in our lives.

It is important to note here that when Paul said that “every scripture is inspired by God and profitable” for holy living, the New Testament was not as yet completed, gathered together, and existing as a published collection of books. Paul’s direct reference was to the well known Old Testament Scripture, and indirectly to the soon-to- be-completed New Testament. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul taught New Testament believers that every single Old Testament writing was profitable for their present instruction in righteousness, if they were to be completely furnished for every good work required of them by God. Not one bit of the Old Testament has become ethically irrelevant according to Paul. That is why we, as Christians, should speak of our moral viewpoint, not merely as “New Testament Ethics,” but as “Biblical Ethics.” The New Testament (2Tim. 3:16-17) requires that we take the Old Testament as ethically normative for us today. Not just selected portions of the Old Testament, mind you, but “every scripture.” Failure to honor the whole duty of man as revealed in the Old Testament is nothing short of a failure to be completely equipped for righteous living. It is to measure one’s ethical duty by a broken and incomplete yardstick.

God expects us to submit to His every word, and not pick and choose the ones which are agreeable to our preconceived opinions. The Lord requires that we obey everything He has stipulated in the Old and New Testaments — that we “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Our Lord responded to the temptation of Satan with those words, quoting the Old Testament passage in Deuteronomy 8:3, which began “All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do” (8:1). Many believers in Christ fail to imitate His attitude here, and they are quite careless about observing every word of God’s command in the Bible. James tells us that if a person lives by and keeps every precept or teaching of God’s law, and yet he or she disregards or violates it in one single point, that person is actually guilty of disobeying the whole (James 2:10). Therefore, we must take the whole Bible as our standard of ethics, including every point of God’s Old Testament law. Not one word which proceeds from God’s mouth can be invalidated and made inoperative, even as the Lord declared with the giving of His law: “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it” (Deut. 12:32). The entire Bible is our ethical standard today, from cover to cover.

But doesn’t the coming of Jesus Christ change all that? Hasn’t the Old Testament law been either cancelled or at least reduced in its requirements? Many professing believers are misled in the direction of these questions, despite God’s clear requirement that nothing be subtracted from His law, despite the straightforward teaching of Paul and James that every Old Testament scripture – even every point of the law –has a binding ethical authority in the life of the New Testament Christian. Perhaps the best place to go in Scripture to be rid of the theological inconsistency underlying a negative attitude toward the Old Testament law is to the very words of Jesus himself on this subject, Matthew 5:17-19. Nothing could be clearer than that Christ here denies twice (for the sake of emphasis) that His coming has abrogated the Old Testament law “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish.” Again, nothing could be clearer than that not even the least significant aspect of the Old Testament law will lose its validity until the end of the world: “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the slightest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law.” And if there could remain any doubt in our minds as to the meaning of the Lord’s teaching here, He immediately removes it by applying His attitude toward the law to our behavior: “Therefore whoever annuls one of the least of these commandments and teaches others so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Christ’s coming did not abrogate anything in the Old Testament law, for every single stroke of the law will abide until the passing away of this world; consequently, the follower of Christ is not to teach that even the least Old Testament requirement has been invalidated by Christ and His work. As the Psalmist declared, “Every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting” (Ps. 119:l60).

So then, all of life is ethical, and ethics requires a standard of right and wrong. For the Christian that yardstick is found in the Bible — the entire Bible, from beginning to end. The New Testament believer repudiates the teaching of the law itself, of the Psalms, of James, Paul and Jesus himself when the Old Testament commandments of God are ignored or treated as a mere antiquated standard of justice and righteousness. “The word of our God shall stand forever” (Isa. 40:8), and the Old Testament law is part of every word from God’s mouth by which we must live (Matt. 4:4).” (6)

The above article by Greg Bahnsen serves as an excellent summary for this primer. Sinful men make unjust statutes and oppressive decrees. Only in the Lord do we find righteousness and truth.

“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8 KJV)

In closing:

Because it is only in the Lord’s Word do we find just statutes and pure commandments or righteous decrees, the following thoughts on the Bible are apropos:

“The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.” – Immanuel Kant

“The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures…[and] are found upon comparison to be part of the original law of nature. Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.” – Sir William Blackstone

“The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.” – Patrick Henry

“Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a schoolbook? Its morals are pure; its examples are captivating and noble. In no Book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant, and by teaching all the same they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith.” – Fisher Ames

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – James Madison

“By removing the Bible from schools we would be wasting so much time and money in punishing criminals and so little pains to prevent crime. Take the Bible out of our schools and there would be an explosion in crime.” – Benjamin Rush

“If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.” – Daniel Webster

“Education is useless without the Bible.” “The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields.”

“God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.” – Noah Webster

“It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” – Horace Greeley

“The Bible is the only force known to history that has freed entire nations from corruption while simultaneously giving them political freedom.” – Vishal Mangalwadi

In contrast to above quotes about the Bible, the wisdom of man is vain and deceitful.

“Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:104)

Notes:

1. Walter A. Elwell, Editor, Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House), p. 747-748.

2. Walter A. Elwell, Editor, Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House), p. 160-161.

3. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Psalms, Vol.4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 228.

4. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Isaiah, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 84.

5. Quote is from Hermann Kleinknecht and W. Gutbrod, Law, (London, England: Adam and Charles Black, 1962), p. 44.

6. Greg L. Bahnsen, BIBLICAL ETHICS, 2Timothy 3:16-17 Vol. 1, No. 2, (Tyler, Texas, Institute for Christian Economics).

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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