The Three-Fold Function of the Law

God’s moral law (the Ten Commandments) has three basic functions.God's Law

1. The civil use of the law: In relation to society, the law issues a standard for right and wrong (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2).

God’s law promotes righteousness in the society and protects the people from wrongdoers. For instance, the law commands us not to bear false witness against our neighbor in order to promote honesty and in order to protect us from dishonest people (Exod. 20:16). The moral law then provides a standard for good and evil in our land. It commends good and condemns evil.

2. The evangelical (or gospel) use of the law: In relation to salvation, the law informs sinners of their sin and need of a Savior.

The law proclaims that we are guilty sinners for we have transgressed God’s law. “Through the law,” the Apostle Paul says, “comes knowledge of sin”…

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