Moral Government


Moral Law



1. LAW MEANS A RULE OF ACTION established by recognized authority to enforce justice and prescribe duties and obligations to those governed. Physical law is the rule of action of the material universe whereby all things are kept perpetually in their own courses, and work in harmony according to the divine plan. Moral law is the rule of action for free moral agents to direct them in their moral action and their own creative powers according to the divine plan. It is the rule of free and intelligent action and liberty as opposed to the law of bondage and unintelligent action.

2. THE PURPOSE OF MORAL LAW. It is to reveal and declare the rule of moral action of free wills concerning the highest good of being and of the universe; and to govern the acts and intents of free wills in their relation to God and the universe. It lies in the reason and declares that which a moral agent ought to choose, will, and intend.

3. THE IMMUTABILITY OF MORAL LAW. It can never change or vary in its requirements that all free wills consecrate themselves to the same end to which God is consecrated-the highest good of the universe and all things therein. Rebellion of free wills will never change God's plan concerning the good of His creation. Because of this, moral law can never change.

4. THE OBLIGATION OF MORAL LAW. Because it governs the best good of being, it is naturally obligatory upon all. What is contrary to the good of being is plainly illegal and unwise and must be prohibited. Free moral agents must cooperate to bring about the greatest public good. They must be against that which brings misery and hardships to society. It is a mutual plan for the good of each person and of the universe as a whole, and all are obligated to keep the moral law on every occasion according to the light received.

5. THE REQUIREMENT OF MORAL GOVERNMENT. To have moral law there must be moral government to direct, guide, and control moral agents. It must include rewards for good and punishments for evil, or no society of free wills can function. There must be in every community some standard of living to which all must conform to prove themselves worthy of being part of that society. There must be some means of dealing with rebels who disturb such society. Law without penalties and rewards is no law at all. It is merely advice which free wills can freely accept or reject without fear of punishment or hope of reward. Moral government is under obligation to execute faithfully the moral law to the letter.

6. REQUIREMENT OF A MORAL GOVERNOR. Since it is necessary to have moral law and moral government to execute this law, there must also be a moral governor whose will and decisions are considered infallible by all the subjects of government. He should be authoritative, not merely advisory. He must be able to maintain the respect of his subjects by faithful and unselfish execution of his duties. He must be able to execute penalties and mete out rewards. Naturally, the one whose attributes and character best qualify him to rule and secure the highest good of all should be the one to rule. It is both his right and duty to be the one to rule. There can be no other person to meet these requirements but God. His natural attributes, His perfect moral character, His relation to the universe as Creator, and His history of absolute justice to all, qualify Him to be the Supreme Moral Governor. As our good and His glory depend upon mutual conformity to the same end, He is under obligation to require of us to be holy and consecrated to help Him secure the highest good of being.

7. FREE MORAL AGENCY DEFINED. It consists of intellect, sensibility, and free will, and these form the foundation of moral obligation to moral government. The intellect includes reason and self-determination. The sensibility includes self-consciousness, all sensation, desire, emotion, passion, and all feeling. Free will is the power of choice concerning moral law. It is man's faculty of choosing good or evil without compulsion or necessity. It was originally created in man, and he will have it in all eternity.

8. THE BASIS OF RIGHT CHOICE. Moral obligation to always act for the best good of all is the basis of moral action. Nothing can happen in life but what is the choice of someone. It is all-important that right choices be made that will effect the greatest public and private good. Moral obligation extends to the ultimate acts of the will or the intention. The moral agent is under obligation to choose holiness as the means to the best good and happiness of being.

9. THE BASIS OF JUSTICE. Judgment based on intention is the right basis of justice under moral government. This is also the basis of justice in civil governments. If choices are made that had good intentions but did not turn out for the best, or if choices had bad intentions and turned out to be good, the one making the choice should be held responsible for the intention and would not be judged on the basis of accomplishments. The Bible respects the intention more than the results of the outward actions (2 Cor. 8:12; Mark 7:15-23; Jas. 1:13-15; 3:9-14). All vice and virtue are considered as coming from the heart. Where the heart is right all is considered right, and where the heart is bad, all is considered bad (Matt. 7:15-21). Even sinners do some things outwardly that are required by God, but the heart is not right. The intention is generally selfish, and the acts themselves do not change the heart. Virtue consists of consecration to the same end to which God is consecrated. Vice consists of consecration to the end to which Satan is consecrated—self-gratification contrary to the moral law and the highest good of the universe.

10. THE EXTENT OF OBEDIENCE TO THE MORAL LAW. The foundation of moral obligation is the highest good of all. Since this is true, then entire consecration of free wills to secure this end must constitute obedience to moral law. Obedience must be whole and entire. One cannot choose the good of others and at the same time choose self-gratification. God cannot tolerate half-heartedness in choice and service (Rev. 3:15-16; Matt. 22:36-40). He cannot justify one who renders partial obedience according to his light. If a person is always coming short of full obedience to known duty, then there is not a moment in which he is not under the curse of a broken law (Gal. 3:10-14; Jas. 2:10; 4:17). God cannot dispense with the execution of the penalty until repentance, forgiveness, and full obedience are realized (Rom. 8:1-13; Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:16-23; John 8:34; 1 John 3:8-10).

11. OF WHAT DOES DISOBEDIENCE TO THE MORAL LAW CONSIST? It consists in the choice and life of self-gratification as the end in life instead of the greatest good of the universe. It consists in the commitment of the will and the consecration of the life to serve sin and Satan and the senses instead of the moral law of the intelligence. It seeks to be governed by the impulses and passions instead of by intelligence and reason. Self-gratification is the root of all sin. Man's selfishness is closely allied to the self-interests of Satan. The will is always free to oppose desire and lust contrary to the law, but when it does not, sin is committed. The mind knows its obligation; so when it chooses contrary to the law, it is not a choice of ignorance. It becomes a free action and brings condemnation by the law. Selfishness is always unreasonable. It is the denial of true manhood and rational nature. It is contempt of the law of God in man's reason. No sinner chooses the way of reason and common sense. He seldom consults reason for his actions. He usually obeys lust and is in stubborn rebellion against the moral law and reason. He is lustful at heart whether he can obey all lusts or not. As long as he remains so, he is condemned before God and needs regeneration to bring him to obedience to the law.

12. THE BASIS OF DEGREES OF GUILT AND VIRTUE. Both reason and revelation affirm that there are degrees of guilt and virtue; that some are more guilty or more virtuous than others; and that one may be more guilty or more virtuous at one time than at another, whether he is a saint or a sinner. All guilt and virtue are dependent on the exercise of moral obligation, and this depends upon the light and knowledge concerning moral law. Degrees of guilt and virtue are measured by the knowledge of the value of the end chosen in life. The sinner's guilt is equal to his knowledge of the value of the interests he rejects. He is held more responsible today than of old, because he knows more (Acts 17:30; Jas. 4:17). A man's guilt or virtue, then, is equal to the knowledge he has of the subject and his conformity to it (Rom. 2:12-16; John 9:41; 15:22-24; Matt. 13:11-12; Luke 12:47-48).

Selfishness is the rejection of all moral obligation, regardless of light. Sin lies in the intention, and this can be measured only by the knowledge under which the intention is formed and maintained. Thus, if a selfish person should preach the gospel, it would be for the reason that it is the most gratifying thing he could do for himself. He might even preach for the good of others and yet have as his chief motive personal benefits. Take away personal gain, financially or socially, and he would cease to preach. If the same person became a robber, it would be to the same end: not to do evil, but to gratify self.

If a sinner abstains from some evil for the sake of loved ones, his reputation, for fear of judgment or disgrace, or for any reason, it is not because he is good at heart, or because he thinks it is wicked to do that thing, but merely for selfish reasons and personal gain. So it is with every phase of life in which the heart is not right. Natural man looks for gain or advantage in everything. It is only when the sinner consecrates himself to the end of the highest good of being, that he ceases being a sinner by nature and practice, and begins to do things from an unselfish standpoint instead of for self-gratification as the end in life.




Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of moral government and moral law, consider understanding the real nature of Human Government here




Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of moral government and moral law, consider understanding the Bible Doctrine of Sin





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