May 18, 2014

Five Seeds of Christ-Seeking Jurisprudence

Fruit Seeds
In his Systematic Theology, p. 28, the illustrious Doctor Triadum, John Frame, uncharacteristically refers to four passages, set out below, to show that the New Testament teaches the applicability of God’s Word to all areas of life:

Col 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. … 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Ro 14:23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

1Co 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

2Co 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I might add one in order to tie them to jurisprudence specifically:

1Pe 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Frame’s proximate point is that the comprehensiveness of God’s direction for human life is a dimension of the absoluteness of God’s Lordship; it relates to every area of life. He is Lord of all, not part. He is Lord of all, not just of "spiritual matters" or “salvation.”

These passages are also seeds of Christian Jurisprudence in that they make clear why no theory of law that fails to connect the law to Christ can be adequate for the Christian’s purposes. 

Let us suppose that there were a method of legal analysis (let’s call it “natural-law jurisprudence”) that could derive any true proposition about law rationally from what can be generally known to all men, except propositions relating law to Christ. Given all the knowledge that such a method might produce, it would be inadequate for the Christian.

It would be inadequate in that it would not enable the Christian: (1) per Col. 3, to do all in the name of Jesus, for Jesus; (2) per Rom. 14, to act in law from faith in Jesus; (3) per 1 Cor. 10, to act in law for the glory of Jesus; (4) per 2 Cor. 10, to make all our legal thought obedient to Christ; (5) per 1 Pe 2, to obey the law and legal authorities for the sake of Christ.

Christian Jurisprudence begins with the desire to do all in Christ's name, from faith in Christ, for Christ's glory, in obedience to Christ, for Christ's sake. These passages are seeds from which grow an entirely different attitude toward legal theory. 

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