Christopher Neiswonger

A Couple of Kingdoms

This earth, this world is our Father’s world. Jesus has bought it with his blood and has taken up the mantle of Adam. He has fulfilled the covenant of obedience in perfect detail. He will continue to rule and to reign until all things are beneath his feet. He is ruling and reigning right now. And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.

Augustine’s two kingdoms were the city of God and the city of man. They overlap but both are under God in the juridical sense. There is no God free zone in the Christian religion. Nor in the world of men.
The Bible’s two kingdoms are the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. Neither is equated with the state or any earthly institution.
In any case, they are certainly not the church and the state. The church is God’s church and every state is God’s state.
And this does touch on “Christian Nationalism”, which is intended as a trap made of words but there is some unavoidable Christian truth in there. Which is the nation that the Christian would not have a “Christian Nation”? One in which Christ is respected and exercises cultural authority? One in which the streets are safe and the children can play outside? Where the women can go about unmolested and the police do their duty. Where the courts convict the guilty and set free the innocent? Where true religion flourishes and evil is blunted by the freedom of the preached word?
That the United States be a Christian nation is small potatoes in the context of our God’s eternal plan and Jesus is a very intentional monarch. Nothing less than all will satisfy his global ambition.
In one sense, all of the nations are Christian nations because Christ owns them all. In another sense none of them are because they drown themselves in ungodliness without correction or repentance.

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The Natural Law and Its Use by the Christian and the World

The Christian that expects the world to interpret and apply the natural law for themselves is setting upon them a burden neither they nor their children have been able to bear. It’s a doomed experiment in fallen man’s natural propensity to choose the good from their dark human resources.

In regard to the natural law, I (like everybody else I guess) think my views are the views of the Bible, Calvin, Luther, The creeds and confessions, the historical church, etc.
As it is evident that the law of God which we call moral, is nothing else than the testimony of natural law, and of that conscience which God has engraven on the minds of men, the whole of this equity of which we now speak is prescribed in it.—Calvin
Though they might be controversial at this time in history they are not controversial in history itself.
First, the natural law is an expression of the moral laws of God exhibited in creation itself, so it is perfect. There is no aspect of the natural law that is anything less than the law of God and it is binding upon all creatures perpetually.
Second, the natural law is applied in all three traditional uses of the law: it convicts men of unrighteousness, it drives them to Christ, and it is a perpetual rule of life for the Christian.
From the Westminster Larger Catechism:
Q95: Of what use is the moral law to all men?
A95: The moral law is of use to all men, to inform them of the holy nature and will of God,[1] and of their duty, binding them to walk accordingly;[2] to convince them of their disability to keep it, and of the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives;[3] to humble them in the sense of their sin and misery,[4] and thereby help them to a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ,[5] and of the perfection of his obedience.[6]

Lev. 11:44-45; 20:7-8; Rom. 7:12
Micah 6:8; James 2:10-11
Psa. 19:11-12; Rom. 3:20; 7:7
Rom. 3:9, 23
Gal. 3:21-22
Rom. 10:4

Q96: What particular use is there of the moral law to unregenerate men?
A96: The moral law is of use to unregenerate men, to awaken their consciences to flee from wrath to come,[1] and to drive them to Christ;[2] or, upon their continuance in the estate and way of sin, to leave them inexcusable,[3] and under the curse thereof.[4]

I Tim. 1:9-10
Gal. 3:24
Rom. 1:20; 2:15
Gal. 3:10

Q97: What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
A97: Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works,[1] so as thereby they are neither justified [2] nor condemned;[3] 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;[4] and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness,[5] and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience.[6]

Rom. 6:14; 7:4, 6; Gal. 4:4-5
Rom. 3:20
Gal. 5:23; Rom. 8:1
Rom. 7:24-25; 8:3-4; Gal. 3:13-14
Luke 1:68-69, 74-75; Col. 1:12-14
Rom. 7:22; 12:2; Titus 2:11-14

For all but especially so for the Christian, because though he is not under the law as a means of justification before God he is bound to perfect and personal obedience to God and his law in this life and the next. Heaven will be, if nothing else, the freedom to practice perfect and perpetual obedience to God undisturbed by the ability, opportunity or inclination to sin, sin being the violation of the law of God.
Third, the natural law is wider but includes every one of the Ten Commandments, they being a shorter synopsis of the natural laws. In this, the Ten and the Natural Law are identical at every point (though the natural law and the Ten Commandments are not in themselves identical because the natural law is wider. They are overlapping but not contiguous).
Following from this, the two great commandments of Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” are nothing other than the natural law and the Ten Commandments summarized.
They are not a different law, a better law, a higher law, a more spiritual law or a law for Christians especially.
The purpose of natural law, therefore, is to render man inexcusable. This would not be a bad definition: natural law is that apprehension of the conscience that distinguishes sufficiently between just and unjust, and which deprives men of the excuse of ignorance, while it proves them guilty by their own testimony.—Calvin
Fourth, the flaw or deficit in the natural law in regard to its use is not a weakness in the law as it is in itself but a wound in the man receiving that law. It is not a problem in the legislation or the Legislator but in those over whom the legislation has authority.
Here, the weakness in the law is a weakness in man is three ways:
First, the fallenness of man has broken his mind. He is no longer a rational being free to receive it because it is simply and obviously true, even though he sees it all around him and lives and moves within its labors. The noetic effect of sin makes man a deeply biased and intellectually stunted figure incapable of using logic even so as to think out moral evils. He thinks that evils are goods and that goods are evils and I mean this not in merely the moral sense but in the rational product of the human mind. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he..” and man outside of Christ does not think well. We are born with the delusion that we are moral genius’ but in practical application closer to the animals.
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