The Relationship Between The Decalogue, The Beatitudes, And The Fruit Of The Spirit As Ethical Standards Of Righteousness -- By: John D. Reuther

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 06:2 (Jul 2009)
Article: The Relationship Between The Decalogue, The Beatitudes, And The Fruit Of The Spirit As Ethical Standards Of Righteousness
Author: John D. Reuther


The Relationship Between The Decalogue, The Beatitudes, And The Fruit Of The Spirit As Ethical Standards Of Righteousness1

John D. Reuther

John D. Reuther is pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Lumberton, NJ, M.Div., Biblical Theological Seminary, 1985. Pastor Reuther is married with five children and two grandchildren.

The Decalogue, the Beatitudes, and the Fruit of the Spirit are Scripture’s three summarizing standards of ethical righteousness for the world. The organic relationship that they share is in the common core concept of righteousness. As each is given, development in the revelation of ethics appears. It is interesting to see that this progressive revelation of ethics has a Trinitarian character, i.e., the standards are associated with the revelation of each Person of the Trinity. It also is noteworthy to observe the differences in these standards, although they represent one monolithic structure properly called “Biblical Ethics.”2

I write from the premise that these standards are equally authoritative and applicable in this New Covenant age, although I will not attempt to prove the point.3 The authority and applicability of the fruit of the Spirit is undisputed. No one in the realm of orthodoxy, to my knowledge, denies that the fruit of the Spirit applies to Christians today. But it is frequently argued that the Decalogue and/or the Beatitudes are not authoritative. For example, classic Dispensationalism regard the Sermon on the Mount as given for a future millennial kingdom, and some Dispensationalists, so-called “new covenant” theologians, and antinomians of various kinds, regard the Decalogue as no longer binding upon believers under the New Covenant. I believe in the present authority of the Decalogue as the moral law for today and as the rule of life for the church. I also believe that the Beatitudes describe the Christian life and thus possess divine authority in

our lives. And I maintain that the Decalogue and the Beatitudes are intrinsic to life in the Spirit and involved in the production of spiritual fruit. I hope to demonstrate that each of these three magnificent standards addresses the matter of righteous, ethical living, and that the threads of Exod. 20:2-17, Matt. 5:3-10, and Gal. 5:22-23 are meant to be woven together to clothe us with the garment of righteousness which God provides for us in Christ (justification) and which we pursue in the Spirit (sanctific...

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