This form of Divine government is applicable to beings (human beings, in particular) designed with a mind capable of analyzing and understanding moral law, able to distinguish between right and wrong. Along with the capability to understand moral obligation, is the ability to choose between obedience and disobedience. The law describes moral obligation, the positive consequences associated with obedience and the negative consequences associated with disobedience. The law has no power or ability within it to help a moral agent achieve obedience, but it does provide a motivating factor; it is influential, not causative. Moral government employs various influences designed to encourage and secure right moral choice. Every form of influence in the Divine moral government is intended to produce proper moral behavior. The influences of moral government are sufficient to produce right moral action but do not cause such action. Though the influences and guidance a moral governor be perfect, the subject of moral government has the responsibility to use their moral capabilities to originate their own purpose and action; their own internal and external response. The subject of moral government (the moral agent) has the power to cooperate with or to suppress, resist and / or reject moral influence, even perfect moral influence. A moral agent is free to choose wrong moral action and is, therefore, accountable for the response he / she originates. The wrong moral choice of a subject of God’s moral government cannot be blamed on God, as His guidance is always sufficient to produce right moral behavior. Such a governmental system is always consistent with the capacities and abilities of the moral agent.
The above, brief description of this realm of Divine government over man is natural to the Biblical text. We could engage in an extensive evaluation of texts but will simply look at Deuteronomy 30:15-20 as a representative passage.
This is a statement from God to the Israelites by way of Moses. Though it has a particular historical and cultural context, there are standing truths and principles that have application to human beings in general. Such truths are the ones to which I intend to draw attention. First, there are two, and only two, ultimate options placed before the people receiving this information. With each ultimate choice, Moses states the positive and negative outcome. It is very important that we distinguish between ultimate choice and the product or outcome of ultimate choice. The positive product of one ultimate choice is life, prosperity and blessing. The negative product of the other ultimate choice is death, adversity and curse. I use the word product because life, death, prosperity, adversity, blessing and curse cannot be chosen directly. They come into existence as the result of a prior choice. The ultimate choice that produces life, prosperity and blessing is “to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments.” The ultimate choice that produces death, adversity and curse is turning one’s heart from God, not obeying His commandments, worshiping and serving other gods. God, through Moses, informs us of the right choice (“…choose life…by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, by holding fast to Him…”). It is, as well, quite obvious that human beings have the ability to understand the ideas communicated by these words and the ability to make the choice we are told that we should make. If one should doubt that we have the ability needed to meet the requirements of God, a verse prior to the passage quoted should eliminate this doubt. Verse 11 reads, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.” Moral guilt is a matter of “will not” as opposed to “cannot.” The elements of this passage provide us with a clear example of moral government. We see communication about right and wrong, about the outcome of each, as well as encouragement and motivation to choose right. It is also important to recognize that right moral standing is not merely related to external activity but depends upon the internal motive from which external activity originates (“…by loving the Lord your God…”).
Returning to an earlier illustration (http://comprehensium.com/change-mind-chapter-one-first-installment/), we can consider the case of two normal, hungry men. A wonderful platter of food is placed on the table. Bill is told that the platter is for Bob, and that he must wait patiently while his platter is prepared. Does Bill have the ability to understand the meaning of the words spoken? Does he have the ability to cooperate with the requirement of the words spoken, even when experiencing hunger? Does he have the ability to disregard, though he understands, the requirement of the words spoken? We should be able to see the difference between this scenario when it involves dogs (animate, non-moral creation) and when it involves human (animate, moral creation).
In our next post, we turn our attention to the nature of Providential Government, clarifying the basic nature of this form of government, and will then think of its relationship with and distinction from Moral Government. It is my conviction that careful thinking in reference to these two modes of government will affect our theology in tremendously important, foundational ways. Our theology, then, should inform our practice. In keeping with the purpose of this book, Change Your Mind, I suggest that our understanding of the distinct realms and forms of Divine government will aid in preventing imbalance and error in our Biblical reading and theological studies. Attempting to make all of Scripture fit into one category only has led to much of the error, tension and confusion we’ve seen in theology and doctrine.
 This distinction has tremendous significance in reference to the issue of repentance, conversion and salvation. Though there are a multitude of influences, experiences and ingredients in the process leading up to the point of repentance, the ultimate, climactic decision made in repentance is to LOVE GOD supremely. The decision is not to choose life, blessing, reward, heaven, salvation, happiness, freedom, etc. as entities in and of themselves. Everything associated with salvation (such as the list above) is the product of having a right relationship with God characterized by our love for Him becoming the supreme motivating factor in our lives. It is very clear in the Deuteronomy text that one can experience life, prosperity and blessing “…by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him.”
 Regarding moral obligation and accountability, God requires that we live up to the truth and ability we possess. As a way to help students grasp this concept I often ask, “Can you throw a baseball as far as you can throw a baseball?”