The Brilliance of God’s Law in a Dark Nation

Posted: December 30, 2013 by revivalbiblestudy315 in Abortion
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The Brilliance of God’s Law in a Dark Nation

Written by Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas on Friday, 27 December 2013.

America desperately needs the church to restore the value, significance, and purpose of God’s law if we are to thrive again as a people.

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

A biblical worldview is impossible without an understanding of and appreciation for the law of God. I pray this particular article will reproduce in the reader that which was present in the heart of King David. He exclaimed, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).

I must confess, the older I get, the more precious the law of God becomes. I agree completely with the sentiment of King David, “O how I love thy law!” As a young Christian man, my heart panted for miracles, signs, wonders, and spiritual gifting. Though I still desire God to manifest himself in power and in demonstration of the Holy Ghost, as I mature in the faith, however, the more I appreciate the veracity of God’s commandments (1 Corinthians 2:4).

In the Robin Hood movie with Russell Crowe this amazing statement was pronounced, “In the days of lawlessness, those who keep the law, become the outlaws.” It is therefore imperative that we develop a healthy understanding of God’s Law. It will be our wisdom and enable us to negotiate successfully through life’s challenges.

Far too many modern day Christians use the New Testament as an escape clause from obeying the law of God. Yes, grace is a beautiful thing, but we still must reverence the place, position, and role God’s commandments have in God’s Kingdom. In short, we must honor the brilliance of God’s law.

As a way of example, let me share an experience that led to a deeper veneration for God’s law in the midst of our perverse and crooked nation. Years ago, while ministering in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Houston, Texas, I came face-to-face with a couple who confessed Christ as Lord and Savior, yet were determined to murder their baby, contrary to the Sixth Commandment, “Thou shalt not murder!” With tears streaming down my face, I pleaded with them to honor God’s law and spare themselves and their baby the horror of abortion. They proceeded to rationalize, excuse, deny, and justify the lawlessness of their action. They told me in no uncertain terms, “Our Jesus is not condemning like your Jesus and he will forgive us.”

Besides threatening to commit what King David termed, the presumptuous sin, they concocted a “Jesus” to suit their lawless Christianity. In one way, they were absolutely right; their “Jesus” would not condemn them. Why? Because it was a “Jesus” of their imagination and not the Jesus of the Book. I am not saying that if they came to genuine repentance that the Jesus of the Bible would refuse to forgive them. Not at all! God is love and stands ready to forgive men when they truly repent. Though this is certainly true, it does not mean that God will remove the consequences for violating his Holy Law. I know many Christians, including myself, who can testify to this painful reality.

As they went in to commit the unspeakable, with deep grieving in my soul, I sought solace in God. Expecting comfort from the Holy Spirit for upholding his truth, the Lord instead rebuked me. You read this right. He rebuked me, and as far as I know, did not rebuke them. The nature of the rebuke centered on the fact that this couple’s rebellion against God’s law was the result of many pulpits in America. The Lord reminded me that this couple was symptomatic of messages that I and countless other pastors had preached. They were the by-product of the easy “believeism,” which has turned God’s grace into licentiousness. It has led to what the Apostle Paul warned against. “And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? Whose damnation is just” (Romans 3:8). Much of what plagues the American church today is due to this antinomian error.

In stark contrast, the Apostle Paul taught, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).

God’s grace is the power to do what is right in his sight. Since God’s law alone reveals what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil, the grace of God therefore empowers us to fulfill the righteous requirements contained therein (Romans 8:4). We must remember as well that God’s holy and righteous character is revealed in his law. You cannot separate God’s character from his commandments. It is impossible, but that does not seem to stop the church in America from attempting it.

Dismissing God’s Law

It is clear from the opening scripture, God’s will for the New Covenant is to place his law in our “inward parts” and to write it in our “hearts.” Unfortunately, for many in the American church this truth does not resonate well. If you were to ask the typical, modern-day Christian the purpose for the New Covenant, you would hear the primary purpose is to establish a way to heaven-a way for eternal souls to escape the torments of hell when they die. Although this is a legitimate perspective from our viewpoint of self-preservation, it is not the primary purpose according to God’s perspective.

Some may question how God’s intention to write his laws on our hearts squares with the

New Testament teaching that plainly states we “are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). This is an excellent question, especially in light of the antinomian view of the law of God so prevalent today.

A person who is antinomian is someone who rejects the validity of moral laws, someone who opposes or dismisses God’s law. There is a distinction between strict and implicit antinomians. Strict antinomians are the unconverted, unsaved souls who show contempt by brazenly disregarding God’s law. The Apostle Paul affirms this truth, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Implicit antinomians are professing Christians who hold that God’s law is not relevant in the present era. They typically substitute subjective, arbitrary standards for God’s clear commands. Both views are wrong biblically.

When the Apostle Paul wrote we “are not under the law, but under grace,” he was revealing two important revelations every person should grasp. They are profound and full of unspeakable glory. First, we are not under law as a means of securing God’s salvation. We are saved by God’s amazing grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

In other words, we do not keep the law as a means to obtain God’s salvation; we keep God’s law because we are saved. We are not performing good works to earn God’s redemption. Good works are simply evidence that we have partaken of God’s redemption.

After the Apostle Paul declared salvation by grace through faith. He proceeded to teach, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). This fulfills Christ’s command. He stated, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

These truths distinguish Christianity from every other false religion. Again, it is through grace we are saved. We cannot earn our way to God. Religion is man’s way toward God. In his pride, man seeks God based upon his own terms. He tries to be good, go to church, be charitable, or perhaps live in a cave as a recluse to achieve Nirvana. Regardless, even if man attempts to do good, it is for his glory and not God’s. Christianity, however, is radically different. It is not man seeking God. It is God seeking man. Jesus stated, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”(Luke 19:10.

Salvation, therefore, is not based upon man’s merit, what he does or does not do. It is based upon the merits of Jesus Christ. To the Jews, this is a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those of us being saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-23).

When Paul states we are not under law, he is testifying as well that Christians are no longer subject to the curse of the law and its deadly penalty. Christ indeed redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us that the blessing of Abraham might be ours in Jesus’ holy name (Galatians 3:10-14).

What then should be the response of the church in light of these truths? Should we dismiss and break God’s law because we are not under the law but under grace? Paul declares, “God forbid.” In fact, in an earlier passage in the book of Romans, Paul settles the relationship between law and grace, once and for all, by maintaining, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). Clearly, Paul was not antinomian in his view of the law of God.

The Threefold Purpose: The Law as Tutor

There is a three-fold purpose for the law of God. If our purpose is to advance the cause of Christ and his kingdom, it is important we value each one. First, Paul tells us plainly in Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. This truth confirms Psalm 19:7, which reads, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” In Romans, Paul tells us where there is no law; there is no sin. Where there is no sin, who in his right mind would perceive his need for a Savior?

The law of God is like a mirror, designed to reveal man’s sinful state. Of course, once the law serves its purpose to show man his dreadful condition apart from God, it would be foolish to try to use the “mirror” to wash away sins. The law at that point will only lacerate the souls of men and further condemn them by misusing the ministration of death (2 Corinthians 3:7). We need something else to cleanse and purify us.

Man needs blood to live. This is true physically. It is also true spiritually. Whether we like it or not, ours is a bloody religion. Beginning with God slaying the animals to cover Adam and Eve after the fall, to the sacrificial system set up under the Mosaic Dispensation, to the final sacrifice by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, one theme rings true through it all. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Hebrew 9:22).

Based upon these spiritual realities, the first call of a good evangelist is to get people lost, not found. Sinners must fully comprehend the bad news before they will be able to treasure the good news. Unless a sinner realizes his wretched state apart from God, he has no true incentive to seek God’s salvation. Once a man is made aware of his sinful state, it is time to share the good news, the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

The law of God is therefore an essential ally in evangelism. The law of God is to be an unyielding, immutable, and hard taskmaster that drives men to the mercy seat of God. The law of God diagnoses our sick, sinful nature, while the grace of God is presented as the cure. The law of God reveals man is drowning in a sea of perdition. God’s grace is lovingly offered as the only lifesaver to pull us out of the mire, set our feet upon the rock, Christ, which in turn, creates a new song in our hearts (Psalm 40:2, 3). It is a song that we must sing in this generation that is in rebellion to God’s holy laws.

We see law and grace working in conjunction throughout the Gospels as Jesus dealt with the spectrum of lost humanity. When dealing with arrogant Pharisees, smug lawyers, and those who trusted in their own “righteousness,” our Lord would always refer them back to the law of God, even when they were enquiring about salvation. To the Pharisees, his message was “go and learn” the law of God, instead of “come to me.” Why is that?

Jesus knew what the church in America has ignored for years. Unless the law of God prepares and produces a broken, contrite, and repentant heart, the likelihood of salvation is greatly diminished. On the other hand, when Jesus came across those whose hearts were tender, smitten, and under conviction, he would extend to them his grace and mercy. Jesus gave the law to hardened sinners and mercy to broken-hearted sinners. As Christians, we need to discern between the two and minister accordingly. Jude states, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 22-23).

God’s Law as a Measure of Obedience

Secondly, the law of God is to be the divine pattern by which the converted soul reorients his life. Once the saving grace of God has done its eternal work in the heart of man, the law of God serves as a measure of our obedience in Christ. Again, it is not the means of justification. Obedience to the law for the believer provides evidence that our confession of faith and love toward God is authentic.

In fact, it is the lawless Christian Jesus denounces in Matthew. He warns:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Iniquity, in this case, means lawlessness. Obviously, lawless Christianity is an oxymoron. According to Jesus, anyone who confesses him and practices lawlessness will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus further stated, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21). The Apostle John reiterated this standard and provided us with a test to prove whether we truly know God, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4). Additionally, the Apostle Paul taught that true love, which does no harm to a neighbor, is the fulfillment of the law of God (Romans 13:10). It is clear from the Bible that apart from God’s law, man cannot know how to love God or others.

God’s Law is Binding Upon All People, at All Times and in All Nations

Civil government is a delegated authority, which is subject to God’s supreme authority. The Apostle Paul declares that they are God’s ministers assigned to be a terror against evildoers and protect those who are good in God’s sight (Romans 13:1-4). If they refuse to uphold and enforce God’s law, the scriptures reveal the severe consequence. Proverbs 17:15 warns, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”

Isaiah 10:1, 2 declares:

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

America is learning this lesson the hard way as governmental leaders reject God’s law in favor of humanistic “law.” Whether earthly governments accept it or not, the law of God is binding upon all people, at all times, and in every nation. As Christians, we must understand neutrality is a myth; someone is always legislating morality. The question is whose premise of right and wrong, ethics, morality, and philosophy of law undergird our laws. As God alone is the lawgiver, the choice before men and nations is either to uphold or to break God’s universal laws.

In 1787, James Madison proposed a three-way division of American government, a separation of powers, at the Constitutional Convention. He desired to establish a proper check and balance to hold government accountable to their proper jurisdictions and curb their tendency towards tyranny. He came to this innovation through his biblical worldview, the fallen nature of men, and scripture. Madison read Isaiah 33:22, “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” As a result, our nation was afforded protections guaranteed not so much by our Bill of Rights but by God, himself.

Perhaps, Madison, was familiar with 1 Timothy 1:9-11, which states:

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind (homosexuals), for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

In this passage the Apostle Paul succinctly gives an apologetic for the purpose of God’s law in the New Testament. It was given for the lawless and the unrighteous. He then goes on to list the specific sinful, criminal behavior the law of God condemns according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Apart from the law of God, there is no way man can establish a just and orderly society that will obtain the blessings, wholeness, and soundness of God. Both William Blackstone, the English jurist who was the inspiration behind the Declaration of Independence’s statement, “The law of nature and nature’s God,” and Martin Luther King Jr. agreed.

Blackstone stated, “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature (the eternal laws of good and evil) and the law of revelation (found only in the scriptures), depend all human laws. That is to say, no human laws should be allowed to contradict these.”

In other words, any human law that is not rooted in these two underlying premises for law is no law at all. More recently, Martin Luther King Jr. affirmed this truth. He gave this apologetic on law:

There are two types of law: just and unjust. I would be the first advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’ Now what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

The Law is our Wisdom

Where there is God’s Word, there is wisdom. The Apostle Paul declares that Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, is our wisdom, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The book of Proverbs is the book of God’s wisdom. It was written from the perspective of a kingly father determined to pass a righteous scepter of leadership to his children. It is a multi-generational vision of passing the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God from one generation to the next. The New Testament reveals Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the rightful ruler of the universe. His decrees, commands, and statutes proceed from his lawful authority. Every king, in their capacity as ruler, issues decrees for his domain. Typically, these commands are binding upon its citizens, unless, of course, they are tyrannical in nature. All earthly kings, regardless of how large or small their domains, must reign in such a way that their governments fall within the parameters of God’s law. King David lived by this standard and was considered a man after God’s own heart.

Psalm 119 is David’s tribute to the law of God. As partially recorded in the beginning of this chapter, David declared:

O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:97-100).

David understood more than his teachers and the “ancients” because he treasured God’s law. Would to God, Christians today would have that same longing for the law of God. Would to God, Christians today were wiser than the world. Would to God, kingdom leaders would arise to become wiser than the worldly wise.

Moses concurred and wrote that the law of God is our wisdom before the nations:

Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deuteronomy 4:5-9).

In reading these verses, we learn that keeping the law of God will cause other nations to praise us. At one time, America was the envy of the world. How do the nations view us today as we have abandoned God’s Law? As the great eighteenth century Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, stated, “Those that magnify the law will be magnified by it.”

A final note on the law of God; Jesus stated:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-19).

Jesus taught there is another way to be great in God’s kingdom besides servanthood (Mark 10:44). It is by keeping the commandments of God and instructing others to keep them as well. Jesus promised, “The same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).

America desperately needs the church to restore the value, significance, and purpose of God’s law if we are to thrive again as a people. We need leaders who honor the law of God and teach others entrusted to their care to do the same. Like Moses, King David, and our Lord, great leaders of men love, obey, and teach God’s law! To become a leader a time like this demands, we should do no less!

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