Sunday, September 06, 2009

Christians and the Law (part 2)

Continuing our discussion on whether Christians must obey the law, I point out that there are many facets to this question...

First, Christianity is founded upon freedom. We are free to choose what to do and what not to do. However this freedom is not license to harm or walk on others. Paul wrote in Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ro 13:8-10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Further, He wrote in another place, that if by eating meat, he offended his brother, he would never eat meat again... Therefore, although we have freedom to do what we want, we should always be considerate of others in what we actually do.

Second, we have the obligation to abide by the (civil) laws enacted by governments, except when they contradict God's Laws... for example, murdering an unborn baby is "Legal" but murder is specifically forbidden, and carries with it a hefty penalty.
Romans 13:1-5 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ro 13:1-5). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Third, the Law was written, not so that we could obey it, but to prove to fallen man that we cannot be good enough, obedient enough, to fix the relationship problem we have with God due to our sin. The Law was set up so we would know WE NEED A SAVIOR. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for ALL SIN once for all on the Cross, hence His words "It is finished." His work was to redeem fallen man so that we could be truly free.

So, a Christian does, and does not have to follow the Law. We are required to be obedient to God, and to live our lives in a way that glorifies Him. How each Christian works this out, is up to him, and those who love him. After all, we are called to community, and to holding each other accountable, see Galatians: Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ga 6:1-2). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.