God And Law

I’ve decided Christians like law.

Think about it: Christians are a lot more likely to become legalistic than licentious in their beliefs.

Note, I said beliefs not conduct. You can easily enough find Christians who  engage in adultery, for example, but you will rarely find one who will tell you they believe there is nothing wrong with adultery. You are a lot more likely to find Christians who believe in more law than they live.

I got to thinking about this this morning when I was reading in Mark 7 about Jesus reproving the Pharisees for multiplying manmade laws that conflicted with a very simple one God had given: Honor your father and mother.

In the beginning God gave man only one law: that he not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:15-17). That was it.  Because there was only one law, there was essentially total freedom. Man would never be freer.

After Man was corrupted by sin, God did give additional laws through Moses. While the law God gave Moses may seem detailed, in reality it is nothing compared to the law in a modern “civilized” nation. And yet, that relatively simple law did not satisfy the Israelites. So on top of that law they heaped additional laws and traditions, even dictating how many steps one could take on the Sabbath.

Christians do the same thing.Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t go to the movies. Don’t dance. So why are Christians law-lovers? Perhaps it’s because Christians like order and law brings order, even in the church. Law however brings order at the expense of freedom and one would think Christians would love freedom more than order. After all, it was for freedom, not order, that Jesus set us free. (Gal. 5:1).

Law restrains the unrighteous. Man is unrighteous. Therefore, law is necessary, but that is about the best thing one can say about law…that, and I suppose, that many of us have been able to earn a good living from it. GS