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Friday, October 28, 2016

God's Law: The standard of Righteousness

There are a lot of well-meaning Christians who believe the law revealed in the Holy Scriptures is no longer in force. Unfortunately this misguided belief has resulted in all sorts of uncertainty, volatility and unpredictability in how Christians live their lives, which when measured by our generation, is woeful.

Some may argue that Jesus is the standard of righteousness and not the law, and that of course is true. That said, the law was nothing more or less than a reflection of the very character of God Himself, and so while Jesus was the righteous one, it was because He in fact did obey all points of the law, which made Him the unblemished Lamb of God.

What we need to do as believers in our day and generations to come, is to go back to the law of God and start to first, read what they are, and from there work on ways to implement it in our own lives, and eventually to have it be embedded in our legal code. That means Christians and non-Christians alike are to be subject unto the law.

The challenge we have is we must diligently seek out first, what laws are still in force in the post-resurrection world, and whether or not the penalties of the law as revealed in the scriptures are still applicable. This is not as simple as it sounds, and it wouldn't surprise if it took many years before we get a solid handle on it.

After all, if there are penalties applied to those breaking the law, if we get it wrong people could be put to death for crimes where the death penalty is no longer in force. The very lives of people are at stake when looking at the penal section of God's laws, and for that reason we can't be flippant or lazy in searching them out before making them part of the conviction and implementation of the sentencing portion of any trial.

Even when looking at penalties in regard to lesser sentences, we can't be sloppy in our understanding there either.

The point isn't that we become paralyzed over some of these things, but to be sure we get it right. For example, how is a thief to pay back someone he stole from in our day if we don't know how to translate that from an agricultural society to a industrialized and information-based society? Those things have to be worked through, or at least the principle laid down for judges to be able to adapt to unique circumstances.

What would be the penalty for the theft of intellectual property, and how is it multiplied in a similar way it was recorded in the Scriptures for the theft of animals? There are numerous other scenarios that could be raised that have to be thought through, again, as to principle. We don't want to start figuring out every single thing that could possibly happen in the world and include in our law. In my opinion we need to find an observable and easily understood way of applying the penal section of various laws so they can be implemented across a variety of different ways, in the case of theft for instance, that it can happen.

In other words, if someone stole a dog from someone, how would that be penalized against someone that stole some money, broke a window, or any of a number of potential ways of stealing. What about the Federal Reserve and its money policies, where the value of a currency is debased, as it has been done in the U.S. from about 1913, where it is now worth less than 95 percent of what it was at that time. You get the point.

There has been some preliminary work done on the laws of God, but we definitely need a lot more voices from different backgrounds to give a full examination of the law and how it can be applied today and in the future.

The essential thing we need to work through with the law of God in all aspects is what has continued on after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, and what has been discontinued.

Beyond the ceremonial laws, it's not as clear and obvious as to what still remains in effect - both as to the laws themselves, and to how the penalties for breaking them should be applied, and in the case of capital punishment, whether or not they're still in effect.

In our age of moral depravity and seeming lack of guidelines on how we are to live in this world in relationship to God and others, this is probably the most important thing we can now give ourselves to.

To make myself clear, the law has nothing to do with being saved, as that's by faith in Jesus Christ. But it does have everything to do with how we live out our lives individually toward others, and also in how we are to live in corporate settings like the church, family, business, government, and many other areas of life. 

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  1. It's dubious whether "stealing" "intellectual property" should have any penalty at all.

  2. You would have to have intellectual property as I have to understand it can be stolen. Whether or not there should be a penalty for that based upon God's law of course needs to be further examine.