Luke 10. 25 - 37|
To this gathering of young people I want to speak to you today a little bit about Godís word and the law. Godís word is not all law. His word has many facets--history, prophecy, poetry and prayer. The component called law is the most important. Everything else helps us understand His reason for the necessity of law which advances our belief and our faith. We need to be clear in our minds about what we mean by Godís law. Letís examine and try to understand what it is not. Itís not the law of gravity. Itís not the law which Paul saw in himselfĖwhen he would do good, evil was present with him. These are natural phenomena, like laws of physics or chemistry. They are examples of universal, unchanging forces, so far as we can observe.
What is law in our society? Law is a rule by which people are supposed to live. But this is too simple. Law is more than just a rule. It is a rule plus sanctions that give it force , by penalty or reward. The social law must be enforceable. After judgment comes punishment, if you have broken it. In sum, law in society is the rule, plus enforcement by judgment and punishment.
There must be a million laws, and more every day as government tries to deal with society. Public, private and administrative law share one thing in common: a law giver. So it is with the government, congress and our State legislatures. Public law relates to our duty to the government, such as the income tax law, Social Security laws and criminal law. To preserve peace and order in society, these laws should not be broken. If you do, you are in big trouble.
Private laws relate to duties of citizens of one state to another. Breaking of private law is not always the breaking of public law. For example, if you hire me to build a house according to your specifications, and I donít comply, then I have breached the contract and you can sue me. But I wonít be prosecuted for a crime.
Then there is administrative law. Congress, for example, doesnít have the time to make out detailed and specialized lawsĖnor the wisdom. They must select qualified people to administer the laws they call Ďregulationsí.
Now my purpose here is not to make lawyers out of all of you, but rather to apply the little weíve learned about law in general to Godís law. First, our the lawgiver is God, who made laws to govern His subjects. It all began with the ten commandments. His public laws are those governing our relationship with Him, i.e.,
To love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart
To believe & be baptized
To Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God
Godís private laws govern our relationship with one another. For the most part these private laws are learned through the scriptures. We learn them by reading the word of God.
Love your neighbor as yourself
Donít be a respecter of persons
Donít hold grudges
Donít speak evil of one another
Godís administrative law. How can this be? Who among us is qualified to invent and administer regulations to our fellows? Just as Congress appoints specially qualified people, God does the same with specially qualified peopleĖChristians, who by example influence those around them.
You are called to liberty, not for the fleshĖto do whatever you want-- but by love to serve one another.
Speak & do as they that will be judged by perfect law of liberty This is your internal standard of behavior.
Before Christ came and fulfilled the law of Moses by his sacrifice, the Jews couldnít turn around without breaking the law. But Paul and others explained to us that we were free from the law of Moses. The law was fulfilled in Christ; we now live under a law of liberty. And James in his epistle says that youíre going to be judged by the perfect law of liberty. Well, if you are free, why should you be judged?
You are free within circumscribed limits to make your own laws of understanding. These are Godís administrative laws. But if you make them, and you think they are good laws, then you are going to be judged by them. Make up laws. But donít be misled. You canít make up a law by changing one already put in place by God with a law that suits you better, i.e., replacing baptismĖfull immersion in waterĖto infant baptism. We canít make laws changing any of Godís public or private laws. What we can do is make rules for ourselves about what we watch on television, the clothes we wear, and all the varioous habits that will either make or break us. Caution: donít judge others by your laws; they have made their own laws, and must stand or fall alone.