Did you know that most western democratic nations have their legal system based around Judeo-Christian laws? Such as The Ten Commandments, which gives us the right to be fairly compensated for injuries and loss caused by wrong doing to us. Sometimes it appears that people are overly compensated for injury; but if you know of, or you have suffered loss yourself at the hands of another or even by an accident of neglect. Then you will realize that those laws give our society a basic sense of justice, decency and fair play, that protects people in society. So without any law there would be no justice or decent and proper care in the community, and society would break down into anarchy. So having laws is a good thing, and if you do the right thing, by not breaking any laws, then you have nothing to fear from the law. Right?
In such a society it is easy to judge those who commit major crimes. Murderers, rapists or violent assaults causing bodily harm, are generally thought of as being evil by the general public. They are usually dealt severely by the court systems, which are influenced by political and public opinion, with the offenders normally being sent to prison. So it is easy for the rest of us who have never done those things, to be cynical and judgmental of those who have. A recent news article found that people’s attitudes were different towards others who had been caught out for minor crimes, such as speeding, as opposed to those who had got away with it. Do you see speeding as a crime? I worked as an interstate truck driver for a few years and a common saying was; ” it’s only illegal if you get caught.” I know from experience from talking with other people that the general public is quick to condemn the truckie who speeds, but willing tell you how and when they got away it. People will see their actions that they have on other people in a different light, as opposed to those same actions, committed by other people on them. Say for instance a Policeman who speeds to work in his private car, who then gets into a Police vehicle and hands out traffic infringements to other people, who are now doing what he was doing a couple of hours before; or the enraged Truck Driver who tails gates a slow driver, but is enraged when he is driving home casually, in his own vehicle, and gets tailgated by a truck. We are all hypocrites at heart! It’s a bit like the joke about the Irishman walking through a cemetery, where he came across the tombstone of a well know Politician. The tombstone read something like, Here Lies Connor O’Rourke, Politician and A Honest Man: 1899-1974. The Irishman walked away scratching his head, wondering why they had put two fellows in the same grave. There are honest Politicians, it is just that people love to demonize them, yet how would they act if they were in same position of responsibility?
So this is where things become a little blurred for us. What is truth, and what is fair according to God’s law? We have all told a lie, borrowed something from work and not returned it, said a curse word in the name of God and even argued with our parents. These are little ones though, what about murder? Jesus says in Matthew 5:21 that anyone who hates his brother without cause will be held accountable before God. In verse 28 of the same chapter He says that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. As you can see the law becomes like an impossible mountain, that can never be climbed. There was only ever one person that climbed that mountain, and that was Moses. But even Moses was counted as being unworthy to enter into the promised land(Numbers 20;12) so what chance has anyone of appeasing God’s law. The good news is that we need not worry about the rituals of Old Testament law if we submit to Jesus Christ, who is God’s son. Christ represents our grace with God’s law; because through His death he fulfilled the law, and by His blood, He becomes our righteousness before God. This does not mean that we are free to sin, because of our freedom from the law; because once we sin, we immediately come under the penalty of the law, which is death.(Romans 6:23)
Matthew 5:17 “ Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
As Christians we are still very accountable, and we have the law as a reference. So we do not have a free licence to do as we please or sin, because we are aware of the penalty of not keeping God’s law. However because Christ died for us, as a sacrifice on God’s altar. He paid the ultimate price for us, being that one perfect man who was always without sin. This is because Jesus is the word of God made flesh(John 1) and being conceived of the Holy Spirit and not from the seed of a man;He was born without sin. So He was and is and will always be perfect, for in that He is without sin, whilst we remain in His presence, we will always be covered by His sacrifice and be saved from God’s wrath and judgement, which will be poured out upon those who fall short of His grace.
Because the law still stands as a reference to us, we know what things are wrong, for example honouring God above all things, setting a day apart for God, not to steal or murder. Jesus said that the law could be summed up in two simple steps. Love God with all of your heart, mind and soul; and love your neighbour as yourself.(Matthew 22:37). In fact the more we remove ourselves from the divine laws of God, the more our society will fall into chaos. So if we do not want chaos; we need God and we still need the boundaries of His law. We also need for society to uphold these laws in the courts of the land. God’s truth is an absolute truth, it cuts through all hypocrisy and brings all things into the light. Making all matters black or white, so that there will be no fooling or tricking God into or out of, anything that we have done or said. Eventually sooner or latter; we are going to meet Him face to face, and He will hold us accountable. He will hold us accountable to His laws and His standards. You might well say that this is impossible; and you would be right. So how do you make yourself right with God, how do you live in a state of peace with him?
Unless you repent you cannot see the Kingdom of God(John 3:3). Repent according to Webster’s dictionary, is to feel pain, sorrow or regret for something done or spoken; as, to repent that we have lost much time in idleness or sensual pleasure. To me there is no better feeling than to be at peace with God regardless of whatever our circumstances may be. Rich or poor, in health and in sickness, whether in incarceration or free; despite our circumstances knowing that we have peace with God through Jesus Christ is empowering and joyful beyond any worldly pleasures. But first we need to believe that there is a God, and despite our best efforts, we will never be able to appease Him. For know God is completely Holy and righteous.
” This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:5-1.
Repentance is just not a one off commitment; it is, and will be till sin is no more.