By Don Ruhl
The Lawful Use of Law
If there is no law, there is no sin, and if there is no sin, there is no need for a Savior. This truth alone ought to show us that law itself is a holy concept. In First Timothy 1:8–11 Paul wrote,
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
Therefore our government has been right to forbid homosexual marriages, polygamy and the other things Paul listed. However, our government has become lax on some of the things that Paul mentioned, such as fornication, and there is great pressure for it to change on some other things in the list. The point from this passage is that there is a proper place for law in the life of a Christian, whether it is governmental law, natural law, family law, school law, or spiritual law.
When spiritual outlaws in the church argue that in Christ there is no law, they are living in an unrealistic world. People, Christians included, are going to do bad things. Law is designed to prevent that behavior or at least to keep it in check. Observe a society, or it might even be a school or some other institution, where rules and regulations are either non-existent or are not enforced and you will see the eventual decline of that entity to the point of anarchy.
What Would Christianity Be Without Law?
There would be chaos. Those who say that there is no law in Christ really have no idea what they advocate. What would life be like, if there were no law?
In Nature? Do we not depend upon nature following law to enable us to be able to live? How do we know that we can plan for tomorrow? Genesis 8:22 gives the promise of natural law, that is, until the Lord returns, so that we can know that nature will always operate the same, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” What would happen if all of these laws ceased to be? What if one year, summer and winter exchanged places? Then the next year they changed again? What if one year all seed had to be dried for a year before planting and then the next year it had to be soaked in water for a month, but before you got it planted the law changed again and you had to prepare the seed a different way?
In Society? Again do we not depend upon society following law to enable us to live? How do we know that we can go out on the road and enjoy relative safety? First Peter 2:13, 14 teaches that God gave us the government, which gives us laws, not to hurt us, rather to help us, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” Can you imagine what driving would be like, if today we were all to drive on the left side of the road and go on red and stop on green? Would you be frustrated if the next day we were all to drive on the right side and stop on red and go on green? What if in both nature and society someone says that laws are only for legalists, and that the only thing that matters is that we love one another? So you jump off a skyscraper. Before you hit bottom do you, “I love everyone, and obeying the law of gravity is just for legalists who think that they are saved by their law-keeping”? How about if you drive 100 mph on your local Main Street? If you manage to escape a serious accident, what will you tell the police officer, “I love God and my neighbor, and so I do not think that it is necessary to follow the letter of the law and go 35 mph, because that is only for traditionalists who refuse to become contemporary”?
Is Christianity different? For those who say that there is no law in Christ, but only to love one another: How will you answer the homosexuals? They say that they love God and each other. If there is no law other than the law of love, how can you say anything against them? My guess is that you will show in the Scriptures that sexual relations are only for one man and one woman in marriage. But what are you doing? You are showing them the law of God on sex and marriage.
Is proper marriage the only thing on which these principles can be addressed? If there is no law, but only loving one another, is it important to confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Cannot a person love God and love other people without confessing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Yes, there are many Jews who do this very thing. However, those Jews who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God are lost. Again the spiritual outlaws would turn to the passages in the New Testament in which the Scriptures make clear that Jesus is the Lord and that a person must confess that truth to be saved. In that case the spiritual outlaw would be showing people God’s law of salvation.
What would our reaction be if tomorrow God said we do not have to accept the truth of the identity of Jesus Christ, but the next day God changed His mind again? The point being that the law of salvation is a law, because God has said or determined that when one set of actions take place then another set of reactions will always take place. There are many more such examples.
There Is Natural Law in the Spiritual World
The same laws operate in the natural world that operate in the spiritual world. This is why Jesus gave the parables. In the parables, Jesus did not just show laws that are similar, but that are identical. Consider Luke 8:4–15 where the parable of the sower is recorded. Jesus gave an illustration of a sower sowing seed on four different kinds of soils. In each case something different happens. On one soil the seed did not even have a chance to germinate. On the other three soils germination took place, but because of the kind of soils each plant grew differently. Starting in verse 11 Jesus says: “Now the parable is this…” He then details the interpretation of the parable. The seed is the word of God. The different soils are the different people who hear the word of God and respond to it differently. Here is the point: Soil and seed are joined together and a certain quality of plant results. A human heart and the word of God are joined together and a certain quality of Christian results. The law is the same, except one manifests itself in the natural world and the other in the spiritual world. If there is no law in Christ, we could not count on this process.
The other parables illustrate this same point that there is a law in the natural world, which helps us to see the same law in the spiritual world. If there is no law in Christ, then the parables of Jesus make no sense.
Is the spiritual world different? Is not the spiritual world consistent? We can even go so far as to say this: The natural world is a reflection of the spiritual world rather than the other way around. The natural world is temporary. The spiritual world is permanent. The natural world is like the spiritual world, except that one is in the flesh and the other is in the spirit. The natural world is illustrating the spiritual world for us. The parables of Christ and hundreds of illustrations in the Old and New Testaments use the things of this world, including natural laws, to help us see spiritual realities.
The Law Of Biogenesis
In the natural world this is the law that says life can only come from life. This is why evolution is impossible, because it cannot overcome two impossibilities: The Big Bang, which alleges that something came from nothing, and that life came from non-life. Let us assume that the Big Bang actually happened; that before an astronomical blast nothing existed, which is what evolutionists maintain, and somehow nothingness exploded, creating the material universe. Everything cools down, the planets form. At that point, we have sterile rocks and dirt. For evolution to have happened, a once-in-an-eternity miracle had to take place and the sterile rocks and dirt had to create life from an environment that was devoid of life. This is absolutely impossible, that is, spontaneous generation is an impossibility. Life, only and always, comes from life.
However, is this not also true in the spiritual world? No one is alive in the spirit unless that life is received from One who has life. It is impossibe that someone could be made alive in the spirit without receiving life from Someone else. John 3:5, 6 shows that the same law which gives new life in the natural world gives new life in the spiritual world, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” New life in the flesh happens through birth. New life in the spirit happens through birth. Both of these laws are unchangeable. We can be alive in the spirit, because there is first the Spirit of God.
First John 5:12 also teaches spiritual biogenesis, spiritual life comes from spiritual life, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Even as natural spontaneous generation did not happen, so spiritual spontaneous generation cannot happen. You only have spiritual life from the Son of God.
Your natural body does not so evolve that it turns into spiritual life, nor can you work yourself up into an emotional frenzy that will create spiritual life, nor can it be argued that we as humans will just keep improving that we eventually have life in the spirit (that is like saying that a rock could just keep improving to the point that it suddenly has life). Life cannot happen without the Creator of life Himself giving that new life.
The Law of Deterioration
What happens in a garden if you do not take care of it? What about your house? What about your car? Is there not a law of deterioration or degeneration that sets in?
What happens when the soul is neglected? If you are not sure, watch society. Watch a Christian who neglects reading his Bible and forsakes the worship assembly. Even as the garden, house, and car do not improve with neglect, so the soul does not either.
Listen to Hebrews 3:12–14, which teaches that diligence must be given to remain strong spiritually, or we will deteriorate spiritually,
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.
It is natural to deteriorate, to fall apart, to die, for life is but a temporary suspension of this natural progression. Take away what is needed for life and decay sets in, culminating in death. This is true of the natural world and the spiritual world.
There is more that shows Christianity is full of law, for without them we would have no hope of a decent life.
Beware of People Denying Law
People who deny that we are under law in Christ, may want to practice something not authorized by God, and so they soothe their conscience by this teaching. Or maybe the New Testament is plain about forbidding us from doing a certain activity and these spiritual outlaws are looking for a way to be free from that prohibition.
Those who despise the idea of law in Christ actually despise the idea that they have to obey a set of commands to be prosperous. Many of the spiritual outlaws are looking for freedom from moral or religious restraints. However, they need to hear another law that is found in Christ. In Galatians 6:7, 8 the Bible again refers to a law which is identical in both the natural and spiritual worlds, and he who ignores it, does so to his own peril, both in the flesh and in the spirit,
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
The law is that you reap what you sow. This is absolute truth in agriculture. However, Paul argued that the same law is true in the spiritual world. If you go back to 5:19–23, Paul contrasted the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, and you will see that the flesh reaps corruption, and the Spirit reaps eternal life.
He Who Denies Law In Christ Is Not Spiritual
First Corinthians 2:14 reveals why spiritual outlaws may be having problems seeing law in Christ,
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
They do not see law in Christ because their minds are not in the spiritual realm, leading them to affirm things of which they do not know the consequences; that is, they cannot see how denying law in Christ brings on chaos.
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