'There Outta Be a Law!'
How often have we heard, in one form or another, people, including many Christians, making such a statement? For Christians, of course, the answer is fairly simple: 'look at how the children of Israel did with law; it didn't work so well for them, huh?' The problem is not so much a lack of Law & Order, but a lack of righteousness! The problem is that most people, including many Christians, are slaves, just like the children of Israel were slaves to sin, whatever form that sin might take, whether it's the sin of idolatry to the Federal & State government, or disobedience to Natural Law & that of treating others like you want to be treated ( you reap what you sow )!
Whether one follows in the footsteps of Jesus or not, the principle of treating those around you as you would like to be treated is not only a Natural Law, it's just common sense! If one gives his or her neighbor the love & respect they deserve, more often than not, that one is going to receive that same love & respect. On the other hand, if one mistreats those around him or her, more than likely, they will themselves be mistreated!
As Christians, we believe that, rather than on tablets of stone, or reams of paper, as the case may be, this law is ( now ) written on our hearts! Our conscience has been renewed & we no longer need a law telling us to do this, do that, because the Spirit within us moves us to do these things, to practice righteousness! Although this is a universal truth, for whatever reason, many or most Christians still act as slaves, whether it's willing slavery, or the slavery of ignorance. Everyone agrees that it was for liberty that the Christ set us free, but yet most Christians are willing slaves to the laws of the Federal & State government!
Many who do not claim the name of Christ, who live outside the borders of what most Christians call the Kingdom of God, have noted the insidiousness of this slavery & squelched it in their own lives! Why can't Christians do the same & realize in their own lives the principles of freedom in Christ? Oh sure, they acknowledge it in their hearts & minds, but most Christians, for whatever reason, do not acknowledge it with their strength! There are several reasons that this is true of most Christians, but one of the problems is a misunderstanding & misinterpretation of Scripture. We were not set free from the law of sin & death so that we could return to the same sort of slavery, a law that says, 'if you do not follow our law, you will be punished, even to the point of death'! We were set free from the law of sin & death so that we could freely practice the righteousness that we have been given in Jesus!
Many of the 'laws' that the Federal & State government have instituted seem to be for the good of the people, & in many cases, in the same sense, are needful! The 'sheeple' of this nation have become so much like slaves that, without their masters telling them what & what not to do, they would soon go astray ( they do anyway )! Although this should not be, for whatever reason, this is the way it is!
Human beings, for the most part, are naturally lazy creatures & so are willing to give their responsibility! Most don't seem to realize that the more responsibility they give up, the less freedom they have! The Civil Government ( State & Federal ), while taking many of our responsibilities of our hands ( insurance, healthcare, our aged & disable, etc ), has, at the same time been eking away our liberties ( you must have a license & insurance in order to legally drive, you must have a license in order to legally marry, etc. )!
Truly free men & women do not need a law telling them to do this & not to do that; they by nature will do what is reasonable & right because of the Spirit Within! The apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome of these truly free people when he said ' for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves' ( Romans 2:14 ) Jesus gave two commands to His disciples; He said we are to love God & our neighbor as ourselves. This, He said, was the whole law, this was a perfect summation of the commandments He had given to His people, writing them on tablets of stone. They are now written on our hearts, seared into our conscience!
When people in general & Christians in particular treat others ( not just those with who they agree ) with the love & respect that they themselves would like to receive, then we will experience true freedom! We will not need laws saying to protect the unborn, for instance, we will naturally protect the most helpless members of our society! No longer will we need to ask permission, like slaves of old, to transport ourselves, to marry, to carry a gun, to protect what is ours, etc.!
We are free men & women; we are not slaves any longer, or at least we do not need to be! We are the master; if anything, the Federal & State governments are our servants, our slaves! We tell them what to do & what not to do; THEY are the ones who need OUR permission! Even here though, the same principle applies; treat others as you want them to treat you! Just as with the slaves of old, when mistreated & abused, they will at best slack on their work & try to escape your bonds; at worst, they will rise up & kill you, or at least take what is yours for their own!
The Righteousness of the Christ alone brings True Freedom; without it, people, most of whom are naturally 'sheeple' will only & quickly succumb to slavery again! Those whom the Christ set free are free indeed; free, not to fill their lust, but to act without the constraints of a written law that tells us, 'do this; don't do that!' We know what is right & what is wrong, what is good & what is evil:Truly Free men & women know by nature these things & practice them without restraint!
Charles Haddon Shank