When the term, "the law" is used, either in oral communication, or in written
treatise, care must be exercised by the communicator in clearly articulating
his intent of meaning. If the one who is attempting to inform others is
not clear as to what is to be espoused, then there can be no assurance
that the message will be received as it is delivered.
Likewise, the recipient must be "on the same page", so to speak, and must
be of the same mind as to definition and intent if communication is to
be effected. When there is diversity of definition, then there can not
exist an accord, or a oneness of mind, thought, and perception, and thus,
the message becomes garbled and unintelligible. I fear this situation is
all too frequently the case among people, and particularly among Christians.
To establish, clearly, what I mean as I address the continuance of this
titled treatise, I must now declare it to you. I can not leave you uncertain
or uneasy on the matter that I want to bring before you, if I expect to
communicate the message to you.
When I speak of "the law" in this work, I am referring to: (1) "The standard
of acceptable behavior or conduct that God demands of His creatures", and
(2) "The rule by which a citizen is to conduct his / her life, in this
Now, continuing with "The Christian and The Law", as pertains to definition
number (1), we add these remarks to those that preceded in the first installment
of this treatise. And we petition God to be kind and of the tenderest mercy
toward us as we undertake this on-going examination of the teachings of
the Bible on this matter. We are totally dependent upon Him for illumination
of our minds and for enabling our perceptions to be harmonious with His
revealed will as stated in His word. Pray that He so provide our needs
as we go forth.
The epitome of acceptable conduct toward God is perfect obedience to Him.
is, the Scriptures teach that the whole duty of man is to love God, and
to honor Him by serving Him in accordance with His prescription for such
acceptable service. And what better example can we find than that demonstrated
by Jesus Christ, God's Son who became Man and declared, "...
for I do
always those things that please Him." (John 8:29).
When duty is pressed upon people, there seems to be a general feeling of
opposition to the demands, as if somehow, the individual were being unduly
imposed upon. It is as if more is expected than the individual feels is
necessary to satisfy any reasonable person or being. And besides, it is
not the other person that is required to act in such and such a way, but
it is ME, and surely I am not like others. I'm ME, and I want to do as
I please, and live as I choose, and I certainly should not be required
to live according to the will and ways of another. Any other. For I'm ME!
It is perfectly all right for God to require that others live in harmony
with His will, for really, THEY
to live right. But this is ME you're talking about, and surely you, and
God can see that I'm not the other person. I'm ME, and I'll be my own man,
and I'll assert myself, and I'll be somebody. So don't tell ME how to live.
Tell those other folks, but don't tell ME how to live. Don't meddle in
MY life. Stay out of MY LIFE!
Now, if this seems a bit dramatic to you, I confess to you that you probably
do not make it a practice to verbalize these sentiments, nor do most people
verbalize them. So, perhaps from that standpoint, I have over dramatized
the issue. But what about the hidden, inner attitudes that you, and I,
and others harbor? When this inner, hidden motive is examined, have I really
gone overboard? Or have I not rather stated the case as it actually is?
How much do you and I really want to worship, praise, honor, and serve
our Great God? How much value do we place on His honor? How much do we
esteem Him and how far are we willing to go and to be used of Him as we
serve Him? How do we recognize our duty, and how do we submit to the obligation
that we have to Him, whether or not we acknowledge Him as Lord as well
I want from Him every blessing, and I surely expect Him to be kind and
considerate to my needs, real or imagined. I never forget to ask for the
things that I want, and the things that I expect will add to my pleasure,
and contentment, and gratification. I never fail to impose upon Him my
will. I never miss an opportunity to plead with Him for protection from
harm, or deliverance from it's consequences when I am threatened. "Lord,
if you'll just get me out of trouble this time, I promise you Lord, I'll
live for you from now on. Only remember Lord, I need help NOW, and if you'll
just help me this once, then, I promise Lord, I'll do better." Does this
Don't lie to yourself, or to me, and especially don't lie to God. Don't
vow and then not keep your vow. Don't vow when you have no intention of
keeping that vow. And you don't intend to keep it, do you? You only want
God to get you out of trouble NOW, for it's NOW that you are in trouble.
Let's consider martial, or other family centered problems for a moment.
Let's look at typical husband and wife problems in order to make a point
concerning duty, and responsibility, and benefit, and privilege, and blessing.
You mean all these things are involved in the subject under discussion,
preacher? Yes, I mean this, and I mean that all matters that God has discussed
in His word are involved in our duty to Him, which is, to live in accordance
with His law.
You and your spouse are at odds with each other it seems, all the time.
And this does cause problems and turmoil in your household, and even reaches
out to others as well. Don't deny that others, such as children, are affected
adversely when there is conflict between spouses, for you know that it
is true. They are affected.
I do not cite a specific case, or source of antagonism, but simply state
that if there is conflict, it is because one or both parties are not conducting
themselves according to the teachings of God's word, or the law of God.
Without equivocation, I state that there is here a failure, or failures
to conduct lives as God has directed. Otherwise, there could be no conflict.
The question is, to all parties, how much do you want the benefits and
privileges that accompany a quiet, tranquil, fruitful life? How much do
you desire to be obedient to the law of God, and how much do you desire
to honor Him in, and with your life?
Let me answer these questions. You want these things (conditions, benefits,
privileges, etc.) just as much as you are willing to do your duty! Just
as much, and no more, than you are willing to regulate your lives, subdue
your inordinate passions, mortify your selfishness, or whatever is required
for your life to be lived as God directs.
So, when you call your pastor, and beg him to help you, and to pray for
you, and to "do something, my life is falling apart", you need also to
examine your life. How is your life? How are you conducting your life?
How are you seeking to know God's will by searching His word for instruction,
and by submitting to what His word says? How serious are you in living
so as to meet the obligations that duty imposes upon you? And you must
remember that it is God who designates what your duty is; not you!
In the realm of human activity, we often read of, or otherwise become aware
of the fact that individuals are recognized for doing some exemplary thing,
or by conducting their activities in an exemplary, or outstanding manner.
And we give them certain praise for doing so, don't we?
In such cases, quite often there is public citation spoken or written to
the effect that such and- such person is recognized for actions that exceed,
or go "above and beyond" the normally called for duties. And in human affairs,
this may be true, and I'm sure it probably is.
But in matters pertaining to God given assignments, there is no such thing
as doing or acting "above and beyond" the call of duty. For God says, "...
God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
(Ecclesiastes 12:13). And with this Scripture ringing in my ear
and in my heart, I say, "It is impossible for a Christian to exceed his
duty"! Love God! Obey Him!
Now, in order for domestic tranquility to exist and prevail, then duty
must be met. And this applies to all parties, without exception. Husbands
are to fill the role and do the things that God requires. Wives are to
fill the role and do the things that God requires. Children are to fill
the roles and do the things that God requires. And this is without exception.
This must be done at all times.
Don't demand of your pastor, or of others, or of God, to "do something"
unless and until you have done what is incumbent upon you to do. And if
all parties heed God and do what He says, you won't ever need to go to
your pastor, or to God and plead, "do something", for God will bless in
your life when your life is committed to Him and when you live in accordance
with His law. He will bless you in that those conflicts that are presently
common will never exist, for He has "done something" that prevented them
from ever coming up to trouble you.
So don't continue on as you are doing, living selfishly, without regard
to others, or to God's instructions for you. I tell you that God teaches
His people how to live, being motivated and constrained by the Holy Spirit
to live in the love of God "that passeth understanding".
If you love God supremely, as you ought, you will then love others as you
ought. And doing so, you will fulfill the law of God. And the blessings
of God will be upon you, and upon your activities and tranquility will
prevail in your domestic life and in your Christian life. And if you don't,
it won't. Isn't that simple? Why can't we just read God's word and submit
to it? Why?
Next, let us look at the matter from the standpoint of why I should love
God. And why should I seek to please Him? And why should I seek to praise
and honor Him? Why should I seek to tell others, both by word and by example
that they too should love God? Why should I?
Several reasons come to mind when we consider these questions and meditate
upon them in light of the whole tenor of Scripture as God has declared
Scripture. First, there is the matter of gratitude. And then there is the
matter of stewardship. And also the matter of commandment. Let's look at
these three, realizing that there are others as well. But we will seek
to limit ourselves, at this time, to these three.
Concerning the matter of gratitude, we must first understand what we mean.
It is not that God ought to be grateful to us for anything. Rather, it
is that we should be grateful to Him for everything!
God, being God, is eternal, independent, holy, sovereign, and He possesses
all other of the attributes that He ascribes to Himself. And because He
only is eternal, all else owes its existence to Him. That includes everything
in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, for He alone created it all,
and for His pleasure it is and was created.
And so, we as creatures ought to be grateful to Him for having created
us. For life and all the issues of life, we must confess that He alone
is the Author. "All things were made by him; and without him was not
any thing made that was made." (John 1:3). "For in him we
live, and move, and have our being ..." (Acts 17:28).
For the great and many provisions that He has made for our physical well
being and for our physical enjoyment, we should always be grateful. We
have air to breathe that He made available. We have food and water in abundance
that He provides. We have clothing, and shelter, and every other thing
that we can imagine to add beauty, and utility, and joy, and contentment
to our natural lives. He has made so many beautiful and delightful things,
and then gave us senses to detect and enjoy them, having placed them all
before us on His earth.
I do not intend to minimize the importance of these many provisions that
God has made for us for which we should be grateful, but I want to call
your attention to far greater rich provision than all these. And that is,
the gift of life, spiritual, and eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gratitude indeed is sweet as it wells up in our beings, and thanksgiving
springs forth in exuberance as we seek to express it to Him. Oh, what a
Saviour is He, and how our hearts rejoice in His goodness and in His salvation
wrought in Christ. And we join with Paul as he bursts forth in praise,
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (II Corinthians
We all were sinners who were dead in trespasses and in sins. We were aliens
from God and strangers to His ways, and in an unending state of enmity
against Him. We hated Him and we hated His word. We wanted no part of Him
and were not interested in hearing about Him. We felt no conscious need
of Him, even though our consciences were constantly and incurably anxious
about, we knew not what.
Oh, dear reader, we were in a most awful, deplorable state, and we knew
it not, as to degree nor duration. We did not understand that we were under
the wrath of a Thrice Holy God. We did not believe, therefore, we were
already under condemnation and did not know it. Listen to God's word: "He
that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned
already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten
Son of God." (John 3:18). "He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life;
but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36).
But hear this: "And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses
and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this
world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that
now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had
our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the
desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of
wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love
wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead, hath quickened us together
with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and
made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages
to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness
toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto
good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Is this grand declaration of what God has purposed, and then wrought out
for us in Jesus Christ not cause for the greatest and most God honoring
thanksgivings that redeemed man can exclaim? Is this not cause for shouting,
Glory! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Praise, and honor to Him who has wrought
such splendorous things for Himself, and for our good!
Shout it out, Christian! Our God is a great God, and He alone is to be
praised, for He alone is worthy to be praised. And failure to praise Him
and to shout "GLORY" is to be guilty of the sin of ingratitude and to exhibit
an unthankful spirit. We must praise Him if we are to be meet our obligation
and fulfill our duty to do so; for He commands it.
Then, there is the matter of stewardship. What tremendous responsibility
is laid upon us to be faithful stewards of what He has given under our
hand. What grand privilege He has allowed us to be put in charge of, and
to enjoy as we use for His glory the many and varied resources that we
have access to.
These resources, however, remain under His ownership. He retains title
to all that He has created. We are but the stewards (managers) of His resources,
and their use is granted unto us as a privilege and never because we have
a claim, or intrinsic right to them, either in title or in benefit. They
are His. They are to be used as He directs, for His glory.
It is true that much benefit and much good can accrue to us as we are faithful
to manage His resources. And it is His good pleasure to provide the investment
principal for our use, and then to allow us the pleasures and good that
comes from the interest earned, when wisely invested.
There is, however, another side to this issue. When we are unfaithful,
or unwise in the investment of His principal, then a negative interest
is earned for which we are responsible to pay. And we will pay; in one
way or another. We will pay all that is owed as the result of our unfaithful
Remember the parable that Jesus put forth in Luke 19? Do you remember that
the stated nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom?
But before he went, he called unto himself certain servants and issued
to them certain resources, and put them in stewardship over those resources,
and told them "... Occupy till I come". (Luke 19:13).
At his appointed time, he, having received the kingdom that he had gone
to receive, returned. And then, there was an accounting made. A reckoning
of stewardship was called for, and strict examination was held. Faithful
stewards were commended, while unfaithful stewards were rebuked.
You are a steward. I am a steward. Neither of us own the resources that
we manage. We are but servants, or appointed managers for Him who is the
Nobleman. He assigned to each of us such as He deemed we were capable of
managing for Him, for His cause, and for His glory. What you have stewardship
over is not what I have stewardship over. The talents, time, enablements,
etc., that He has given you are the resources that you will be held accountable
for managing. Not those that I, or some other has, for each will be held
accountable for what he has been given into hand to invest for His gain
and for His glory.
My dear reader, please ponder this very carefully and prayerfully. We are
all but stewards of our dear Lord's resources. And since He has allowed
us access to them and to the benefits that are produced by their wise use
and investment, should we not take seriously this whole matter? Surely,
I am disturbed by the apparent lack of discernment of these truths by so
many who have named the Name of Christ, but seem to take such little interest
in His affairs. Some even deny that they are stewards and vainly imagine
themselves to be the owners of what that have access to, so as to use it
or to abuse it as they will. They have no interest in being faithful, obedient
stewards for they do not see themselves as such. Rather, they boast as
if all they have is their own, to be wasted as they see fit.
So many professing Christians shamelessly squander the time that is assigned
to them. They sometimes place themselves in position so that they imagine
they are excused from any responsibility to God, or to His cause, or to
His church. They knowingly and deliberately habitate some distance from
their church and think this makes their infrequent attendance acceptable
to Him. They are wrong. And an accounting day is coming, and they will
then discover how foolish they were.
Some wander in to the worship service after the worship service has begun,
and are unconcerned and unashamed of their deplorable conduct. I say they
are unconcerned and unashamed, for if they were concerned and were ashamed,
they would see to it that this did not happen. Whatever it took, they would
And much could be said about the foolish squandering of talent, and time,
and finances, and commitment to His cause, and meeting their corporate
responsibilities to the Lord's church. We could go on. But for this installment
we conclude by saying, "Master, which is the great commandment in the
law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first
and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself." (Matthew 22:36-39). And, "For all
the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself." (Galatians 5:14).
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