There is more than one kind of law. There is the law of nature, God’s Law, Mosaic Law, and governmental law to name a few. The Christian has a unique relationship with each of these laws because of her unique relationship with The LORD God who made them all. For instance a Christian may not agree with the political view of her government but she knows God is Sovereign and so she respects the government and follows the laws put in place by them. She obeys the laws of her country, state, and city because obeying those laws reflects her submission to God and shows her humility to the world and gives them a chance to see God’s love at work. Paul told the Roman Christians who lived under a government who did not always have their best interest in heart to remember who put those in control in power. Verses 1-2 read,
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
All authority comes from God. So obeying the laws put in place by the country is obedience to God. When a policeman stops us for speeding, it does us no favor to be belligerent or even defensive. If we had not been breaking the speed limit, would he have stopped us? And if we were not speeding, if we were not breaking any laws then we have no reason for hostility, no reason to be defensive or fearful because we didn’t do anything wrong. Sure the policeman could still give us a citation, even if we think he’s is in the wrong. But will our antagonism stop him? Will our opposition show him the love of Jesus? Verses 3-7 read,
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
The deference we show earthly authorities is a picture of our acquiescence to The Lord. It is an opportunity to love people in a way that most of the world cannot practice. The illustration of our relationship with God also extends to punishment and reward. If we are fulfilling governmental laws, we have nothing to fear from governmental authority. If we are fulfilling God’s law or know Jesus has fulfilled it for us) we have nothing to fear from God. When a policeman knocks at the door and we have done nothing illegal, we don’t have to worry. We are free to respect authority because we know that we have not earned the penalties of breaking the law.
I know that our governments are not perfect. There are people who are condemned even though they are innocent. There are people in prison for crimes they did not commit, even some who have been put to death. But we are still free to give authority the respect they are owed, because we trust God above them. We know that somehow even in a fallen and flawed world, God has us and He will use all of it for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
We are not subject to Mosaic Law because Jesus, the Lamb of God fulfilled the Law by sacrificing Himself on the cross and defeating death and sin in the Resurrection. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are free as slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18). That may sound confusing but what it means is this: At one time we lived to please ourselves and everything we did was sin because we were living outside God’s will, outside of a relationship with Him. We lived for pleasure, pride, and profligacy. But when we were set free from sin, we offered ourselves to Jesus and became free to love Him, free to love people, and free to express His love in righteousness. We offer our lives to the Lord as living examples of who He is and that means offering ourselves to loving people as Jesus loves them.
Jesus fulfilled Mosaic Law and we are no longer under a list of dos and don’ts. We are now under the Law of Love. Paul describes it in verses 8-10.
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Truly, love fulfills every aspect of the law. If we are expressing God’s love to someone would we commit adultery, murder, steal, or even be envious of them? No, there is not an iota of love in those acts. Love cannot sin. It’s time to stop concentrating on the Law of Moses and start focusing on loving people with the ferocity of God Almighty. Let’s love people, be just as concerned for their welfare, feelings, and future as our own. Let’s be slaves of righteousness who focus on what we can do to love as Jesus loves instead of slaves of sin who focus on how not to sin and what is sin and what is not.
Believer, you have been set free! Stop putting on those shackles of sin and instead live and walk in the freedom you’ve been given. You are free to live and walk in the Spirit of God who has indwelled you. Stop concentrating on laws and sins and put your eyes on Jesus. We are free from the Law, why continue to live under it? We cannot live in between law and Jesus. There is no middle road, no tension between law and antinomianism (that is complete disregard of any sort of authority including God). Both are ways that Satan keeps people enslaved and away from the true grace of Jesus Christ our Salvation. Both are slavery to law, sin, and death. 1 Corinthians 10:21-24 reads,
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
The only sin for the Christian is to know what good she ought to do and then not do it. James 4:17 tells us,
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Instead of keeping our eyes on the list of what we should not do, lets follow Jesus, imitate Him, live out the expression of the Holy Spirit and do what we know is right. What do we know is right? It is to love one another as Jesus loved us. Time is short, people are dying without knowing Jesus. They need us to show them who He is, not tell them what they should not do. Lists of sin do not save, Jesus does. Verses 11-14 read,
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Wasting our time focusing on sin and sins only leads toward temptation and giving in to sin. Let’s walk in the light of Christ, wearing the full armor of Christ, exuding the fruit of the Spirit. Let us focus on the living the Law of Love rather than following the laws like the Pharisees did.