The law is a good thing for those who don’t break it and detestable to those who do. It isn’t meant to make your life difficult or unenjoyable, it is meant to make your life peaceable and enjoyable. It is meant to deter evil and show each of us how to live side by side.
Verse 14 reads,
“You shall not move your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”
Why does everyone want just a little more or what Joe Green has that he does not? The grass on Joe’s side of the fence is the same grass that is on your side of the fence. If it is greener, maybe it is because he works harder to make it that way. If the fruit on his trees looks better, juicier, and bigger, maybe it is because he has toiled and suffered and the results have shone through.
We have our inheritance, we do not need anyone else’s. Heaven is more than we can begin to grasp. Sure there are times when we might fall for the enemy’s lies that Joe has it better than us but that isn’t the case. There is the life in Jesus, where we walk in the Spirit and mature to become the image of Christ which ends with an instant transformation to perfection and eternal life. And there is life without Christ where some walk in what looks like freedom but is really blind slavery. It ends in the winepress of the wrath of the Lamb and in eternal suffering. Don’t be envious of the supposed freedom and inheritance of the lost. Live fully in Christ and make them want the inheritance you have received.
We, Christians live by grace and that is not an excuse to live like sinners but a reason to live righteously. It is a reason to show we are not slaves to sin, money, drugs, sexual immorality, or any of the other devices of the devil. The law we live by is stricter than the Law of Moses, it is perfect love. We are not perfect yet and following the law of perfect love requires faith in The Lord. Verses 15-17 read,
“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. 16 If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days.”
A single accuser could well be lying. If there is no one to corroborate her story then she is not to be believed until sufficient evidence is found. I have been the victim of a lying witness. She was believed and I paid for her crime. I was able to forgive her, because I understand that she is my Sister in Christ and I let the Lord deal with her sin. It isn’t my place to hold it against her. I would be able to forgive her easier if she were not in Christ because God would exact punishment on her and my forgiveness would reflect my Lord’s forgiveness toward me and perhaps lead her to know Jesus.
People try to hide their own guilt by pointing to someone else. How quickly we tend to believe the accuser. “He pulled the trigger.” “She stole it.” “He hurt me.” There is no love in believing unsubstantiated accusations.
This law can teach us about life in Christ. The devil stands accusing us day and night, he is a liar whose job it is to deceive the world. He accuses the faithful in order to destroy our efficacy for Christ. A friend recently told me to show some mercy to myself. I have not done that. I believed the accuser and fell for his despicable lies about me. I nearly died under the weight of his charges. But this morning listening to my Lord, I can in faith forgive myself because Jesus already did. Satan will receive the punishment he longs for us to receive. He will be thrown into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:10). We live by faith and have victory over that serpent because rather than lie or believe the lies, we are covered by Jesus and have the testimony of Christ. Revelation 12:9-12 reads,
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
We are not like the world who believe every stray accusation and want people to suffer for unproven crimes. God is Just. We must care about justice as much as He does and that means not believing the accuser of the brethren in any form he takes. We have the Spirit of Truth within us. We wear Jesus’ righteousness. We have the shield of faith and the fiery darts of the accuser sends our way are extinguished. (Ephesians 6:16). His witness with ours is enough.
We also have to be careful not to accuse with only ourselves as a witness. If a brother or sister is living sinfully, we go to him, not to punish but to lift him up out of sin. If he refuses to listen, we go back to him with two or three witnesses so that everything that happens will honor Christ. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 18:15-16,
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”
Furthermore, two or three witnesses filled with the Holy Spirit who agree in prayer can make powerful things happen. In Matthew 18:18-20 Jesus told us,
“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Do you understand the implications of that? Two of us agreeing can bind evil and loose good. Two or three of with the Holy Spirit among us can ask the Father for anything and it will be done. Let’s believe this! Let’s get together and loose God’s healing and restoration! Let’s loose the power of Heaven over this earth! Let’s bind the accuser and make him ineffectual over the body of Christ and the lost slaves he rules.
A false witness among us will not agree with the truth, she will agree with the accuser and try and keep him in power through division, wounds, lies, and finger pointing. There is vengeance waiting for her, just as it waits for the devil. We are not to allow that malevolence to be among us. Verses 18-21 warn us to expel it from us.
The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 20 And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”
Evil was purged from ancient Israel through punishment, often quite severe in order to deter it before it began and let people see the wages of their sin. Jesus paid for our sins, but that doesn’t give us a license to live licentiously. It instead charges us to live up to a higher law. Jesus said it this way,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:38-48).
We do not allow brothers and sisters to destroy the church with lies. But we do forgive sins and show mercy and love to such the degree Jesus did. It is that love, the offering of the other cheek instead of hitting back, the heartfelt blessing toward the curser, and the free giving to the one who takes that shows who Jesus is and gets people wondering how we are able, why we are so different, and where that kind of goodness comes from.
Jesus gave His life for us and for them. He let them beat Him and offered himself completely. He was cursed and spat on, yet He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). We only have one law, but it is a law much higher than all the laws before it. It is a law difficult to live up to but easy to carry. Jesus said it in John 15:12-17.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
One commandment which covers the entire law; love one another as Jesus loves us. But remember how it is Jesus loves, not with words like honey and sweetie, but with action, perfection, submission, and power.