By Dan King
As a precaution against the possibility that he might be misunderstood on his views about man and his position relative to God’s law, (“as without law,” 9:21), in 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote: “being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ.” He wanted no one to get the impression that man was free from divine rule in his life. Although we have been made free from the bondage of keeping Moses’ law, yet we are still “under the law to Christ.”
One of the sins of man, as viewed from a Bible perspective, is his tendency to break from the yoke of divine law. Jesus portrayed the judgment as a day of great surprise, even of shock, to those who refused to be restricted by God’s government of their lives: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). In this same context, he isolated and identified their true crime, that of “iniquity” or “lawlessness” (anomia: a, negative, nomos, law).
As Christians, we are indeed “under the law to Christ.” Our decisions in life must be made in harmony with our king’s will, as he rules us through his law. However, we cannot think that we will be able to live out our lives without some amount of conflict, whether within or without, over this allegiance we have to Jesus. In many and varied ways our loyalty to him and his law is challenged as we make our journey from earth to heaven.
Here are some areas wherein the modern Christian must be on guard.
The Christian Must Not Submit Himself To Human Religious Laws
The world has always been peopled by religious tyrants who would lay claim to our obedience. Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and the Ayatolla Khomeini, are good examples of the most ruthless of such folk. But they come in kinder and gentler forms also. Paul said, “Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” (Col. 2:20-22). Man-made religious laws and strictures which do not derive from the Bible, or which come out of the Old Testament (Gal. 5:1-4) can never properly be the law that directs our lives. Sacred Scripture is the only thing that is “profitable for doctrine, reproof, instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete.” (2 Tim. 3:16ff). We are under law to Christ!
The Christian Must Not Make His Human Family The Final Determinant In His Life
The Lord gave warning, knowing that the closeness and affection which properly exists within the family, can be taken too far: “I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:35-37). We would hope that every family were set upon doing what is right and pleasing to God. But we know that it simply is not always that way. A family may be attached to a false religion, both by membership and by affection. If that is so, then the person who learns the truth must decide to do what he or she knows they must, regardless of what this may mean within the family. God is ultimately our Father, and Jesus Christ our elder brother. Faithful Christians everywhere are our spiritual family. We may hope that our physical family ultimately may come to know and obey the truth, but regardless of their decision, we know what ours must be. We are under law to Christ!
The Christian Must Not Permit Himself To Be Influenced By A Changing Moral Climate
The moral atmosphere in all of Western civilization is rapidly changing for the worse. Every day, it seems, sees some new and more disgusting move in the direction of evil within our society. The people around us have become progressively more lax in their attitudes about honesty, integrity, drugs, sexual license, homosexuality, etc. If we are not careful, we will also be infected by these changing mores of society. Let us re-member that God overthrew the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and others like them because of these very sins. Moreover, he cursed the Gentiles, and “gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves” and “unto vile affections” and “a reprobate mind” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). It would be very easy for us to yield to the temptation to go along with this change taking place in the thinking of our neighbors and friends. But remember: We are under law to Christ!
The Christian Will Not Allow Modern Man’s Loose Government Of Society To Set His Standards For Him
Another thing that is very rapidly changing about us are our laws. Several years ago murder, rape and crimes of violence were punished very harshly in this country. Today the liberalistic thinkers have taken over in our national and state governments. They control our court system, slap-ping the wrists of violent offenders and career criminals. We are afraid to walk the streets in many of our cities, and even feel unsafe in our homes, be-cause we know that these animalistic predators are free to roam and pillage almost at will. To the humanistic elites of our day these people are “poor, hapless victims of society” who de-serve almost endless opportunities at rehabilitation. To God-fearing men and women they are “mere brute beasts who deserve to be taken out and destroyed” (2 Pet. 2:12). The deeper issue is a true lack of respect for human life (Gen. 9:5, 6), and God, in whose image men are made (Gen. 1:27).
In a similar vein, the law has changed with respect to marriage and the family. Laws against adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc., are rapidly disappearing. Homosexuals are being permitted to adopt children born of normal sexual relationships and raise them up in an environment which is an “abomination” in God’s sight. Divorce laws have become so loose, that families break apart upon every whim of two people. Couples with financial assets have to assume the possibility that they will divorce, and draw up “pre-nuptial” agreements to protect themselves in this likely event! Even members of the church in our time are given to excusing every divorced and remarried individual, ignoring the decree of the Lord Jesus: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt. 19:9). The law of man and the Law of God, are sometimes at variance! Remember: We are under law to Christ!
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 16, p. 6-7
August 15, 1996