WHAT IS THE LAW OF THE LAND? — PART 2

These paintings by Gerard David (c. 1460 – 13 August 1523) depict the arrest and flaying by a corrupt judge. Cambyses, a Persian King sentence this judge, Sisamnes, for accepting a bribe. Then he used the skin to cover the seat Sisamnes' son used when he sat as a judge. (from here)
These paintings by Gerard David (c. 1460 – 13 August 1523) depict the arrest and flaying of a corrupt judge. Cambyses, a Persian King, had this judge, Sisamnes, flayed for accepting a bribe. Then the king used Sisamnes’ skin to cover the seat Sisamnes’ son used when that son sat as a judge. (from here)

In the last post of this series, we took up the task of Defining The Law Of The Land. Here we will consider the purpose of “The Law Of The Land.”

The Purpose Of The Law Of The Land

What the paintings above illustrate is that to obtain justice we will do terrible things, so terrible the justice of doing such things is at least dubious. Yet justice is highly sought after. All we need to learn that is to have someone wrong us and escape punishment.

Is the pursuit of justice the purpose of “The Law Of The Land”? It would seem so. Some suggest that government has larger purpose, but the People will hate any government that fails to provide justice, and they will soon rid themselves of it. Whatever else it does, the People expect their government to administer the “The Law Of The Land,” to provide a “due process” for obtaining justice.

Unfortunately, governments are run by people, and people are not always worthy of trust. Consider Romans 13:1-7. Even as the Roman Empire began to persecute Christians for several hundred years, martyring millions, the Apostle Paul counseled obedience to the governing authorities. Why?  As awful as that persecution was to become, no government, the absence of any agency respected and powerful enough to keep order, would have been worse.

Romans 13:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

What is evil? What is it about evil that requires a sword of justice, even if that sword is in the hands of a vile ruler? We can only surmise, but I think this passage reveals at least part of the answer.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The Apostle Paul hoped for more than justice or mere vengeance. He hoped for “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Yet where men are constantly fearful, struggling to survive amid chaos; not much thought is given to the knowledge of the truth.

What would God think the best kind of government, the one best suited to give each of us an opportunity to come to a knowledge of the truth? The Bible doesn’t say. 1 Samuel 8 (see ONE OF THE SINS OF THE JEWS) makes a powerful case against monarchy, but the Bible does not prescribe a form of government for Christians. The Bible does, however, have much to say about justice. In most translations, the word “justice” occurs about 125 times. The word “justice” seems to occur more frequently in the more literal, modern translations.

What did our nation’s founding fathers say about the purpose of “The Law Of The Land”? Instead of “The Law Of The Land,” the most authoritative document, the Declaration of Independence, speaks of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Even the word “justice” only occurs three times in that document. That part that speaks most directly to the purpose of government does even not include the word “justice.”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (from here)

It seems the founding fathers desired a just government and the results of having a just government. Consider. When government provides justice — when government justly enforces “The Law Of The Land” — the People are safe and secure in their rights. Then the people have the opportunity to pursue Happiness, even to come to the knowledge of the truth and to be saved.

What is to follow in this series?

  • The Means of Persuasion — Ethos, Pathos, Logos
  • Why Must We Choose A New Leadership?

12 thoughts on “WHAT IS THE LAW OF THE LAND? — PART 2

  1. Flaying …………………

    Don’t don’t give the Ky Judge any new ideas how to punish Kim Davis or the next Christian.

    Then again, In the past, the remedy for crooked politicians and judges was to tar and feather them first, before running them out ot town.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @scatterwisdom

      Well, that was not my intention, and I not too worried. Hollywood devises more horror in a couple weeks than I could imagine in a lifetime.

      BTW – The tarring and feathering was not intended to be torture. Some of the more naive members of the populace just hoped they could put wings on those crooked politicians and judges and help them leave the area faster. You don’t suppose it would help if we threw them of a cliff. Don’t mama birds kick their babies out of the nest?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is okay with me if we tar and feather them and then kick em out of their ‘nests’ in Washington.

        But please don;t make it too easy for them to just die by falling off the cliff. Put em in a prison, make them work for their room and board, and have a Hollywood reality show broadcast their misery every day as an example to dissuade another judge or politician from repeating their folly..

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting, Tom. I like the word “just,” it means “guided by truth and reason.” What is truth? Well, Christ says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Having a society where people are free to believe or not as they wish is all well and good, but just the same, those are Christian values, biblical concepts shaping our laws. Or at least that’s how it has been for a few hundred years, however short we have often fallen. Where does our very concept of justice and truth come from?

    As to natural law, I think Paul speaks about it in Romans 2:14, “ For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves..” Natural law is something that is somewhat innate to us all, but truly hard to define. Just the same our conscience, our higher selves, something there leads us to all reach for an ideal, peace, justice, a world free of chaos and strife. Well, most of us anyway, at least dream of such things and recognize it when we see it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When I was 17, I read the “Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine. Then I decided Christianity did not make any logical sense. So as a young man I did not read the Bible carefully. I was in my 50’s before I did that.

      Yet there was something my mother said that stayed with all those year. At the time, what she said stiffened my spine (and my stubborn neck). She said I was still a Christian, but I did not understand she meant. I just told her she was wrong.

      What was my mother getting at? She was trying to say that she and my father had raised my brothers and sisters and I with Christian values, and she was right. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact I was once just as ignorant, I still find it almost riotously ironic when an atheist complains that the existence of evil proves there is no God. The fact we recognize evil (Romans 2:14) proves the existence of God, and because we have a Christian heritage we abhor evil much the way Christians would.

      Would a Christian say “might makes right”? Would an American? Yet in ancient times and in much of the world today, a great many believe might does make right.

      Yet the world still remains largely apart from us, faraway on the other side of great oceans, and too few open the Bible, much less read it. So I suppose we should not find it odd that few Americans realize the extent we derive our standards for good and evil from the Bible.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tom, you are so correct “So I suppose we should not find it odd that few Americans realize the extent we derive our standards for good and evil from the Bible.”
        I am showing Monumental in the Jail where I am the Senior Volunteer Chaplain. because of length I had to show it in two parts but before it started I asks all three groups some simple questions like: Is the USA a democracy? Where did our laws come from? Were the majority of founding fathers Christians? Is there really such a thing as separation of church and state as described in the media? Their answers of course were very different at the end of the film.
        My goal is two-fold. As a Christian of course to spread the Gospel and a Christian worldview. Also I truly believe that the only way America can regain its place as a world leader is to return to the God honoring ways that got us there,

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for your visit and your kind remarks.

          Sound like you have found an interesting and very challenging way to volunteer. I trust the reward has been worth the struggles.

          I have not seen Monumental, but it sounds like it might be a neat movie. Some of the folks I know saw it and liked it, but I would never have considered showing it to prisoners. What did they think of it?

          Like

  3. Thank you, the inmates for the most part were quite amazed at the lies they have been fed in school and through the media. More importantly I hope and pray at least some of them “got it” just as the pilgrims and our founding fathers understood. The only way to experience true liberty is to begin with God and not just any God but the God of the Bible.

    It is a truly amazing film. We are hoping to combine the follow up study series and Dr. Dobson’s Truth Project into a Worldview class.

    Liked by 1 person

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