In LAWLESSNESS — PART 1, we considered what distinguishes a Lawless society from a Lawful society. We made the observation a lawless society looks like a totalitarian state, whereas a lawful society seeks to protect the people’s God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That choice between living in lawless and lawful society seems obvious, does it not? Yet, as Moses found out, we have a difficult time making and keeping the commitment to protect each other’s rights. Sadly, each of us tends to be far more interested in getting our own way than anything else. That is, we tend to put our own interests before our neighbors’.
How Are the Law and the Bible Related?
According to some people, Jesus never said how we are supposed to govern ourselves. Yet He endorsed the Old Testament, and He often quoted it. The Old Testament contains The Mosaic Law, which is often compared to the Code of Hammurabi.
- What’s so important about the Code of Hammurabi?
- Did Moses copy the Law from the Code of Hammurabi?
- The Code of Hammurabi and the Law of Moses: Similarities, Differences and Common Purposes
The Mosaic Law was written about two hundred years after the Code of Hammurabi, and both served as the basis for a legal system. However, The Mosaic Law is distinctly more humane. Moreover, as this series on the Ten Commandments demonstrates, we have adopted many ideas from The Mosaic Law into our legal system.
Is our legal system God’s Law? No. The Bible contains God’s Law. Nevertheless, to be lawful, a society must strive to obey God’s Law. Does that mean that Christians should turn the United States into some kind of theocracy? No, but we do have an obligation to try to make our legal code as just as possible.
So, is this post about The Mosaic Law? No. Here, we will focus on something more fundamental. The first story in the Bible about a Law that people had to obey is told in the story of Adam and Eve. God told Adam not to eat the fruit from a certain tree, tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but Adam and Eve ate it anyway.
What was the point of the law God had made? What was the sin of Adam and Eve? Was it eating the fruit of a tree that God told them not to eat? Was their sin breaking a rule, or did their sin reside in what motivated them to break a rule and eat the forbidden fruit?
Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit? Because they wanted to be gods, they failed to love, trust, and obey God. God had given them the choice of loving Him, trusting Him, and obeying Him, but that is not what they did.
God made Adam and Eve innocent, but He still allowed them to choose between good and evil. God allowed Adam and Eve a free will. Free will involves the ability to make a choice. Will we love, trust, and obey God, or not?
The people of a lawless society do not fear to disobey God. Nevertheless, a lawless society will still have plenty of rules, but the legal system will exist for a different reason. Instead of protecting the members of the community (assuming one still exists), in a lawless society rules exist to protect those in power from the people they exploit.
Obedience to God requires us to obey His Word — His commands — The Law. The Bible contains God’s Law. The Bible requires to love our neighbors and to respect their rights. The Old Testament (for example, the last six of The Ten Commandments) emphasizes respecting our neighbors’ rights. The New Testament focuses upon the requirement to love our neighbors (for example, most of The Sermon on the Mount).
To obey God’s Law, we must know and understand what God has commanded. That requires us to read the entire Bible, and that requires us to fight the passage of laws that exploit our neighbors and to support the passage of laws that protect our neighbors’ rights.
To Be Continued
- A Closer Examination of the Differences Between the Law and Lawlessness
- Is Our Nation Lawful or a Lawless?