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In the Gates

Two Options

Everyone is ruled by some law, either God’s or from some other source.


And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them.” Leviticus 18.1-4

The idea that God’s Law should rule the lives of human beings is hardly an agreeable notion – even to many Christians. It is not difficult for our unbelieving contemporaries to find reasons why the Law of God is unacceptable to them. It might surprise us, however, to know that ignorance and indifference to the Law are widespread among the members of the believing community.

That being said, it is only fair to observe that anyone who will not submit to the rule of God’s Law will submit to some other rule of law. That may be something as simple as the whim of the moment, as flexible as the moral relativity of the day, or as rigid as Islamic Sharia law. Everyone is ruled by some law, either God’s or from some other source.

Christians believe there are many advantages to having their outlook, aspirations, priorities, and lives molded and directed by a body of Law which is holy and righteous and good, and which fosters, in its outworking, a life of loving God and neighbor, so as to edify individuals and communities, promote justice and mercy, and satisfy one’s own best interests (Rom. 7.12; Matt. 22.34-30).

On the other hand, we believe many dangers lie along the uncertain path of changing human norms or the precepts and practices of false religions. In every person’s life, how we relate to others, conduct our affairs, and organize our lives will thus be determined by one of two options: Either God, speaking in His Law and Word, or us as individuals, clinging to whatever standards and guidelines may seem to suit for the moment.

But we must not assume that living under the rule of God’s Law will automatically appear to be a thing to be desired. We must try to demonstrate this, first of all, to believers. If we can persuade the followers of Jesus Christ to take up the study and practice of God’s Law, not only will we contribute to their knowing a greater experience of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 5.17-19) and a more complete walk of discipleship (1 Jn. 2.1-6), we should also expect that their way of life will draw the attention of those around them, who will observe and remark the wisdom and graciousness of their way of life (Deut. 4.5-8).

The psalmist says that the righteous person meditates day and night in God’s Law (Ps. 1). Would like to get started in this discipline? Order a copy of The Ground for Christian Ethics and The Law of God. The first will explain the importance3 of God’s Law, and guide you in taking up the practice of daily reading and meditation. The second provides all the statutes, precepts, and rules of God’s Law organized under their proper number of the Ten Commandments.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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