Random Blog Clay Feet: May 06, 2008
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What is the Law?

Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men... (Matt. 15:9 and Mark 7:7)

Jesus here addressed a very serious problem that was certainly not exclusive to the leaders in His day. They were doing what we struggle with in religion today, taking all kinds of man-invented ideas, rules and notions and giving them the same weight and importance as the laws of God. They were making men's ideas and rules on a par with God's ways and principles and at times making their own rules even more important.

But I see another aspect of this problem that is not so clearly focused on here but is parallel. Many have a great deal of confusion in their minds and hearts about God's laws. Billions of people are taught that God's law has been “fulfilled” which is implied to mean that it no longer need apply to their life. This leads to a most pernicious deception that causes them to believe they can be “saved” while ignoring the fundamental principles of reality – the very reality of the heaven they believe they will soon enter with the smiling approval of God.

I think much of the confusion about God's law and the reason it is so easy to despise it in the heart is because most people do not understand that men's laws, indeed their whole system of law, is actually a counterfeit of the principles that make up God's reality and way of family bonding. I hesitate to call it a government because the implications of that word have too much inherent meaning involving the counterfeit system law here on earth. But the fact is that what we label God's laws are simply descriptions of reality whereas men's laws are arbitrary, fickle decisions, rules made up to dictate and control what others are supposed to do. Then artificial punishments are necessarily attached in order to strike fear into people's hearts as the motivation to observe these artificial rules. In addition, other people are then assigned and equipped to enforce these rules and punishments.

Putting other people in charge of forcing people to keep rules puts insulation between the rule-makers and their responsibility for the inherent depravity and selfish nature of many of these rules. In fact, it is generally viewed that legislators of rules as well as enforcers of rules are often exempt many times from the severity of enforcement that is applied to the “other” people who are thus considered somewhat less important. This is really thinly veiled (if at all) hypocrisy that is worn as a badge of superiority. The more a person is considered exempt from keeping the rules the more they feel a sense of being important or aloof in society in comparison to everyone else. This of course, reinforces the second leg of the false system of civilation, hierarchy.

The problem in all of this that I am starting to see is not just that this counterfeit system of rules exists, but even more dangerous, this problem occurs when religious people immersed in this way of thinking derived from the world teach the true principles of God's system in a way that makes them appear to have the same origins and attributes of men's artificial rules. People are subtly led to believe that God's rules are just as changeable as men's laws because of the arbitrary nature and selfish origins of mens' laws. Therefore, just like men's rules can be faulty, bigoted or even used to impose injustice on others but can be overturned by a different group of lawmakers, then it stands to reason that God's “laws” could likewise be revoked or replaced with a different set of rules that would be better than the previous.

The reason this seems so plausible is because, failing to distinguish the difference between the very nature of men's laws and God's laws, we do not see any problem with God changing and upgrading His laws to fit changing times or circumstances. Furthermore, we point to the way God has adjusted His dealings with men over the ages and claim that this is proof that He can change His laws whenever it is convenient for Him just like men do on a regular basis. But this ignores the most serious nature of God's fundamental laws – that God' laws are descriptive, not prescriptive in nature.

We would think it absolutely absurd (though it has been actually tried at times) to try to legislate overturning the natural laws of nature, physics or other principles of reality in which we live. And yet we fail to realize that the moral laws of God are exactly the same and come from the same Author as the other laws of creation. The God who put into place the powerful forces of nature that are guided and counterbalanced by other natural forces to provide us an environment in which to live and thrive, reveals to us the equally powerful forces of the spirit realm of which we are a part. And just like what we term “natural law” has unavoidable consequences whenever ignored or violated, so too the “natural” laws which make up the spirit realm have unavoidable consequences that are not arbitrary in nature but are nonetheless very real and devastating when violated or ignored.

Just like God is not in the business of acting as an enforcer of artificial punishments against those who may violate the law of gravity, so too He is not the kind of God that is waiting with fierce threatenings and “artificial” judgments against those who “offend” His way of thinking and living in the moral or spiritual arena. God's laws are descriptions of reality, not artificial and arbitrary rules like our laws are. And as such, God's fundamental laws do not need to have artificial punishments attached or enforcers put in place to impose those punishments. They have their own natural consequences that will be devastating to our lives if He withdraws His protecting grace that has been covering us for millenia

What is seen throughout history many times is the use of men's laws and artificial systems such as warfare and punishments as tools or object lessons to try to get humans to understand the far superior principles that govern spiritual realities. And just because God is willing to utilize men's methods and means as teaching tools so that men can begin to grasp something beyond the tools of the immediate lesson does not mean that the simplistic lessons constitute the reality that God is trying to reveal to our minds. God has always had to stoop very low to meet men on the intellectual and spiritual level where they are currently to begin His lessons as He tries to draw them to a higher level of reasoning and spirit thinking. We do the same with our small children today and should realize that God has something far greater to teach us than the “sandbox illustrations” using men's artificial, counterfeit systems. These human inventions only attempt to create the imitation reality developed by Satan that we try to live within.

The grace of God has not been given to the human race to somehow make them exempt from needing to observe the natural laws of morality and righteousness any more than grace is given to make us exempt from the laws of physics. In fact, if we were to somehow become free of all the laws of nature we would no longer have an organized environment in which to have bodies or any other meaningful existence. The laws of nature keep our bodies held together and functioning and meaningful and the same is true of the natural laws of the spirit realm. Whenever we try to pretend that God's laws governing the spirit realm are somehow done away with or suspended due to the sacrifice of Jesus for us on the cross, we are trying to believe that the fundamental principles that make up the environment of the spirit realm are no longer in place. That is just as ridiculous as believing that we could exist outside of the laws of physics. And it also makes a mockery of the real reason Jesus did come and die on the cross.

All of God's laws are simply descriptive of realities that He has created in which we live and grow and have our existence. Any time we equate the nature of God's laws with the fickle nature of men's counterfeit system of law we are in danger of tragic deceptions and are headed for terrible consequences. This is not because of an offended God who is waiting to punish because someone crossed His path or rejected His loving advances like humans are liable to do. We are headed for terrible consequences just the same way we are headed for trouble while hurtling at high speed in a car toward the edge of a very high cliff ignoring all the warning signs to go another direction or to stop. Gravity is not subject to being suspended (except through miraculous intervention for reasons of grace on the part of God) and whenever we defy gravity, whether intentionally or ignorantly, we will usually discover that gravity is a very permanent type of law that has its own natural effects.

I don't know of anyone who realistically believes that it would be a good thing to eliminate the law of gravity altogether. Life as we know it would cease to be possible if that were somehow done. In the very same way, the principles of reality that are revealed in the fundamental laws of God – including the Ten Commandments – cannot be somehow changed or revoked or replaced with some alternate laws. That would be an attempt to create a whole new definition of reality which is what we are doing whenever we think we can change the laws of God; for God's laws are simply the fundamental principles of the reality in which we actually exist. If we try to change God's laws through reason, arguments or simply arbitrary human declarations, we are in fact claiming to be more powerful and wise than that Creator of the reality in which we now exist. That sounds like treason of the highest order.

Whenever religious teachers and leaders promote the idea that the Old Testament is a period of time in which people were saved by keeping strict laws and that we are now free from the laws of God through redemption, they are in essence trying to teach that the fundamental principles of reality have somehow been discarded and we live in some sort of freedom outside of that reality. Excuse me, but we would be laughed out of town if we tried to claim that about the laws of nature and physics. But because the laws of the spirit realm are not “provable” in the physical laboratory like physical laws can be, then we too often get away for a period of time believing this nonsense. But it does not make it any more true or safe.

I think it is very helpful to have a clearer understanding of the difference between the system of artificial laws instituted by men in contrast to the fundamental and descriptive nature of the principles of reality which are the laws of God. This clarification in our mind of the stark difference between the two systems will make it much easier to see the truth about God, about reality and about God's dealings with men over the centuries. It gives us a new frame of reference, a new pair of glasses through which to view more clearly what is real and what is deceptive. For deceptions, no matter how compelling or plausible, will always end in tragedy, loss, pain and death.

Sin is the transgression of the law – cutting crosswise to the principles described in natural law. God's law is not arbitrary so it needs no artificial punishments attached to it to induce obedience through intimidation. Natural law is followed by natural consequences, either good or bad depending on how you relate to them. Spiritual law is no different than physical law except that it operates in a different realm of our being just as electricity has different descriptions of operations than the principles that govern fluids.

When it becomes settled in our minds and hearts (the latter being where more of the spirit principles operate) that we have to be in alignment with spiritual laws if we want to live and thrive as a human, and that those laws can never be altered or abrogated, then we will be able to cooperate with God's desire to work in us and transform us into conformity with His image. For the laws of nature and spiritual realities are in fact simply descriptions of different aspects of the essence of God Himself. And if we are going to live in His presence and interact with Him for eternity, we must be in harmony with the truths that make up that environment.

Instead of spending enormous amounts of wasted time and energy trying to figure out how God's laws do not apply to our lives today or, conversely worrying over how to “keep” them in our own strength (like a computer worrying about how to stay functioning without a source of electrical energy), we should focus our attention on embracing God's principles and staying closely connected to His Spirit which is like our power supply cord or like an umbilical cord that provides us both life and nurture in order to help us grow.

God's laws are descriptions of what a fully matured “adult” looks like in all the aspects of human reality. As infants spiritually we cannot fully comprehend or achieve those accomplishments or responsibilities at this time. But neither is it sane to deny that God's descriptions of adulthood are no longer God's desire for our lives and insist that we must remain babies, or even worse some other life-form that we imagine for ourselves. God wants us to grow up into His image and has provided everything we need to move in that direction. If we deny His stated goal for us and refuse the provisions that He has made for our nourishment and protection and growth, then we have set ourselves up to wither and die just as an unborn infant will not survive without remaining connected to its umbilical cord.

As a baby looks to its loving parents as the model toward which it is growing, we must accept that God's laws are simply descriptions of God and as such are descriptions of what we shall look more and more like as we grow up. The law of Creation in Genesis 1 and 2 was that everything would produce after its own kind. We were created in the line of God and that is the kind of creature we are to become as we grow up. So there is no reason to deny the very descriptions of that model provided through the descriptions known as the “laws of God”.