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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Law Is for the Careless

This morning I watched a pickup truck barrel through my neighborhood over fifty miles per hour. The speed limit is twenty-five. There were children making their way to their school bus stops in the dark but this careless fellow paid them no regard. I noted the time and resolved to call the police who could post an officer on my street. Speeds in excess of ten miles per hour are considered "reckless" in this area. I hope the resultant payment for his trangression will slow him down.

I have found that people do not slow down for school zones even though they can clearly see the speed blinking at them overhead. That is, they do not slow down unless they see a policeman ahead. Then, they are model drivers. Many people do not stop on red lights but run through them, do not stop before proceeding right on red and do not use their direction signals unless they see someone who can hold them accountable. These people know that there aren't enough police to hold them accountable most of the time so they become extremely careless in their driving.

I know why car insurance is so high. There are so many who will not comply with the law. They text while driving, turn right from left lanes (and vice-versa) and sneak down one-way streets while looking at the signs which say "wrong way." They are physically impared by alcohol or drugs, drive way past being merely sleepy and fully respond to the cries of their children without pulling over.

So, the law tries to prevent these unsafe and careless practices in driving. Yet, the law can't seem to keep up with the ways people can be careless.

And so it is with God's law too. The law is made to make the careless aware of their transgressions. Their sin ( our sin; my sin) is a failure to give God glory. It is simple but needs explanation because people are creating new ways of carelessly commiting this sin. Thus, we have the explanation of this standard of giving God glory throughout the Bible.

Think what the traffic law would be if there were no careless people: Drive in a safe and courteous manner. Sure there would have to be definition so that there could be order, such as: drive on the right side of the road and: the person on your right will have the right of way when arriving at a four way stop simultaneously. Speed limits would not be necessary because no one would drive recklessly. People wouldn't pass the signs which said, "this a lane was closed ahead" so that they could push their way in much further down the line. People would let others in when they were merging on the freeways.

So, more and more traffic laws are coming. They will be written because people choose to rebell against society's laws as much as they do against God's law.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 (ESV) 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.


Wiseman said...

Great info. Wiseman, LUsaka Zambia Africa

Anthony Chia said...

Although I am guilty of breaking secular laws (like traffic laws) and I am guilty of breaking God's laws, why titled your entry as "The Law is for the Careless"? I feel it does NOT do justice to the verses at the end (1 Tim 1:8-11); it sounded so "smoothing things over". Sometimes, we are careless, but so often we have been willful, NOT careless. Careless is when I was deep in thought about my "ministee"'s condition had gotten so bad that she was hospitalised with cancer having spread to her brain, and I did NOT watch my speedometer, and I went over the limit; willful is when I know I was late and drove quickly to get to where I was to go, and I went over the limit!

The law, in my view is NOT particularly for the careless, although, if you are caught and censored, it does serve to remind you, NOT to be so absent-minded whenever you take the wheel. Rather the law is for the willful ones and disobedient ones; they have knowledge of what is NOT permissible, yet they knowingly go against the law.

I am sorry, Ps Prentis, I cannot agree with your parabolic application here: One has to be deliberate about NOT transgressing. We have to rigorously resist sinning (Heb 12:4). Some may be able to, but most need to adopt an aggressive posture against sins. Precisely because there are increasing perversions, all the more, we have to be on our guard, and NOT be complacent.

But it is true it surely is NOT glorifying God if we, believers, acted the same way as the non-believers, breaking the laws, when no one (men) is seeing! We, including me, at times, blatantly regarded God’s CCTVs are out of order! Well, God’s CCTVs are NOT out of order and always capturing what is going on; and you know what, the world is also wising up on this! Back in my country, increasingly there are more and more CCTVs being installed to monitor people breaking the laws; specifically for motor speedsters, there are also the auto speed cameras on stretches of roads.

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Anthony Chia said...

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More written laws only help to some extent, but too extensiveness of law is NOT necessarily a good thing; it tends to foster legalism which we knew what happened to the Mosaic Law over time. The Pharisees and Sadducees got down to write down sub-laws, and more sub-laws, to cover every conceivable circumstances, and they ended up with legalism, which Jesus reproached them in His short earthly ministry.

But clearly Jesus did NOT come to turn the world into a law-less (without laws) kingdom, as many overly grace preachers are erroneously claiming. Rather to dismantle the legalism trap, God’s plan was and is to have His Spirit indwelled us, so that on the subtlety of laws, we are to particularly be harkened to the voice of the Holy Spirit. For example, in my country if you feed the monkey (it can be found literally in many places), you can be fined $5,000.00! Now, if I see a boy about to be attacked by a few monkeys, or at least that is what appeared to me to be like, should I or should I NOT, throw the food I have in my hands to the monkeys in any attempt to distract them from attacking the boy? If I just think about the law, maybe I won’t do it! What would Jesus do? Here is NOT the place to expound further, but Jesus DID CONFIRM laws are still applicable to us all (if they are NOT specifically being set aside by His work).

Of course, if the Holy Spirit can prompt you about the subtlety of laws, He can nudge you on the broad laws. In fact, the Word of God said that God’s laws would, with Jesus having come, and resurrected to Heaven, and the Holy Spirit given, be written in the minds and hearts of men (Jer 31:33-34 & Rom 2:15-16). If we keep our heart pure, and we do NOT numb our conscience, we will know what we can do and what we cannot do, against the laws of God, as in His written Word, and as prompted by the Holy Spirit. Will you choose NOT to be “careless”?

Prentis said...

While "careless" traditionally carries the definition of caprice I was hoping that those who read this would understand though the context that this meaning would entail "without any regard to." Thus, the law was created for those who have no regard for their relationship with God. The law reveals this lack of regard.