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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Laws Never Govern Morality

Many people break the law. They speed because there aren't enough police to give tickets or they buy radar detectors to make sure they don't get caught speeding. They throw their trash out the windows of their cars because there is no one around to stop them. People murder, rob banks and cheat on their taxes because they don't think they'll ever get caught. The external force and prescribed punishment isn't enough to keep people from breaking the law.

But what about morality?

God has established moral laws. He has said that murder is a sin. But each night we read of murders. He has said that adultery is a sin but I often have to listen to the unfaithfulness of both spouses in a marriage. Again, many people fail to obey God's moral laws because they don't believe they will get caught. Of course, they are always caught because God sees them but that doesn't seem to matter to them.

So, why should we expect that a law governing morality will work? It never has before.

I'm afraid that people want to feel safe rather than be safe. They want to know the law is there to stop whatever from happening whether or not it has any effect on it happening. They give up their rights to have the TSA agents go through their luggage because they want to feel safe. They say its okay for the government to listen on their phone conversations because they want to feel safe. I personally don't think these actions have made us any safer. I believe that people will always figure out a way to go around a law if they want to.

So, what works?

Jesus said:

John 14:15 (ESV)
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
I believe that love is the only answer to a moral problem. If we love Jesus we will obey what He has said. We will see the Bible as a book of love in which God expresses His love to us and we obey because of our love for Him. People who fall in love with Jesus will radically change their actions to be in compliance with His will. Love acts when no one else is watching.

The Pharisees thought they were obeying God's laws. They tried to impose their will on the people. They condemned those who didn't do exactly as themselves. They never saw their failures. They never realized their explanations of the law were merely new ways to break the law. They put huge burdens on the backs of the people.

I made a vow to care for my wife when I married her. She has been going through radiation treatments for breast cancer for the past five weeks. She is so weak that she has trouble walking in to work from the parking lot. Therefore, I drive her to work every chance I get. I did so this morning even though it made me late for my 6:45 AM meeting. It is not a burden. It is a privilege. It is an act of love. No one has to see me doing it. No one has to praise me for taking her to work.

I made a commitment to my Lord many years ago. I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death. I serve Him even when no one knows I am doing so. It is not a burden. It is a privilege. I do so because I love Him.

Love is the only regulation necessary to obey the Lord. People who love the Lord will obey what He has said. People who love the Lord don't care if another person knows they are obeying Him. In fact, the person truly in love forgets his own wants to please the person he loves.

This afternoon I will leave early to take my wife to her radiation treatment. She only has three more treatments. I don't want her to have more treatments but I will miss the opportunity to serve her. It isn't the vow that I made so long ago that makes me do this. It is the love I have for her.

Love is the only answer to the morality problem. Laws will never regulate morality.


Craig Godfrey said...

Unfortunately our world governs without morals - hence why we can now murder our unbrorn children, marry our same sex partner (now passed in NZ), etc, without first having to check our God-given conscience.
We don't have to worry about getting caught anymore, we just change the rules to include the transgression as 'normal'. Soon your speeder, bank robber, and murderer will be welcomed into society with open arms, and anyone that speaks ill of them will be branded a 'hater'.
These are definitely the end times!

Praying that your wife will recover quickly from the treatment, and the cancer will disappear as a result.


Anthony Chia said...

Most of us can agree laws isn’t effective in morality issue. When no one is looking, we see the true character showing, or if we have the people into another country without the same laws, the same nasty behaviour shows up. Even for non-morality issue, like the simple “bin your rubbish”, in Singapore, the fine is going up to $2,000 for 1st offender, and $10,000 for the max fine. The attempt is to make it “bite”, and so, hopefully Singaporeans would refrain from littering. But I wonder if my countrymen would litter, say, if they cross over the causeway into our neighbour, Malaysia?!

Love is the answer, yet morality misconducts still so prevalent; what seems to be the problem?

1. People do NOT understand the love of the Bible? And/or
2. People refuse to accept the love of the Bible? And/or
3. People pick and choose the aspects of love of the Bible that is to their advantage? And/or
4. People are nonchalant about their need to love? And/or
5. People are of the view our love does not change salvation outcome?

I will just major on item 1. The worldview bombards the people with its notions of what love is. The church, does it teach correctly and enough about what the love of the Bible is about?

Or preachers and pastors only talked about aspects of the love that people wants to hear. And what would that be? Yes, God’s love, but NOT our love for God and for fellow men?! Yes, unconditional love, again, of God, but NOT of ours?! Even so, is God’s love always unconditional? Or, love is sacrificial, again, of God, but NOT of ours?!

How many pastors would preach John 14:15 & 14:21 to say that love and obedience to God and His commands are bounded together? Would you preach the love of God for men (and so, men for God [and other men],too) is love unto righteousness. Check the Strong’s Lexicon on the Hebrew word, ‘ahab love, and we can see it written there. And then link it back to the NT to John 14:15 & 14:21.

Would pastors go against the prevalent but NOT entirely correct saying that it is a truth of God that God’s love is always unconditional. The old Greek use of the word, agape, does NOT have this concept of “unconditional”; even sacrificial was imputed in, from the way Jesus loved (re CS Lewis). We should preach love is sacrificial, unto righteousness or subjugated to holiness, and so, its unconditional attribute, too, is subject to His holiness.


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

The key understanding has to be “love has to be fostering or maintaining holiness”, for without holiness we cannot be with God. The whole point of salvation is so that we can be with God. Why salvation? John 3:16 – because God loves us. So, it is God loves and wants us to be with Him. That is how love is to be; I mean can you imagine this: God loves but doesn’t want us to be with Him, but rather we be thrown in the lake of burning fire of Hell, away from Him?! I can’t. Why some men would be (thrown into the lake); and this would be because the love of God needs also be subjected to the demands of holiness. If the person is stubbornly wicked, holiness demands that he cannot come to be with God; God wants to love him but eventually cannot love him.

God loves us and wants us to be with Him, and so, when we truly love Him back, we too, ought to want to be with Him, to come to His Heaven to live with Him. Our love too, is caught by the demands of His holiness. And so, we have to be holy so that we can come to Him and see Him. And it is we work with God to be holy, I would say; and people object to that (we work with God).

“Be holy as God is holy” is no meaning if it is we have to do nothing, all God’s part; and I tell people, God did NOT put down the verse (or verses) to tell Him what He is to do; rather, scriptures are given us, to tell us what we have to do. When I told some believers we should love God back, the overly grace brethren gave this, back to me, “That is going down the slippery slope of works”!

I say, it breaks the Father’s heart, when believers are nonchalant about going to Heaven to be with Him; it only shows the shallowness of their love for God. When you love God, you would want to go to Heaven to be with Him. But He is a holy God, and you cannot be there, in the Holiness’ presence if you have NOT worked with Him to be holy. How are we to be worked on, if we work NOT with God? How are we to develop of righteousness, holiness and godliness if we are NOT teachable? How can we be taught if we obey NOT God’s commands and prescriptions. We cannot love God without obeying God and His commands. We can say we want to love God but if we don’t want to obey Him and His commands, we cannot love Him.

The Gospel is a love story – God loves us, and we love Him back, so that we live with Him, eventually, in Heaven, happily ever after. There are 3 parts to the love story:

Part I:
God loved us – He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for us (sacrificial). We, believers, loved God – we responded in commitment to be holy when we entered into salvation (if you did NOT mean that when you entered into salvation, today, you got to ratify that, and say “I mean it”).
Part II:
God continues to love us – He does that; and that what we want, that God continues to love us. How? God loves you and I unto righteousness; He loves by fostering and maintaining righteousness and holiness, and godliness in us. He cannot love you any other way.
We, too, are to continue to love God; and what would that involve? Yes, live out our commitment to be holy. How? By working with God. How? By obeying Him and His commands. Obeying God and His commands is loving God.
Part III:
We are gathered with God in His Heaven, to live happily ever after.

The problem is many just ignore Part II; done Part I, and claim Part III.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions