For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. Galatians 3:10 (NIV).
We need rule followers, but being a rule follower isn’t the most important thing. My wife and I have had this debate going on for years. She calls herself a ‘rule follower’ (she is), and I say that I used to be (because I was). She believes in boundaries and following the rules and staying between the lines. Me, I color outside the lines on some things. I wasn’t always this way, but a stubborn streak and independent attitude have changed me in ways both good and bad.
We watch our kids and grandkids and realize that they’re the same: some are rule followers and some aren’t. It’s one of the joys of grandparenting: watching the next generation develop their own personalities. One grandkid will follow every rule no matter what. His sister will do so up to a point, after which she is a complete free spirit. It’s still too early to tell about their brother. Another grandkid is strong willed but tender hearted, while her brother is a rule follower who wisely watches, learns, and contemplates (sort of like a velociraptor).
We want our kids to learn, from a young age, that they should follow the rules for their own good because rules are ‘law’ and those who don’t follow the law are cursed. Breaking the law brings wrath; punishment, consequences. It’s an idea that goes all the way back to Eden, when God gave Adam and Eve only a few rules, all of which were for their benefit. You know how that turned out, but don’t forget: the rules didn’t cause them to sin. It was their own choice.
Generally speaking, rules are still for our benefit. Those who follow them generally live more peaceful lives. That’s not to say that the rule followers are goody-goodies, or that the non-rule followers are incorrigible rebels. And it doesn’t mean that all rules are good. Some rules, some laws, are indeed unjust. But not God’s rules. His commands, His precepts, His laws are given in His holy love and justice.
Yet keep this in mind: it isn’t the rule-following that saves us, even in following God’s rules. Following rules saves us from harm and negative consequences, but it doesn’t save our souls. Following rules pleases God but doesn’t earn His love. Only Jesus saves; only faith in His holy redemption imparts salvation to us…and Jesus perfectly followed all the rules, perfectly kept all of God’s laws and commands.
For further reading: Deuteronomy 27:26, Jeremiah 11:3, Romans 4:15, Galatians 3:11
Lord God, teach me Your good laws and rules so that I may better follow them and better model the life You led and taught.
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