Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them. Galatians 3:11-12 (NIV).
Continuing the idea of rule-following. We should want to follow rules that are a reflection of God’s character. God gives us His heart and His love, in part, through the laws, rules, and codes He gave to Moses and the prophets. He fully revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus; by knowing what Jesus did or said in any situation, we know what God was doing and saying. And Jesus followed the ancient laws of Moses and the prophets perfectly and fully. Knowing this, we should want to follow rules that stem from these things because they are morality that reflects the will of God.
But make no mistake: they will make you a good citizen, but they won’t justify you. Following civil and criminal laws, as well as the codes, rules, and regulations in our localities and churches and jobs is a good way to be a model citizen and neighbor…but it won’t save your soul. Always wanting to keep your words and behavior ‘between the lines’ is a sure-fire way to avoid trouble, and to be able to resist temptation most times it comes your way…but it doesn’t make you righteous.
Only God can make us righteous, through our faith in Jesus Christ. No law can force us to; no faith relies on law. Faith in Christ exists above the law, outside it. Yet faith in Christ teaches us the perfect way to think and behave. Faith in God creates ideal citizens to live in the free world. Those who live by faith will usually uphold just laws and abide by them.
Sure, this is a generality; I’m painting with a broad brush. Yet tell me how what I’m saying is wrong, if you can. Point out how faith in God and modeling Christ’s law-abiding character create problems for society, or problematic citizens. No just person can; no person who believes in justice would.
We should want to follow laws as a way of revering the Lord. In a way, obeying the law (and, in turn, living under the authority of those whom God allows over us) is a subtle form of worship. It is a way of respecting Godly order in society. So, should we challenge that authority, or those laws? If they are unjust or wrongly motivated, yes. Yet, in doing so, we must remain God-revering ourselves; this is a lesson I myself need to remember every day.
For further reading: Leviticus 18:5, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 2:4, Romans 3:28, Romans 10:5, Hebrews 10:38, Galatians 3:13
Lord, may I follow Your laws and express my faith in You in all ways at all times.
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