We have urgent things to consider.
We live in a world where people are free to do as they please.
Dislike your gender? You can now do something that was unthinkable even three or four years ago. Declare, “I’m a girl.” You are now permitted to use the restroom alongside actual females in a place where their privacy should be most respected.
In our world, cops are shot, and the action is justified because there’s bad cops out there. (Two wrongs make a right!) Our notion of justice depends on what’s politically correct.
It’s ok to kill babies before they are born. We call abortion “a woman’s right to choose.” Better call it what it is: a modern update of the ancient practice of human sacrifice, but worse. Ancient worshipers of Moloch at least let the children be born before thrusting in the sacrificial knife. We conceal the murder in the dark of the womb, a place that God set apart to be precious, comfortable, secure.
These are the obvious sins of our culture. But there are more subtle sins that are often practiced even by Christians, those who read a Bible that forbids those sins.
An unmarried couple takes a world tour together. He moves in with her, justifying the sin, because she has a bad relationship with her mom, and he masks his sin by deceptive self-congratulation: “I’m protecting her from her mom, aren’t I?” Another Christian continues to practice homosexuality, denying that the Bible means what it says when it labels that practice “abomination.” Christians who could afford to live on one income justify neglecting their children to the surrogate parentage of day care, because it’s the worst breach of style to say, “a woman’s place is in the home.”
By now, I’m sure to have ruffled some feathers. But truly, my intent is not to stand on a soap box and make a blanket condemnation of every possible sin, although that may be where this appears to be going. My purpose is something different. It is to awaken Christians and non-Christians alike to something that’s largely been forgotten in our society:
That is, as God’s creatures, we are obligated to obey God’s law. Not, “if you obey God’s law, you’ll be on a better moral track than everyone else, but if you’re content to be less holy, consider obedience optional.” No. Everyone is under obligation to obey God’s law, as in, police force obligation. Hands up or get shot obligation. The wrath of God and all-Hell-loosed-as-preachers-used-to- preach-it kind of obligation.
Romans 2.12: “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.”
To illustrate this verse, in our society, we have a speed limit; a law that most people recognize should be obeyed (however loosely!). If I moved to a country without a speed limit, and was killed because I drove 90 mph through a residential neighborhood, I could blame my death on the lack of a safety measure — the lack of signs screaming “slow down!” This lack of laws for my good would classify me as one who had “perished without law.” But if I got killed driving 90 mph through my own neighborhood, I would die because of my non-compliance with a just and reasonable law, the 25 mph speed limit. And that law would judge me and put me in prison if I’d survived and made someone else the victim of my lawbreaking.
Imagine a bottle of poison. I drink it and die. If the bottle had had no label, warning that it contained poison, I would die because I lacked knowledge — the knowledge that the drink was poisonous. If the bottle did have a label and I drank it anyway, I would still die, but now my own stupidity, in breaking the law of the label, would be to blame.
People who are “without law” perish, because a law, like the label on the bottle, is necessary to keep us from deadly choices. And this is a picture of our culture. We’ve lost the labels on the poisoned beverages and are partying with them by the keg full. Or more accurately, our culture scribbles “poison!” and “safe to drink!” on bottles at random!
But, fellow Christians, we are doing worse. We actually have God’s law, and therefore know which bottles contain poison and which ones don’t. But in the name of seeking God’s kingdom, or giving gospel solutions, or some other excuse for avoiding realistic, concrete action, we ignore God’s Law (as revealed in the full counsel of the Bible), and as a byproduct, are impotent against all the evil consequences that law-ignoring unleashes upon a society. Do we not love women enough to work for the banishment of pornography? Children enough to revive last summer’s fervor against Planned Parenthood? Liberal voters enough to warn them that their vote is supporting the oppression of the poor? Do we just wait until enough people believe the Gospel to turn the culture around? While thousands of unborn children die? What would Jesus do?
In fact, we do need a Gospel Solution, but that of a full gospel. To the extent that men and women aren’t brought face to face with the gravity of lawbreaking, especially the breaking of God’s law, they will fail to repent. And to the extent that we believe un-Biblical doctrines, like anti-nomianism, which petrify Christianity into a mere spiritual experience, we disobey our Master.
I mentioned a full gospel, of which this post has preached the more neglected half, that God’s Law is present in the world as the measure of sin for everyone. If you lack the Law, you’ll die and go to Hell because you lack the Law’s restraints — its instructions that must be obeyed if you will avoid Hell. If you do have the Law, you’ll still die and go to Hell, because you didn’t obey the instructions for staying out of Hell. Because nobody obeys those instructions, nor can, thanks to our corrupt sin nature.
We’re stuck in a hopeless picture. Escaping Hell depends on both knowing and obeying the law perfectly, which no one can do. In fact, to make matters worse, the more you know the Law, the more sin will cause you to disobey it. There’s good news…but I fear we rarely let the bad news sink in. So, let’s let it sink in.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”