Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Sin and God's Law

"What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what it was to covet if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” (Romans 7:7).

Sin can be usefully defined as any lack of conformity to, or breaking of, the law of God. How do we know what things are sinful and what things please God? The answer is that we know because God has told us. How does an authority figure tell a subordinate what he wants done? By giving commands. Thus, we know what God wants and what He does not want, because He has taken the time to give us commands. These commands we find in His law.

Satan wants people to sin and has worked overtime to pervert both the content and the doctrine of the law of God. Because Satan knows the church is the most powerful institution on earth (Matthew 28:18–20), there he works hardest to pervert things.

First, Satan works to pervert the content of the law by persuading us that evil things are good and good things are evil. For this purpose, he masquerades as an “angel (messenger) of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Many Christians believe that capital punishment is wrong—though the Bible teaches exactly the opposite. If we look, we can find many examples of this perversion of good into evil, and evil into good.

Second, Satan works to pervert the doctrine of the law by driving a wedge between the law and the Gospel. Some people want to live by the law and seem to have no time for the good news of salvation. If that is how you approach the law, you are headed for a miserable life, because apart from the Gospel, the law kills.

Other Christians have come to believe that because they are freed from the condemnation of the law, they are also freed from the need to study and obey God’s loving commands. They want to have only Gospel and no law. This is impossible. You cannot grasp the Gospel unless you know that Christ has come to satisfy the demands of the law. And you cannot live a life pleasing to God unless you know what He requires of His adopted sons and daughters. You can only learn this by studying, studying and studying the written law of God, which He has revealed in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.

In our society it is regarded as judgmental, even evil, to reject homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, but the Bible says that homosexual acts are sinful. It is good to stand against homosexual behavior, to warn people away from it, and to rescue people out of it, but our society today calls such an attitude evil. What other examples of this kind of ethical inversion can you think of?