Shouldn’t we make God’s laws our laws again?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

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Question: What laws of God should Christians push to be laws of man? Two things come to mind: abortion and homosexuality. John the Baptist told the king that he was wrong to marry whom he married. So, based on John’s example, shouldn’t we call sin out? Shouldn’t we enforce God's laws?

It seems obvious to enforce laws against abortion since that’s murder. But should we do the same with homosexuality? That doesn’t really hurt anyone else. So, shouldn’t we just share the Gospel in love in their case…and call sin sin?. What does the Bible say about all this?

Answer: Greetings friend. This is an interesting question — the kind that can generate some “spirited” discussions — even among the brethren! So, I will be happy to look at a few issues with you today — but be warned: there is no “right” boots-on-the-ground answer to these questions. Therefore, much of what I say will reflect my personal opinions on these matters.

God’s law is in the DNA of every human being on earth (Romans 2:14-15). It has been the basis of civilization around the world and throughout the millennia… and I do not want us to lose sight of this. The only reason we live in a relatively civilized world is because of this human capacity for morality.

That being said, when we combine the free will of humankind with that capacity for morality, we get im-morality — sin… and in America, many of our laws are responses to particular sins. Now, God’s laws underpin all (righteous) laws — either explicitly or implicitly. But it is naive to think that we Christians can enforce them — except as anyone else enforces them… internally, through our consciences.

The problem is, society’s laws are decidedly imperfect… and they only work because the vast majority of us obey them — and pay for a justice system! But even if we get all the laws right, enforcing them while maintaining human liberty can be like nailing Jell-O to a wall. It only almost works.

You are right to note that homosexuality is victimless when compared to abortion, but they are both explicitly banned in God’s law (Leviticus 18:22; Exodus 20:13) … but so is a lot of stuff that “we” ignore… so, who is to say what’s important enough to obey? That’s where we live… that space between volitional people pursuing their own happiness and the kingdom of God.

Since comparatively few people look to God for answers, the world is a mess — but take heart: it has been a mess since the beginning of civilization… so we’ve had a lot of practice living with a foot in either world.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6, NIV)

My first point is, God’s laws are already in human laws. But, as laws multiply, God’s laws become diffuse, poorly defined and loosely enforced. We Christians should always love them in the original form — as in the Ten Commandments — but the diffusion of laws works like the diffusion of cream into coffee. Neither the cream nor the coffee will ever be a pure product again — and I have trouble saying that it’s the coffee’s fault.

The only way to get back to a pure product would be to throw away the compromised coffee and start again — and God will do that at some future day with the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1). But that kind of non-diffuse life is just wishful thinking until Jesus returns. Until then, we have to live with the laws that make homosexuality equal to heterosexuality… and that makes abortion legal… because collectively, that’s how we take our coffee.

Now, since we have no reasonable chance at reversing these laws for the long term, it is reasonable to ask, should we band together and overthrow the government? Sorry… God doesn’t want us to do that. Look at what the apostle Paul says about this. His instruction is to obey government — and he doesn’t even address fixing it!

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1–7, NIV)

Now, self-governing systems are designed so that we are always evaluating and changing our body of laws. The problem is, that any “fixing” will result in a diminishment of God’s original purity…. because collective decisions will always be morally diffuse compared to God’s original standards — and the best example of this is divorce.

God allowed divorce because people had become so hard-hearted that many needed relief from their marriages just to make life work. Note, however, that in the beginning, it was not so (Matthew 19:7-8). That’s where we are today. We are far from the beginning on many issues… and now we are stuck with those lower standards for the remainder of this age — and often in the name of personal liberty.

As you mentioned, our laws say that killing is illegal… yet — because the rights of the individual are considered more important than the laws of God — we kill unborn babies with impunity… and by the millions… and what’s the result? We are a morally crippled nation. Hitler and Stalin combined have killed fewer people than our “Christian” nation has done under its God-based laws.

Friend… we should speak up and fight for the innocent victims of abortion! But how? Not by disobeying the law (Romans 13:1-7) … and not by disobeying God’s methodology (1 Peter 3:15) … so our hands are tied — and I think you know this because your question mentions sharing the Gospel in love as a mollifying component.

The thing you should not do is use the tactics of the Westborough Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas. I will not go into their details here except to say that they are caustically anti-homosexual… and that they are an embarrassment to the Christian community. I have written a few articles about these issues, so let me give you those links, and you can examine them at your leisure.

Let’s move on to John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29)… because (as you noted) he spoke out against Herod for marrying Herodias (his brother Philip’s ex-wife). Such a marriage was against the law of the Jews — and Herod was a Jew… or at least he was raised as a Jew.

Frankly, I go back and forth on this. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin (John 16:8), not ours… although, we are often — and legitimately so — God’s agents in delivering these messages. But note that the Bible did not weigh in on whether John was right when he did this. It only weighed in on the results: John lost his head, Herod kept his wife… so maybe the lesson is, don’t poke the bear!

On one hand, John’s ministry was a baptism of repentance… and repentance has sin as its platform… and the Jews were in the business of making sure everyone followed the law. As such, we cannot equate their life with our life under grace. They were supposed to check up on each other. But John had already proved his courage in this area. Remember when the leaders of the Jews came to him for baptism?

“But when [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” (Matthew 3:7, NIV)

Remember, too, that John was not perfect… nor did he act it. In fact, he had lost the assurance that Jesus was the Messiah! (Luke 7:19). But also, John knew his role. As the Lord increased, he would decrease (John 3:30) … and the ultimate decrease was his death.

I think it was part of God’s plan for John the Baptist to be gone during most of Jesus’ ministry… so why not go out calling the king a sinner! But I do not think that we New Testament saints should go and do likewise — not like that, anyway. Instead, we should do this:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)

Ultimately the Jews did have the same hope we have (Romans 10:12). But salvation for them involved obedience and measuring-up where ours involves belief (Acts 16:31) and grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). I think John the Baptist did his job… but I don’t think that his job is our job. Our job focuses on one word — believe.

“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28–29, NIV)

So, our first job is to believe in Jesus… but the second is like unto it: help others do the same.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18–20, NIV)

You see, you may push your pet social beliefs and you may push your lawnmower… but these things will all perish. The soul of man, however… that’s eternal… so that’s where we should be spending our efforts — not exclusively… we don’t want to abandon those babies or those misguided souls… but primarily.

How should we proceed? We should have the same mindset as Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5)… but just how that plays out in life will vary with the individual. I know dedicated Christians who belong to both of America’s major political parties — as well as a few minor ones! So, we obviously do not have to agree broadly on politics to agree on the Gospel… and your question tells me that you were concerned with this, too.

If you are called to work against abortion or to have a special ministry for homosexuals, then have at it! Just don’t let the politics suck you in. Remember, we are called to believe in Christ and to make disciples. So, anything that threatens to shift your focus away from that should be kept at arm’s length… and only engaged after prayerful consideration.

I hope all this helped. God bless you.

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