The California Medial Association recently changed their position on physician assisted suicide. They moved from being opposed to being neutral on the matter, saying that public opinion in this country has become more accepting of the idea. Thus, they allow doctors to use their own judgment about using life ending drugs. Taking public opinion polls has become a large industry for everything from product marketing to political campaigns. But public opinion changes like the wind. People get used to this and accepting of that. So it must be fine. But just like the California Medical Association people and organization become totally devoid of moral judgment in favor of public opinion. Physician assisted suicide is murder no matter how it is cloaked in benevolent motivations or positive opinions. Our Lord has given us values by which we are to live for our good and to His honor. Once we move away from those values everything becomes permissible, and we destroy life as God intended it.
Psalm 119 speaks again and again about the laws, statutes, and ordinances of the Lord. It speaks about loving and delighting in the laws of our God. I don’t know anyone who would say they delight in our body of man made statutes. Law is necessary for peace, order, and safety. We can be thankful that they are in place for the benefits they bring, but we also complain that there are too many, and the wrong kind. God’s laws are different. The Psalmist declares, “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”(see 19:7-11) In His laws God’s reveal His nature and how we are to relate to Him for our good. We are not saved by statutes and laws, but by faith in our Lord Jesus. But the statutes and laws show us the deep love the Father has for all people, and His desire for our good. “They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”(vss.10-11)
We have looked a laws in the Bible and said that Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly. Paul speaks of not being bound by the law, and says “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”(I Corinthians 10:23) This is where we come to the second type of laws that I mentioned in an earlier post. We do not follow the Old Testament dietary, ceremonial, or other laws like clothing and planting that we mentioned. But such commands as not worshiping idols is always valid. The Ten Commandments are always a guide for life. The instructions about marriage, adultery, fornication, and homosexuality are always valid. The word edify in the above verse carries the sense of being a house builder, of constructing, of building up. God is using us as living stones to build a holy temple.(I Peter 2:5) Such things as the Ten Commandments speak about simply do not provide good building material for God’s Temple. This second type of laws simply tell us what separates us from God, and what draws us near. Our desire is to respond to the words of the writer of Hebrews when he said, “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”(10:22)
A few more thoughts on God’s laws before we move on. First we must be clear. We are not saved by following laws. We have our salvation because of the pure grace of God through our faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Salvation is always a free gift of our God and not by our works. But I mentioned two kinds of laws in the Bible. Many people will mock and disregard particularly the Old Testament because of laws that seem foolish, like not wearing a garment with two kinds of material, or planting a field with two kinds of seed. These are the first kind of laws. These certainly apply no longer, but they were for the training of a primitive people to be a different people. They were not to become mixed with all the other pagan peoples around them. They were called to be different so that they could be the channel through which God would bring His grace and truth to all peoples. They had the reminder of this presented to them in many aspects of their daily life, clothes, fields, and even the reason behind the slaughters that we detest so much. They couldn’t be a mixed people and still bring a pure message to the world. While we don’t follow the letter of their laws, and we certainly do not slaughter those opposed to us, the call to be different still applies. Christians are called to be a different people in the midst of a pagan world. Our desire is to reach out in love showing all others our God of grace and truth in Jesus Christ. That will lead to the second kind of laws, but we will hold that for the next time.
As humans we naturally do not like rules. We don’t like being told what to do. But the concept of law is meant for our good. Oh I know, we have messed the concept up terribly, but lets think about it. The laws, or rules, by which something functions properly is directly related to its complexity. The rockets that supply the International Space Station are incredibly complex. They have very precise standards by which they must operate. If any small part of those rules is ignored, treated as optional, the whole mission is jeopardized. Humans are the most complex system ever created. Why do we think it so strange that the Creator has given a set of rules or laws by which people function best? Yet we continually rationalize around and ignore God’s laws. There are really two kinds of laws in Scripture, those that were intended to train a primitive people in the desert, and those meant universally for mankind’s good. Jesus fulfilled all laws perfectly. The first type no longer apply, but can be instructive. The second type are only ignored to our own hurt because that violates the way our Maker intended us to live. As we read the Scripture let us try to understand what God is saying, and not be so willing to brush God’s word aside.