This post is a tribute to my dear brother Melvin Everingham on his birthday. A man whom God has used as a conduit of His reproof and blessing in my life. Mel is someone I look upon as an elder brother for the study resources he has provided me to satiate my yearning to know the Lord. Another reason am writing on this subject is because Mel asked me to do so a while back.
Let’s take a look at Rom 2:12-16
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 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
A look at the above passage helps you understand that the truth is: life is best enjoyed on God’s terms because life is powered by God (John 14:6). The unbeliever might see that there is no place for God in the world but what characterizes the world’s ignorance about God is their wishful thinking and their lack of interest to connect the dots, which comes from their nature to alienate themselves from the truth about everything including themselves. The reason the world finds truth generally bitter is because they are estranged from God. From the fall of Adam, man is a law to himself because the interest he serves is his own (not God’s) and when he looks at the world, he sees no future for himself in it and so his perspective on the future of world is one which is filled gloom and despair. Take a look at the popular movies like Mad Max, Resident Evil and Terminator created by unbelieving Hollywood, these movies showcase a future where the earth is desolate. The case of the unbeliever is thereby one of deep despair because no matter how far up the social ladder he is in life, he is not conscious of the fact that world exists to serves God’s purpose and not his own. So, the unbeliever in his conceit naturally fantasizes of the desolation of the earth for such is the fate he succumbs to outside God. The unbeliever from his incapacity to grateful to God, fails to understand that he couldn’t be where he is currently, with the kind of degenerate outlook he has towards life and God, but such is common grace and sovereign nature of God, that He is Lord over the unbeliever as He is over the believer, while He reveals Himself as a Saviour only to the believer through Jesus’ saving grace (John 1:12-13, 17-18).
Exodus 20:14 (Action)
“You shall not commit adultery.
Leviticus 20:10 (Penalty)
‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
Mat 5 (Intention)
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Before I talk about the verses above, if you are not familiar with the Moral Law of God, I would suggest you read about Judicial Law and Moral Law, so you would get a deeper perspective on the subject. Now we know that man was created in the image of God, in the sense that man was created to share the very nature of God. This nature is revealed in the Moral Law and hedged by the Civil/Judicial Law. It is within the confines of this Law that we can live and enjoy life to the fullest because we are simply men living in God’s world. You might ask, how can this be possible? My answer is, it is only possible in Christ because in Jesus, God overcomes our rebellion and supplants our fallen self-serving nature with a nature that yearns to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is the spiritual rebirth a believer enjoys in Jesus Christ and it is this living spirit we share which make us brothers & sisters in Jesus because if blood can make people siblings since life is in the blood as the Bible teaches, then how much more does the life giving Holy Spirit make those who believe in Him, brother and sisters in Jesus. Now coming back to the scripture quoted above, we need to look at these in the light of Deut 6:8, which teaches that the believer both meditates and acts on the Law of God in his life because to bind God’s Law on your forehead refers to meditate on His Law while to bind His Law on your right hand is to be a doer of His Law. It is for this reason James 1:23 teaches that the Law of God is as a mirror (yardstick) into which the believer looks and works upon his own character in willingly yielding to God who calls the believer out of the world and grafts them to His family adopted in Christ (Rom 8:29). It must be understood that Jesus did not come to do away with the Law (Mat 5:17-20) but to enrich our understanding of it. In Mat 5:27-28 above, we see that Jesus is not merely emphasizing on how our actions must adhere to the Law but also how our thoughts must adhere to it as well as emphasized in Deut 6:8. This is made possible through spiritual regeneration in which we receive the mind of Christ (1Cor 2:16). This goes to show that we are answerable to God not just for our actions but also for our intentions (Prov 16:2/Jer 17:10). So the Judicial Law hedges the Moral Law in the sense, that it is when a person actions his wicked intention, by acting them out against his neighbour/s, that the Civil/Judicial Law kicks in and eliminates him from society in order to maintain the civil aspect of civilization. Now let’s continue reading from Mat 5:28 above, through verses 29 & 30 and though these are figuratively speaking, you will find some startling similarity with what it is said in Deut 17:6-7 (below).
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So, you shall purge the evil from your midst.
For all those hyper-grace antinomians posing as Christians out there, I would like to add a small disclaimer to this piece I have written. Please note: we are not saved by the Law, we are saved by grace through faith alone (Eph 2:8-10). As much as a seed is not its fruit so to salvation is by grace through faith alone but we know that the seed is for real when it grows into a tree and bears fruit. The Christian life is not a lawless one, the Christian life has a Standard and that Standard is the Moral Law… the very nature/image of God in which we were made and restored to in Christ (Rom 5:17). As for the rapture believing premillennialist, it is the tares that go first because unless you haven’t noticed the wicked die early (Job 21:7-13). As for the #karma believing humanists of the world, please understand that that karma (Luke 6:38) you go ga-ga about, only protects your interest because as I sighted in Rom 2:12 at the start of this blog post, those who sin without the Law happen to also perish without the Law. For those of you who differ with me concerning what defines godliness, please know I have nothing personal against you. I am only focused on speaking the truth about God here and the truth about God is known make unbelievers uneasy, after all it reveals the intention with which your Creator made you, and though a Godly life is tough, the detour/denial is even tougher because there you are on your own. It’s either God’s way or the Highway. Finally, for those you who are seeking the Lord and feel God calling out to you in His Son Jesus (John 15:19), to you brother/sister I have a duty given me in the Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20) and I must tell you that God loves you as I leave you what Jesus requires of you. So, go in the peace of Christ to love and serve the Lord dear brother/sister.
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”