Man Both Love and Hate the Law
Ever since Cain went to the land of wanderers to become their leader he found himself forced to develop a system of laws (society) to ensure survival of the city he had built (Ge 4:16-17). Herein is the contradiction; Cain who had murdered his brother in violation of God’s admonition to control himself (Ge 4:6-7) now found it necessary to develop a system of laws so that other people who had rejected God could be prevented from murdering each other
when living in close proximity in an urban setting. Needless to say, this first attempt to tame and control sinful humanity through a system of laws ended in disaster. Man became so violent that he was in danger of total annihilation of everyone which would have prevented the Messiah from coming and fulfilling God’s promise of salvation. Thus, God halted their total destruction by electing to save one family to reboot man and secure a remnant to safeguard His promise for those who would seek Him. Fast forward to today; are we any different?
America came into existence with the battle cry of, “No taxation without representation!” Yet, on becoming a nation “of laws” those same people engaged in smuggling as an honorable pastime of evading the laws, especially of taxation. The Whiskey Rebellion was the first formal armed conflict between the new constitutional government and its population by sending an armed military force into a state to enforce tax laws which the people were evading; in fact, it was the last time George Washington led a military force. Americans, and by historical accounts all other peoples, seem to enjoy hating the laws they have enacted on themselves This axiom is always true, “Laws enacted by you, or your representatives on others are always just while those laws you disagree with must necessarily be unjust!” Why do we do this?
What is the purpose of the law? Not just the Mosaic Law in the Bible but any law? What is its purpose? Law is designed to do what the individual cannot do, what Cain could not do. Laws are designed to control behavior in a consistent manner among a group of persons to preserve the group. We know that people cannot control themselves, their sinful impulse which is the same as saying that people cannot control their natures. This does not mean that each person is as bad as they can be nor that everyone is expressing their lack of self-control in the same manner or to the same degree. Paul says that the flesh is weak and any law enacted on the flesh will also exhibit this same weakness (Ro 8:3). The weakness is sin, it is not any more complicated than that. Thus, the law by definition cannot give life, it cannot commend. The law, any law, can only condemn. Police do not give commendation for people who keep the law but they do pursue those perceived as violating the law. Therefore, the law is designed to control morality through punitive methods. In other words, the law judges violators! This is why one does not have to convince people they are sinners. They live in fear of judgment knowing they live in hatred of God (Ro 8:5-8).
People fear the Law, and its Enforcers,
Because people as sinners, fear judgment
Why do people want laws? Because they need laws to control the behavior of others so they can have an expectation of surviving social encounters and disagreements. As long as the specific laws do not touch their “special” areas of weakness, they are all for “law and order”. The moment law is focused on their “special” sins they view the laws as unjust and fight against the enforcers, even going so far as to point to others they deem worse than themselves so they can escape punishment (Ro 2:1-5). But, as these verses indicate, they do not escape judgment. What they do escape is God’s grace! That is, they misuse the love of God, expressed by His mercy, to harden their own sinful hearts in order to resist His grace and continue in their sin than repent and rest in His forgiveness (salvation).
Now they have set a positive feedback loop in place that is ultimately self-destructive. The more people excuse their unlawfulness the more they see the escalating unlawfulness in others and the more they demand more laws to keep them safe! But more laws mean more laws to violate, however unintentionally, the more fear to realize. This results in a demand for more laws leading to more violations resulting in more fear. It is no accident that every election becomes a referendum on “law and order”. Yet, the more laws means more restrictions which means more control exerted on the populace by governing bodies. The fascist elements (law and order) imprison themselves in ever more restrictive laws. The communist elements (social reform and fairness) also imprison society in ever more restrictive laws. The populace is confronted with a choice between fear and fairness but the result is the same – domination by those in power over those who have no power (us). Because the sinful mind cannot see the truth of God, the error of his own ways, the resulting society becomes ever more lawless and violent regardless of the heavy handedness of the government.
I am even more amused, though saddened, how people seek to use the concept of love as an excuse to escape the judgment of law to continue to engage in the same unlawful (sinful) thoughts and behaviors. By repeating the mantra, “Love does not judge” they believe they can escape breaking of the laws, any laws. If you love me, you will not judge men; i.e., hold me accountable for my words and deeds. Taking certain verses out of context is a popular exercise even among those who hate the Bible to justify this misuse of Scripture. Love does not erase guilt. God’s love does not excuse sin. Love provides a way of escape in spite of your sin; however, sin must still be judged. Repentance is judging yourself guilty as a sinner, confessing this truth to God and accepting the salvation which His love has provided. Sin is not excused. You have admitted your guilt. Another has paid the penalty. As Romans chapter two discussed, God’s love, as expressed by His mercy and gives you the opportunity to repent, admit your guilt. Make no mistake: everyone will admit their guilt to God. The Christian does it now receiving His salvation. Those who refuse to admit their guilt now will admit their guilt at the White Throne and their own philosophies, thoughts, words and deeds will testify against them. God’s law will be the standard by which all are judged and only Christ met that standard as evidenced in His resurrection from the dead.
Why do people hate the law? It rightly condemns them as guilty. Rather than using its testimony to repent, we use it as an excuse to hate God’s and man’s laws to continue in our exclusive forms of lawlessness, further condemning ourselves.