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17331SSNET: 10: Should we keep laws

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  • Juan Lithgow
    Jun 7, 2014
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      Juan here

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      There is huge difference between the observance of laws in the Israel of the Old Testament and the Christian church.  Israel was a political body like many other nations, while the church is a social institution bonded by spiritual beliefs. Enacted laws are virtually useless when a political body is absent. Only custom laws fill the gap to a functional organization to a certain degree.

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      Why study the laws given to Israel when nobody will go after the disobedient?

      The motive can hardly be that God will judge the world some future day according to any law.  It is hard to believe that this could be an appropriate deterrent to misbehavior.

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      When we consider this limitation, we realize that laws given to Israel have for us the basic purpose to show and teach how God’s children can act within a moral context even on earth. It requires and imposes the highest level of responsibility in life.

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      When the Church of Rome emulated political bodies and physically punished dissidents or disobedient believers, she lost the very nature of a Christian church structure, because the church exist to persuade, to teach and to help in the divine endeavor of salvation.  Even today organized churches still succumb to the temptation of execrating and excommunicating members as social/psychological weapons of control in a manner that denies their true objective as saving agencies.

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      An insane emphasis on the law moves people in the wrong direction. I have seen the discussion about the law as if the law were the goal to everything. The law, a beautiful instrument as it is, has become an object of worship to many. Questions like, am I condemned if I do this or fail to do that, reveal a total misunderstanding of the law and its purpose. We need to change emphasis without compromising obedience.

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      What changes do I suggest? We need to stop reading the letters of the bible and go deeper to its true meaning. For example, when we ask many Adventists for a definition of SIN they would readily respond –the violation of the law, which seems to be biblical. Howeever, a deeper look reveals that Sin is firstly a violation of trust and there is a big difference between the two perspectives.

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      For example, existence of laws is not what makes a country successful, but the trust of their citizens in those laws. Furthermore, nobody becomes a citizen of another country by just keeping its laws. Something must happen first. Allegiance reflected in paperwork naturally precedes the keeping of laws. Likewise, in salvation matters, trust needs to be restored before obeying any law becomes meaningful.  Otherwise we would become like parrots repeating what we do not understand.

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      Jesus came, among other things, to restore our trust in God because He is good and trustworthy. Once we trust him whatever he says or asks deserves the best of our attention. When we do not trust God, it does not matter too much, for salvation purposes, how well we masquerade obeying laws externally.

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      My advice is that we should study these lessons about biblical laws as example of how divine morality can operate in our everyday acts of obedience, even in an imperfect world and not to feed an obsessive compulsion to watch if we are missing an iota from the law.

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      Blessings

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      Juan O. Calderon Lithgow
       
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