God is our Lawgiver
For the LORD is our
The LORD is our lawgiver,
The LORD is our king;
It is he who will save us (Isaiah 33:22).
is all we need
God revealed his law through Moses.
His Ten Words are recorded twice in the Old Testament: in Exodus 20 and
Deuteronomy 5. Case laws that explain how the Ten Commandments
should be applied in a variety of situations are provided in Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These laws deal with theft
violence and murder, so they are all that is needed for a peaceful
There is no evidence in the Bible of a
group of people being elected to decide what the law should be. A
parliament or congress is not needed because God had already provided
his perfect law. This is a very important principle. We will
not understand the government of God while we think that we need
politicians to make laws for us. We already have Godís perfect
law, so we do not need elected representatives to make laws on our
Christians tend to hate the law,
because they relate it to salvation by good works. Jesus does not come
to destroy the law.
Do not think that I have come to
abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but
to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth
disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,
will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is
accomplished (Matt 5:17,18).
The law will remain until Godís
purposes on earth are complete. Christians have failed to
understand that God still has a purpose for the law. We cannot be
justified by obeying the law, because we are saved through faith.
Abraham knew that five hundred years before the law had been given.
However, the primary reason that God gave the law is so the people of a
nation can live together in peace and harmony. The law was given
to protect citizens from theft and violence that destroy the peace of a
Paul explained the purpose of the law
We know that the law is good if one
uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the
righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the
unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers,
for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and
liars and perjurers (1 Tim 1:8-10).
We must understand that the law is
still good, when it is used for the correct purpose. It cannot
wipe away sin, because only the cross can deal with the guilt of sin.
However the law is good for dealing with lawbreakers and evil people.
By dealing with murder, adultery, theft and false witness the law allows
good people to live together in peace.
The reason that modern Christians have
so much disagreement over politics and the role of the state is that
most believe the New Testament, but do not take the Old Testament
seriously. Many Christians have never studied the Old Testament
law, because they believe that the law has been replaced by grace.
Even those who know that Jesus has not abolished the law are uneasy,
because they have accepted the conventional wisdom that the Old
Testament is harsh and cruel.
This creates a serious problem, because
it leaves Christians with nothing to say about the role of the state.
The New Testament teaches very little about the state and law. The
reason is that God does not repeat himself. His word on these
issues is contained in the Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy,
so it does not need to be repeated in the New Testament. Those who
ignore the content of those books are left with a big hole that has to
be filled in some other way. Without a standard to decide
the role of the state or judge the performance of government, many
Christians who teach on political issues end up following a secular
What is Fulfilled
Some Christians hate the law. They say that we live under grace, not law. However,
those making this statement should be clear what parts of the Torah are no longer relevant.
Jesus had a fairly serious warning for those who reject the Torah.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to
abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear,
not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the
Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and
teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:17-19).
The Torah covers a variety of topics.
- civil laws,
- tabernacle design,
- infection control and hygiene,
- blessings and curses,
- rules for priesthood
- land distribution
We need to be clear about which parts have been fulfilled, and which parts remain in force.
Creation and history still stand. In fact Christians get quite excited about the creation, so this part of the Torah has not been set aside.
The tabernacle and the sacrifices have been fulfilled by Jesus death on the cross. They sacrifices never did provide salvation from sin, but needed to be accompanied by faith to be effective. The tabernacle has been replaced by the body of Christ becoming the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The genealogies remain, but are not so relevant for the gentiles. The Aaronic priesthood has been replaced by the priesthood of all believers. We are all priests and kings.
The civil laws have not been fulfilled or set aside by Jesus. Modern society contains sinful people, so civil laws are still needed.
The Law is Holy and Spiritual
Paul affirmed that the law is good in
his letter to the Romans.
What shall we say, then? Is the law
sin? Certainly not!
So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and
We know that the law is spiritual (Rom 7:7,12,14).
The law is holy, righteous, spiritual
and good. Christians who reject the law are rejecting a gift from
God. The law is only problem when used for the wrong purpose.
When used as a substitute for the cross, it becomes a heavy burden, but
when used to restrain evil it is righteous and good. Substituting
man-made law for one that is holy and good does not make sense.
Once we realise that the law is good,
our attitude to it will need to change. The key to understanding
Godís government is to love the law. The scriptures say,
Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are ever with me
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes (Psalm 119:97-99).
This passage is usually interpreted as
a command to meditate on the scriptures, but this is not what the Psalm
says. It encourages us to ďlove the lawĒ. It
suggests that ďloving the lawĒ is the key to gaining wisdom about
the role of government and the law. The Lord said something
similar to Joshua
Do not let this Book of the Law
depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may
be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be
prosperous and successful (Jos 1:8).
Loving the law of God is a key to
understanding true justice and achieving good government.
Politicians can only make human laws,
but we should be living under Godís laws. If God is our
Lawgiver, we do not need elected law-makers?
Laws are just words. On there own, they
do not change anything. This makes politicians very dangerous,
because they think that by writing a law, they can change the world.
Only God can speak and bring things into being (Rom 4:17).
God said, Let the water under
the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And
it was so (Gen 1:9).
Lawmakers are acting like gods. They
see a problem, so they write a law believing their law will remove it.
They call things into being, but nothing is so. People who think
they are gods are deluded, so letting them politicians make laws is
Law and Rules
The problem with a system of rules is
that they cannot cover every possible situation. More and more
rules have to be added, as new situation arise. Eventually there
are so many rules, that people can no longer understand them. Some
of the rules will contradict each other, adding to the confusion.
And no matter how much detail is added to the rules, a new situation
always arises that is an exception to the rules.
Elected politicians and parliaments
always want to implement rule systems. They attempt to legislate
for all of life by passing laws that cover every conceivable situation.
Unfortnately, they are not omniscient, so they always get it wrong.
Their laws often produce confusion and result in illogical and unjust
decisions. New situations always emerge that are not covered by
the laws, so new clauses or regulations have to be added.
Eventually the rule system is so complicated that you need a law degree
to understand it.
The Old Testament law is not a rule
system. Moses called them laws and verdicts (Deut 5:1). God
gave ten moral principles. He also gave some straightforward
examples of how these principles should be applied in practical
situations. These examples are not exhaustive, but they are
sufficient to explain how the moral principles should be interpreted and
applied to different situations.
The moral principles are not absolutes,
because there are always exceptions. For example, killing a person
is wrong, but is legitimate when defending yourself from attack.
Killing a person deliberately is different from killing a person by
accident. The books of the law explain how the basic moral
principles apply in these different situations. However, they do
not try to cover every possible situation, because that would be
Judges not Politicians
We do not need elected politicians to
write laws and regulations to cover every possible situation. We
need good judges to interpret the Godís moral principles, using the
method of application described in the books of the law.
God is our lawmaker. He has given
us all the law that we need, so we do not need politicians to make laws
for us. However, Godís law will always have to be interpreted
and applied to the current situation. Elected politicians will not
have the skills to do this task. The best people to do this task
will be wise and godly judges.
Good judges are all that we need in
addition to the law. God has provided his standard for justice in
the law. Our challenge is to apply Godís law to the modern world.
Jesus confronted the teachers of the
law and the Pharisees for placing an impossible burden upon the people.
Woe to you Pharisees, because you love
the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the
Woe to you Pharisees, because you love
the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the
marketplaces. "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves,
which men walk over without knowing it."
And you experts in the law, woe to you,
because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you
yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
Woe to you experts in the law,
because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have
not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering (Luke
They had taken the Ten Commandments and
converted them into about 600 rules and regulation. Jesus called
them blind fools and hypocrites.
The modern state has turned the ten
commands into thousands of laws and regulations. They are so many
and so complicated that even the judges and parliamentarians do not
understand them all. Jesus would have called them similar names.
Ambulance or Fence
A common view is that building a fence
at the top of the cliff is better than having an ambulance at the bottom
of the cliff. This is not a biblical position. The state
tries to create a fence at the top of the cliff. It puts in place
thousands of rules and regulations to prevent people from coming to
A study of the scriptures shows that
God takes the opposite approach. He gives us freedom to live as we
choose. His scriptures reveal what is right and what is wrong, and
warn of the consequence of disobedience, but he will never force sinners
to live righteously, if they are unwilling. He will allow them to
experience the consequences of their choices, but he will not stop them
choosing. God wants people to obey him, because they love
him, not because they are forced to. The most that he will do to
make them obey him, is the Holy Spiritís stirring in their conscience,
but he does not prevent us from doing wrong. If people do wander
into sin, he has provided remedy through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Godís approach is more like a sign at
the top of the cliff and an ambulance at the bottom. If people
ignore his warnings, he will not prevent them, but if they repent when
they fall, he will rescue them. The benefit of this approach is
that it encourages people to take responsibility for their lives.
Godís way is better than the fence
that politicians like to build. Their problem is that the cliff is
so large and so rugged, that it is almost impossible to fence.
They generally give up fencing the cliff, and put a fence round the
mountain to prevent people going onto the mountain. The enormous
range of rules and regulations that they introduce limit human freedom,
preventing us from reaching out full potential. Godís way is
more risky, but it produces better results.