January 31, 2014 2 Comments
Come on, tell the truth, you know that you broke some law today or this week, didn’t you? Heck you’ve probably broken more than one law, but then how would you know?
The headlines at the first of this year included,“40,000 New laws enacted as of January 2014, from tanning booths to lemon pets.”
Wow! 40,000 new laws, is that all? I was shocked but then it is almost impossible to determine the total number of laws, statutes, and regulations that are currently on the books. Go ahead dig into Google, Bing or Yahoo and see what you can find.
My Googling led me to the Library of Congress where I found a statement that it wasn’t possible to determine the total number of laws currently in effect! It seems I wasn’t the first person to ask this question.
It was entertaining and enlightening to read about one of the new California laws that requires food service employees to wear latex gloves when handling raw food that won’t be cooked, this would affect your favorite sushi chef amongst others. It was unclear, according to the report, just who this new law would affect. Would bartenders need to wear gloves because they handle both money and raw foods? Just imagine the number of gloves they would go through in just one shift…Mix the drink, put on gloves, add the fruit, take off gloves, serve drink and collect money, repeat the process!
So how many laws do we truly need? 100,000, 500,000, 1,000,000?
How about 10?
1. I am the Lord, your God.
2. Thou shall bring no false idols before me.
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shall not kill/murder.
7. Thou shall not commit adultery.
8. Thou shall not steal.
9. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
10. Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife (or anything that belongs to your neighbor).
I strongly recommend that you read the linked article by Dennis Prager on the relevance of the Ten Commandments to our current culture. The modern application of the Commandments is clearly and profoundly presented by Mr. Prager. If we were all to write these “laws” on our hearts the world would be a better place.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
Another excellent study of the 10 Commandments is the book “Pathway to Freedom: How God’s Law Guides Our Lives,” by Alistair Begg. I discovered this book one Saturday morning as I sat in the Prison Chaplains office inside California State Penitentiary Sacramento (New Folsom Prison). I was waiting for the inmates to arrive for our weekly Mens Group and I noticed the book on the desk. I’d heard of Pastor Beggs, my wife often listens to his sermons on the radio, but I had never read or heard anything he had produced. As I waited I thumbed through the book and was stunned. God had provided us with the Commandments, not to control us, He provided the Holy Law to empower us to become the men and women he always intended us to be.
Pastor Beggs presents a powerful, yet succinct, thesis that we as God’s children are not justified in our faith through obedience to the Law, we are justified by living our lives in accordance with the Law, we are the Law because it is written on our hearts and the Law is part of who we are as Christians. God is the ultimate moral authority, eternal and unchanging, and His Commandments provide a structure for living authentic lives in the righteous Kingdom of God. It is this moral authority that separates God’s Law from the laws of man.
“The Law sends us to the Gospel, that we may be justified, and the Gospel sends us to the Law again to enquire what is our duty in being justified.” Samuel Bolton, “True Bounds of Christian Freedom”
Career politicians believe that they must pass laws to justify their positions. What else would they do with their time in office? What authority do these politicians have to attempt to control behavior and morality via legislation? The Federal, State and local governments and agencies have wormed their way into every aspect of our lives, from birth to death, from work space to bedroom. Under what authority? The laws these “public servants” create are born from their own prejudices and judgements about how life should be lived, what controls are required to mold and shape the lives of the “people.” The legislation and regulations are generated from man’s authority as an elected representative not God’s so that by definition they are finite and imperfect.
Another aspect, or limitation of man’s law is that they are not written on our hearts. Human laws represent an ever-increasing number of “shall not’s” and “don’t do’s”. The human laws are like papier-mâché, layer after layer of regulations glued to the broken seed of man. Each law telling you that you can’t do this or you shouldn’t do that, without ever addressing the fundamental moral and behavioral issues that drive my actions in the world.
We don’t need 40,000 new laws, we need to focus on the 10 Commandments from God and transform ourselves into the authentic Children of God!