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Friday, February 5, 2010

The Law of Righteousness

As you know (or may not know) I am a fan of Ray Comfort and his method of evangelizing. I have also met him and he is very genuine. I do not know Ray’s full opinion on the law as it pertains to believers, but I want to talk about his approach in reference to a discussion going on in a few places on the net (probably more than I could count, but I meant on the blogs that I read). I do want to say, too, that I haven’t read the others’ posts yet because I don’t want to try answering their objections while trying to outline my own basic premise. So this isn’t an answer to what others have written-merely my own explanation.

I should first give a quick overview of how Ray’s approach works. Ray comfort, Kirk Cameron, and their School of Biblical Evangelism promote evangelizing by using the law. In other words, rather than give a person the ‘feel-good’ gospel in which there is no brokenness over sins, we ought to show them first the laws of Yah and how they are guilty of breaking them. If you were to ask someone if they were a good person, 99.9% of them would say yes. We all fancy ourselves good people, and often because we compare our lives with those around us. But what is the definition of a good person? So by going through a few of the Commandments, you will have someone who admits to breaking God’s law.

Only when the person understands that they are guilty will the gift of salvation mean anything. As an example, Ray talks about a boy who speeds through his hometown at 65 mph. The people are appalled and quickly pass a law making the speed limit 30 mph. When he comes through town again going 65 mph, he is cited for speeding and taken to court. The judge, his father, knows that justice calls for punishment regardless of their being related and fines the boy $3000 or imprisonment. The boy has no money and is carted off to jail. He is distraught. Later, the jail doors are swung open and the boy is told that his father has sold his own valuable possessions to pay the fine. The two embrace, weeping, and walk out of the jail with a new love and connection between them.

Ray’s counterpoint to the story is this: imagine the boy being pulled over and told that his father just sold his valuables to pay the boy’s $3000 fine. He doesn’t know what fine you are talking about because he doesn’t know he has broken the law. The gift of redemption means nothing to him (the way the feel-good gospel does to those who hear it) and he is not thankful because he has not faced the consequences of his wrongs.

Now, taking off from where Ray’s story stops, what would you think of the boy if he were in jail and his father came in and freed him because he had paid the cost for him, and the young man said “Gee, thanks dad. That’s was nice of you” and then proceeded out the door, into his car, and through town at 65 mph?


For a list of reasons too long to go through here, many believers feel they are freed from the law. Nobody, ever, has been saved by the law. That is a misconception taken from the root of the ‘freedom in Jesus’ blasphemy. Yes, we are free in Jesus. But what does that freedom look like?

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Romans 2:13

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:18

I was telling a friend that last weekend we watched The Ten Commandments. Charlton Hesston, as Moses, stood at the foot of the mountain with the law in his hands. The people grumbled that they didn’t need a law because now they were free. He answered them that there can be no freedom without the law. We know this to be true. We have many freedoms, but we wouldn’t really be free if the law did not restrain others from harming us. Imagine if someone’s idea of freedom was watching you burn alive, trapped in your house. The law is a protection.

As parents, we expect our children to obey us. What if your little one said to you “I don’t have to obey you because as your son, I am free from your rules”? As our children, we expect them to obey us. Their obedience does not make them ours any more than their disobedience would make them illegitimate. The obedience isn’t what makes us heirs- it is our reasonable service.

I’m not really sure, even after years of holding the ‘freedom’ view myself, what in the law is so terrifying to people. Obviously the sacrifices have been fulfilled in Yeshua. We cannot perform the purification rituals as we have no temple (BTW, there were periods in the history of the Israelites where there was no temple- does that mean they were lost as well?).

The next topic I want to consider are the few but common parts of the law that Christians stumble over.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Great post, lots to think about:-)