Risky Business

Law plays an important role in any society.  This is a practical, historical and biblical truth.  That is not to say that all laws are just, only that a legal standard has its function.  It is a well-substantiated truth that legality does not always conform to good morality.  This may be in part because laws can be written to bolster private (or not so private) indiscretions and enable the perpetrators.  It’s easy to think of that happening in a former day, but the current crop of legislators has an appetite for destruction as does the general populace.  Humanly speaking, there is no guarantee that the genesis of any law is pure, but order requires guidance, and the law of the land sets the standard.

The law does not guarantee compliance.  One of the complaints from libertines is that particular laws do no good, and, consequently, should not exist.  While ineffective and inappropriate laws are on the books, this is not the total point.  Laws establish parameters for behavior which dampen desires to act in non-compliance.  Speed limits, for example, slow people down though they do not put governors on the lead-footed.  There are some for whom there cannot be enough laws, and some for whom there cannot be too few.  More laws will not eradicate crime, but fewer laws will encourage experimentation.  The point is that laws must be correct in nature and proper in application.

It is a fact that, if enough people break a law, it will be changed.  This being true, societal law is a floating thing and more reflective of truancy than truth.  The fact that this has ever been does nothing to excuse lawlessness in our day.  The trend is down, and deviance reaches new lows in whichever areas are addressed by the age.  Over time, increases in scientific knowledge cannot offset the decline of personal responsibility and the deterioration of the social contract.  The certainty that some laws are unjust and need to be changed does not properly address the fact that certain legalities appeal to unmitigated standards.  The masses in our day have rationalized away the bedrock of truth.

It should be considered that every ethical consideration ought not be codified.  It is not possible to make laws affirming or denouncing all the issues of light and darkness.  In any event, a moral code will rise or fall on ethical issues.  It is impossible to adjudicate the nature of a good neighbor, but reasonable people can find the sacred ground if they sincerely apply Jesus’ instructive on the point.  The good life is lived on principles albeit imperfectly.  Occasionally, adjustments will need to be made in the legal system because it does not adequately express the higher virtues of good ethics.  Mercy must temper justice, as well, if universal truth is to triumph over personal (“my”) truth.

The truth of God is not without effect though perilous times ignore it.  An absolute law exists above the political systems of our or any time.  God’s Word is clear on the basic elements of
good morality, and the statutes and judgments of the Bible should be solemnly considered and embraced by the governing authorities of our time.  While we are not living in the days of Old Covenant Israel and should not understand New Covenant morality solely in that context, we must understand that God has spoken through time making His will clear to all.  In every age, God has committed power to governments for which they will give account.  It’s risky business to abrogate divine authority.

Sterl        

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