Topic Article #23: God’s Law for All Societies
by Dr. Eugene Clingman, Executive Administrator
Copyright 2006, International Church Council Project
(This article may be freely distributed so long as it is not altered
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“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV)). And, “When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves” (Proverbs 28:12 (NKJV)). It is clear from these two verses that God speaks to societal issues. Two things are evident in our society today – The righteous are not in authority, and wicked men have arisen. What is the answer? The answer is for the Church to return to God’s Law and to lead the nation to return to God’s Law.
I am not talking about becoming justified or made righteous through the Law; it cannot be done; righteousness is obtained through faith in Christ and His atoning work. What I am talking about is the fact that the Law, written upon the heart of New Covenant people (Christians according to Jeremiah 31:31) is the standard of righteousness God requires for individual and nation. The Christian standard of the Law is love and love is the fulfillment of the Law (Romans 13:10) but love is never less than the requirements of the Law. In other words we cannot say, “I am walking in love, therefore the Law does not apply to me.” But we may say, “I am walking in love which causes me to fulfill the Law and more besides. And if I fail to fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law, it is evidence that I am not walking in love – I have failed to attain in my actions, speech or thoughts that standard God has written upon my New Covenant heart.” Clearly the standard of the Law is never discarded or abrogated, and even when one is walking in love it is fulfilled, never set aside.
The Law cannot be discarded because it is a reflection of the righteous character of God. And God’s righteous character does not fluctuate and is never altered. Because His Law is a reflection of His righteous character, His Law is the standard required of all human beings. The Church has often failed to comprehend these things. The Law is often set aside in Evangelical circles and considered of no account for the Christian, and because it is of no account for the Christian, it is also, in their minds, of no account for the general culture. This is wrong thinking!
Because the Law of God was written upon the heart of man from the beginning of creation (Romans 2:14-15), upon Adam and his descendents, it pertains to every human being, and because to every human being individually, to every collection of human beings, and because to every collection of human beings, to every nation. There is one standard and only one.
In the Great Commission Christ told His Church to make disciples of all the nations – “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. Jesus gave a New Commandment – “Love one another”. We know that “Love is the fulfillment of the Law” (Romans 13:10). As we live life and as we disciple the nations let us remember the primary directive given us – “teaching them to obey all things I have commanded you”. Let us remember that this includes “Love one another” which in turn includes obedience to the Law of God, for love is not the setting aside of the Law, but the fulfillment of it. Every individual, every human institution, and every nation must be taught to love, which means also that they must be taught to obey the law of God, for if they do not obey the Law of God, it is irrefutable evidence that they do not yet love and are not yet Christ’s disciples.
2 John 1:6 – “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”