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A Question of Law

Fri, Apr 12, 2013

Discussion, Law

1 Cor 6: 1-4

If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church?  (NIV)

In a dispensation of grace, what kind of law – including penalties and punishments – should Christians apply among themselves?

And with the separation of Church and State, what kind of law should Christians promote for their country, that would govern both Christians and non-Christians?

How are we to judge ‘the things of this life’?



3 Responses to “A Question of Law”

  1. Eloise Van Vuuren says:

    Thanks for such an inspirational write-up on the dispensation of Grace versus the order of Law. Correct me if I am wrong. I understand that the laws of the secular world ie the courts of law around the world were largely gleaned and extracted from the Christian law of the ten commandments and so on and so forth. Somewhere in the Bible (I m searching for the exact verse now), Christ said that the Laws of God is now written not on tablets of stone (as in Moses’ time) but that the Laws of God is now written on the tablets of our hearts and that Love surpasses and overwhelms the Law ie Grace supercedes the Law. For example, the Law states ‘do not kill, do not covet etc’ but Grace prompts us to ‘love our enemies and bless our enemies so much so that they can be won over by the love of our Lord’. Grace is Love and Love is Jesus Personified (Love is Jesus in Person). If we have no Love, we are but a clanging cymbal. Thanks for the blog! It is a very good Bible Study tool.

    • Joey says:

      Hi Eloise,

      Thanks once again for your comments.

      Yes, I’ve always thought about law in the context of Old Testament commandments and ‘New Testament’ grace (in inverted commas, as grace existed in Old Testament times too).

      But secular law doesn’t really fall into either category comfortably, at least in my mind. And this has been something I’ve been pondering recently. For example:

      – while we are called to forgive under grace, secular law requires a system of penalties and punishments for crime. Society likely would not function if all crimes were simply pardoned when an offender says ‘sorry’ – if there was no imprisonment / fine / other legal recourse.

      – under the Ten Commandments, we are to have no other gods before God, and are not to make any idols. The New Testament extends the concept of what an idol would be. But these commands can’t be written into secular law; Christians can’t (and shouldn’t) push to outlaw idolatry, or other religions.

      – under Old Testament law, working on the Sabbath was punishable by death. The New Testament application of this focuses on the reliance on Christ’s finished work, and entering his rest – receiving the free gift of salvation. Secular law can’t really address or implement either of these concepts well (at least in any way I can think of).

      It all perhaps sounds a bit theoretical, but I think this issue has a lot of practical implications. Let’s say the Church is against de facto relationships – should Christian politicians push to outlaw them? What about same sex marriage? (a big debate at the moment in Australia)

      I guess I’m keen to establish a framework that delineates what Christians believe morally / ethically / theologically, and what they should aim for in a secular system of law (that is enforced, on everyone). Because grace cannot be imposed on people, but secular law has to be.

      • Eloise Van Vuuren says:

        Thanks for explaining so clearly, Joey! I am ruminating over this. Will correspond when there are more responses from a few more people.

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    A Question of Law

    Fri, Apr 12, 2013

    3 Comments

    In a dispensation of grace, what kind of law – including penalties and punishments – should Christians apply among themselves?

    And with the separation of Church and State, what kind of law should Christians promote for their country, that would govern both Christians and non-Christians?

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