Summary: This message attempts to address the laws mentioned in scripture and discover if Christians will be held accountable for keeping any of them.
Sin and the Law
I am setting aside the study of John for this month in order to address a series of questions on sin and the law from one of our readers.
In order to understand sin and the law we need to go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:2-3 states the earth, in the beginning was without form, void and darkness was on the face of the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. In this environment God spoke forth light. There are at least two noteworthy things that can be seen here.
First God is present in the midst of darkness. God is omnipresent. The psalmist tells us we can not go anywhere (Psalm 139:8) where He is not present. Even in the darkness of hell His presence is known. It is the presence of His wrath but He is there.
We also see that into this darkness God spoke the light and the light was good. Nowhere do we see God calling the darkness good, only the light. He could have completely eliminated the darkness and had a world of light but He did not. Why? Simply because the world God created in Genesis was never intended to be the final product in His plan for bringing forth a new kingdom. It was the intermediate stage to a planned kingdom of total light.
A perfect world was created and set in the midst of darkness and on that orb God created and placed the first subject of His eternal kingdom of light, Adam. Adam was perfectly created but given an attribute that none of the angelic throng around the throne of God possessed. He was given the ability to choose between the darkness and the light. God then placed this man in the gem of His creation, the garden of Eden, and gave Him access to all this new world had to offer. He only had to do one thing to continue there and that was to be obedient to his Creator. He was offered the choice of eternal life or eternal death and he chose death.
Two laws were built into this new world. The first law is the law of sin and death. This law was necessary because of the holiness of God. God, being wholly perfect, cannot allow sin in His presence. Therefore any being who is sinful cannot enjoy fellowship with the Creator and must be cast into outer darkness where God’s presence is known but never enjoyed. The second law was written on the heart of Adam. It would bring life if he chose to obey and death if he chose to disobey. That law was this, “You will love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind.” Now wait a minute you may say, didn’t God command Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Yes he did but Christ tells us in Matthew 22:37-40 that all of God’s commands (the law and prophets) hang on this second law and the command to love your neighbor as yourself. Any and all of the precepts of God’s Word are tied to this law. If you break any of them it is because you do not love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind.
This second law is the law of love. The love spoken of is not sensual love, not even brotherly love, but unconditional love. It is a love that is not dependent on the circumstances that surround. We love regardless of what is given in return. In relation to God we are to love Him with all of our being. He is to be the center of our universe. Every process of our heart, mind and soul is to be controlled by our love for Him. In regards to loving our neighbor as our self the well being of others is always to be placed on the same plane as our well being. All actions toward those around us must be done as though we were doing it to ourselves.
When Adam ate the fruit he chose darkness over the light. In doing so he died spiritually and ceased being a free moral agent. The command of the laws of God remained and he had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so he knew his disobedience was sin. The curse of sin though now controlled his being so he could not choose not to sin. Love of self became the focus of his life and he ceased to love the One who had created him.
Many think this action of Adam took God by surprise but it did not. The fall of man was foreseen before the world was spoken into existence and was a part of the plan for the final glorious kingdom of light. Bringing this kingdom to fruition was never intended to be a work of man but totally the work of God. Man had failed, as God knew he would, and this knowledge of failure was intended to be an intricate part of the subjects God had chosen to populate His kingdom.