Sermons

Summary: Christians have recognized what observant men of all ages have noticed, and that is, that law that is a respecter of persons is an instrument of evil, whereas, law that treats all men equally is an instrument for justice.

An angry group of citizens shouted at their small town

mayor-"Every city car that passes through here breaks the

law by breaking the speed limit. You've got to do something

about it, and do it fast." "Don't you worry," said the mayor

with confidence. "I'll raise the speed limit to 150. Let's see

them beat that!"

This mayor had an easy solution, which would effectively

eliminate lawlessness. All you have to do is change the law, or

redefine lawlessness. You can just change the definition of

lawlessness and get rid of it. This is a process that goes on all

the time in our culture. What was once a bad thing is no

longer a bad thing because it has been defined as no longer

bad, but acceptable. Relativity is real, but when it enters into

the realm of morality it becomes very dangerous. Men use it

to change what is evil in God's eyes into what is acceptable

to men. Or, on the other hand, they change what was once a

virtue into a vice. For example, the young girl who brought

her Bible to school was sent home, as if it were a crime.

It is no wonder that there is confusion about the law, for

it is no longer stable as it once was. It is full of loopholes, so

that not all are treated equal, and it can be changed any day,

so that what was wrong yesterday can be right tomorrow.

The average American is skeptical about the law, for he

knows it is often just an arbitrary will of the majority

imposed on the minority. Much of the lawlessness of our day

is due to the laws protection of injustice. The law can protect

and defend evil as well as good. It can be an instrument of

oppression and slavery, as well as a force for freedom. Every

dictator and tyrant controls his people through law. Abuse

of the law is as common as its legitimate use.

Even in the church the law of God was abused. The

Puritans in Salem, for example, were determined to legislate

the Kingdom of God into reality, and they were going to

make the New Jerusalem on earth. These were some of the

Sabbath laws they made-

No one shall run on the Sabbath or walk in his garden.

No one shall make beds, cut hair, or shave.

No woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath.

No food or lodging shall be given to any Quaker or other

heretic.

And they were not just kidding either. Disobedience was not

tolerated, but met with heavy penalties.

Roger Williams, one of the heroes of freedom, was a

minister in Salem. He objected to the use of law in regulating

matters of conscience. He said this is contrary to the doctrine

of Jesus Christ. This was an attack on their system of law,

and they pronounced the sentence of banishment on him, for

the audacity to question their law. He was able to escape and

by the help of friendly Indians get to what became known as

Rhode Island. It was there that Roger Williams established

the first place on earth with total religious liberty. He also

established the first Baptist church in America there.

He became a hero of freedom, and he is studied in all the

secular history books. Yet, he became this hero by being

lawless. He rebelled against the laws he felt were unjust both

in the church and the state. He started the long hard battle

to get the laws of the state and the church to leave men free

in the realm of their religious beliefs. You cannot make

believers by means of the law. This is a personal act of choice

and faith, and not a matter you can legislate. Many

Christians through the centuries have ended up in prison,

just like Peter in the New Testament, because they refused to

obey laws that interfered with their obedience to God. They

were seen as lawless, but in reality they were being loyal to

the highest law, the law of God.

Christians have recognized what observant men of all

ages have noticed, and that is, that law that is a respecter of

persons is an instrument of evil, whereas, law that treats all

men equally is an instrument for justice. Benjamin Franklin

said, "Laws like to cobwebs, catch small flies, Great ones

break them before your eyes." An 18th century saying of

similar thought goes like this-

"The law doth punish man or woman

That steals the goose from off the common,

But let's the greater felon loose

That steals the common from the goose."

In other words, there is a duel standard in which the weak

and poor must suffer the full penalty of the law, but the rich

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