March 23, 2017/Laws and Conscience

You don’t have to look too far to find some sort of scandal lately. It seems as if there is one around every corner. Politicians. Judges. Lawyers. Hollywood. Presidents. Advisors. Executives. Friends. Neighbors.

It is hard to keep up with so many who are busy brazenly committing acts with little, or no, remorse.

The early church wrestled with how Jesus impacted Jewish law. Up until Jesus offered His body as our sin atonement, Jesus could comfort themselves by offering up the sacrifices demanded by the Old Testament Law. Unfortunately, their hearts had become so hardened by the reality that they were God’s chosen people, that they had developed systems of judging based on ‘legality’ of law rather than aspect.

If God said, “Don’t do work on Sunday” they took it to the extreme to lay punishment on a shepherd who would rescue a sheep from being in harm’s way on Sunday. These priests had become so involved in being LAWFUL that they didn’t recognize that THEY were breaking the law by hardening their hearts against others assuming that they were doing ‘right.’

Saul, (Paul) a devout Jew and Roman citizen, went so far as to show eagerness to destroy the followers of Jesus in an effort to obey these laws. Until his conversion, he sought out as many Christians as he could to bring them to justice and have them stoned or imprisoned for their faith.

Perhaps, that is why he is so eloquent in his writings after his conversion. He has a LOT on his conscience and is eager to now share it with others.

Romans 2: 11-16- For there is no respect of persons with God.For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Paul is telling his Jewish brethren how it is with God.

God treats kings and peasants alike. All sin–Jews, Gentiles, Romans, everyone. And all shall be judged by the laws of God. Here is big news for the Jews who believe the law will be their defense. There is more to hearing the law and knowing every little quote. God demands His people to understand what is behind His law. He has given us guidelines for our own good but we need to be aware of our part in fulfilling His will.

Conscience is a sign of Christian maturity. I believe that it is developed and aided in its development more fully by the Holy Spirit. One can be taught a sense of conscience by a parent or teacher…but after finding Christ you truly begin to ‘see’ that it isn’t OUR place to reign judgement upon others easily. “There but for the grace of God, go I” is an example.

Christians must always follow God’s law…but with the sense that we acknowledge that we are sinners and all sin is abhorrent to God and will be judged.

We have been given laws to aid us in our decisions about right and wrong. We are to listen and adjust our lifestyles so that we may do our best to live ‘right’ before God…we are to be hearers and doers but always recognize that as humans we will fail and need the grace and mercy extended by God by providing us with Jesus as our sin offering.

 

 

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