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Life By God’s Law

Led by God’s Spirit and God’s word, His people live by His law. The kingdom of God is Christians living in strict accordance with God’s law-word. This law, in its simplest expression, is first, loving God and second, loving one’s neighbor as one’s self (Matt. 22: 36-40).

To love God is to recognize and respect Him as the Creator and lawgiver of the universe and to obey Him in every detail of this precious law-word He has generously provided man to guide him throughout his life in this world. Seeking the kingdom of God is an aspect of loving God (John 14:15).

Loving neighbor as self means obeying God’s law with respect to one’s neighbor. The neighbor is seen as someone to be helped and not a competitor or a person to be exploited (Luke 10:30-37). Within the kingdom, society is organic, consisting of brothers and sisters in Christ, all members of a larger family, the family of God. Those outside the kingdom are seen as fellow creatures of God that need help. They need to be shown by example and by word what the kingdom is all about and why they need to repent, ask God to forgive them, and beg Him to accept them into His kingdom.

As these two injunctions take hold and begin to spread out and permeate a people, enormous changes in personal interrelationships begin to appear. Strife disappears; competition becomes cooperation; and people, sensing the mutual respect and affection, can connect with one another and communicate from their hearts. This begins within the Christian community but many outsiders are attracted to it and it soon spreads beyond. It is a consequence of Jesus’ words: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

For the true Christian, there can be no authority other than Christ and no law other than God’s Law. Civil officials have God-given responsibilities and should be respected as God’s appointed servants. They are to be obeyed because Christ requires it but only to the extent they do not require what God forbids or forbid what God requires (Acts 5:29; Rom. 13: 1-7; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-16). The authority that is obeyed is Christ and not His servant, the civil official.

This may seem to be a rather trivial distinction but it is actually most significant. It is important that Christians not lose sight of who they really are, the chosen delegates of a higher authority, one that supersedes all human authority. They are responsible only to Christ and are His appointed agents, chartered to bring this government and all governments into line with their Master’s will. In every interaction with, or consideration of such officials, Christians should be mindful of this awesome responsibility. They should not forget that they are a part of a great force, one that is dedicated to changing this world and that will eventually shape the laws these men enforce so as to bring them into complete conformity with God’s law (Matt. 28:19-20). Christians should always remember that they are Christ’s servants and therefore stand on very high ground. They must be humble but not allow their humility to interfere with their perception of reality and responsibility.