Fri, Feb 25th - 11:28AM
Law & Grace
A popular myth says that the Bible is only for believers. The Bible provides guidance on all areas of human existence and applying Bible teachings is beneficial to everyone, whether lost or saved, with the important difference being that for the redeemed the Word of God is cleansing and for unbelievers the Word of God is convicting.
The Law will always stand as God’s standards of righteousness, but the Law itself had no saving power. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31) “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7:12) “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.” (I Timothy 1:8) “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” (Psalm 119:142)
Everyone is obligated to obey God. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
The Bible does not teach equality of sins; this can be seen in the differences in the severity of penalties prescribed in the Old Testament. However, one sin or violation of one law is sufficient to make one guilty before God and break fellowship with God. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
Everyone will be judged by their works. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29) “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Revelation 20:11-13)
Good deeds, good works, or right living cannot and will not save anyone. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (II Corinthians 5:17-21) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Teaching God's holy law (standards of righteousness) is needful so that fallen men can see themselves as sinners in need of a savior. The Law served to manifest the sinful nature, man's depravity, and to pronounce everyone guilty before God and thus demonstrate the need for redemption and a mediator. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20) “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Romans 7:7) “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Romans 7:12-14) “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4) “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Galatians 3:19) “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24) “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (I Timothy 1:9-11) “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Hebrews 7:19)
One great end of the Gospel is to deliver fallen men from the penalty of sin and restore them to a position of obedience to God's holy law (standards of righteousness). The New Birth is the beginning of a spiritual sanctification. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2) “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:11-22) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” (Titus 2:11-14)
Thu, Feb 17th - 6:39AM
Statutory Rape Laws
Is defining and punishing consensual teen sex as rape the solution to illegitimacy and STDs among teens? There is need and Scriptural precedent for establishing laws and standards to discourage the exploitation and abuse of young women, and statutory rape laws may have been enacted with the right motives, but statutory rape laws need revision.
It is argued that such laws are necessary because teenage pregnancy is a major problem. When did it become wrong or unusual for a teenager to conceive and give birth? Throughout history most wives married in their teens and most mothers conceived and gave birth to their first child while in their teens. The problem is the marital status of a mother, not her age. (I Corinthians 7:36; I Timothy 5:14; Hebrews 13:4; “flower of her age” in I Corinthians 7:36 is menarche.)
The modern theory that young women can be kept from attracting men or desiring men and sex though legislation, tradition, or superstition is a fantasy far removed from reality. (Consider Song Of Solomon 8:8-9) It is ironic that laws meant to stop sexual abuse discourage unmarried gentlemen with honorable motives and intentions from romantic interest in an unmarried young woman while giving young women opportunity to be sexually immoral with extremely reduced risk of disclosure or reprisal.
Is it perverted for an older adult to be attracted to a teenager or for a teenager to be attracted to an older adult? This theory means that numerous people mentioned in Scripture who had good morals must now be considered sexual perverts. An age difference may be cause for concern, but having a romantic interest that does not fit a current trend or popular theory does not necessarily mean that someone is perverted, immoral, or dangerous. Enacting laws to reflect this attitude creates a situation in which this appears to be wicked or perverted because those with honorable motives and intentions are restricted. Is this pedophilia? Pedophilia is a combination of words: "Paidos" means "child (undeveloped)," and the combining form "-philia" means "abnormal attraction to;" prepubescent children are not the issue here. This is not promoting any particular relationships or suggesting that practical considerations should be ignored, this is merely a reminder to consider what Bible truths or principles are involved or violated before deciding that someone is immoral or perverted. (II Timothy 2:15; 3:16)
But, some argue, "Teenagers don't have the needed knowledge about such things." Whose fault is that and why is this criterion for determining an "age of consent?" At what age are people magically endowed with all the knowledge they need, and why must we assume that everyone in a particular age group is ignorant or informed merely because they are in a certain age group? Was there ever a time when all or even most teenagers had a tremendous amount of knowledge about such things, and shouldn't we consider that the alarming increase in certain social maladies, such as promiscuity, illegitimacy, and STDs among teenagers could be directly related to the removal, rejection, or neglect of moral safeguards that were once considered standard, customary, or traditional? Think: When was there a time when there were no sexual predators and no deceitful men (or women), and when was there a time when people (young or old) never faced immoral temptations, propositions, and opportunities?
This is not promoting or condoning fornication or abuse, but merely recognizing that consensual teenage sex is not rape. If a fruit looks, feels, smells, and tastes like an orange it does not become an apple because someone calls it an apple. Statutory rape is the only felony crime in which a minor can willingly participate and even initiate the crime without legal repercussion.