The Ten Commandments: A Necessary Rebuke of Secular Libertarianism Part 2
by Pastor Cary Gordon
Part 2 of a 6 Part Series
So what of those few modern churches who have, thankfully, kept the candle burning for the law of God? Well, most of those churches which have maintained some legitimate reverence for the Ten Commandments have done so only through the still-born paradigm of the protestant reformation. Despite the fact God Almighty personally delivered them to earth as a template by which all human government should be patterned and judged (according to a plain reading of Deuteronomy’s fourth chapter), somehow or another…today…those preachers have decided they are only necessary for individual people…personally. “Israel was temporary, and it passed away, so we don’t need the Ten Commandments as a template for good government anymore,” they so blithely declare. Where does it say that in the Bible? That is a very good question, and a fair one, too. Here’s the answer. Nowhere, unless you rip some passage from its context and misuse it to contradict what Jesus said about His newly arrived kingdom’s present and future-tense relationship to Mosaic law. This is plainly explained in Mathew 5:17-19.
Mistaken Bible preachers point out an occasional passage showing that God’s law should be written on our hearts. This is typically one of the more popular pieces of evidence conjured for their anti-law doctrinal stands. They claim this as an epic change that resulted from Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. To be clear, Jesus allegedly died so that civil government would no longer require the Ten Commandments, but self-government among individual persons would have them “written upon their hearts” instead. The most obvious problem with this argument, of course, is that Moses told Israel the same thing around 1,500 years before Christ was born. Yes, he told them that they should have God’s law written on their hearts, too. In fact, he made it the premise of their entire system of law.
Deuteronomy 30:6: “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”
No, that’s not a very good reason to jettison God’s law from civic life today. This particular claim is also wrong because it ignores where civil government comes from…self-governed individuals. But, we did it anyway, didn’t we? We embraced error in the church, and America has paid a dear price. In 2 Timothy 4:4, Paul called it “turning away to fables.” If the cost of these fables has not been our individual souls, it has certainly meant that the America that once was is now dead and in need of a resurrection. Yes, we killed America. The church did! Fables kill. I digress.
So the denominations that DO maintain some reverence for the Ten Commandments typically NEVER teach that they should be applied to modern civil governments. And with regard to self-government, these denominations are very careful to explain that they are only needed on a personal level, until one finally discovers Jesus as their personal Savior. Nevermind the logical disconnect between self-government and civil government. After getting these stamped on your heart, forget about ‘em. “Love is all that matters, Brutha! Jeeeeesuuuss is luv, Man! Peace, Man! Jesus loves you, and Jesus loves me, and love is Jesus, and stop judging, and just embrace everyone, Man. Jesus doesn’t care about legal and political issues, Man.” Uh…errr…ahem…something like that anyway.
At this point it is very important to give definitions to three terms that have been permanently defined in both the Old and New Testaments. It is important to say “permanently defined” so that folks don’t think the cross of Jesus was designed to change those eternal truths, too. No, Jesus’ sacrifice was designed to change your eternal destination, not the definition of eternal principles. These three PERMANENT definitions are so incredibly important to understand that I invite you to consider the consequences of getting any of these definitions wrong or misunderstanding one definition’s proper interaction with another. Here they are with simplicity:
- Law is how agape love (divine love) behaves.
- Sin is transgression of the law.
- Grace is God's moral strength shared with mankind.
What’s the real Good News? Law and grace have teamed up to defeat sin! Think of the definitions of position 1 and position 3 ganging up on the definition of position 2, sandwiched in the middle. In this way, law and grace team up to defeat sin in the life of any believer. God’s moral strength (grace) shared with us allows us to live out how agape love behaves (the law) and conquer sin. Now consider what happens when careless teachers confuse these definitions as well as their proper applications.
Incorrectly pit the correct definition of grace (position 3) against the correct definition of law (position 1), and what do you get? If you believe that God’s moral strength shared with you allows you to trounce an eternal code of behavior, you will get bondage to sin and Hell.
Incorrectly pit the correct definition of sin (position 2) against the correct definition of law (position 1), and what do you get? If you believe your sin can defeat an eternal code of behavior, you commit crime, reap punishment here on Earth and Hell in the next life.
Incorrectly pit the correct definition of law (position 1) against the correct definition of grace (position 3), and what do you get? If you believe following a behavioral code without God’s moral strength being shared with you is possible, you will reap the vain works of dead religion and eventually be sent to Hell. Now let’s take this solid and reasonable concept of God’s law, God’s grace, and the sin that produces what even pagans call “crime”, and not only apply it to our self-government, but to civil government as it was clearly designed to be applied.
If, for the sake of simplicity, we use three well-known characters to represent the totality of the American political world, (a secularist Libertarian, a liberal Democrat, a Christian conservative) we can summarize our dire straits concerning the Ten Commandments’ rejection in Modern America. Each of these three reject Hebrew Law for differing reasons. 1) The secularist Libertarian rejects such a concept of government, crying, “You religious crazies want to turn us into a theocracy, just like Iran! The government you want is way too big! It’s religious, and it espouses the preemptive use of military force against innocent property owners!” 2) The liberal Democrat rejects Hebrew law, arguing, “It’s not big enough! It’s too religious! It rejects the progressive tax system, and therefore, it does not portend adequate social compassion.” 3) Ironically, the typical Christian conservative rejects the wisdom of Hebrew law, because his pastor told him Jesus came to deliver us from its “strict bondage to exasperating and unrealistic rules.” Gay activists couldn’t say “amen” any louder!
1 Peter 4:17: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
God save America from Americans.
God save America from antinomian Christians.