The Future of Law - RR169A2
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
The command of the Sovereign power containing a common rule of life for the subjects, we have forgotten what law means. A Sovereign in any society is the source of law. He is the lord. Because of antinomianism most churches and their members today have in effect echoed the chief priests of old saying, “We have no king but Caesar.” As against this William Symington made clear some generations ago in his book on “The Messiah the Prince”, which is once again in print, he said, “Alleluia, salvation and glory and honor and power unto the Lord our God. Alleluia for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. We hail Thee Sovereign of our hearts. We adjure forever all other lords who have had dominion over us and declare from the heart, “We have no king but Jesus.”” Unquote. [00:01:40]
Lordship or Sovereignty is denied to the Triune God...
Lordship or Sovereignty is denied to the Triune God if His total Word is not recognized and obeyed as the law of our lives and of every aspect of our society. If we assume the validity of other laws then we allow other lords or sovereigns to have dominion over us. This was a fact that the church for centuries fought for and has now forgotten. The early church declared Jesus Christ to be Lord or Sovereign. A key text is Philippians 2:9-11, “9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” As Ethelbert Stauffer, the German historian has shown in “Christ and the Caesars” Rome was ready to recognize and tolerate the church in exchange for the confession Caesar is Lord. The church however refused. This refusal did not mean then a campaign of protests and demonstrations nor of disobedience to Roman law. Abortion was then legal and common place but the church did not move against the abortionists with an organized or disorganized campaign of protest. They believed our Lord when He said, “He shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [[00:04:01]
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit neither can...
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Among other things first our Lord tells us that it is both foolish and wrong to expect evil men to produce good or moral works. Such an expectation is ungodly. Men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles. There is a moral consistency in man so that a good man cannot bring forth evil fruits. Second. God’s judgment, in due time, takes care of evil doers. This means that our responsibility is to bring forth good fruit not to waste our time expecting thorns to bring forth grapes. Third. We can assess man in terms of their works, their fruit. What then must the godly do? Our Lord concludes the Sermon on the Mount to build our house upon the rock which is Himself. Practically, how did the church apply this commandment? Paul deals with this in 1 Corinthians 6 in which he says they should not go to ungodly judges. Commentators tell us the meaning of these words and sentences but nothing as to the applied meaning. What the early church did everywhere in response to 1 Corinthians 6 was to set up courts in terms of Biblical law. These courts adjudged all kinds of cases opposing parties had to agree to be bound by the decisions. These courts were so successful that in time pagans who wanted justice came to these Christian courts. Now consider the implications of this. Our Lord had warned them against expecting good or justice from evil trees; evil men, evil courts. Christians created their own courts with wise and Godly men to be their judges. [00:07:00]
An evil lord and an evil court system which had crucified...
An evil lord and an evil court system which had crucified the Lord of glory was by passed by a court based on God’s law. We can understand why Rome hated the Christians and fought the church. They sought as a state within the state an empire within the empire and in this they were right. The kingdom of God was occupying their territory. Another government was ruling over men. But this was not the only area in which Christians extended their government by God’s law. Schools were started. Homes for the homeless elderly men and women, for homeless children, hospitals, captives were ransomed and so on and on. The church became another and truly effective government. Civil government and its laws have now become increasingly areas of injustice and evil, of paganism. On the front pages of the newspapers in early 1990 we have seen obvious examples of this. United States and the continental European States have sided with the Soviet Union against Lithuania and other countries, and why not? Washington is as humanistic as Moscow. We are busily protecting the bully against his victims. A so called anti-hate bill was passed recently by Congress and homosexuals and lesbians have been invited to the White House to celebrate its signing. Nothing in the bill, by the way, against hating Christians. Homosexuals, Lesbians and others like that. [00:09:38]
The U.S. military leaders at a time when we are disarming at a radical and dangerous pace are planning to expropriate four and a half million acres this year, an area equivalent to Rhode Island and Connecticut. And, they are going to add this to existing bases and so on and on; empty bases in some cases. Injustice is all around us. As for lawlessness much goes unreported which only travelling and talking to informed people uncovers in part. Two of our staff were in San Francisco and learned of some monstrous events there that are unreported. The war against law-abiding people is being waged. The courts are becoming instruments of evil all too often. What is a Christian to do? Like the early Christians he must convert people to Jesus Christ and then bring them like himself into an active obedience to God’s law. Laws on the statute books are ineffectual when the people have no desire to obey them, when there is no law written on the tables of their hearts. Laws are truly effectual when people are themselves a walking law. [00:11:26]
As a police detective told me, in the mid ...
As a police detective told me, in the mid 1970’s, law enforcement in any community collapses if 2% of the people are lawbreakers. They then outnumber the police and they are out of control. Demands for strict law enforcement make little difference. Total terror has been attempted by some rulers as the answer. From Prince Dracul whom we know as Dracula, a real and ugly person, to the Marxist leaders but it is only briefly effectual. The rule of humanistic law is breaking down steadily. The modern world is technologically very advanced but it is morally breaking down into a grim anarchy. Some of us can remember when locked houses were uncommon even in cities because criminals were remote to most people. No election will bring us the relief from the present situation. We must take Scripture very seriously when it tells us, “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For, ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” [00:13:22]
The language here is very blunt...
The language here is very blunt. Bought has reference to purchase in a market. We are slaves that God has purchased and made members of His family by His grace so that we might serve Him, not ourselves. This concept of purchase appears in Romans 6:17-18; Acts 20:28; Galatians 3:13 and elsewhere. We who were slaves of sin were bought as slaves are bought by Jesus Christ and made members of His family, free men in Christ. Because we are not our own we cannot serve our purposes. We must serve our Lord and obey His law. The language of purchase now seems remote to us. At issue is the question of authority. Authority in our time has shifted from God to the state. It has become essentially political in nature. A utopian book of 1919, Conde Pallen’s Crucible Island, had a catechism for the future which read in part, “By whom were you begotten? By the sovereign state. Why were you begotten? That I might know love and serve the sovereign state always. What is the sovereign state? The sovereign state is humanity in composite and perfect, note that word, perfect being. Why is the state supreme? The state is supreme because it is my creator and conserver in which I am and move and have my being and without which I am nothing. What is the individual? The individual is only a part of the whole and made for the whole and finds his complete and perfect expression in the sovereign state. Individuals are made for cooperation only like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. [00:15:53]
Well, it is a sign of progress that Pallen’s catechism...
Well, it is a sign of progress that Pallen’s catechism now sounds absurd. But, the fact remains that we now fear the authority and the power of the internal revenue service more than the power of God. Richard Senate has rightly noted that the need for authority is basic. He fails however to say WHAT authority as he recognizes Darwin and Marx and the thinking they represented. He wrote it all earlier concepts of authority so that, in Senate’s words, “the only universal principles are now the principles of change.” Revolution, revolution and change are the only universal principles. Man is left defenseless against the power centers of society, most notable the state; he political power. He has no God-given court to appeal to. The state becomes itself the Supreme Court with deadly results because then there is nothing greater to appeal to for help. Then Stalin can ask, “How many battalions have the pope?” Then too, Christians ask, ungodly Christians, “Where are Gods battalions?” Armenianism and pietistic Calvinism have reduced God from the Almighty to the place of a general benevolence. If God’s law is not the law for men and nations then God is not the Lord. Remember, the Britannica gave the classic definition of sovereignty and law which had prevailed for centuries, “A sovereign is the source of law. Law is what the sovereign says.” If God’s law then for men and nations God is not the Lord, He is not sovereign. He is then a bystander while others rule. [00:18:33]
Dr. Philip F. Gura, historian, called attention to the transition from Puritanism and its power in Christ to a vague and weak evangelicalism. An important step was the rise of the antinomians he said, also called in there earlier days, spiritists, because they purportedly obeyed the spirit within rather than the moral law. Many held that God’s law was no longer binding upon true believers. Another step, says Dr. Gura, came about when the test of salvation became experimental rather than Scriptural, emotional rather than logical, experience rather than fidelity to Scripture prevailed. Did you have a conversion experience at a revival meeting not, do you know the Word of God and do you believe He is your Lord and Savior. Did you fall down and roll in the dirt. At one time that was a test, now you have to be able to give a testimony about the day and the hour. [00:19:58]
But still another step was taken towards impotence...
But still another step was taken towards impotence when various groups beginning with the seekers and some Baptists rejected this intimate connection between personal sainthood and social progress. I am quoting Gura; to them he says, “Christ’s kingdom, as Roger Williams so often argued, was of another world and never to be realized here.” Unquote. You were saved and that ended all obligations except witnessing until you went to heaven. At the same time that some began to argue that personal holiness could have no social consequences and yet others began to move towards a belief in personal perfectionism, total sanctification; in other words separating the believer from the world; his sanctification from society. All these are things we are very familiar with and I am glad to say these are also waning, dying beliefs. Irrelevance is less and less a mask of spirituality. More over the forces of secularization have born evil fruit and their day is waning. To avoid anarchy, which is very close, reChristianization is urgently necessary. [00:21:57]
Christians have forgotten what Harold J...
Christians have forgotten what Harold J. Burman so powerfully presented in, “Law and Revolution – the Foundation of the Western Legal Tradition, 1983”. He says there that by the year 2000, ten years away, we will either return to a Biblical legal position or we will see the collapse of civilization. According to Burman law and Christendom has had its origin in the classical doctrine of the atonement. He documents this very thoroughly. Man by his sin violated the law of God. Jesus Christ by His atonement upholds God’s law, obeys it perfectly, and pays the death penalty for His new humanity created by His atonement and His regenerating power. The regeneration of man requires the regeneration of his society. This was seen by Christians as a mandate. As Burman observes, and I quote, “The revolutionary belief in the end of time, the final millennium, helps to account not only for the overthrow of the old law, that is pagan law, but also the embodiment of the revolution in a new system of law.” Unquote [00:22:33]
“Calvinism and Puritanism advanced the legal revolution...
“Calvinism and Puritanism advanced the legal revolution in two ways. First, they held it the duty of Christian’s generally and not merely Christian rulers, to reform the world. Second, Burman said, there was the belief in the local congregation under its elected ministers and elders as the seat of truth, a fellowship of active believers higher than any political authority.” Unquote That’s Burman, a professor of law, and he says that if you want to know where the real seat of power is don’t look to the state capital or Washington D.C. , look to the local congregation, develop its power in Christ. The reason for this important civil, local congregation was it had trained the people to govern in their spheres. In terms of the doctrine of the atonement from St. Anselm on, law was seen as inseparable from general retribution. There also had to be restitution towards those sinned against. These were necessary aspects of the doctrine of the atonement. When, for example, the Jutland Law, of Denmark, declares, and I quote, “By law shall the land be built.” Unquote. [00:25:33]
The law meant was God’s law...
The law meant was God’s law! Biblical law as manifested in all its implications in the atonement. The atonement tells us how seriously God regards His law. The death of God the Son is necessary to redeem man, the lawbreaker. The new humanity must thus live by the law and by this law shall every land be built. This was the faith of Christians at one time. “By this law shall the land be built.” In terms of Scripture there is grace for man because there is judgment and atonement, judgment and atonement whereby man is restored to life and to faithful service in terms of God’s law. The atonement gives us a theology of justice because God is the God of justice. The atonement gives us grace because God’s justice is satisfied by Christ’s atonement. By the atonement we are justified and made a people of righteousness or justice. Burmon also makes clear that the Western legal tradition, that is law based on the atonement and setting forth God’s law, could not have come into being without the hope of the last judgment. Today the last judgment is not important to Christians because their doctrine of atonement is antinomian. Atonement is reduced by too many to an emotional and personal level. It is a juridical, a legal transaction in the court of Almighty God. Our reaction to it is certainly emotional but we cannot replace God’s doctrine with our feelings. The doctrine of the last judgment tells us that God’s justice shall prevail. The universe has justice built into every atom and God’s power, holiness and justice are omnipotent. We are without true sight if we see only what our eyes can encompass. A hymn by John Keble of 1839 begins thus, “God the Lord, a King remaineth robed in His own glorious light. God hath robed Him and He reigneth. He has girded Him with might. Alleluia, alleluia, God is King in depth and height.” Because our God is a Creator King only His law has any future. [00:29:06]
Isaiah 40:13-17 tells us, 13Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?14With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?15Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.16And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.17All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.” The nations conspire against God and His law which they see as bondage to their self-will. God the Lord, however, laughs and holds them “in derision”. His law alone has any future because He alone is God the Lord. Amen [00:30:55]