By Dr. D. James Kennedy
Today we see an age of anomie—lawlessness. The laws of God are being ignored and His commandments jettisoned. Indeed, it is a lawless age in which we live—reminiscent of what Jesus said in parable about what would come when He went off to a far country. The citizens would hate Him, and they would cry out, “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).
The great question before the nations is: Will men and nations submit to having Jesus Christ, the Divine Creator of the world reign over them?
God’s purpose in this world is to establish a kingdom that shall be perfected only when Christ returns—but a kingdom wherein men and women yield themselves in glad and willing submission to the scepter of their King. However, in our time they are in rebellion against that rule.
In the 19th century there were three powerful voices crying out, in effect, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” One was Karl Marx, who said that men are ruled only by economic forces. A second was Sigmund Freud, who claimed that men are controlled by their sexual desires. The third was Friedrich Nietzsche. He declared that God is dead; therefore men are controlled by their own will to gain power and replace God.
These voices were all crying out in concert against the reign of Christ in this world. Before Nietzsche declared God dead, Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “If God is dead then all things are permissible.” In the 20th century people have endeavored to try all things, and they have brought upon themselves incredible woe and grief and shame. Indeed, is there any shame, any grief, any woe, and any sorrow that has not been the result as men and women have thrown themselves against the Law of God? They have thought they could break His commandments with impunity—but it cannot be done. Engrave this on the walls of your minds, my friends: You cannot break the Law of God; you can only break yourself upon it.
The law that God gave to mankind from Sinai had three distinct kinds. First, the civil laws for the nation of Israel, which was a theocracy ruled by God. Those civil laws disappeared with the disappearance of the theocratic state of Israel in 70 A.D.
Second, the ceremonial laws, which prefigured and foreshadowed the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. When He came, those ceremonial laws were done away with. The third part of the law given by God at Sinai, the moral law, is a reflection of the eternal and holy nature of God. This is eternal and immutable. This has never passed away and will never pass away. It is the Law of the Living God for His moral creatures.
The moral law is subsumed in the Ten Commandments. All other moral laws of the Bible can be placed under one or another of these various commandments that God has given. There are actually three uses of the moral law today: by its promises and its threatenings it restrains the wicked impulses of ungodly men; it convinces men and women of their sin and brings them to Christ; and it provides a guide for the redeemed in how to live their lives for God.
The great desire of every newborn Christian is that he might please his Savior and his Father. My friends, strive to do what God has commanded, and you will have enough to keep yourself busy for more than one lifetime. It is true that we are not saved by the law; nevertheless, the law remains as the way we can please God and show our gratitude to Him.
Adapted from Dr. Kennedy’s sermon, “The Moral Law of God.”