January 24, 2021: Epiphany 3

Let us pray: Dear Lord, to keep us from all sorts of evil You have given us Your commandments, the Law, to regulate human behavior.  Today we ask You to give us an appreciation of all that Your Law does to prevent trouble in this world, and even more importantly, we thank You for the Gospel which prevents us from being crushed by it.  Amen


TEXT:  Luke 10:17: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          For the past few years there has been a rise in America of the anarchist movement.  These are people who reject and hate any form of law in society, except the law of anarchy.  They burn, riot, loot, reject private property  and generally are: a law unto themselves.  It reminds me of a recurrent phrase in the OT: “And every man did what was right in his own eyes.”  Increasingly such anarchy has reared its ugly head—whether it be the hard kind like riots in Seattle and Portland, or the soft kind such as idea censorship in social media.  Are we headed backward into a stone-age mentality of: Whoever has the biggest club gets their way?


          God gave humans the 10 commandments to prevent anarchy and to lead us towards unity and peace—with Him and each  other.  He first wrote His “rights and wrongs” on everyone’s heart and gave them a basic natural knowledge of God and His will.  Then, because humans hardened their hearts against Him and obscured His Laws, He gave them to Moses in the 10 commandments, etched in stone. Alas, today humans have defaced that stone and anarchy results. 

          I like the old hymn verse: “The Law of God is good and wise.”  Indeed it is!  Think of a society where God’s laws are forgotten or viewed as valueless?  If people are answerable to no one, they are their own gods.  Guilt and shame will never constrain their actions.  Fear of retribution and even death will not curb their selfish appetites.  Likewise, if people never value anyone else’s life or physical well-being, we’re never safe.  If people don’t respect marriage, sex becomes all about power over another.  If private property isn’t respected, violence becomes the status quo.  Well, I could go on but you get the drift.  All of God’s commandments are vital to keep sin in check and to provide for a peaceable life.  This is Godly wisdom.  God knows all about sin and evil.  Anarchy is neither good and always evil.  God’s Law is the antidote to it.

          The problem is: America and the rest of the world has chosen to ignore God, belittle His truths as “quaint” or racist or sexist or politically incorrect.  We humans know what’s best for us—more than our Creator.  It has always been so, but there have been times when social consensus curbed outward displays of anarchy even though everyone still harbored such ideas inwardly.  That is where we are at, once again, today.

          Can you imagine a world in which people actually took God seriously?  Violence and bloodshed would be rare instead of common.  Rape, promiscuity, and sexual perversion would be scorned by the masses.  Stealing and open greed would be looked down upon.  And outward peace and harmony would at least seem to be prevalent.  Respect and acting respectful towards others would be celebrated.  And people would be thankful to their Creator and show it, instead of being selfishly dissatisfied. 

          The Law serves as a mirror to show us how disfigured we are because of sin.  It serves as a curb to keep people within boundaries which don’t hurt and destroy and dishonor God and our fellow humans.  And for the Christian alone it serves as a Godly guide to show us how to live peaceable and productive lives under His blessings.  And, and only Christians can reap that result.  Why?


          All human history teaches that people, societies and governments spiral downward on their own.  That’s because all people are sinners who  can never fully obey and follow God’s Law.  However, Jesus Christ, God’s Son came into the world to do it for us.  Man is not the fulfillment of the Law, but Christ is!  He came to earth as both God and man joined completely in that one body.  He knew every aspect—both sins of commission and sins by omission—of God’s eternal truth.  After all, He wrote it!  And so every commandment He kept completely in thought, word and action.  He achieved such perfection because He is perfect God!  He never lied, cheated, stole anything, failed to respect anyone’s being, never hurt or harmed another, and always gave thanks to His heavenly Father in every circumstance.  He did this in our place.  And through His gift of faith bestowed upon us, His perfection to the Law becomes our perfection!

          Likewise, Christ alone, Who had no sin—ever—died for us to pay the penalty for breaking God’s Law.  That occurred on the cross.  “He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us.”  The “wages of sin is death.”  Christ died for you and me and thus paid those wages in our place.  That’s why as Isaiah says: “By His wounds you have been healed.”  And even more, Jesus arose from the grave, visibly and bodily to give us complete assurance that “because He lives, we shall live also” forever with Him in heaven!

          Only the believers in Christ thus can follow and live in this third use of the Law.  Only we can reap the benefits and blessings of appreciating the commandments as a blessed way to live without having lives ridden by guilt, second-guessing and regret.   We know we’re forgiven and that warm embrace from God fills us with newfound hope and resolve. 

          If you worry about the news today and seem bewildered by the evil that is so rampant, go back to the basics: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and then love your neighbor as yourself.”  For then, instead  of living in anarchy, you will be able to bask in the warm glow of God’s wisdom from   on high.”  Amen THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox 

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