It is readily recognized by all serious Christians that we are living in a lawless society.  Men and women across America, even among the hosts still professing the name of Christ, are apparently given up to the pursuit of their lusts, and will not let the commands of God stand in their way.  There can be no doubt that this tragic situation is largely the result of the ignoring, and often the outright mockery, of the law of God in all circles of society.  In very many circles, including many which profess to believe in sovereign grace, the law of God is considered as outmoded, utterly done away with by Christ, so that we as New Testament believers no longer have anything to do with it.

I not only heartily disagree with this assumption, but I consider it a heresy that is destructive of good morals and holy living.  It is common among people naming themselves Christians now-a-days to scoff at the law of God, and point back with derision to some of the dietary regulations, and then to some of the civil regulations for Israel which they, with their democracy-saturated brains, consider to be unjust.  “The only law we have now is the law of love,” they say, and if rebuked for a sin, they are quick to come back with probably the only two words of Scripture they ever learned, “Judge not!” Because this attitude has become very common even in professing Christian quarters, there is hardly any noticeable distinction at all between the church and the world.  In fact, many churches now make it a matter of pride that they look and act like the world, because they think by blending in and making themselves palatable to the ungodly world, they will win unbelievers to Christ.  In reality, the only thing they do is convince heathens that they are every bit as good as Christians, and that there is no power in the religion of Christ.

But is this what the Lord Jesus and His apostles taught?  Not at all.  Ignorance of the New Testament is what leads foolish people to deride the Old Testament.  In that very sobering passage of Matthew 7:21-13, Christ presents Himself on the throne of judgment, rejecting a great multitude which had professed to believe in Him, and had even claimed to have taught in His Name and worked miracles by His power.  And yet, the Lord casts them away.  Arbitrarily?  Hardly.  “I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  That phrase “ye that work iniquity” can just as easily be rendered “lawless ones.”  Therefore, I say that to cast away the law of God is to put one’s self squarely into the camp of those who are self-deluded, and in danger of being rejected by Christ at the judgment.

“We live by the law of love,” is the objection of our modern ones, an excuse they make to ignore every principle of Scripture except those which would direct us to general politeness and good manners.  I could accept this definition if love was defined in the modern church as holy Scripture defines it.  The Christian American notion of love has much more in common with the sensual, feelings-centered love that is taught by Hollywood and the entertainment industry than with the word of God.  How does John, the apostle of love, define that grand virtue?  2nd John 6: “And this is love, that we walk after His commandments.”  Yes, that John who wrote more about love than any other biblical author, defines Christian love as obedience to the commandments of God.  Moreover, John relates abstinence from sin to the law.  He gives us the reason for writing the epistle of 1st John in chapter 2 verse 1: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.”  Lest some quibbler ask, “How do we define sin?”, John gives a ready answer in chapter 3 verse 4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”  The reason so many professed Christians have no problem at all with sin is because they have cast out the very thing that defines it.

To abandon the law of God is a heresy fraught with eternal danger.  Can one think lightly upon the prospect of being rejected as a “lawless one” at the judgment seat of Christ?  If only Christians could learn to distinguish freedom from the bondage of trying to be saved from the law, from the false notion of freedom from the rules and regulations of God’s moral law, they would go far in escaping the prevalent heresies that are corrupting our society, and they would bear so much a greater testimony to a world that is alienated from God, and without Christ.

The idea that Christians can safely ignore the law of God was utterly foreign to Christ and His apostles.  The Lord in the sermon on the mount did not throw out the law, but accurately defined it in its broad spiritual scope.  In the epistles, we frequently find the apostles quoting the law as an authority for the Christian life.  To both the Ephesian and Colossian children, Paul commanded that they honor their parents, according to the commandments of God.  In both Romans and Galatians, where he so glorious describes free justification through Christ, he also quotes the law as a moral authority for the believer’s life.  It is ironic that it is these very epistles to which those rejecters of God’s law most often appeal.  And yet, in Romans 13:8-10, Paul commands us to fulfill the law by loving one another.  How does one do this?  By keeping those commandments which he repeats in verse 9.  Likewise, in Galatians 5:14, Paul sums up the law under the general heading of, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” and directs us to live according to this principle.  His fellow apostle Peter was of much the same mind, for in I Peter 1:15, 16, he quotes as a guiding principle for our lives from the much-despised book of Leviticus: “Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

That no man is justified before God by the works of the law is plain (Acts 13:39).  But that believers are not freed from the duty of living in obedience to the commands of God is equally plain.  Neither Christ not His apostles ever taught such a pernicious doctrine as this which is tragically being perpetrated in churches all across America.

With this foundation in view, I propose in future articles to examine each of the 10 commandments in light of how they are being observed in our society, which still boasts a large majority of professing Christians.  Even a cursory observation will convince even the most optimistic observer that we are living in a lawless generation, which is a mark of a people that honors God with its mouth, but whose heart is from Him.