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On which side of the law are you?

Updated on September 14, 2013

Law serves a variety of functions and its observance helps to maintain a peaceful, orderly, and relatively stable society. Corollary to this, courts play a role in upholding social stability by resolving disputes in a civilized passion while property and contract laws are drawn up to facilitate business activities and private planning. there are also laws limiting the powers of government as embodied in the principle of checks and balances that helps to provide some degree of freedom that would not otherwise be possible. Almost all men willingly comply with the laws as part of the social contract in the formation of an organized society. Those who break the law face the appropriate penalties as part of the state's coercive power-for an example, a government official may be stripped of his position if he has committed an immoral act, or worse if he has committed treason by collaborating with his country's enemy, and he may be subjected to the severest punishment. Those who do not want to face the full force of the law live a life on the run and face personal and professional ruin, their reputation in tatters. Some who are the subject of police manhunts choose to fight it out resulting in their untimely deaths at times.
But most people are law-abiding citizens-they do not want to be on the wrong side of the law and hence scrupulously obey the spirit and the letter of the law. Still, despite the existence of countless laws passed by governments, the ideal sought by man, that of a peaceful world with everyone living in harmony, remains an elusive dream.

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Why the world is in such a mess?

For all man's efforts to maintain peace and harmony with the enactment of various laws, what is the wretched condition of his life in the world? The prophet Ezekiel wrote: "Everything is in confusion-the land is full of murders and the cities are full of violence....Despair is coming. You will look for peace and never find it. One disaster will follow another, and a steady stream of bad news will pour in. ... There is fighting in the streets, and sickness and hunger in the houses. Anyone who is out in the country will die in the fighting, and anyone in the city will be a victim sickness and hunger " (Ezek 7:23, 25-26, 15, Today's English Version). A cursory reading of news around the world proves that what the bible said is happening: demented individuals killing their own parents or shooting schoolchildren, gangs of violent youth engaging each other in gunfights, crimes too unspeakable committed by both respectable people and those in the low life, etc. Aggravating the world's condition is the presence of wars armed conflicts and protest movements against governments in different parts of the world: government troops versus armed members of the populace seeking for overthrow Assad's government in Syria for example; fighting between the Israeli Army and the Hezbollah in the Gaza Strip; unrest in Egypt and Libya after overthrowing their respective governments; ethnic cleansing wars in Africa and Europe; US troops slugging it out with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the hinterlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and more.

The root cause of the world's trouble is transgression not of any manmade law but of the laws of God: "Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the LORD of hosts. "But you said, ' In what way shall we return?' " (Mal. 3:7, New King James Version).
It is because of people breaking God's laws that the world has been cursed by Him: "The people have defiled the earth by breaking God's laws and by violating the covenant he made to last forever. So God has pronounced a curse on the earth. Its people are paying for what they have done. Fewer and fewer remain alive....The earth itself will stagger like a drunk, sway like a hut in a storm. The world is weighed down by its sins; it will collapse and never rise again" (Isa. 24:5-6, 20, TEV). Laws passed by some countries on same-sex marriage, divorce, abortion, euthanasia-all these contravene the laws of God. many people no longer care if what they do is against the will of the Creator as long as it makes them feel good or it seems right to them-living together without the benefit of marriage, engaging in premarital or extramarital sex, and the like.
What is God's judgement for the sins of the world are so great? "The great day of the Lord is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; There are the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness...Neither their silver nor their gold Shall be able to deliver them In the day of the LORD'S wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy, For He will make speedy riddance Of all those who dwell in the land" (Zeph. 1:14-15, 18, New King James Version). Truly, transgressing God's law is not a matter of losing one's face, reputation or livelihood-it is man himself who will end up in eternal punishment.

Breaking the law? Not me.

People may confidently say they are not among those who violate the laws of God and to back this up, they point out they are serving God in their respective religions. But what does Apostle Paul say of their service? "For I can testify about them that they are zealous of God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness" (Rom. 10:2-3, New International Version). And because they follow their own righteousness or way in serving God, that is, obeying manmade commandments, the worship they render is in vain (Matt. 15:9). Being zealous or enthusiastic in serving God is not enough-man must submit to God's righteousness, that is, His laws or commandments for his service to be accepted and for him to be saved. What must man do for him to prove he has submitted himself to God's righteousness? He must obey what God wants him to do: "Thus says the LORD: ' Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it' " (Jer. 6:16, New King James Version). Man must walk in the good way that God has commanded him so as to find rest for his soul or salvation.

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