I have about 20 minutes this morning to make a post, and I wanted to expand on my brother Dan's response in the meta to my reply to him about his post last Friday.
A-hem. Dan said this:
Did God judge Sodom and Gomorrha because they weren't saved, or because of their sins? How about the iniquity of the Amorites getting "full" for judgment (Genesis 15:16)? How about Jeremiah 18:7-8, or 29:4-7? Do these and the many, many related passages have no application to this discussion?It's a great question, as one would expect. But I think it tries to go too far.
Here's what I mean: the truth -- as we receive it from Scripture -- is that God's Law didn't save anybody. I mean, sure -- all those examples Dan listed are where people got condemned, but those aren't all the examples, are they? Seriously: nobody was saved by the Law. Nobody kept the whole Law; none of the sacrifices of the Law ever took away sin. The Law condemns. This is so vivid when we even read the institution of the Law in Deuteronomy, and then in Joshua, and then in Samuel: God, by a prophet or judge, says to the people, "keep my commandments," and the people say, "Yes, God: we will," and God -- either to the Prophet or to the people -- says, "well, that'll be a testimony against you, because I know you won't."
The Law of God does not save. Instead, it is (as it says in Galatians), a tutor. That is, it teaches us what's wrong in order that, when what is right comes, we are ready for that.
So if the Law of God doesn't save, why would we think even for a minute that the law of man will ever save? See: this is the point I would make (and I think Phil has been making) when I have blogged in the past about para-church politicking. I think you should vote and attend local governemnt meetings and so on. But I think -- I think -- that when we put it on government that it should make a law like God's Law in order to rule, we forget that the only purpose of that law is for the lawless. It is to condemn them so that they will seek a savior.
And unless our state is also our church, the savior that the state will evangelize will not be Christ. I would say that even if our state was also our church, it would probably not evangelize for Christ.
We are not ambassadors for some worldly power: we are ambassadors for Christ. We live in a place, and will abide its law insofar as it does not offend the law of God. But we live under a higher law, one sealed by the blood of a great savior, and ratified by his resurrection.
That's where our time and money need to be spent if we are serious about changing the world.