The Integrity of God’s Law
The Law of God: Questions and Answers
How shall we understand and apply the Law of God today?
God’s Law is a whole cloth of justice, liberty, and love.
“You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.” Leviticus 19:13
It’s clear we should group this statute under the eighth commandment, since it addresses a prohibition against stealing. To withhold the wages of a hired man beyond the time when they are due is a form of oppression and robbery which Israelites were not to practice against one another.
But we can also see that this statute has a tangent with the fifth commandment, which requires that we show proper deference and respect to all to whom these are due, beginning with our parents. Certainly we should respect our neighbor when we have engaged him for a task we could not do without him.
At the same time, this prohibition is also related to the ninth commandment, for we would be shown to be liars if we agreed with our neighbor for a certain sum in return for services rendered, only to fail in keeping our word by not paying what we had promised when we had promised it.
Which would probably also reveal an element of covetousness in our hearts: we prefer to keep for ourselves that which is rightfully our neighbor’s.
Is this because, in a certain way, we hate our neighbor (6th commandment)? Or we have made an idol out of money (2nd commandment) and are looking to things more than God for our well-being (1st commandment)? Would we not then be taking the Lord’s name in vain (3rd commandment)?
When the Apostle James tells us that if we are guilty of violating one of the commandments of God we are guilty of violating them all (James 2:10, 11), it is because the Law of God is all of a piece, it is a whole cloth of justice, liberty, and love. To break one of the commandments is to break others, indeed, all of them, because they are all so tightly bound together for the purposes of promoting love for God and neighbors.
We should expect, therefore, that such a Law, so carefully crafted, and with such great integrity, would not easily be set aside, whether in its commandments or its statutes. The better we understand this Law, the more we will realize the justice, liberty, and love that God intends for humankind.
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In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T. M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).
Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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