To Control Others
“But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” John 7:49
I suspect that one reason, perhaps the primary reason, most Christians today want little or nothing to do with the Law of God, and practice a studied ignorance of it, is that the Pharisees knew it so well. We do not want to be legalists and hypocrites like them.
This little dressing-down, in John 7, of the officers who failed to arrest Jesus shows the slip of the Pharisees quite well. They used their position as guardians of the Law of God to keep the people under control, to rule their lives, and to ensure their own place as leaders in Jewish society.
We see how many times they tried to trap Jesus in some transgression or conundrum of the Law. They were in charge, and the Law—at least, their interpretation of the Law—was the means whereby they kept the people in line under their authority and ensured their place in the Roman world of the day (cf. John 11:47, 48).
We use the Law of God unlawfully when we wield it as a means to control others or secure our place of authority over them. We must not vaunt our knowledge of the Law or suppose that we have any righteousness of our own through obedience to it. Nor must we substitute teaching the Law per se for teaching the Law to promote love for God and neighbor.
And we must not use the Law as a tool for keeping people in line under our authority.
The Law of God is a Law of Liberty, not a yoke of subjection.
For an introduction to the Law of God and its proper uses, download the free PDF, “A Kingdom Catechism.”
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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