Vol. 12 No. 3 March 2010
Apparently, mankind has always fretted about security issues. As a child, I was mesmerized by medieval castles, with their battlement crowned stone walls encircled on the outside by a moat. Entrance was limited to a heavily fortified gate, only accessible across a drawbridge when it lowered to span the moat. Anciently, walled cities in Europe, the Bible lands and other places afforded a degree of protection from enemy armies, robbers and wild beasts. Characteristically, forts anywhere in the world have been fortified with walls and soldiers or police, providing security to a city or even to a geographical region.
In modern times, security issues are addressed in many ways. Nations have their armies and police. Guards restrict or control access to public transportation, shopping districts, rest areas, financial institutions and residential complexes. Homeowners and businesses often protect their premises with automated alarm systems. Especially in these troubled times, security issues have come to the forefront of people all over the world due to the lethal militancy of many Muslims, some Hindus and other terrorists.
Mankind also has sought religious security for himself. For instance, one tenet of the denominational doctrine of Calvinism called “Perseverance of the Saints” or nicknamed “Once Saved, Always Saved” endeavors to assure its adherents of spiritual security. Nevertheless, this manmade doctrine and every humanly devised plan of salvation, because they are not divine in origin, will prove useless as one stands before “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Though earthly, physical, absolute security for the body and one’s property remains ever elusive, anyone can have the peace of mind that comes with otherworldly, spiritual, absolute security for the soul.
Nowhere in the world can anyone be absolutely sure that every security issue has been adequately addressed so that no harm or material loss might occur. However, everyone can bask in the Sonshine of eternal security for the soul. Summarized, the divine plan of salvation (the source of our spiritual security), gleaned from the New Testament pages of inspiration is as follows. Resort to the Bible alone (and the New Testament in particular since everyone living today is amenable to it rather than to the Old Testament) as the source of Christian faith (Romans 10:17). Believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ or the Messiah, the Son of the living God (John 8:24). Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3). Be willing to acknowledge publicly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9-10). Obediently submit to immersion in water for the remission of sins (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Live faithfully until death or until Jesus Christ returns (1 John 1:7; Revelation 2:10). On occasions of sin in the lives of Christians, forgiveness of those sins can be received through penitence and prayer (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).
Physical security in this life is not guaranteed! However, Almighty God guarantees spiritual security in the life to come, exclusively to those who obey the Gospel of Christ (Hebrews 5:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Security issues, tend especially to the security issue that matters for eternity!
The apostle John wrote by inspiration the definition of lawlessness. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV). “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4 NKJV). Robertson wrote respecting the tense of the verbs in 1 John 3:4 that the verse includes “the habit of doing sin.” James penned by inspiration the two ways in which sin develops in one’s life—commission and omission (James 1:14; 4:17). One commentator made the following comparison between law and a student’s classroom ruler: “The crookedness of a line is shown by juxtaposition with a straight ruler” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary). That is precisely the relationship of human conduct to law—man’s or God’s law.
The law about which the apostle John wrote and the two basic ways that persons can sin, about which the brother of our Lord penned, pertain to the law of Christ—variously also called the New Testament or the Gospel. Yet, the procedure and result—becoming a lawbreaker or a lawless person—is equally true respecting the laws of men as well. However, it is no religiously insignificant matter for one to be guilty of violating the law of men, since, generally speaking and without regard to the nature of a political system, God requires everyone living today to obey governmental laws (Romans 13:1-7). Therefore, the attitude of people, manifested in their reaction to law, bears on their attitude and conduct regarding the law of God to which we are amenable.
Bonnie and I travel thousands of miles monthly by car as we typically visit up to two congregations per Lord’s Day, to acquaint them with our missionary efforts or provide biblical teaching on an array of subjects. Consequently, as we travel, my automobile has become a sort of constipation of the highways as most traffic anywhere near us passes us. Whereas I attempt to conform to the speed limits posted along our routes of travel, virtually no one else abides by them. This is not an article wherein I propose to argue about the weight of speed limit laws compared to the law of God upon the pages of inspiration.
At the same time, though, no circumstance speaks any more loudly to my mind as to the widespread disregard for law than the rampant lawlessness visible on nearly any highway in America. Even good brethren assume that a law of the land is not really a law of the land—unless it is painfully enforced (e.g., traffic fine, which also may raise one’s automobile insurance rates). To me, that view of law is horrific, because it implies that one cannot know for sure what the law is until he has been punished for violating it. Most Christians would not presume to believe and to act accordingly respecting the Gospel of Christ.
Though flagrant violation of traffic laws may be a prime specimen of lawlessness, of course, we are aware of many other examples of general lawlessness. Fraud, robberies, cheating on income taxes, stealing, fornication, adultery and murder are among the sins from which spring forth the headlines in our newspapers and radio or television broadcasts. Undoubtedly, we live in a lawless time, among a lawless population in an increasingly lawless nation; sometimes, governments legalize what formerly laws prohibited (also attempting to regulate and tax such).
General lawlessness, irrespective of the form in which it may manifest itself, must materially affect attitudes respecting any law—including the law of God to which we are amenable, namely the New Testament. Personally, we need to obey law, manifesting in our compliance with law, respect for the medium of law. We need to encourage Christians and non-Christians alike to comply with laws under which they live. We and others by obeying laws (popular or not) that do not conflict directly with New Testament instruction (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29) prepare in ourselves the appropriate attitude for properly responding in obedience to divine law. Contrariwise, demonstrating the disposition to disregard manmade laws ill prepares Christians and non-Christians alike for appropriately responding to the laws of God.
Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft & Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, 1997.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.