Tuesday, December 10, 2013

WEAPONS FOR REVIVAL SERIES: The Law and Christianity

Just like some other terms in existence, the word "law" does not have any universally acceptable definition. Each man defines law based on his conception and influence of environment. Generally, the word "law" connotes some forms of rules, regulations, commands agreed by the people or imposed by a superior authority which is aimed at regulating the activities of those living within a geographical area. One wonders how the society would look like without some forms of regulations. Law seeks to bring order into the human society. It sets limits and extent to which an individual can go in pursuing his desires. Even with the existence of law, there seem to be some disorder in the
society, but one will agree also that law has played a major role in bringing some form of order into the world. There are so many theories of law as expounded by legal luminaries. They include- Natural law theory, legal positivism, pure theory, sociological theory etc. But the big question remains-
There are so many religions in existence in the world. Most of these religions believe in the existence of a supreme being that controls and orders the cause of nature. Even though these religions believe in the existence of a supreme being, there are points of disagreements in their beliefs. Eg, the Muslims believe that the way to this supreme being is through Mohammed while the Christians believe that the way to this supreme being is through Jesus Christ who is the son of God. Therefore, Christianity is the religion based on the teaching and works of Jesus Christ. Christianity as a religion has closed ties with Judaism. This is clearly seen in the holy book used by the Christians called the Bible. The bible contains the old and new testaments. While the Jews believe in the old testament only, the Christians believe in both the old and new testaments. The new testament records the works and activities of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Back to the big question-CAN LAW ALONE REGULATE THE ACTIVITIES OF HUMANS IN THE SOCIETY?    From time past, experience has shown that laws alone cannot regulate the activities of humans. Religion has played a major role in helping law achieve its aim of regulating and ordering the society.  From the Bible in Genesis 2:16-17 "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." It becomes obvious that law existed from the beginning at the creation of man in the garden of Eden. Therefore, one can rightly say that God is the Originator of laws in the human society. Going through the Bible, especially the old testament, one will discover so many rules and regulations given by God in books like Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Exodus  etc. There are so many rules that governs simple contract, conveyance, murder, marriage; wages and labour, stealing, selection of public officers Eg kings, judges etc. Among these  sets of regulations, the most popular of them is the Ten commandments recorded in Exodus 20.   Therefore, one cannot really separate law  from Christianity because Christianity points us to God (who is the Originator of laws and the creator and keeper of the universe.  From the  foregoing, christians are not supposed to transgress  the law, they are to be law abiding citizens of their countries. If a christian faithfully obeys the laws in the Bible he will save himself from the wrath  of the civil society and government. This is seen in Romans  13:1-4 The bible also  prescribed sanctions to be  melted out to offenders  ranging from fines to capital punishment (Deuteronomy 22:22). So religion to some extent also regulates  the activities  of individuals   in the society.  
MEANS OF ENFORCEMENT:   Romans 7:7-end explains the war that occurs  in the heart of a man.  The struggle   to keep the  demands of the law  and doing  what gives us pleasure. The human nature naturally is rebellious and seeks to go against   established  rules and regulations. So   the knowledge   of the law makes us want to go against it. Since the human nature   is    rebellious, the society has established some law enforcement agencies  to make  sure that people keep   to   the dictates of the law   for the peaceful   coexistence of the human race.

These agencies are external. They can only sanction an overt behavior that contravenes the law. Because the agencies put in place to sanction can only dictate offenders by overt action, it cannot be said to be very effective. If the society must be orderly, it must start from the activities of the human heart. Thus, in Romans 8:12-17, we come to understand that even though Christianity as a religion helps in the ordering of the society, its means of enforcement is internal through the activities of the Holy Spirit which is given to as many that believe and receive the Lord Jesus Christ. A christian does not need any law enforcement agent in order to do what is right because the Holy Spirit indwells him, controls and directs his actions. The Holy Spirit does not lead the christian against established laws and norms of the society rather He guides and directs. It is generally believed that a good heart will produce good actions. So, in trying to order the human society, we need something that goes beyond laws that are externally enforced. The society needs Jesus who will give His Holy spirit to man, so that we will get the right heart and produce the right actions. In conclusion, it is now obvious that even though Christianity and law are related, Christianity is greater than law.



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