We are taught while growing up that there are certain borders we must never cross. There are boundaries established by the authority figures in our lives that are designed to protect us, but often do much more.
They stifle us. They destroy our dreams. They force us to conform to a very low common denominator in which everyone looks the same, acts the same, and lives in fear of the inevitable consequences of breaking the code.
It’s called culture. And the worst cultures are religious cultures.
There was a time in the American culture when almost everyone bowed to the dictates of a so-called religious moral code that superseded much of what our hearts were designed to experience.
Rather than being loved-based, it was fear-based. And the sad thing about it all was that it played right into the devil’s hands. Though there was undoubtedly limited success against sin in the code, there was also success against life. Proverbial babies were constantly being thrown out with the bathwater.
Have you ever wondered why the God of all creation made it so easy to sin? It did not matter how oppressive a culture might be, or how strict the mores of that culture might bind a person up into a little shell of being becoming too fearful to take a chance on venturing forth. If a person wanted to sin, a person could always find a way.
But while all the authority figures were displaying their very heavy hand at stopping any potential moral failure or embarrassing cultural code-breaking by the young deviants among us, where was God? Why didn’t God surround everyone with angels with big sticks ready to whack us all into kingdom come when we stepped out of line? Where was God when and if we decided to test the boundaries of our cultural arrangement?
Why does God seem to take the attitude that we can do whatever we want but He will get us in the end? Why does it seem as though God doesn’t seem to care all that much about our little lives but is taking big notes that He will use against us at our final trial?
And how in the world have Christians in general bought into this picture of God even though God’s great act of love blares out at us day after day and hour after hour through any one of thousands of reminders, most notably a simple cross?
God became one of us!
We must throw our false religious garbage and idiotic moral codes right out the window if they do not address this simple fact.
God became one of us, and He lived among us, and He knows how hard it is, and He knows how lonely people are, and He cries inside all the day long about how broken people have become and how our hearts are often destroyed by the very nature of this fallen world and the evil among us.
And He wonders how His wonderful perfect creation could all go so wrong…
But there was no other way.
There was no other way to create people just like Him unless He also blessed them with the freedom to choose their own path.
And that’s what this world is all about. It’s the simple answer to the philosophical problem from evil. Human choice creates bad stuff and sometimes some really, really bad stuff. And free will is why God does not stop us from making bad choices. Oh, He will try to convince us otherwise. He will try to reason with us. He attempts to tell us about the eventual fallout when what appears to be a good decision will turn into a complete disaster later on. He really does try to guide us and stop us from doing stupid things. That’s essentially what the Law of Moses is all about.
But at the end of the day He will not deny our free will. He will allow us to choose incorrectly. He will let us have the final say.
What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be!
For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. [Galatians 3:17-21]
But righteousness is not based on law. Tell this to all the moral cultural crusaders throughout history, especially in America, who tried to force compliance toward morality. Tell this to all the dimwitted quasi-Christians who refuse the fullness of a walk with God because it violates their religion and false Christian doctrines and stupid lame-brained attitude that continually attempts to force God to be like them, instead of surrendering their lives completely to be like Him.
Many people think America took a nose dive in the 1960’s but refuse to consider the actions of the previous generations that were the real cause of the cultural breakdown. The 1960’s in America was actually the time of a great Spirit outpouring and spiritual awakening in that Christians in all denominations and people everywhere were being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and engaging in miraculous works. But most churches were against it all, and fought it, and opposed the Lord Jesus because He didn’t do it their way! And many fake Christians continue to oppose God and insist on their lifeless religion, negative attitudes, and dead churches to this very day.
How much of this is based not on the unconditional love of God, his unmerited grace, and one’s total dependence on Him, but on a giant misapplication of Scripture? Sound familiar? Though the Law of Moses seems to be filled primarily with Thou Shalt Not’s and that the heavenly author is a negative NO! God always preoccupied with stifling the free wills of His creation, the truth is actually the opposite.
A parent tries to tell a child, “Please don’t do this because if you do it will hurt you,” but then must watch as the child does it anyway and feels just as much pain as the child does if not more when the bad results come forth. Yet parents know the child will eventually have the final say.
Is it any different with God? He knows we will mess up. He knows we will mess up repeatedly. But He has the ability, the strength, and the means to clean up our messes. And this ability, strength, and means stems from His great and powerful love for us. He is able to cleanse our hearts with His precious blood spilled on our behalf, no matter how much we may be stained with sin. And He has the power to raise us to new life!
So why does God seem to be aloof and uncaring even though the direct opposite is true?
Because living right is not about force or religious compliance.
It is about love.
And no one can make a law that forces a person to love someone.
And God will never attempt to force anyone to love Him.
It is not about living a perfect life but finding a perfect love.
God loves us just the way we are. He does not condemn us for the sins we have committed. His great desire is to guide us as the Good Shepherd He is into the green pastures of abundant life where His grace and perfect sacrifice cleanses us and allows us to be free. Things are the way they are on this planet because it is the only possible means of allowing free-willed beings to love God as much as He loves them.
God is love, and—
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [Romans 13:10]
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.