Is there a way that can bring an end to all war, an end to mounting crime, violence, broken homes, teenage pregnancies, babies born blind because of veneral disease, mounting drug abuse and deep personal frustrations nearly everywhere?
It sounds like quite an order. But the genuine solution to these problems is as absolute as it is practical.
Many international, national, civic and private “do-good” organizations are busily trying to find solutions to the above problems. They are composed of sincere men and women. Often they do a certain amount of good, in a very limited way and for a limited time – within an overall framework which never changes. For they are only treating a few of the symptoms: war, crime, violence, broken homes, etc. They are not getting at the real cause of these tragic ills.
There is a cause for every effect. So to truly solve the above problems, we need to find their causes. Far beneath the immediate provocations, there is a single basic cause or underlying reason for mankind’s basic ills, as listed above. One way of putting it would be to say that “human nature” is the culprit. And that is true. But let’s get specific. In what way does human nature cause war, crime and other problems? And is there an opposite way that would genuinely ensure peace and happiness?
To most people, certainly including many in the field of religion, “law” has a foreboding, depressing connotation. Most businesses and organizations publish guidelines or some type of suggested behavioral code. And the government only uses the term “law” when a serious rule involving a penalty for disobedience is involved.
So, as society, we tend to have this negative feeling about law. It should not be so. For the Great Creator, the God of your Bible has revealed a way of life based on law. It is a way that most professing Christians have heard practically nothing about.
Yet, it is, in fact, the way that is going to solve the world’s major problems, and possibly within the normal life span of most of you reading this article.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, was asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” He answered: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:36-40).
All the laws of God hang on or are outgrowths and magnifications of these two great spiritual principles. There are Ten Commandments in God’s great spiritual law. The first four tell us how to love and honor God: the last six tell us how to love our neighbor.
Man needs these laws today more than ever before. Mankind is literally sick from its ignorance and neglect and consequent disobedience of these rules from our Creator.
Again, Jesus was asked: “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Christ answered: “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 19:16-19).
Notice that Jesus, in answering, named some of the Ten Commandments – particularly, in this case, those telling man how to love his neighbor. For the religious leaders of that day had become overly strict with respect to the first four commandments. But they were weak and lax in regard to the last six.
Whenever Jesus spoke of the law of God – or “the commandments,” He was always referring to that great spiritual law, the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. He came to “magnify” and expound this law to its full spiritual intent (Isa. 42:21).
The living Jesus Christ inspired James to write: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10-12). There are points to the Ten Commandments. If you break even one, you have broken the whole law. Notice also that it is called the “law of liberty.” How can a law bring liberty?
For simplicity’s sake, let’s examine a few of the last six of the Ten Commandments. These tell us how to love our neighbor. How could they bring liberty?
Open your own Bible to Ex. 20:12, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Magnifying this commandment, Jesus inspired Paul to write: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:1).
Some parents might say: “If our children really honored and obeyed us, what a more relaxed, peaceful, safe and happy life we could have as a family! Why, we could take them places without fighting and frustration; we could have pleasant family gatherings and meals at home. The kids would gladly help with the dishes, housework and chores. And, so very importantly, they would respect us and respond to our wishes concerning the kind of friends they run around with, the places they go, the things they do, even the way they dress, fix their hair and so on. Think of all the hours of worry and frustration we would be spared if our kids really honored and obeyed us. Parents, does it sound too good to be true?
Don’t kid yourself! Don’t say it is impossible or out of date. To some extent that commandment was obeyed in millions of homes in past generations all over the world. Not in all homes. Not perfectly either, of course.
But to the extent that this law is obeyed, parents have “rest”,” confidence and a fair amount of joy in their home and family, even though their standard of living may be low. And this in spite of the fact that most of those same parents have not taught and trained their children in the knowledge of God’s law to anywhere near the extent they could and should have! Many of them, in fact, are simply following this principle of God’s Word without fully realizing where it came from.
Just like the law of gravity, this law works. You can’t reason around it, act like it does not exist or avoid it.
Obviously, if parents everywhere would teach their children to respect these principles, there would truly be a “Parents’ Liberation” movement of unparalleled proportions!
Parents could then concentrate on teaching, training, loving and having delightful family activities with their children. They could quit worrying about teenage delinquency, juvenile dropouts, dope addiction, drunkenness, premarital sex and pregnancy and a veritable host of other youthful maladies. Millions of heartaches and billions of tears would be spared mothers and fathers everywhere.
But what about the young people? How would this law work for them? Would they feel oppressed and thwarted? Would their darling little personalities fail to blossom if not given complete and unlimited expression? Not at all. Remember the promise: “that thy days may be long upon the land.”
How many millions of young people today are dying before their time, either figuratively or literally, because they have not been taught to honor their parents?
How many are taking drugs and are damaging or wrecking the highest physical creation here on earth, the human mind? How many are “serving their lusts – whether in illicit sex, gambling, crime or a host of other related activities which, for the vast majority, will lead to unnecessary suffering and premature death?
Within a well-regulated, loving but disciplined family, these young people, too, could have the true “freedom” they yearn for and talk about, but which somehow always eludes their grasp. The law of liberty alone can guarantee all the blessings mankind yearns for!
In Ex. 20:13, the Creator who gives us life commands: “Thou shalt not kill.” This is the second command which shows us how to love our neighbor.
Again, Jesus magnified the law and revealed its spiritual intent. He said: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:43-44).
First, then, the New Testament magnification of this command shows that we are not to kill anybody, any time, for any purpose. God gives life, and it is sacred. God will fight our battles when we learn to believe in Him, obey Him and trust Him to be our shield and protector. But as humans, we are not to take human life under any circumstance.
Can you begin to imagine the liberty this suffering world would have it, suddenly and unexpectedly everyone started obeying this law and you could count on it? Consider the fantastic liberty and blessings which would be automatically enjoyed by millions of young men, and all peoples in every generation if there were no war. They would not have to interrupt their education and family life to go off and be taught to hate, fight and kill. Hundreds of thousands of them would live instead of die and be able to have normal families and children. Additional millions would not have to be deformed and crippled for the rest of their natural lives as a result of war-related injuries.
Also, these young men, their wives and sweethearts, and in many cases their future children, would not be deeply hurt by the ugly stain of war, which separates man from wife, child from father, sometimes for years at a time, sometimes permanently. And there are a host of other direct and indirect sufferings which have brought untold anguish to war-torn families from the beginning of time.
Thinking men deeply and fervently realize the whole war syndrome is almost like a civilized form of insanity. Yet all the reasonings, all the philosophies, all the League of Nations and treaties of men have been unable to stop war. Only when mankind comes to know and deeply fear, reverently respect, the God of the Bible and His command against war will this continuing tragedy come to a final end.
Liberty? If the world could merely be “liberated” from this one tragedy – war – what an outflowing of blessings and what peace of mind there could be! Remember that Jesus’ statement did not merely tell us to quit killing one another. He said: “Love your enemies do good to them that hate you.” Often we forget to emphasize this aspect of God’s perfect “law of liberty.” Instead of merely thinking “don’t kill,” let’s begin to think “How can I help my neighbor live?” Christ said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). In following the positive expression of the 6th commandment, do you try to give life, love and happiness as you are able? If all of us did, think of the peace, the joy, the deep and lasting friendships and the fantastic liberty of freedom from frustration, fear, loneliness and apathy that we would all enjoy. This is the ultimate liberty of which God speaks!
If you are willing to recognize the Ten Commandments for what they are, a fantastic expression of love and concern from the Creator of your mind and human emotions, you will achieve many of the liberties of which we write by simply obeying God’s law. You will, of course, have to surrender your life to the true Jesus Christ of the Bible, who magnified these laws so wonderfully. You will be able to obey the intent and purpose of God’s law only if Jesus Christ, through His Spirit, is living within you (John 15:5).
This “law of liberty” will be the foundation for the rule of Jesus Christ in the soon-coming New World of tomorrow. Men will learn to serve, to help, and to give to one another as God’s law instructs. What a day that will be!
Among other things, men shall not “learn of war any more” (Micah 4:3). The Creator will even remove the wild and vicious nature from all creatures at that time (Isa. 11:6-9).
One striking prophecy of this soon-coming time is found in Isa. 32:1-2: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Jesus Christ the Messiah will rule all nations in righteousness and equity and soon there will be world peace!
Again notice verse 2: “And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest.” This expresses very poetically – if we make allowances for the English translation of 1611, the love, the protectiveness and the kindness we can expect from fellow human beings in the New World to come.
Just think, no more robbery, no more rapes and, consequently, no more locks, bars, gates, security guards, policemen or defense establishments. Neighbors, as in Isaiah 32, will be willing to help and serve and protect others from accidents. What a different world that will be!
Then, and only then, will the entire world be truly liberated. It will be liberated not by screaming fanatics, but when all nations and all men learn there is a living God and start fashioning their lives according to the law of liberty revealed in His Word.
Meanwhile, you have your chance to obey God’s law now and become - through Jesus Christ in you - a leader in that soon-coming New World.