Thursday, February 12, 2009


There is something within all of us that doesn't like rules. We don't like being “told” to do something or to refrain from doing something. Perhaps we don't like rules because we don't like the consequences of breaking rules. Disobedience to rules brings discipline, punishment, disappointment, and pain. We know that when we disobey the rules we have to face the authority behind the rules. Rules are at heart bound up in relationship. We do not break rules; we are breaking the authority of the one who made the rules.
Sin is not simply the transgression of the law; it is the transgression of God's law. When we break God's rules, we break God's will and break from his favor. Isaiah reminds us:
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
One who looks long at the cross realizes that sin breaks God's will and his heart. God grieved at the continually evil heart found in the people of Noah's day (Genesis 6:5-7). God warns Christians not to grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) by unwholesome talk or by an unforgiving spirit. Jesus grieved in his spirit to see Jerusalem rejecting God's will and refusing to embrace him as Lord (Matthew 23:37-39). You can hear the heartache of the Lord:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Rules are not some optional imperative, when they come from God. They are not suggestions. They are founded in God's own holy character. They are part of Him, and we cannot relate to Him without recognizing them.
These “rules” go to the very heart of our relationship with God. One must not confuse them with a legalistic “laundry list” proposed by power-hungry, religious zealots (Col. 2:20-23). God's rules are eternally moral and righteous; they are for our good (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:13). They bring health of spirit and body. Those who keep them sow to life, while those who ignore them sow to corruption (Galatians 6:7-8).


Anonymous said...

I truly dont have a problem with God rules! Its all the "other rules" people like you come up with. I wish we really did speak where the bible speaks and were silent where it is.

Phil Sanders said...

Such statements say more about you than it does me. It is easy to slander another by accusing him of innovation and Pharisaical practices, as you have done me. I do not see where you have revealed to me what rules I came up with and shown where they are of my origin.
So if you have something specific, speak. BTW, do you have a last name?