Christianity in Society - God's Law and the Fear of the Lord
God's Law as a Foundation for Society and its Laws
Just as God has established the so-called laws of nature, which govern the physical world, He has also established a moral law, sometimes called higher or natural law, which governs the lives of men. This law is universal, eternal, and unchanging. God reveals this law to all men by general revelation, that is, through nature, the fate of men's lives, and history (Rom. 1:19,20; 2:14,15), as well as in His Word. There it is briefly expressed in the Ten Commandments and even more briefly in Jesus' Two Great Commandments (Matt. 22:37-40).
Previous generations have recognized the existence and immutable nature of this higher law. They have understood that by His law God does not seek to hinder and oppress man but rather to protect life and all that which is sacred and precious in life. As a result, they strove to emulate God's law in the laws of our land. Recent generations and their elected leaders, legislators, and judges have challenged or denied the existence or validity of a higher law. Deviating from the truths of God's law and the teaching of His Word shakes the foundations of our society and threatens its survival.-(LLC Position Statement, Section 3, Item 1)
The Fear of the Lord Grants Security
It is a benefit to our society that this and upcoming generations are given wholesome models for life and secure conditions for growth. These rise from the correct fear of God and from personal faith. “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge” (Prov. 14:26).-(LLC Position Statement, Section 3, Item 2)
God is the Creator of all things, both the visible and the invisible. He has created the physical world and has established the laws of nature, which govern it. He has created mankind and established a moral, or natural, law, which governs the lives of men. This higher law is expressed in God's Word (Ps. 119:1-8). It is summarized in the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:1-17). It is also expressed in condensed form in the so-called Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12) and in the Two Great Commandments of Jesus (Matt. 22:37-40).
The Purpose of the Law
Apostle Paul summarizes God's law and its purpose in his letter to the Romans (Rom. 13). From this writing, we can see that God ordains governments and that the purpose of governments and law is to help men live according to God's will and in harmony with each other. Traditionally, societal laws have shared this goal. Previous generations have seen God's law as a basis for societal laws. They have recognized God's blessing in this. King Solomon wrote, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). The Psalmist also wrote of the blessing to be found in God's law (Ps. 78:1-7).
Changes in Recent Times
America's founding fathers, for example, also saw the blessing in emulating God's law in the laws of the land. The United States' Constitution is founded on Christian principles. Recent generations and leaders have moved away from this foundation and challenged the validity of a higher law. The Christian foundation of the aforementioned Constitution is being challenged and the morals of the people are being undermined to support this challenge. Today, rather than have as a goal the emulating of God's law, many have as a goal the removal of religion from government. They replace our founding fathers' principle of freedom of religion with the principle of freedom from religion.
The Foundation of God's Word
God's Word provides a secure and enduring foundation (Matt. 7:24-27; Matt. 24:35). Deviating from the truths of God's law and the teaching of His Word shakes the foundation of our society and threatens its survival (Jer. 31:35-37). We hold to the timeless teachings of God's eternal Word, remembering that His Word, like Jesus Christ, is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8).
The Fear of the Lord Grants Security
King Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). The wholesome fear of God comes from a humble thankfulness and respect for God and His Word. It causes a person to seek to do what is according to God's Word. This wholesome fear of God has been a hallmark of much of Western society. We find it in founding documents and recognize it as having led to the use of God's law as a foundation for laws. As a result, the United States and Canada have experienced God's blessing (Ps. 33:12). In this, we have found security. “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge” (Prov. 14:26).
Today, we see a diminishing of this wholesome fear of God (2 Tim. 3:1-5). We pray for a return to a correct, wholesome fear of God that we might continue to experience God's blessing and His security. “Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men” (Ps. 9:20).