Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lawlessness of the Heart, Mistaken as Freedom


I've been watching with interest the new laws that recently passed in Washington and Colorado making controlled substances of marijuana legal. These changes brought about a very public celebration by fans who flocked into groups to simultaneously "light up" as the law went into effect. A cheer was heard among the crowd as they toked on their pipes and handmade "joints."

The police sat quietly watching the demonstration with no interference even though public use remains illegal. And why shouldn't they? The law now gave these people permission to possess marijuana right? Well...kind of. Although Colorado and Washington made it legal to possess pot, they have yet to legalize the sale of it. So these public demonstrations really weren't a celebration of law-abiding citizens reveling in their new-found legal freedoms. Rather they were attended by lawless individuals who had been emboldened to come out of hiding to do their lawless acts in the open with no threat of incrimination. Each and every person in attendance had obtained their marijuana illegally...and they proved it by lighting up. (Note: Any ability some may have had to legally grow small amounts for medical use wouldn't begin to account for all the pot being smoked by the crowds gathered on the night this new law went into effect.)

Rather than focusing on the legal aspects of these new laws, I want to address the spirit of lawlessness which now prevails in our land. Among our many cherished National rights, this one is exalted above the rest—the right to be lawless. Since morality is now viewed as outmoded and obsolete, we use laws as matters of convenience. They are tools to protect our "things" or to protect our other rights. But when I find them inconvenient or tiresome, I simply set them aside. But not too far. I may need to reapply a law now and then when it suits me.

The Apostle John boldly declared that this whole world is under the rule of Satan (1 John 5:19). Does anyone doubt this, especially when Satan himself is referred to as "the lawless one." (2 Thes 2:8-9)  As John tells us: Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness1 John 3:4 (NIV84). 

That means the spirit of lawlessness resides in each and every one of us. It is part of our sin nature. Knowing this, Christians need to publicly repudiate the American pop-cultural "right" of lawlessness and rebellion. At the same time, never forgetting that we, ourselves, are recipients of God's mercy in this very area. Lawlessness is the reason Jesus came to die on the cross. He bore the penalty of our lawlessness upon Himself. This, then is the message we must bring to our world. Not a word of condemnation, but one of true freedom found only in Jesus Christ.

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