When I was raising my own children, I thought about this all the time, but not deeply or philosophically. It was more, “Lord, my greatest desire in life is to serve You and please You, and that my children will come to desire the same when they are grown.” And then the cooking and schooling and laundry took over, and the sheer physical demands of raising children – the daily work of it – drove out all thought of much else other than getting to the end of the day with my head still above water and the family members all a) safe b) fed c) clean d) not traumatized for life by my stupidity or sinfulness.
So all that is to say, I am enjoying time to think, and read and study the Bible, and have long conversations with the Lord that don’t involve some sort of panicked plea for His protection or deliverance or healing of one or all of the children because of something they managed to get themselves into. It’s nice, and it compensates for the bittersweetness of the empty nest.
Where was I? Oh yes, law. I have always had sort of a negative attitude about law. Speaking purely theologically, its biggest characteristic in my mind was that law cannot save. That made it undesirable. But its merits have become more and more apparent to me lately.
The fact of the matter is, we live in a fallen world. Our family members are fallen human beings. My husband and I love the Lord and have served Him for 23 years together; we try to obey Him in all things, and yet we daily need to pray as Jesus taught us, “Forgive us our trespasses.” We love each other and try to live graciously with each other every single day, and yet we still sin against each other and hurt each other once in a while. And this is the situation when we are consciously devoting ourselves to living the law of Christ — love — written on our hearts!
So what would life be like in this world, where we live among unbelievers also and not only the redeemed, without law? Man’s sinfulness is held in check by law. Man’s sinfulness is not cured by law, because law cannot cure it, but law serves to limit the damage we do to ourselves and each other by sin, the more we observe it. So law is a blessing and a gift, given to us by God to mitigate as much as possible the fallenness of our condition.
The merit of law, the blessing that God intended for it to be to us, has also become more clear to me as I watch the recent attempts of our judiciary to unmake it. Or perhaps I should say remake it in their own image instead of the LORD’s, and after human wisdom instead of godly wisdom. The thought of law after man’s image strikes real terror in my heart. We used to know that we were fallen and needed help, salvation, and wisdom from the LORD. And I am afraid for our country because we have lost sight of the merit, the excellence, and the blessing that is God’s Law.
Read in this context, then, Thomas Sowell two weeks ago: The polio fallacy, thinking of God’s Law as our safeguard and not the Patriot Act only; and Peggy Noonan yesterday: Conceit of government, on the arrogance and folly of the godless.