|Posted on December 18, 2019 at 11:05 AM|
What are the criteria one must use to ascertain the difference between human made rules and God’s rules?
My opinion is the Bible is not always clear in this area. There is some ambiguity. We must follow every law or we must not? That is not easy to answer. Jesus did not follow every law and yet said not one bit of the law will disappear! How clear is that? In the book I did not give a list (criteria) for when we must do one thing and not the other although we discussed he need to work from the godly principles. I believe that sometimes the solution is fuzzy and is not always consistent from time to time or people to people. Certainly, none of us want to say anything goes, but if we are honest, we must admit that Christians do pick and choose and modify rules and laws. I do not require animal sacrifice and I do not require circumcision. When did God say those requirements went away?
Let me address what I think is one problem. Because there is not always a set answer then we want to come up with a way of determining that elusive set answer. For some of us, we have decided that the solution lies in knowing what are God’s laws and what are man’s. To ask about the criteria related to ascertaining the difference, we may be asking the wrong question. We are assuming, perhaps, that deciding what is God’s law and what is man’s law is the key. The point I was trying to make was that there is precisely not always a list or criteria for that either. Asking such a question reduces what we want to have in relationship down to following the right list. There is, however, no right list of God’s rules. The Bible nowhere gives us a complete list of rules and laws nor does it give us always immutable laws. We must make decisions not just on what God said or didn’t say. Trying to decide everything on the basis of God’s law verses man’s laws works sometimes, but often (or at times) does not do enough. The Jews got in trouble all the time with Jesus over this. We often say that they had the right idea, but just didn’t have it all together. They simply missed the right list. We all think we know what that list is. But we don’t. We sometimes try to say that God had old rules that didn’t work, so he gave us new rules in the NT. Honestly though, the NT does not give a list of rules. It does not tell us always how to decide what are man’s laws and what are God’s laws. So we then create ways like “Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent,” "apostolic example equals direct command," or “In matters of faith unity and in matters of opinion liberty.” Those have some value but aren’t from Jesus. They are from Christians trying to get the list right-to be able to have set answers.
However, we keep arguing over what is faith and what is opinion. You and I probably don’t even fully agree on the list. And I know we would have opinions on what are opinions. What I am saying is that we need to work more on the principles and less on laws themselves. It is not about trying all the time to interpret what rules God may or may not have given us. It is not about the difference between human made rules and God’s rules. It is about how we can go beyond all rules to be the kind of person we were created to be. Jesus and Paul are clear that we are not bound by law, but unhappily we want to keep binding ourselves. Rules are primarily for the ignorant and those who don’t want to follow God. That is what Paul said.
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