Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Good Laws vs. Good News

In response to my 2 part series dealing with the church, divorce, and gay marriage, a gentleman offers the following:
According to 1Corinthians 5 we are not to keep company with a brother who does not repent of sexual sins. However Paul is clear in saying we do not judge those on the outside. . . . If we are not to judge those outside the church, why do we want laws based on Christian morality forced upon non-believers? Are we trying to tell them God will hate them less if they only commit our sins?
Below is my response.
All laws are moral (even speed limit laws). The question is: Whose morality should serve as a foundation for law—God’s or the godless’?
That being said, the above objection conflates laws (passed and enforced by the State) with Paul's instruction to the church to practice church discipline. Church discipline has nothing to do with State legislation.
That is, the church neither passes nor enforces civil law. There is a separation of church and State. The church and the State operate in two distinct spheres (think of biblical phrases such as “the keys" and “the sword"). Consequently, to desire good and moral laws is not all the same thing as to demand theocracy.
But also, and more troubling, the above complaint seems to confuse Law with Gospel. The content of the Gospel of grace, the message of what God has done for us in the Person and work of His Son, has nothing to do with the laws of the State. Americans may love their so-called “civil religion” but there’s really no such thing as the Gospel of the State. There’s only the Gospel of God.
Only by greatly confusing the above things would one even think to ask: "Are we trying to tell them God will hate them less..."
How sad.
God will love you more if only you sin less is no Gospel.
The truth is man may sin less but he is nonetheless a sinner. And the State—no matter how moral its laws—cannot reconcile us to God. Yet thankfully, God in His mercy has reconciled us to Himself in Jesus Christ. Now this is good news!


  1. You dealt with the questioner's loaded questions kindly and wisely. Thanks for this!

    1. Thank you, Eleanor, for your encouraging words and for reading and thinking.

  2. Your answer sounds right.