In consideration of the fact that, in order to be called “the sons of God,” we all have to be born again, should babies be regarded as innocent? It’s a cold and calloused person who can look upon a small infant and not be touched by the fact that these little ones are precious. How could something so beautiful and so vulnerable possibly be a carnal being? And yet, before long that child will learn how to fake a cry in order to get what it wants from Mom and Dad. That child will, at a very early age, learn how to throw a tantrum if he or she thinks it will accomplish a certain goal. That same child will try to lie and manipulate a situation to escape a consequence. Where do these innocent little children learn these things?
According to Scripture, we see that propensity for sin was there when they were conceived, because we all have been formed in iniquity. That is why a parent must establish rules and society must establish laws. Rules and laws define the boundaries, because otherwise, how could parents or other authorities be justified in correcting them, if we have defined for them what is right and what is wrong? Without the rules, they wouldn’t know that they were breaking the rules. So take this principle and apply it how our Heavenly Father deals with us. He gave us His rules and His laws in His Word, so that we would know the boundaries that define proper conduct. Paul wrote:
“Because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.” (Romans 4:15)
Paul was stating that laws establish boundaries and those boundaries are intended to alert man to what type of behavior is expected of us. Were there no laws and boundaries, we wouldn’t know that we were transgressing a law. If God had not established certain guidelines, how could man be held accountable for doing something that he didn’t know to be wrong?
Now, consider this: just because there is no specific law on the books related to a particular issue, doesn’t mean there is no danger. In our world, certain situations arise that constitutes the need for a law, oftentimes intended to prevent injury. For instance, when most of us were kids, there were no seat belt laws. In fact, I can remember standing in the front seat of the car as we drove down the road. The only seat belt was my father’s arm across my waist when he started to brake. Even though there wasn’t a law at that time, there was still a danger. And so eventually, laws were passed and tickets issued in order to provoke people to wear seat belts. Many lives have been spared because people have been trained to buckle up when they are in the car.
Just because something is regarded as a law doesn’t mean that it’s inherently bad or intended to impede life. To the contrary, many laws, and in particular God’s laws, are designed to preserve peace and life and thus should be regarded as good. Still, there will always be people whose only reason for buckling up is to avoid getting a ticket because they don’t want to pay a fine. Is it possible that these people fail to recognize the intent of the law? Do they see the value as it relates to preserving life, or do they begrudgingly comply for fear of getting a ticket? There are some who will refuse to wear the belt at all because they don’t see the need. On the other hand, there are those who chose to buckle up even before there was a seat belt law because they recognized its importance. They realized that the maker of the automobile put those seat belts in there for a reason, and for their benefit.
Here’s our point, today: as the children of Abraham, we are to do the works of Abraham (Jn. 8:39) – not because we are afraid of getting a ticket but because we see the value in God’s Word. We trust that He will give us instructions that are in our best interest. Paul wrote:
“For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also … for the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:9-11, 13)
What this passage is saying to us, as it relates to our topic, is that we should wear our seat belts because we trust the One who gave them to us. We should trust the fact that He’s doing it for our own good in order to preserve our life. We shouldn’t buckle up just because we’re afraid that if we don’t, He is going to give us a ticket. This kind of thinking is reminiscent of the youngster who sees the rules and boundaries established by his parents as oppressive, imposed in order to keep the child under their thumb. Hopefully that child will mature to the point that they realize the instructions given to him by his parents were given out of love. Hopefully, that child will grow to appreciate that what his parents taught him was so that he could live and fulfill his life’s potential.
As the people of God, we should embrace the fact that our Father has given us instructions for living that are for our benefit. His Word is given to us in order to promote and preserve abundant life and we should honor Him by obeying His Voice. Not for fear of consequence, but because we trust Him and because we love Him, let us determine to do what He has asked us to do. Remember the words of Messiah:
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10)