According to the Holy Bible the Law of God is the instruction of God that is an authoritative rule of conduct. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word “Torah” hrwt is used with
the meaning of teaching and direction. In the New Testament the Greek word
“ Nomos” nomoz is also used in reference to the “Torah” (Mt. 5:17-18), but in the
most general sense (Rom. 3:27) it refers to a principle that governs one’s actions (Rom. 7:23). Now let us look at how man defines Law. In Webster’s
dictionary law is a binding custom or practice of a community: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized
as binding or enforced by a controlling authority.
Christians have often been confronted with the unbeliever’s argument that God is not just and fair to judge
anyone before the law was given. “For until the law sin was in the world,
but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Rom. 5:13) Does this mean that people who did not have the
chance to read the Holy Bible about God’s Laws, heard the Gospel of salvation or know anything about the One True God
in the Lord Jesus Christ will be exempted from God’s judgment? No, because
every person has an inbuilt conscience to know the difference between right from wrong.
Here is what the Bible says:
“For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned
without law will perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers
of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the
law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are the law to themselves, who show
the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness also bearing witness, and between themselves
their thoughts accusing or else excuse them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according
to my gospel.” (Rom.
People are condemned not for what they don’t know, but for what they do with what they know. Those who know God’s written Word and His law will be judged by them.
Those who have never seen a Bible still know right from wrong, and they will be judged because they did not keep even
those standards that their own consciences dictated. Our modern-day sense of
fair play and the rights of the individual often balks at God’s judgment. But
keep in mind that people violate the very standards they create for themselves.
The Law was part of the covenant that set Israel apart as God’s people.
It governed their worship, their relationship to God, and their social relationships with one another. The Ten Commandments form a summary of that law. What set
the Ten Commandments apart from other codes of Law is, first of all, its origin. The
Decalogue was written by God Himself (Ex. 24:12; 31:18; 34:1; Dt. 10:4-5). It
issued from His very nature, like Him it was holy, righteous, and good (Rom. 7:12).
Thus, all crimes in Israel were crimes against God (1 Sam. 12:9-10). God
expected all of the people to love and serve him (Amos 5:21-24). As their final
Judge, He disciplined those who violated the Law.(Ex. 22:21-24; Deut. 10:18; 19:17), though He also held the nation responsible
for insuring that justice was carried out (Deut. 13:6-10; 17:7; Num 15:32-36).
The Law was first given to Israel, but it rests on eternal moral principals that are consistent with God’s
character. Thus it is a summary of fundamental and universal moral standards. It expresses the essence of what God requires of all people. That is why the Ten Commandments will be the basis for the Final Judgment of mankind (Ecc. 12:13-14).
If you traveled around the world, you would find evidence in every society and culture of God’s moral law. For example, all cultures recognize marriage as the union between a man and a woman,
prohibit murder, and yet in all societies that law has been broken. In a civilized
country like America man’s laws sometimes overrule God’s laws.
1. The Ten Commandments and the First Amendment
A recent controversy that involves the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama
State Supreme Court building in Montgomery, Alabama and also the removal of Chief Justice Roy Moore from office centers on
the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Church/state separation in the U.S. Constitution:
The framers of the U.S. Constitution were concerned
that European history might repeat itself in the new world. They wanted to avoid the continual wars motivated by religious
hatred that had decimated many countries within Europe. They decided that a church/state separation was their best assurance
that the U.S. would remain relatively free of inter-religious strife.
In 1789, the first of ten amendments were written
to the Federal Constitution; they have since been known as the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of
the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
This was ratified by the States in 1791.
The first phrase "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion..." is called the establishment clause. It has been interpreted by the courts
as requiring a separation between church and state. That is, the government (and by extension public schools) may not:
· promote one
religion or faith group over any other
· promote a religiously
based life over a secularly based life
· promote a secularly
based life over a religiously based life.
Three tests have been developed to decide the constitutionality
of laws that have a religious component:
The Lemon test: This was defined in a Supreme Court ruling in 1971. To be constitutional, a law must:
· have a secular
· be neutral
towards religion - neither hindering nor advancing it, and
· not result
in excessive entanglements between the government and religion.
The Endorsement Test: Justice O'Connor created this criteria: a law is unconstitutional if it favors one religion over another
in a way that makes some people feel like outsiders and others feel like insiders.
The Coercion Test: Justice Kennedy proposed this criteria: a law is constitutional even if it recognizes or accommodates
a religion, as long as its demonstration of support does not appear to coerce individuals to support or participate in a religion
There is some opposition, particularly among Fundamentalist
Christians to this interpretation of the First Amendment by the courts. They feel that the Amendment should be interpreted
literally to mean that the government may not raise any one denomination or religion to the status of an official or established
religion of the country. They feel that the First Amendment contains no wording that prohibits the government from engaging
in certain religious activities, like requiring prayer as part of the schedule at public schools, requiring schools, courts and government offices to post the Ten Commandments, allowing public schools to have organized prayers as an integral part of public school sports events, praying before board
of education or municipal government meetings, etc.
The following phrase "Congress shall make no
law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof... is called the free exercise clause; it guarantees freedom of religion.
This passage does not promise absolute freedom of religion. The courts have found that parents cannot deny their children
badly needed medical attention and rely on prayer; the Amish can be compelled to wear slow vehicle reflectors on the backs
of their buggies; a congregation cannot generate annoyingly excessive noise during a service. The limits of this clause are
continually being tested in the courts on a case-by-case basis.
"Wall of Separation" between Church and State
Thomas Jefferson, as president, wrote a letter
to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut on 1802-JAN-1. It contains the first known reference to the "wall
of separation". The essay states in part:
"...I contemplate with solemn reverence that act
of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State..."
During the 1810's, President James Madison wrote an essay titled "Monopolies" which also refers to the
importance of church-state separation. He stated in part:
"Strongly guarded as is the separation between
religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may
be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history."
The US Supreme Court has interpreted the First
Amendment as if it requires this "wall of separation" between church and state. It not only prohibits any government
from adopting a particular denomination or religion as official, but requires government to avoid any involvement in religion.
Link: Introduction to the Principle of Separation of Church and State
2. God’s Laws and Man’s
Laws on Marriage
Marriage is clearly defined by the Lord Jesus Christ when
He spoke to the Pharisees. “Have
you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female.’
And said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall
become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt. 19:4-6)
US Federal Government "DOMA" Law
A "Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)" was written
by Representative Steve Largent (R-OK). It defines the term marriage within Federal law as meaning "only a legal
union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." The act also excuses each state from having to follow the "full
faith and credit" clause of the US constitution; this would allow a state to refuse to recognize a marriage made in another
state if the spouses were of the same gender. A similar bill, S. 1740, was introduced to the Senate on 1996-MAY-8 by Senator
Don Nickles (OK).
On Tuesday November 18, 2003 the Supreme Court of Massachusetts
ruled 4-3 that the state's ban on gay marriages is unconstitutional. The court then gave the state Legislature 180 days to
respond to their decision.
As the nation explores the landmark decision of the Massachusetts
Supreme Court on the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage, we as Christians should seriously consider its impact on
one of the most significant civil and human rights issues of our time. Marriage
is a critical issue because it touches all at once on questions of love and sex, religion and politics, access to legal and
economic benefits, and the role of government in our personal lives.
Legal efforts have been taken towards legalized
same-sex marriage in Hawaii, Vermont, Alaska, and other states. Court decisions favoring equal rights for gays and lesbians were overturned by state constitutional amendments
in Hawaii and Alaska. The Vermont Supreme Court ordered the state legislature to either:
· allow gays
and lesbians to marry
· create a new
form of government-recognized partnership for gays and lesbians which is equivalent to marriage in terms of benefits, obligations,
Article IV, Section 1 of the US Constitution states
that "full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the...judicial proceedings of every other state." Thus,
if one state legalizes same-sex marriages, and a couple is married in that state, then the remaining 49 states might be required
to recognize the marriage. However, if a state passes a law expressly prohibiting same-sex marriages before they become available
somewhere, then some legal authorities believe that they would not be compelled to recognize the marriage. These beliefs has
not been tested in the courts.
Link: Legislation prohibiting same sex marriages in U.S. states.
3. God’s Laws and Man’s Laws
The first murder in the world occurred within the first
family when Cain killed his brother Abel. The narrative indicated it was premeditated
murder and God punished Cain for it (Gen. 4:8-15). God gave the Law against murder
after the Great Flood.
“Surely for your lifeblood I will demand
a reckoning from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man.
From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever
sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.
And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.” (Gen. 9:5-7)
Here are some facts concerning capital punishment
(death penalty) in America.
the United States, about 13,000 people have been legally executed since colonial times.
the 1930's up to 150 people were executed yearly. 2 Lack of public support for capital punishment and various legal challenges reduced the execution rate to
near zero by 1967. The U.S. Supreme Court banned the practice in 1972.
1976, the Supreme Court authorized its resumption. 3 Each state can now decide whether or not to have the death
penalty. As of the 2002-OCT, only the District of Columbia and 12 states do not have the death penalty. The states which have
abolished executions are: Alaska, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota,
Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. However, seven jurisdictions have the death penalty but have not performed
any executions since 1976: Connecticut, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota and the U.S. military.
almost all states, the death penalty is limited to cases involving aggravated murder. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that whenever
a sentencing jury has the ability to impose capital punishment, the jury must be informed in advance if the defendant would
be eligible for parole. Almost all states have an automatic review of each conviction by their highest appellate court.
holds the record for the largest number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Virginia executes a
larger percentage of its population than any other state over 1 million in population.
approval of the death penalty is currently about 70%.
In America where the jury system is used some verdicts
The Robert Durst Murder Trial On November 11, 2003 a Galveston County jury acquitted multi-millionaire
Robert Durst of first degree murder in the death of his neighbor, Morris Black. He claimed self-defense but admitted dismembering
Black and throwing the body parts into Galveston Bay. On the Today show,
four of the Galveston County jurors were asked how they could exonerate a man who's confessed to cutting up the body of his
best friend, running from police and disguising himself as a mute woman.
"He wasn't charged with all that," explained juror Christopher
Lovell, a 47-year-old League City electrician.
Joanne Gongora, 49, an assistant professor of nursing
from Texas City, stressed that Durst was charged only with murder in the death of his 71-year-old neighbor, Morris Black.
The only consideration, she said, was whether he tried to kill Black or whether the gun accidentally went off in a struggle.
At no point during deliberations did more than three jurors believe Durst was guilty of murder.
"It's very difficult for the public to understand why we
came to the decision that we did," Gongora acknowledged. "He did admit to the dismemberment. And it sounds terrible. It was
a gruesome, bloody mess . . . but we looked at all the evidence at got past that. "
"The question that we had to answer was . . . Was it an
intentional murder? Was it self defense, an accident?"
In American Law an accused person is innocent until proven
guilty. The burden of proof of guilt lies with the prosecutor. In a jury trial all twelve jurors must unanimously agree to a decision “beyond reasonable doubt”
in order to return a verdict of “guilty as charged”. In America wealthy
clients can hire the best defense attorneys and the best jury selection consultants to work to their advantage and in their
favor. That is what Robert Durst did and that was also what O.J. Simpson did.
Robert Durst got away with murder through technicality
by man’s laws. If the prosecutors had charged him with either second degree
murder or manslaughter it would have been a different verdict. According to the
Law of God and the law of conscience Robert Durst had already convicted himself by what he did after committing the offense. It was “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Thank the Lord there is the Final Judgment of God.
May God bless You
Bible Study based on this article was conducted by Paul Wong
to a congregation in Houston, Texas on November 21, 2003.
article was published on this Website on July 20, 2009
comments please write first to email@example.com