Do you know what today is?
With everyone “sheltering in place” it’s easy to lose track of both the days and the date.
Today, May 1st, might be remembered as the day for many when the “sheltering in place” restrictions expired in their state. However, if you access the National Calendar Day you will find some unusual and interesting celebrations in addition to our normal holidays.
Today is National Chocolate Parfait Day. National Mother Goose Day. National Loyalty Day. And National Principal’s Day. You can look them up to see what they mean.
But on a more serious note the one that captured my attention is National Law Day.
“On May 1, 1958, President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day to honor the role of law in the creation of the United States of America. Three years later, Congress followed suit by passing a joint resolution establishing May 1 as Law Day.”
Apparently the idea was first proposed by the American Bar Association who defines Law Day as: “A national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.”
I’m not sure how many Americans naturally equate freedom with law. Our spirit of independence often expresses itself in a desire to cast out any restraints, do our own thing, and disregard societal or governmental rules.
While some may feel and it is possible that governmental regulations may sometimes be an overreach, to prevent chaos, ensure order, and guarantee justice, there must be a rule of law. A guiding set of principles that offers protection and provides a fair process for enforcing the laws.
When applied correctly and fairly law does not infringe on our liberties; it actually allows everyone to live freely. The problem occurs when individual believe they have the license to live however they choose and their choices infringe on other people’s liberties. Or when oppressive governments enact laws that are unduly onerous and suppress the rights of those they are supposed to serve. It’s a delicate balance.
The apostle Paul reminds Christians that we are to obey the laws of the land. (Rom. 13:1-7). Government is ordained by God. That Rulers serve as God’s minister for good. And that when we resist authority, we’re resisting God. That includes paying taxes. Demonstrating respect and honor. And obeying the laws.
We are all individually and personally responsible for obeying the law. As the late President Ronald Reagan reminded us, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
In same way we need to remember that there are also spiritual laws that require our responsibility. I’ve heard it said that the only law today is “the law of love.” Others have said that this is the “age of grace, not law.”
The Bible speaks of the “law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Is that only love? Or are there “rules” to live by? Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15). Even a casual perusal of the New Testament shows God has given us many commandments. Laws to live by. Some are positive. Others are negative. Regardless, the Lord expects obedience.
Furthermore, we’re reminded that laws are given, not for the righteous, but the lawless. Laws are not bad. They serve a good purpose. And when regarded correctly are mutually beneficial (1 Tim. 1:8-9). Benjamin Disraeli expressed it this way, “When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.”
Our liberty in Christ does not give us license to disregard His law. Our love for God and our fellow man will motivate us to do our very best in obeying the laws of God and man. We soon realize, of course, that we all fall short of God’s glory. We’ve all sinned. We’re in need of His grace and mercy to be saved (Eph. 2:1-10). But His goodness is not an excuse to willfully, carelessly, flagrantly disregard His commandments.
Like the Psalmist of Old, the righteous today can exclaim: “I long for Your salvation, O Lord, And Your law is my delight” (Ps 119:174).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman