Featured in the July, 2011 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News
Baseball has rules. There are rules for football. You can’t play hockey without rules. Basketball has its rules.
The work place also has numerous rules. There are rules about holidays, vacations, sick days, dress, and parking.
There are also traffic rules. You have to pass a test on them to get a license and observe them when you drive or pay the fine.
Any ordered society has rules. If there is a family that is without rules, you do not want these folk for neighbors.
However, when anyone mentions rules in connection with Christianity, someone cries, “legalism”. But, these folk only display their ignorance, for “legalism” is actually that false teaching that a person may earn his way to heaven by what he does or does not do. Every believer, who is even moderately informed, knows that “it is by grace you have been saved”, and that it is “the gift of God – – not by works” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Rules were not intended to save us, but to regulate our lives so that we would be pleasing to God and not obnoxious to others.
The Old Testament has 613 commandments. But it is worth noting that the New Testament, which is only about one-fourth of the Bible, has 618 commandments. The word “law” appears 203 times in the New Testament and the word “commandment” 75 times.
Yes, Christianity has “rules”. But, all these rules are given by God and they are in the Bible. Though we now seem to be living in a loose “anything goes” kind of society, yet antinomianism is an ancient heresy that has always been rejected by mainstream Christians.
Some folk are uneasy with lists of do’s and don’ts, but the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are still binding. But you say, isn’t that the Old Testament and don’t we live in the New Testament? But Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law” (Matthew 5:17). Scattered through the New Testament epistles are lists do’s and don’ts, such as in Galatians 5:19-23.
Can you imagine football without rules? What would the work place be without rules? Traffic without rules would mean disaster and death. If you have a “Christianity” without rules, then you have some kind of invented Christianity, which is not historic, biblical Christianity.