Moral goal posts

Laws are like goal posts–they show us when we miss.  If we keep the law, it is like a field goal attempt that goes through the uprights.  On the other hand, if we break the law, it is like a kick that is either wide left, wide right, or short.

The Bible is full of laws that tell people how to live. Some laws were for the Israelites in the land of Canaan, relative to their time and space; some are universal for all people, regardless of when or where they live. An example of a law just for the Israelites would be Leviticus 13:45-46; this describes how to deal with a person with an infectious disease so it doesn’t spread throughout a camp. “The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”

However, an example of a law that is universal for all people would be Exodus 20:15, “You shall not steal.” This is a law for all people because even in the New Testament Paul writes this to people who aren’t Jews. One such example is found in Ephesians 4:28, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”

Laws are necessary for people to live together. Even in a perfect setting, God had order. Adam and Eve were told to have children and create civilization. They could eat from any tree but one. God, the ultimate moral authority, had decreed what was acceptable and what was not. There were moral absolutes of right and wrong—Adam and Eve found out.  The moral goal post showed them they missed.  But God in His mercy provided Jesus to forgive them and us of our moral shortcomings.

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