ORTHODOXY – PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
THE LAW CHRISTIANS MUST OBEY (B)
“You have heard that it has been said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you. That you may be children of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust. For if you love them that love you what reward do you have? Do not publicans do the same? You, therefore, be perfect even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” God’s negative laws inflict punishment on transgressors, but His positive laws rewards and recompenses those who serve them. So while violations, without repentance, will result in punishment, doing good according the Christ’s commandments will results in rewards.
Christ first laid down the negative laws which inflict punishment, such as Be not angry without good cause, do not use vituperation, do not blaspheme, do not commit adultery, either by looking or in illicit marriage, do not swear at all. Do not resist evil, neither have recourse to courts of law. Then Christ lays down the law of goodness, commanding Christians to do good even to their enemies, imitating the heavenly Father, who causes His sun to shine on good and evil alike, and rains upon the just and the unjust. Loving those who loves us will gain no reward, for it is only paying back what is equal and just.
A perfect penalty and a perfect reward are not possible in this present life, so they are provided for in the future, the present time is the time to conform to the teaching of the Gospel and look to a reward. It is therefore wise for every man who has good sense to live in conformity with the Gospel law. Some will say the fulfillment of the perfect law is impossible to man, and what is impossible should not be attempted. This is absurd and false because it traduces God as acting absurdly and will only come from the mouth of fools. God cannot make a law that is absurd or not possible as this would foolish in our judgment and God is not foolish nor can He be, for He is our Lord and Creator, who establishes only what is to our benefit.
If a man thinks properly he will not be convinced by those who traduce the good law of God as impossible to practice, but accepts it as possible, and prays: “Lord to you I have resorted; teach me to do your will.” A reasonable man upon seeing the legislation of Christ for Christians, will readily see that practicing it will cause us a blessed change in our nature, as we become kind, meek and gentle, and Christ-like in our relationships. Christ is the perfect image and likeness of God and His legislation and doctrine causes men to also become the image and likeness also.
Before Christ came into the world, the Jews as a nation were ruled by the Mosaic law. Moses legislated those pre-Christian people, who, by the law, were being taught to be fair and just. “An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth,” which forbids taking two eyes for one eye or seeking revenge in place justice. But Christ teaches those who are baptized and reborn, to become new men. Christ tells them to “Learn of me,” and following Christ their natures change and they become like Christ. They are called new men because they have been reborn in baptism and their whole lives are centered on Jesus Christ whom they love with all their hearts and minds. This causes many wonderful changes to occur in their lives. Their Christ-like behavior is most attractive to others who seek and desire the same, resulting in the Church to increase continually. Although the Church grows in this world it is not a part of the world, for there exists continuous warfare between the Church and the world. For the Church belongs in this world, but in order to perform its task, the Church cannot allow the world to come into the Church and overcome her. The Church is in this world seeking to attract those who desire to live forever in the kingdom of heaven, by placing their faith and hope in Jesus Christ the Godman. He accomplished and completed His work, saying: “It is finished,” and the rest is up each of us to make the choice to either accept and believe in Jesus Christ or to reject Him and plunge into the deep darkness of disbelief.