Monday, February 23, 2009

How does traffic apply to Law?

Hmm, okay, we've all heard the phrase, 'Ignorance of the law is no excuse', right? The law exists, it exists for a reason, and it should be an absolute, applied equally to all situations. I know that's not the way it works, I'm just saying that's the way it *should* work. And this is just secular law. Traffic, civil, criminal, what have you.

For instance: I once made a right hand turn and my wheels left the road and went onto the dirt shoulder. The cop behind me pulled me over and gave me a ticket. A) I didn't know it was illegal for my tires to leave the road like that, and B) I certainly didn't mean to do it. But, I broke the law. The officer was right to pull me, and as painful as it was, I paid the ticket, and I didn't argue. I was ignorant of the law, but it didn't exempt me from the consequences of breaking the law.

On the other hand, we have the people who, when faced with a 'no left turn' sign to get into the Publix parking lot will inevitably hold up traffic so they can make their illegal left turn. Or the man who tried to use a right hand turn lane as a passing lane, because I stopped behind a car trying to turn left.

Or, and this is my current favorite: The couple in the big F350 looking truck who pulled out of a parking lot, not just going the wrong way on a divided road, but sat there, blocking the left turn lane, until the traffic going the other way cleared, so that they could drive *over* the cement island (which is a low, little thing), to get going the right direction.

Now, all those people *knew* they were breaking the law. They may not have understood why their action was illegal, but they certainly knew that it was.

Transfer this to religion. We've been given the Law. And whether or not you believe that the Law should still be followed, or that we're under a new Law in the New Covenant, laws exist. The difference, in my understanding is, that ignorance of the Law in this case, is an excuse.

If a person lives their whole life, unaware that they should have been following the Mosaic Law, or the laws of the New Covenant, then they can't be held accountable, can they? My understanding is that, ignorant of the greater Law, so long as they live good lives, abiding by the Noahide Laws, they will be judged on that, and not whether or not they kept Kosher, or wore tzit tzit.

The question becomes, what of those who are aware of the Law, and truly believe that it no longer applies? People who believe that the New Covenant removed the need for the Mosaic Law? They are aware of the Law, but do not believe that they are breaking the Law. It's been 'removed from the books', or abrogated, if you will. Would they be held accountable for breaking a law that they don't believe exists any more?

These are the things that occupy me as I drive back from lunch...


  1. Interesting! So do you believe the Mosaic laws are still in effect and we who know about them should keep them? I read an interesting article about this subject just the other day, but I'm interested in YOUR take on this.

  2. Susanne,

    Honestly, I'm not certain. It's something that I really need to study in depth, and I got a list of books to read from a woman who is Christian, but she and her family are Torah observant.

    However, I read the Old Testament, and everywhere that there is a Law, or a Festival, you are told that this is a command 'forever'. Yes, Jesus fulfilled the Law, but I don't really see anywhere where that means that the Law is negated.

    Jesus kept the Law, and we're told to imitate him, right? We can't keep it perfectly, as He did, because we're imperfect, but maybe we're still supposed to keep the Law as well as we are able?

    *shrug* But, again, I honestly don't know enough about this to make a decision. It's just a thought that I have now and again, something to consider.

  3. Amber, here is what I read recently. It's only about 3 paragraphs. Not sure if this is helpful to you, but for what it's worth . . .

    Question: "Do Christians have to obey the Old Testament law?"

  4. Interesting, thanks.

    Perhaps the difference is that I view Christianity as a branch of Judaism? While not ethnically or culturally Jewish, we join a faith that grew out of it, and is based entirely in it. We worship the Jewish God, our religious texts are explicitly Jewish in origin, and many of our rituals and beliefs come from the Jewish faith.

    And still, while Christ fulfilled the Law, I still don't see where that means that the Law goes away, and no longer applies. I'm not saying that it does, for sure. Merely that I suspect it still might.

    In the very beginning, converts from the pagan faiths had to become Jewish before they could become Christians. Jesus and all the apostles kept the Law.

  5. Hmmm, I enjoy reading your thoughts. I read all your posts in Google Reader and sometimes I comment as you know. :)

    Recently I have been rereading the NT and I recall how Paul and others argued that the Gentiles did NOT have to become Jewish and be circumsized, etc. in order to be accepted by God. There was a huge debate about it because the Jewish believers thought first the Gentiles must become Jews and then they could accept Christ. Anyway, it seems this is what you are debating in your mind.

    Let us know what you conclude. :-)

  6. Also there is a verse in Ezekiel (I think) which is quoted in the NT where God said with the new covenant he would write His laws on our hearts. Instead of it being a written law such as Moses' law, He would write it on the hearts of His children.

    Just thought of that.

  7. I appreciate you commenting Susanne. :)

    Ah, St. Paul.

    Yes, he and the Apostles did have that discussion, and his opinion on the matter came out on top.

    I suppose I should admit that I believe that sometimes St. Paul speaks his own opinion, and sometimes from God.

    There is the reference to the new covenant laws being written on the hearts of the believers, but I believe that refers more to the greater Law; Love God, Love your neighbor, etc. But those things were also included in the Ten Commandments, which were the heart of the Mosaic Law.

  8. So you believe Paul's "opinions" were wrongly included in the Bible?

    I just reread some things in Acts and in chapter 10, Peter says that going into a Gentile home was against their law, however, God had made it clear that he (Peter) should not consider anything unclean that He has made clean. (See Acts 10 and the story of Cornelius.) And it seems God accepted Gentile believers without them becoming Jews first.

    Acts 15 shares the talk among the church leaders. While Paul and Barnabas ARE asked to share proof of God working among the Gentiles, it's Peter and James who seem to make the decision for the church in regards to God accepting non-Jews.

    Just thought to share that in case you were still searching.

    I understand what you mean about the "forever" stuff in the OT though. Truly I do. I have had many of the same thoughts as well.

    Off to bed now. Thanks for the discussion. :-)

  9. Not so much 'wrongly'. St. Paul's opinions are included in the Bible. This is not a bad thing. I have often heard it said that without him, and his zeal for the faith, the Church might not have survived the early years. However, that being said, he is just a man, however great.

    St. Paul's opinions should be given weight when considering matters, as should those of all of the Apostles and the Early Church Fathers, but as men, they are fallible.

    *nods* St. Peter and the others made the decision as a group, and I give as much weight to their opinions as humanly possible. After Jesus Himself, they're next on the totem pole. :) I do believe that they knew what they were doing, and that's why I still have bacon in my fridge. ;)

    Until/unless I become absolutely convinced that the Mosaic Law still applies, I'll continue to live under the laws of the New Convenant. But I don't see anything, in my limited understanding, wrong with those who do choose to apply the Mosaic Law to their lives. Provided that the understanding exists that salvation comes not through adherence to the Law, but through faith in Christ.

    It's certainly not a decision I'm going to come to in a day or two. I'm still trying to work out whether the Roman Church is it, or if my journey ends a bit further East, let alone whether or not I can still enjoy shrimp. :-)

    On a vaguely related note, have you ever read 'The Year of Living Biblically'? It's a fairly quick read, and I thought it was enjoyable. The author lived one year, trying to apply *all* the Laws to his modern life.

    And thank you. It's been and educational discussion, and very interesting to boot. :)


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