Man’s Laws cannot produce Righteousness

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Recently, we have been barraged with a stream of news highlighting terrible and horrific acts of gun violence. Although in each story we find heroic examples of courage, sacrifice, and compassion it does little to dull the pain and suffering felt by so many victims, families, and community members. Compounding the issue and politicizing the tragedy our lawmakers debate more rules, legislation, limits and controls, without realizing that they cannot legislate good behavior. If only our leaders, pundits and news anchors would spend a little more time reading their Bibles and a little less time giving speeches. Perhaps they would realize and understand two very obvious truths.

Truth One: Rules and laws merely identify what is bad behavior and itemize potential consequences and punishments (Romans 3:20). Our lawmakers need to realize that they cannot legislate good behavior—this is a Biblical truth. Laws cannot produce righteousness because everyone sins and breaks some laws (Romans 3:23, Galatians 3:10, James 2:10-11). If law could provide a way to be righteous then we would not need a Savior.

Truth Two: God designed us with the ability to choose. Over and over, throughout Scripture we are given a choice. Moses sets before Israel two paths, following God or not following God (Exodus 30:15-19). Joshua tells the people of Israel to “choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Throughout the Old Testament, prophet after prophet is sent to call people back, to ask them to choose to return to God. God punishes disobedience, sends signs and wonders to inspire them, and blesses those who follow Him. What He does not do—He doesn’t make them obedient. He doesn’t make them love Him. They, like us, have the freedom to choose.

Keeping these two truths in mind, perhaps instead of coming up with more laws, we can come up with more ways to love others, care for the hurting, and demonstrate mercy. We will never be rid of evil or those who do evil—but Scripture tells us that we can “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

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