God's Rules Have Reasons
One thing that escapes many is the fact that God's rules have a purpose or reason behind them. Unfortunately, many have the idea that if they follow God and the Bible then they will be "oppressed," "held down," etc. In other words, people are led to believe that if we follow the will of God then we are somehow giving up our "freedoms." In fact, the opposite is true. When we follow God's word, we will be free. Jesus said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (Jn. 8:36). God's commands, (the "thou shalts" and the "thou shalt nots") have a purpose behind them.
First and foremost, their purpose is to save men from sin. Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:16-17). The goodness of God demanded His will be revealed to us so that we could be saved. The love of God motivated Him to send His Son to die for us (Jn. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Having said these things, we ought to also realize that God's laws have been given to us that we might not only enjoy spiritual blessings, but also physical blessings. Perhaps we have not thought in terms like this, but it is true that by following God's will we can enjoy many physical blessings. Paul told Timothy, "refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:7-8). Godliness is the only truly practical way for a person to live. Paul says it benefits one in this life and that which is to come. In other words, it benefits the here and now and well as the hereafter. There is not a realm or relationship of this life that is not bettered as the result of one living a godly life. Even one's general relationship in society is bettered when one keeps in mind the "golden rule" as it is called (Matt. 7:12)! Let us consider some of God's laws and learn the physical blessings that come through obedience.
One thing that God makes clear is that He expects one man and one woman to be married for a lifetime. In the beginning, God created Adam (man) and Eve (woman). Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:23-24). Jesus reminded the people of this in Matthew 19, saying, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19:4-6). First, notice the references made to "man" and "woman" throughout this text. For those who think that Jesus never talked about homosexuality, let them read Matthew 19:4-6. Here, He continually referred to the man and the woman, and their enjoying the relationship of marriage. Knowing that God's silence prohibits, we know that Christ prohibited homosexuality through His silence. If we had nothing more than this in the Bible, we would know that homosexuality was sinful. Of course, we have more than this (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; etc.).
What are the physical benefits, or blessings enjoyed in God's command of one man and one woman for life in marriage? Consider those who are plagued with sexually transmitted diseases. How did they get contract these diseases? Many times it was because of their multiple sex partners. These people did not respect God's word which says, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled..." (Heb. 13:4). Since some people are living in opposition to the will of God by engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage; besides ultimately losing their souls if they do not repent, they now suffer with diseases. Please understand, I am not saying that God "supernaturally stuck" these people, but God allowed nature to take its course on them, and they are reaping the consequences of what they have done (Gal. 6:7). What amazed me was a recent television commercial advertising medicine for certain forms of herpes. The actors in the commercials talked about how they needed this new medicine because they "had a life" and couldn't take the pills as another rival medicine required. How low we have sunk!! We could continue in thinking about the consequences of sexual relations outside of marriage. Of course, the most common consequence is the fact that there will be children who come into this world, being born out of wedlock. That is, if they are not killed first by their mothers. See how sinful conduct can escalate out of control? By people not controlling their passions, and by not satisfying their desires in marriage (1 Cor. 7:2), diseases can result, and sometimes this sinful behavior ends in murder! How tragic! Friends and brethren let us learn and learn well that there are physical consequences we will face for our sinful behavior just as we will face spiritual consequences for our sinful behavior (Rom. 6:23; Isa. 59:1-2)!!
While thinking about these things, let us also remember that AIDS is a plague on this world. Like it or not, AIDS is rampant among homosexuals and drug users. Think about it. Yes, we understand that some people have acquired AIDS through blood transfusions, truly of no fault of their own. Still, this begs the question, where did the blood come from? It came from a person who was infected with AIDS. How did they get it? 9 times out of 10, they got it either through homosexual activities or through their illegal drug use! So, now, we have someone who received a blood transfusion and acquired AIDS, and will die with that disease because some donor would not respect God's will concerning marriage and satisfying sexual urges in marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-3; Heb. 13:4; Matt. 19:4-6). Rationalizations, excuses, tears, and defiance will not change the will of God! His will has been given to us for a reason!
From Old Testament to New Testament times, we see that the drinking of alcohol is condemned. King Lemuel said, "It is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted" (Prov. 31:4-5). Not only is drunkenness condemned, but the very idea of drinking one drink of alcohol is condemned. Solomon said, "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder" (Prov. 23:31-32). Many will read this verse and say that this verse prohibits drunkenness. Yes, but this verse is also a prohibition of all drinking! You don't keep from drunkenness by drinking "a little," you keep from drunkenness by not drinking at all! Remember, Solomon said, "At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." Notice please that there could be no "at the last" if there was not a "first"! A person must take the first drink, which leads to the second, the third, etc., until they are drunk! God, however, has condemned drinking alcohol in any quantity.
Please read what the inspired apostle Peter said, "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries" (1 Pet. 4:3). Notice please that in this verse, Peter deals with every aspect of drinking, and says God condemns it all. "Excess of wine," of course, is the falling-down drunk. This phrase is defined as, "an overflow (or surplus) of wine, i.e. vinolency (drunkenness):--excess of wine" (Strong's). Then, we read about "revellings." This is the drunk who is the "life of the party." He gets drunk enough to get good and loosened-up! This word is defined as follows: "a carousal (as if a letting loose):-- rioting" (Strong's). Finally, there are "banquetings" that are condemned. This is the man who drinks "socially." He may drink one or two drinks, but that is all. Though the world praises such a one for his "moderation," God condemns this. "Banquetings" is defined as, "a drinking" (Strong's). Remember, one cannot have "a drinking" without a drink! While many try to defend such people, remember, drinking alcohol is in the same category as "the lusts of men," "abominable idolatries," and "excess of riot" (1 Pet. 4:2-4)!
Why has God condemned such behavior? Put simply, it is because mind-altering drugs including alcohol keep us from thinking rationally. Those who drink "to escape" truly understand what alcohol does. It deprives the brain of oxygen, thus making our reaction time slower, our rational thoughts cease, and fantasy begins! This is why some are considered "mad drunks," "happy drunks," "tough drunks," etc. Many have died in car wrecks as a result of driving drunk. They were so intoxicated that their motor skills were impaired and they could not control the vehicle they were driving. Many times, what we find is that the one who is drunk somehow escapes a car wreck unscathed while innocent people die. Nevertheless, alcohol has a terrible effect on our brain. Alcohol effects other organs in the body as well. Some have scar tissue on their liver, or have endured other diseases as a result of the alcohol that was in their bodies.
Of course, abusing other drugs, whether legal or illegal, will bring terrible things to pass both physically and spiritually. Again, remember that many drug users who "shoot-up" and share their bloody needles with others are likely to spread the AIDS virus to others. Other diseases are spread through drug use. Let us not forget though, that the drugs themselves have an effect on our brains, similar to alcohol. Some have literally "fried" their brains after doing drugs just one time! They are in such a state that their parents, or others close to them will have them as a burden so long as they live because a young man or young woman thought it would be "fun" to try drugs. Before we leave this point, let us understand that nicotine is a drug that is commonly seen in tobacco products. Therefore, those who are using tobacco products are taking drugs into their bodies every time they take a puff, or dip, or whatever! Smoking, of course, effects the lungs of a person, his/her circulatory system, as well as other parts of the body. Using tobacco products has also been shown to produce deadly cancers in the bodies of the users in some cases.
Friends and brethren, we need to understand that whether it be alcohol use, drug use, tobacco use, etc., these things will cause men to become addicted. Their bodies and brains will become dependant upon these substances. Some have become so addicted to these substances that they have had terrible illnesses, and died because they had abused their bodies so greatly with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The Bible teaches that we are not to be addicted to such things. Paul said, "I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Cor. 6:12). Paul was saying he would not be under the authority of any person or object. Christ has all authority, and we are to be subject to Him and no one and nothing else (Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17)!! How foolish man is, not only for engaging in sinful behavior, but to engage in behavior that has such a terrible effect on our own bodies! God has told us to stay away from these things for a reason. Let us respect Him for it!
Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:1-3). These words are similar to the statement made by Moses in Deuteronomy 4:39-40. "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever." In Deuteronomy 5:16, we read again, "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." When Paul wrote the Romans, he placed the sin of being "disobedient to parents" in the same category as: "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, ... Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful," and being "worthy of death" (Rom. 1:29-32). Therefore, we see that in both the Old and New Testaments, righteous living and being obedient to our parents was conducive to a long life.
If a child, or young adult refuses the counsel of his/her parents, how can we expect them to respect God's authority? If they refuse and reject the authority of their father, will they not also refuse and reject the authority of the policeman, the governing officials, yea, even God Almighty?? Yet, God has commanded children to be obedient to their parents. Why? "That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:3). Generally, disobedience shows the world that a child or young adult is living a life of recklessness. When these people play "fast and loose" with life, there are going to be consequences to suffer, up to and including an early death (Gal. 6:7). If you do not believe this, talk to John Belushi, Chris Farley, Tupac Shakur, Janis Joplin, Hank Williams, Keith Whitley, Kurt Cobain, and countless others who engaged in acts of which we know their mothers and fathers disapproved; and acts of which we know God disapproved (1 Tim. 5:22)! Some may have not died from their actions, but consider Magic Johnson who has AIDS, and is living on "borrowed time" as we say. Do you imagine Magic's mother brought him up to think that women were nothing more than sex objects to be used and thrown away? We could continue thinking of people who are either dead or dying because of their disobedience to their parents, and of course for their disobedience to God. An obedient life saves us from the riotous behavior that characterizes so many. Being a model citizen as our parents taught us to be also keeps us from jail, and from the dangers awaiting those who go to jail. (Remember Jeffrey Dahmer? After being jailed for his heinous crimes, he was then killed by another inmate.)
Children and young adults need to see that being obedient to their parents is for their own good. Parents have been down the same road their children are walking. They have made the same mistakes, and want nothing more than for their children to avoid the pitfalls, and live a life free from the consequences they had to endure when they rebelled against their parents and God, and suffered for it. Therefore, children must obey their parents in the Lord. "For this is right"! God's will has been given to us for many reasons. First and foremost is for the salvation of our souls; but also God's rules have been given to us that we might have an enjoyable and profitable life upon this earth.
Lest we get the wrong idea, we need to understand that this life is unfair. Since it is not fair, some may not always face earthly consequences such as we have described (Ps. 73; 1 Tim. 5:24). While at the same time, others may have to suffer though they have lived righteously (Consider: Job, Paul's "thorn in the flesh", etc.). Since we live in a moral world, it will not always be that men suffer for their sins while the righteous are blessed (Eccl. 8:14). We may not be able to determine the "cause and effect" in each and every case. Nevertheless, it is clear from what we have seen so far that there generally will be physical consequences and there will always be spiritual consequences to suffer when we engage in that which is against the will of God.
Yes, God's wants people to enjoy this life, from the young to the old. We need to remember, though, that there is a judgment coming for all of us, and God has a reason for that (Eccl. 11:9-10; Rom. 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:10; etc.)! God's rules have reasons, and it is high time that we respect His laws and follow them. How much better this world would be, both physically and spiritually, if we simply followed the Lord's will.
e-mail this author at JJacobs291@aol.com
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