The Law Maker and Judge


 Chapter Five 

Since God is the Law Maker, He has the right to be the Judge as well. The preposterous God of the Bible started out by giving one commandment, and when that commandment was broken, judgment followed swiftly. We have been suffering ever since. 

Is it wrong of us to want to judge God, even be angry with Him for what has happened to us as a result? Is the God who judged our ancestors so harshly for breaking one little law a loving God? Is this the profile of a God who demands worship? 

On this side of eternity no one will answer the questions above to any degree of satisfaction. I certainly cannot, and I have puzzled over these issues for decades. I have finally given up trying to judge God and am moving steadily toward realizing, more than ever before, that the God of Scripture is nothing less than absurd—meaning, I now know I have no hope of understanding Him as He truly is. 

More and more laws 

One commandment, then ten He gave Moses on Mount Sinai. Briefly they are: no worshipping other gods, no making of images of other gods, no taking God’s name in vain, must remember to rest on the Sabbath day, must honor father and mother, no murdering, committing adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, or coveting things belonging to a neighbor (Exodus 20:1-17). 

There were plenty more given as time went on, which can be found in the rest of Exodus, then in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Enough to make your head swim. Who could keep them? No one—which makes it clear that from then until now we all are law breakers and essentially condemned as a result. 

After some period, around 1500 BCE, two general statements developed that summarized or encapsulated the myriad of laws. In Deuteronomy 6:5 we find, “You shall 

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you might.” Then Leviticus 19:18 says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” 

That sounds nice, but it actually moved from really difficult to impossible, and no matter how one defines “love,” the skimpiest expression of less than that would make anyone a law breaker, because we are surely not able to do what the Law Maker and Judge mandated. 

Maybe I can keep, or at least try hard to keep, some of the ten commandments of Exodus 20. But the two love commandments? Can I do this? No. 

How does God know when His commands are broken?  

We have numerous sheriffs and cops, and they often catch someone breaking a law. Sometimes they do not. They cannot be everywhere watching and observing everything done under the sun. But the Bible’s God has managed to peer into the hearts and minds of us all, all of the time. How could this be? It is unimaginable that even a Creator God could do this. He would have to be everywhere all the time and recording it all somehow. Do you see why the title of this Little Book is The Preposterous God

We have no chance 

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). 

These are the words of Jesus spoken to religious leaders who had caught a woman in the act of committing adultery. She deserved death according to their law. By bringing the woman to Jesus, these righteous men sought to put Jesus on the spot. (Notice the other person, the man, did not appear.) After hearing Jesus say what He did, they walked away. At least, despite the evil intent of their hearts, they knew they were not without sin. 

Only the liar or the deranged claims to be without sin. I often say that an hour does not go by that I have not in some way or another broken a law of God. I am not all that loving, I must admit. I am eager to judge and demean others, even if it is nothing more than a thought that flits through the grey matter. I find that I am biased, quick to assume the worst about someone, and in my conversation hold people up to a false light. Then there are perverse thoughts that flow through my mind on an almost daily basis. 

Sure, I am a decent person, and I hope to do good things. Likely, I am as good as the next person, sometimes even better, but to what effect? 

Look at what we find in His book: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That’s it, and no amount of good deeds will change that. One sin is enough—just like what happened to Adam and Eve in the garden. One little bite, and it was “east of Eden” for them. 

Two chapters later in Romans it gets worse: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Being sent away from the Creator was a kind of death, the death of being excluded from the presence of God, forever. Not a cessation of life, which would be easy, even acceptable. No, it’s a continuation of being but with an everlasting sentence devoid of any good Presence. 

From death to life 

There is however Romans 6:23b: “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” No wonder we Christians use the term “Gospel” when referring to the core message of our faith. The word simply means “Good News.” Since the bad news is that we have broken the Creator’s laws and would deserve death, instead He gives us the gift—and notice it is the word “gift” and not “reward”—of eternal life. 3 

One last word on this gifting business, and I do so because it is a point that few are able to grasp, and this is especially true of me. Quoting now from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Church, chapter 2: 4–9: 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one my boast. 

Eternal life means living in the presence of the Creator, a life about which we know very little. But then, it does not really matter now. We will get to that some time in the future. 

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