Sin, Crime, and the Law

Bible and candleWe have a moral duty to Jehovah God, as his creatures. Are we performing it? Have we read the Bible, the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)?[1] Do we know what his law says about human conduct? Do we know God’s blessings for obedience and penalties for disobedience, both here on earth and in eternity? Ignorance of the law is no excuse if we’re guilty, since we have a conscience (Leviticus 5:17-18, Romans 2:12-16). Those who don’t know God’s will and disobey it will receive less stripes than those who do, but both will still be punished (Luke 12:47-48).

We also have a moral duty to the state, as its citizens (Romans 13:1-5). Are we performing it? Do we know what local, state, and federal laws say about human conduct? Do we know the penalties for disobedience, either fines or imprisonment? Ignorance of the law is no excuse if we’re guilty.

God’s law is perfect, right, pure, and true (Psalm 19:7-9). It is holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12). Human laws are not. Bad leaders can write bad laws and use the system to punish innocent people. This is moral subversion and they will answer to God for their sin. Some laws are still morally good and we’re still legally responsible for our conduct.

crime lawYet too many Christians forget human laws. They think their only moral duty when they sin is to confess, repent, ask for, and receive forgiveness. This is a heavenly transaction with God, but if the sin is also a crime, then Christians must conduct an earthly transaction with the state. They must confess the crime and pay a fine or be arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison. Anyone who sincerely repents of a crime will also confess it to the state. Even if not a crime, some sins require restitution (financial, etc) to those we’ve sinned against. Like Zaccheus, all those who sincerely repent of their sin will also make restitution (Luke 19:8-10).[2] Therefore, forgiveness and repentance, without human justice and restitution, are just cheap grace.

Do we know our moral duties to God and to the state? Are we performing them? If not, we’re neglecting both our souls and our liberty. Let us learn the law, both human and divine, and obey it.


[1] New King James Version (NKJV), unless otherwise noted
[2] See also Genesis 20:7, Exodus 22:1-15, Leviticus 5:16, 6:4-5, 24:18-21; Numbers 5:6-8, Deuteronomy 22:1-3, 2 Samuel 12:6, 2 Kings 8:6, Nehemiah 5:11-12, Job 20:18, Proverbs 6:31, Ezekiel 33:15, and Matthew 5:23-24.


One thought on “Sin, Crime, and the Law

  1. Theoretically that is so. As Christians we obey just and reasonable laws because we appreciate law and order. We know that we have to have structure in society. We respect authority. However, sometimes law is arbitrary. Not all lawmakers are good, moral people. Caesar, Henry VIII, Hitler, Stalin made laws to please themselves. Often with crafty, evil intentions. Peter and John when told not to preach said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:27-29). Thoreau and MLK exercised their right of civil disobedience. The important word there is “civil.” They did not riot, destroy private property, or cause chaos. They behaved civilly. If we have a disagreement over what we consider an unjust law, then we should behave in a manner befitting good citizenship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s