History reveals the ongoing conflict between God’s Laws vs man’s laws. Because of man’s fallen (sinful) nature, we default to living in rebellion against the God who created us. The Ten Commandments represent guidelines by which we should live. The character of God is revealed through his moral laws. These laws are based on God’s understanding of his fallen creation and are for our good, just as human laws are designed to protect us.
But just as we have all broken an earthly law at one time or another, so too we have all broken God’s laws. In fact, the Bible reveals that all of humanity stands accused before God of rebellion against Him and His laws, and that all have been declared guilty by Him. The penalty for transgression of His laws is death.
Ignorance of the law does not excuse anyone
An important principle in human law is that ignorance of human laws does not present any defense in Court. The Latin terms for this concept is Ignorantia juris non excusat – ignorance of the law does not excuse, or ignorance of the law excuses no one. Another expression nemo censetur ignorare legem means nobody is thought to be ignorant of the law. The expression ignorantia iuris nocet means that not knowing the law is in fact harmful.
It is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content or event that the law exists. The rationale of the doctrine is that if ignorance were an excuse, a person charged with criminal offenses or a subject of a civil lawsuit would merely claim that he or she is unaware of the law in question to avoid liability, even if that person really does know what the law in question is. Thus, the law imputes knowledge of all laws to all persons within the jurisdiction no matter how transiently.
The doctrine assumes that the law in question has been properly published and distributed, for example, by being printed in a government gazette, made available over the internet, or printed in volumes available for sale to the public at affordable prices.
It is a strange thing that men continue to proliferate human laws at an enormous rate, yet choose to disregard the Ten Commandments handed down to us by God.
God has published his laws in public domain
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: ..” 2 Timothy 3:16
From this Scripture we can see that:
- It is given by inspiration of God.
- It is profitable for those who read it because it provides a doctrinal framework through which we can understand God.
- It is designed to discipline and correct us so that we remain on the right side of God’s laws.
- It instructs us in righteousness (which is right living based on God’s laws). In other words, it explains how we must live from God’s point of view. After all, His moral laws are for our benefit.
But the Word of God is much more than this. It reveals the true sinful nature of man, warns of the destructive power of sin, and the consequences of rebellion against God our Creator. It reveals the character of God – a God of love who hates sin – because he understands it’s lethal consequences and desires that we avoid them. But instead of leaving us to our own devices, God reveals his rescue plan for mankind. This wonderful plan of salvation is not only designed to rescue us from the power of sin and death, but to give us an abundant life – a life free of the tyranny of sin and inevitable judgement on all who sin against God. It goes even further!
Not only are all who follow the way of God promised an abundant life and freedom from the power of sin and death, but we are promised eternal life. We are promised immortality just as God is immortal. This incredible rescue plan is offered to us as a free gift so that no one should perish.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
What does this have to do with me?
Some argue that they are under no obligation to read, study or adhere to God’s laws or his Word. But Jesus said in John 16:9 that the worlds sin is unbelief in Him. Furthermore, in the book of Romans we read:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:18-25
From this Scripture we see that:
- God has revealed His existence through what He has created.
- This means that no one can plead ignorance of the existence of God.
- Instead, we knowingly push the truth of God away from us, deciding to not glorify God or be thankful to Him for His creation.
- Professing that we are wise and know better, we became fools – choosing to believe a convenient lie – that there is no God.
- We create a god in our image, thereby exchanging the truth of God for a lie.
- We choose to worship created things rather than the Creator of all things.
The existence of God is evidenced through His creation
Simply put, this passage of Scripture means that the the existence of God is evidenced by His creation (everything around us). Every created thing points to a creator, whether it be a car, a plane, a painting, a house, an animal, or a human. Nothing creates itself. Every creature gives birth to it’s own kind – including humans. Therefore it is logical that everything was first created before anything could reproduce life after it’s own kind, unlike the concept of evolution where everything allegedly mysteriously created itself. It is extremely ironic that human beings go to great lengths to receive attribution for their work or creation, yet refuse to attribute the mighty work of creation to an almighty Creator. They even refuse to acknowledge the existence of such a Creator, and go as far as to declare that everything created itself!
The fool has said in his heart “There is no God”
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” Psalm 14:1
It seems foolish indeed to observe creation all around us and then declare that there is no god, as if we are the legislators of the universe. This way of thinking is tantamount to denying the existence of oxygen because we cannot see it. Our opinions do not and cannot change reality.
Just as our opinions about human laws count for nothing when we stand before an earthly judge, so too our opinions of God and His creation will count for nothing when we stand before our Heavenly Judge.
It is not that men cannot see the evidence of God, but rather that they push the truth of the existence of God away from them. They do so because it is inconvenient to believe in God. It imposes on us accountability and responsibility for our actions. Belief in God implies that we also have to believe His Word (the Bible), and this further imposes upon us a moral duty which we consider to be burdensome and onerous. After all it is much easier to live as we please, free of the constraints of a heavenly lawgiver.
But the problem with this logic is that we cannot apply the same thinking to earthly lawgivers. Most people never meet an earthly lawgiver, while some meet many. No matter how much we protest against or have disdain for the laws of the land, we will remain obligated to it, and come under the weight of it’s judgement and penalties should we transgress. It’s simply a matter of fact rather than opinion.
It’s a matter of choice
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: ..” Deuteronomy 30:19
Just as we have to choose each day whether we will obey the laws of the land, so too we inevitably have to choose whom we will serve and submit to. If we think that by making no choice, we absolve ourselves of any responsibility, we are wrong. This argument could not be used as a defense in human courts, and so too it cannot be used as a defense before our heavenly Judge. By default, by choosing to not make a decision for something, we are in fact making a decision. No decision is really neutral. All decisions have consequences. For example, if I witness a murder but decide that I want to remain ‘neutral’ (either because I am scared or because I do not want to get involved), according to the laws of the land, I will be considered complicit in the murder and can be prosecuted accordingly.
Unbelief and Disobedience
Unbelief or disobedience in no way impacts on the veracity of a set of facts. Neither do they impact on the consequences of ignoring reality (as in the laws of nature). For example, we may choose to believe that gravity does not exist, but this does not change the fact that it does. We are always free to choose but must accept that our choices have consequences. An opinion held, no matter how honestly and sincerely, is of little consequence if the opinion is wrong. Others argue that it does not matter what we believe as long as we are sincere. Adolph Hitler was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong. So too were the millions that followed him.
Law defines Transgression
Until a law is passed, we cannot transgress it. But once a law has been promulgated, it defines acceptable conduct. Just as the laws of a land define conduct that is acceptable to a particular community, God too has defined laws that are acceptable to Him. Just as we are not free to transgress earthly laws, so too we are not free to transgress God’s laws.
We can avoid condemnation for breaking God’s Laws
Romans 8:8-15 states:
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.