The Rule of Divine Law

The following words of the Savior have weighed upon my mind (Matthew 5:17-20):

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Even though they had corrupted the simple truths of such law into an over prescribed set of guidelines, Jesus attributes some righteousness unto the Pharisees for their love of eternal law . How can we grow beyond superficial righteousness?

My heart is lifted upon reading James 1:25 –

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Earnestly striving to live God’s laws today will bless us with the strength to obey His law more fully tommorrow. Christ has said “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30).

Obedience to God helps us understand His eternal government which is based upon adherence to eternal truth and the Rule of Law.

God is no respecter of persons as declared in the New Testament (Acts 10:34-35). He does not exempt a bishop from paying tithing nor does He excuse a movie star for committing adultery. We are all equal with respect to His eternal laws.

“Man is declared to have been in the beginning with the Father, possessed of an uncreated intelligence. Man’s agency and his ultimate acountability are based upon that fact.” (Eternal Principles of Government: A Theological Approach – Ensign June 1976)

God’s laws are invariable and timeless. To think otherwise is to be mistaken about the application of such laws and the eternal truths upon which they are based.

The Rule of Law is simple to define. It is not an ad hoc Rule.
Freedom advocate, F.A. Hayek wrote: “the Rule of Law… means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand – rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge.” In contrast he mentions “If the law says that an authority may do what it pleases, anything that authority does is legal – but its actions are not subject to the Rule of Law.” (F.A. Hayek “The Road to Serfdom”)

The story of Daniel illustrates the Rule of Law. King Darius loved Daniel, but was tricked into passing a law forbidding anyone to petition any God or man other than himself for 30 days. The punishment set for disobedience was a night in a den of lions. When Daniel was caught praying, his enemies reminded King Darius that he was bound by the law to deliver Daniel to the lions’ den (Daniel 6:15):

“…Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree or statute which the king establisheth may be changed.”

God honors those obedient to His laws. He solemnly declares(D&C 82:10):

10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

The tragic story of Samson is evidence of why we should trust in God. “How patient and true was God with Samson! Not until Samson had broken every Nazarite vow did God withdraw his strength.” (No Other Gods before Me, S. Michael Wilcox, Jan. 1994 Ensign)

Divine Law stands in stark contrast to a world of corruption and uncertainty. Uncertainty reigns when we depart from truth. Elder James E. Faust stated the following: (Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil, Sept. 1995 Ensign):

We live in a day when many things are measured against the standard of social or political correctness. I challenge that false doctrine of human behavior… Today many of us are trying to serve two masters‚ the Lord and our own selfish interests‚ without offending the devil. The influence of God, our Eternal Father, urges us, pleads us, and inspires us to follow him. In contrast the power of Satan urges us to disbelieve and disregard God’s commandments…Abortion is one evil practice that has become socially accepted in the United States. Mother Theresa has said ‘If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other?’… the Lord recorded in Genesis: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” All my life I have heard the argument that the earth is overpopulated. At the center of the debate …[is] the socially acceptable phrase “sustainable growth”. Few voices in the developed nations cry out in the wilderness against this coined phrase, “sustainable growth.” In Forbes magazine a thoughtful editorial asserts that people are an asset, not a liability….People who argue for sustainable growth lack vision and faith. The Lord said, “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.”

The gospel message is clear to all the prodigal sons languishing in the world: come home to the heritage of your fathers!

In our day men seek to destroy the law and the prophets. When they cannot bend the law to their evil purposes, they promote anarchy and unrest. Various interests continue laying traps against the god fearing man by inventing new crimes against humanity. Faith and integrity can overcome these modern lions’ dens. Though we may never find peace in the world of men, we will find peace in obeying God’s law. As the hymn states: “Keep the Commandments…in this there is safety and peace”. This peace comes from knowing we are in harmony with God’s eternal laws.

Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


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