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We have learned from the Bible that the law is for the lawless -- for those who will not do the right thing without threat of punishment, and for those who continue to do the wrong thing despite that threat. (1 Timothy 1:9)

The Bible talks about how a child is no better than a slave in the sense that he or she doesn't have the freedom to make his or her own choices. (Galatians 4:1-3) Parents must use rules (the law) for children, to teach them to do the right thing, for the right reasons. As the child grows in maturity, he/she internalises the rules, and the spirit behind the rule, so that he/she can apply the principles to other situations and other areas of his/her life. (Galatians 3:24) Then the parent eases off on rules and can just give advice.

In our community most of us are adults, physically, if not spiritually. Because of that, we try to avoid giving orders.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to operate as adults and to mature spiritually. However, some people seem to be of the attitude that, if they are adults, they don't have to heed advice, and that they are, in fact, proving their maturity by not doing so.

Advice by its very nature is not a have-to thing. It's a choosing thing -- the same as salvation. But the irony of it is that when we repeatedly choose not to follow our elders' advice, we are proving that we are not mature, and it can end up placing us in a position where we have to be dealt with by the law, or by rules. In other words, we revert back to being treated like we are still children, because we continue to behave as children.

The whole reason for Jesus' death on the cross, for the new covenant, and for God turning to the Gentiles was that God was sick of rebellious babies who refused to be obedient to him, no matter how much he blessed them. He wants people to follow him because they choose freely to do so, even if that means he gets no one. But it means that we have to discipline ourselves to make the decision to be obedient, even as Jesus did (Hebrews 5:8), if we are to be Christians.

Jesus had every opportunity we could ever imagine we might have, to do his own thing and to create his own way of doing things. But he did not do that. He was obedient, instead, and because of that he was exalted and he sits on his Father's throne in heaven.

Because we are not Jesus, we will not obey as perfectly as he did. That is why we have the cross of Christ. But the cross is not there to excuse our disobedience. It's what we say when speaking to churchies who want to work in jobs and make lots of money, and then claim that Jesus died to forgive them for doing their own thing. So maybe it's time to apply it to ourselves. Some people in our own community need to progress past the perverted grace level of (im)maturity, and to see that obedience applies to our whole lives. It's forsake all time, every time our will rears its ugly head in rebellion.

So what we've come back to, is that you can choose to heed advice, or you can be given orders. But since the law is for the lawless, we may one day decide you don't belong here. But for now, the choice is yours.

(See Moral Adults, and A Gun to Your Head.)

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