By Chuck Baldwin
February 28, 2013
Most of us are taught from childhood to respect and obey the law. On the whole, Americans are law-abiding people. This is only fitting for a nation that was built on the principles of law. Remember, at our core, this is supposed to be a “nation of laws, not men.” This is one reason that our Founding Fathers bequeathed us a republic and not a democracy.
Unfortunately, it has been over one hundred years since America’s teachers (both secular and sacred) have taught the principles of Natural Law. This has created a vast ignorance that has blinded people (especially Christian people it seems) from being able to properly understand, evaluate, and judge the law.
Our Lord plainly said, “The Sabbath (law) was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (law).” (Mark 2:27 KJV) This was stated in response to the criticism and judgmentalism of the Pharisees against Jesus and His disciples, who had picked and eaten corn on the Sabbath Day.
During that same discussion, Jesus reminded the Pharisees that David and his men ate bread from the Table of Shewbread in the Temple, which was a violation of the Mosaic Law. (Others had been slain by Jehovah for a careless, cavalier attitude toward the Sabbath and the Temple.) He reminded them of the priests who sacrificed animals on the Sabbath Day, which was considered by many to be a violation of Sabbath law. Jesus healed on the Sabbath Day, which the Pharisees and legalists of the time judged to be unlawful.
After a blistering condemnation of the Pharisees, Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life or destroy it?” (Luke 6:9 KJV) In other words, which was more important: doing good and saving life on the Sabbath, or strictly obeying the Law of the Sabbath and letting a man be harmed or even die?
Jesus made it clear that there are greater laws and lesser laws, that the Natural Law of saving life was a superior law to even the Law of the Sabbath. This law of nature can be called “The Law of Necessity.”
In the pursuit of liberty, and in the defense of life, David and his men sustained themselves with the bread from the Table of Shewbread. And not only did Jehovah not slay David and his men for doing this, the Lord Jesus praised them as an example of the greater law principle.
Here’s a question for you: as you walk along a lake, you notice a sign announcing a public statute that says, “No Swimming.” About that same time, you hear the screams of a little boy who had wandered in the lake and is now drowning. Do you obey the State statute that said, “No Swimming,” or do you violate the public law and swim out into the lake to save the little boy?
The Pharisees would say that you must obey the public law even if it means the little boy will drown. Jesus said the natural greater law principle prevails and you ignore the lesser law and go save the drowning lad. The greater law always defers to the provision and protection of human life. The lesser law ignores the divine principle of protecting life and demands unconditional compliance to human law–even if that law results in the death of innocent life.
Now, here is another question: would any of us condemn a man who ignored the law that said “No Swimming,” and swam into the lake to save the little boy? Think very carefully before you answer, because all over America, many people (including pastors and Christians) have developed a legalistic, Pharisaical philosophy regarding law that would indeed condemn the man who ignored the law that said “No Swimming,” and swam into the lake to save the little boy.