We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers.1Ti 1:9
I am in a writing class at the moment to find my unique voice and make my writing better. One of the ladies in that class is an activist and is supporting the idea of ecocide. Her organisation tries to make murder of ecology a crime, like deforestation or air pollution.
When I read about that, I was set back and sad at first. Have we as human beings matured so little that we need to make these things international law and proclaim it a crime with severe punishment? Then I thought of the above verse.
Yes, many have not matured enough to see that we are playing a major factor in destroying our own livelihood and are neglecting one of the first things God entrusted us with: to take care of this world. So we need the law for those that are not righteous. And never forget that to be righteous only means to be on the path.
Laws are the guard rails along the path and only necessary for those that want to deviate from the path.
When we are born into this existence, we immediately start to mature. We build on what was given to us, so we are not blank slates, but our maturity is an interplay of nature and nurture, of innate personality traits and abilities and learned social construction and later directed personal work.
One of the things we have to learn is “being on the path”. I remember walking through the woods during the night in boy scouts. We had to learn to distinguish the path from the woods in moonlight. Interestingly enough, the border was sometimes even more clear without a flashlight, by mere concentration on the path before us.
This tells me something about the law: once I learned about the path, I do not need the law any longer because it only served me to learn about the path. To concentrate on the law means to not concentrate on the path fully and not trust myself.
So who are the people that need the law. Easy: those that have not learned to trust the path and themselves.
God has a wonderful path for us when we grow up, something like a meta path: he is leading us towards getting to trust the path and ourselves. It’s his way to make us righteous.
We first learn to trust very few people around us that have been given the responsibility to guide us on the path. From this security, we learn to make our own decisions, because without the ability to make our own decisions, we cannot grow into a self-directed person, obviously.
And then, and only then, God introduces us to the law. He instills guidelines to make good decision. As the bible tells us, the law is a teacher:
In fact, the Law was our teacher. It was supposed to teach us until we were on the path in faith. But once a person has learned to have faith, there is no more need to have the Law as a teacher.Gal 3:24-25
As soon as we have faith, as soon as we trust the path and ourselves, we do not need a teacher any longer.
As for y’all, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you.1 John 2:27
To teach always is a top-down relationship. Somebody in the know with authority will invest in you by telling you stuff you do not know and need to know (at least in their eyes).
We do not need any teachers any longer, but remember that the verse in 1 John is talking not to an individual, but a crowd, a congregation. What we need is people that are on the path together with us. I call them accompagnateurs. I think it’s close enough to the English that you get the meaning. We help each other focus on the path.
Our first and most important goal is to follow the path to where it leads, not to stay on the path.
Granted, to follow the path is much easier when you are on the path. When you learned that, you have learned all that the law was about.
There are two kinds of people that have to be lead and taught by the law then: little ones on their normal path of development once they are ready to learn about making good decisions, and immature ones that never trusted God in the first place, putting themselves down by believing that the only way to proceed is to let go of decision making and hand it all over to God or others or their basic instincts, desires and thrives.
There comes this phase, and it is here, that people can grow past obedience. Obedience becomes the wrong focus, the wrong question to ask.
Just follow the yellow brick road, or in our case, the streets paved with gold.