How Rules Proliferate

October 30, 2013

in Beyond the Marriage

The Old Testament gave the Jews 612 laws. By the time of Jesus, the Rabbis had built that into over 5,000 “laws”. Their intent was to clarify God’s Word, to make sure everyone knew what was and was not allowed. I have no doubt they thought they were helping God – but Jesus didn’t seem to think this was the case.

So many laws! © Surachai |

I think it’s human nature to add rules on top of rules. We think rules make us strong and safe, and more rules make us stronger and safer. Again, Jesus didn’t agree with this concept. In truth rules can easily keep us from God; keep us so busy we have no time for God or drive us away from God. Rules are good, but adding rules to what God felt was necessary is a bad plan.

Are you working overtime to follow rules God didn’t put in place? Are you trying to impose non-biblical rules on your wife, or your marriage? How’s that working for you?

Bottom line: Jesus didn’t say, “I came to give you rules, and those more abundantly.”

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Isaiah 28:10-13
John 5:39-40

I'm married to a rule-maker and it has ruined the marriage just like rule-making ruined the Jews' opportunity to receive Christ's kingdom. I believe compulsive rule-making is just one of the symptoms of an unwillingness to be generous, loving & trusting.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@bbh999 Rule making can "protect" people from all kinds of things, including being open and vulnerable. So sorry you have suffered from that.

I agree!  To juxtapose though, Jesus also said "Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.

For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished."

Matthew 5:17-18

I'm afraid much of Christianity has done a very good job of dismissing rules that God set in place for a reason, and in-so-doing they (we) become a watered-down version of Christianity, standing for nothing.  Revelation warns us that keeping rules is going to be one of the issues at the end time.  We need to be incredibly careful about what we dismiss and what we keep.

Then another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a mighty voice, Whoever pays homage to the beast and his statue and permits the [beast’s] stamp (mark, inscription) to be put on his forehead or on his hand,

He too shall [have to] drink of the wine of God’s indignation and wrath, poured undiluted into the cup of His anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no respite (no pause, no intermission, no rest, no peace) day or night—these who pay homage to the beast and to his image and whoever receives the stamp of his name upon him.

Here [comes in a call for] the steadfastness of the saints [the patience, the endurance of the people of God], those who [habitually] keep God’s commandments and [their] faith in Jesus.

-Revelation 14:9-12

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@SexWithinMarriageMatthew 5:17-18 is a difficult passage. Verse 17 says that Jesus is the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. What does fulfil mean? Jesus used the same Greek word in Luke 24:44. Was He indicating that it has been fulfilled at that point?

I find the answer in Gal 3:24-26:

"So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith." [ESV]

In the Greek the word we translate as "guardian" was a servant who took children to and from school to keep them safe and ensure they went to school. So Paul is saying the law was to keep us safe and get us to Christ, and once that was done we no longer needed to be under that law.

This DOES NOT MEAN I want to throw out everything in the Bible!! However, we don't do sacrifices (as commanded in the Bible) or separate ourselves from those who do not follow God (we are actually commanded to be in the world) and we don't make our wives sleep in another bed and prevent them from cooking during their periods. We do not follow huge sections of "the law".

As I see it Jesus has put a new law in our hearts. We cannot live by both the old and the new law - we cannot server two masters.

Going back to my original thought, just as the Pharisees added to the old law, so to do many try to add to the new law. God's law is holy and to be obeyed. Man's additions are something all together different.


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