Everything is opening up again across America. Masks are now optional (based on double-vaccination) in most places; a huge opportunity for recycling plexiglass sheets is imminent. People shut-in for more than a year are jamming planes and overwhelming theme parks. Is it really safe to drop the defenses and go back into pre-pandemic freedoms?
Though the virus seems to be in retreat, there’s another insidious threat for which there is no inoculation available: lawlessness is sweeping across the American culture, and the symptoms are increasingly obvious on many levels.
In simpler times, rude drivers triggered staccato honks; that intensified into rude hand signals; today, full-fledged road rage is producing fatal shootings between speeding cars. Is it safe to drive?
Shoplifting? Tagging? Stolen bikes? Those were the apprentice-level behaviors that drew police response and lessons from law enforcement for a criminal-in-training to change their future course. Today, they happen routinely – without recourse – as political crimes become felonies and interpersonal and property crimes go unaddressed. The Broken Windows Theory has been reversed; now, justifications for misbehavior are immediate insulators against any policing of social order.
Amidst the mayhem in America’s neighborhoods today, laws – and law enforcement – are losing support among those who claim enlightenment, but there are certain immutable laws that are binding whether embraced by progressive thought or not. The Creator has framed His creation with a set of certainties that cannot be revoked or vetoed by mere humans, no matter their elected status.
Here’s an example: The Law of Consequences. It states that for every outcome, there is a prior action; for every action, there is a predicted outcome. Cause and Effect are always in play. Who says?
Paul’s answer to that is pretty forthright: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:7-10)
It’s the responsibility of appropriate authorities – in government, in the marketplace, in family systems – to assure that the punishment fits the crime. But does that mean that those power players have the right to eliminate the fitting consequences for felonious behavior in an effort to negate the sowing/reaping order that was established by God?
This has more than a temporal application. As important as it is to structure our world in keeping with this defining perspective, the order of Eternity has been assured with the knowledge that the Kingdom of Heaven will operate in accordance with the Law of Consequences.
The Sovereign Lord tracks and archives the thoughts, words, and actions of every human – every minute – in anticipation of an end-of-life accounting. For those who chose to reject grace through the Gospel and go it alone, their eternal consequences will fit their righteousness shortfall.
But once you’re “saved,” and have the assurance of eternal life in Heaven, how could the stewardship of your life, time, talent, influence, money – carry any eternal consequences? If you already have your get-out-of-jail-free card… why sweat anything?
The Law of Consequences is the logical companion of the Law of Rewards. For we who are promised eternity in Heaven, God’s recognition of our choices in this lifetime will yield incredible positive consequences that can only be imagined within the limitations of our fallen-world exposures.
Is this worth talking about? Is there anything more important to understand?