Man's Rules & God's Law

I am not sure how it started, but Rook (the card game) became popular among a few of my friends in high school. Granted, we didn’t spend our weekends playing, but we did convince teachers to let us play when our assignments were completed. Our Spanish teacher was kind enough to allow us to play when we needed a break, as long as we talked in Spanish during the game. I understand how I spent time in high school isn’t interesting, but Rook’s origin story is. Rook cards were invented at a time when many Christians considered a standard deck of cards taboo due to their association with gambling and other sinful practices.

Things have changed and most Christians would not see owning a deck of cards as bad. Yes, they can be used for sinful and unwise practices, but they can also be used for harmless games such as Rummy and Solitaire. So why do I bring this up? The rejection of playing cards is a good example of man’s rules as they relate God’s law. You see, forbidding playing cards was a man-made rule meant to help others obey God’s law. I assume the intent was well meaning and may have even been wise at the time.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ time had similar man-made rules to help people distance themselves from sin. Many had good intentions, but problems arose when the Pharisees started placing their rules equal to or above God’s law. Jesus would have none of that, as we see in Luke 6:1-11. 

We will look at these two stories in more detail throughout the week, but for starters it will be good to read these verses for yourself. As you read the passage, consider these points of application:

  • In our current cultural environment, people have very passionate beliefs that are either man-made rules, preferences, or opinions. In standing for these beliefs, some are quick to abandon God’s commands to be kind, loving, and patient. As followers of Jesus, let’s strive to imitate our Savior, who is “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
  • In our homes, it is wise to establish certain rules and expectations to help us align with God’s law. However, it is important to not allow our rules to become the focus and distract us from God’s commands. For example, it is good to have a household budget to help us be good stewards. But if a spouse accidentally overspends, the budget shouldn’t become a tool for condemnation.
  • Examine your heart for other ways you may minimize God’s commands in place of man’s rules. As the Holy Spirit prompts, repent from any such actions.

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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