The Purpose of the Civil Law

From Gary North’s Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition, Chapter 51: Trusteeship vs. Autonomy

Rules govern every competitive system. This includes the free market. These rules place legal boundaries around the market’s transactions. The may be enforced by social custom. They may be enforced by the state. To be effective, the negative sanctions must correlate to the infractions. This is crucial for the voluntary support by the public of a sense of justice. This sense of justice is fundamental in promoting self-government under law. Self-government reduces the costs of law enforcement. The society gets more justice for the same expenditure of money.

Certainly, Christian societies should endorse self-government and self-discipline, as a sign of our obedience to the law written in our hearts…

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. — Jeremiah 31:33

…but my main focus is actually on the next paragraph North wrote:

1. Trusteeship

Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are long passages devoted to the relationship between covenant keeping and prosperity, and also covenant breaking and poverty. The section in each chapter on negative sanctions is three times as long as the section on positive sanctions. These sanctions, positive and negative, are threatened by God. They are not civil sanctions. They are God’s direct sanctions into history. This means that the primary function of negative civil sanctions against specific crimes is to restrain God’s corporate negative sanctions. The civil sanctions are preventative, not just in the sense of preventing criminal behavior, but in the sense of avoiding the wrath of God in history. This is not the outlook of those who defend the autonomy of man and society.

This is what I want to focus on:

…the primary function of negative civil sanctions against specific crimes is to restrain God’s corporate negative sanctions. The civil sanctions are preventative, not just in the sense of preventing criminal behavior, but in the sense of avoiding the wrath of God in history.

That’s the way God punishes, even destroys, nations, entire civilizations… and, at one time, all humanity save eight survivors.

People don’t believe this now, mainly because the Christian pastors and priests loath the idea of God acting as Judge over societies today, enforcing His law today, and gaining victory over evil today.

“After all, if God actually acted, fought, saved, and killed today… then people will look to us pastors and priests to actually know and do something about it! Much, MUCH better to blather about ‘God’s inscrutable ways’.

Collecting money because we perform the right rituals, say the right codewords, and graduate from the right seminaries is the prudent way to live. Being held to account because of our failure to understand God, because of our wilful ignorance of His Commandments, because of our insistence that God does not enforce His Law today…that is simply unacceptable, both to us church straw bosses and to the secular masters who are really in charge.

Much better to forever crawl before secularists who despise us, than obey God and gain the victory. After all, nobody expects anything from beggars and congenial losers: but victory demands prices to be paid, and brings responsibility! Why, the secularists and the government might cease to be merciful to us! *GASP!* “

People who hate Christ’s Kingdom — and the laws that the King has proclaimed, in both the Old and New Testament — will receive their wages in due time, regardless of their position in the church hierarchy.

Those who love Christ’s Kingdom, and both pray and work for its arrival TODAY – ‘on Earth, as it is n Heaven’, in this world, will be well rewarded.

Christ Kingdom come, Christ’s Will be done!

 

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