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Christian Do Do
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, August 2, 2006, p. 11
Some Christians today have unfortunately condensed Christianity down to a
list of “Do-Dos” and “Don’t-Dos” in order to obtain salvation and
everlasting life in Heaven.
Some Christians have perfected their behavior according to their own or
their church congregation’s checklist, and some marvel at their ability to
keep most of God’s law - though only one person in human history ever has
completely kept it.
As part of the Torah (the Law) the 10 Commandments were given to Moses by
God and are rules we should all aspire to. However, most Christians who want to
follow the Law as their method to salvation aren’t aware that there are many
more rules dictated than those infamous ten.
“According to Jewish tradition, the Torah contains 613 commandments
altogether, consisting of 248 positive and 365 negative rules.”1
Some Christian groups in the past have taken moral rules and dictates to
the extreme. Members of the
Pentecostal Fire-Baptized Holiness Church, formed in 1911, are forbidden to buy
or sell, or to engage in any labor or business for which they may receive
pecuniary remuneration. They are
also forbidden “filthiness” of speech, foolish talking or jesting, slang,
attendance at fairs, swimming pools, or shows of any kind, the use of jewelry,
gold, feathers, flowers, costly apparel or neckties.2
Many of these self-prescribed Christian Do-Dos aren’t even found in the
Bible, while others only through a huge stretch of some select verses out of
The Law of the Old Testament was a contract given to us by God.
Keep it, you live; don’t keep it, you die.
God knew our human nature was such that there was no way we could
possibly keep all 613 mandates from birth to death, and used it to show us our
hopeless condition under sin, which is why Paul referred to it as a
“schoolmaster” to bring us to Christ.3
We have to come to Christ for our Salvation, because we find by trying to
keep the Law, we can’t ever hope to be saved.
Societies adopt many subjective rules regarding what each deems
“appropriate” behavior. From
what clothes to wear, the length hair for men or women, to the degree or
severity of what it terms “foul” language and how one should act in public,
a restaurant, amongst friends, etc. are what anthropologists call “norms.”
Other things like eating with knives and forks or with chopsticks, having
a chaperone on a date, and not cheating on exams are called “folkways.”
Finally, much stronger than norms or folkways are prohibitions against
stealing, murder, vandalism, etc. These,
anthropologists refer to as “mores” (pronounced
Christians have adopted many of these societal norms, folkways and mores
in their doctrine on what one must do to be saved from sin.
However, as societies differ, so do their ideologies - hence, what is
deemed unacceptable in one society (for example, nudity in public) would be
considered normal, appropriate, even expected in another.
Such a loose, subjective variation in societal norms, then can not be
used to light the path to true salvation.
The one act that does cross societal lines, regardless of their norms,
folkways or mores is Faith in the Heavenly Father.
Regardless of what one society or another deems as acceptable behavior
amongst its inhabitants, Faith transcends those boundaries and allows each -
clothed or unclothed; smoking or non-smoking; vegetarian or meat eater - equal
access to salvation via a personal, trusting, faithing relationship with the
Now, cussing will not get you into Heaven; but not
cussing won’t get you
into Heaven, either. Drinking
alcohol will not get you into Heaven; but not
drinking alcohol won’t
get you into Heaven, either. Smoking
won’t get you into Heaven; but, not
smoking won’t get you into Heaven, either.
Are you beginning to get the picture?
It’s not your works, your “Do-Dos” and “Didn’t-Dos” that get
The Law is still a valid set of rules, keeping the 10 commandments will
make you a good neighbor. I would
much rather live beside a neighbor who has good morals and ethics than one who
doesn’t. But, keeping good morals
and ethics is not what gets you into Heaven.
Jesus expounded on the 10 commandments by stating essentially: the
thought is as bad as the deed. For
example, while adultery is condemned, Jesus taught that the mere act of
fantasizing about sexual relations with another woman while married, is the
exact same thing.4
This thought vs. deed parallel was designed to show people that in their
sinful, fallen nature, there is no way they can keep the Law and obtain
salvation. A miss, after all is as
good as a mile.
Luckily, God saw this fault in our frail human condition and utilized
Jesus as the failsafe plan to save us.
Jesus was God who “struck a tent in human flesh”5
to become one of us as our kin. Since
He was God, He was perfect, since He was in the flesh of a man, He was prone to
all of the temptations and potential shortfalls we all have.
Being God, he was able to be tempted and overcome the shortfalls of man
and keep the Law none of us could.
When Jesus died as the sacrifice for our sins, the Law of the Old
Testament passed away with Him and a new Law, a new Torah, a New Testament was
given to us - a Law of Faith.
Under this new contract - the Law of Faith - we are no longer subjected
to the Old Law. But that does not
give us license to break it.
In Old Testament days, the Law was on the outside of the man, pushing in.
Pushing him down, telling him what he must or mustn’t do.
Today, under the Law of Faith, as one acts upon his trusting relationship
with our Heavenly Father, through the Faith of His son, Jesus as the template to
model his own Faith upon, God’s spirit enters in and changes him into a new
person - a new creation in Christ.
The position of God’s will relative to Christians is thus inside,
pushing out; rather than outside, pushing in.
We Christians do what God wants because we
want to, not because we
are forced to, and are guided by Him literally living within us to that end.
The Apostle Paul tried to illustrate the separation of the old Law of
works from the new Law of Faith in Romans 3:28: “Therefore
we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
In that verse, the word “without” is translated from the Greek χωρις (choris), which
pictorially means “chasms” or like a wide, deep chasm. The Law of faith,
then is “chasms apart” from the Law of works.
When Satan rebelled and took a third of Heaven with Him, a void was left.
God is looking to fill that void with people who aren’t necessarily
perfect, but trust Him. While we
move toward perfection as God’s willing servants here in the physical realm,
He will refine our Faith through testing and He will do the full perfecting of
us “over there” when we finally meet with Him in Heaven.
Those who choose not to place their faith in God don’t have to.
He doesn’t, nor can He, coerce love and trust.
He gave us free will to choose to Faith in Him or not; to choose Heaven
or Hell. Choose wisely.
1. The Torah: A Modern Commentary,
©1981 Union of American Hebrew Congregations, p. 544.
of Denominations in the United States, 5th ed.,
Frank S. Mead, ©1970 Abingdon Press, p. 164.
3. Galations 3:24
4. Matthew 5:28
5. phrase borrowed from Dr. Gene Scott, Ph.D.