Shelby G. Floyd
When our forefathers came over to the land that is now called America, the country was under native law made up of the various tribes and nations of American Indians. This law had been formulated over centuries by the patriarchs, the tribes and the combination of tribes that formed over 500 different nations.
After Columbus discovered America in 1492, the country was flooded over the next few centuries by people from all over Europe and around the world. At various times, different sections of America were under Spanish law, French law, Dutch law and English law. By the time of the American Revolution, and the founding of the Constitution of the United States of America, our founding fathers largely based the laws of America on the political, philosophical and moral doctrine of John Locke and Sir William Gladstone. They believed that a republic could only survive if the citizens were a moral people. Therefore, the laws they put on the books were based for the most part, on natural law and nature’s God, which refers to revealed law. As someone said, “In nature God impressed his laws, but in the Bible God expressed his laws.” Therefore, we have natural revelation and divine (special) revelation.
The Law of Moses was never given to any nation except Israel. None of the Gentile nations, then or now have ever been subject to the Law of Moses. But just as some Spanish law, French law, Dutch law, and English law have been brought over and made a part of American law—so the same thing has happened in the divine law of the New Testament—the law of Christ—the law of the gospel—the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. The church today is not under the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were only given to Israel. But the principles of the 10 Commandments have all been brought over and made a part of the gospel of Christ—the New Testament law.
A person is not lawfully using the Law of Moses when they bring it over and bind it on Christians today. That is what some fanatical Judaizing teachers were doing in the days of the apostle Paul who declared to young Timothy, “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8). What they were doing was not good. They were not using the Law of Moses lawfully. That Law was a schoolmaster (pedagogue) to bring us to Christ and then it was nailed to the cross—abrogated and done away. No Jew can lawfully live under the Law of Moses today because it is not in effect (cf. Ephesians 2:13-15; Galatians 3:24-25; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:9-10). That is the reason that some religious teachers refer to the Lord’s Day—Sunday, as the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day of rest for Israel on Saturday—the seventh day of the week. Christians are not under the Law of Moses, but under the law of Christ. We worship on the first day of the week—Sunday—the Lord’s Day. But we are thankful that most businesses today, out of respect of both the Old and the New Testament, allow their employees a day of rest on Saturday and a day to worship the Lord on Sunday. This is a good thing, and we applaud such business establishments that close their business operations on Sunday—the Lord’s Day. By the law of nature the spirit, soul and body need a day of rest and by the law of divine revelation we need a day of worship to pour out our spirit, soul and body in praise and adoration to Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Another way that some are unlawfully using the Law of Moses today is to say that the moral principles that governed the relationships between people back then are no longer valid today. The moral laws of the United States of America have largely been forged from the 10 Commandments and the moral teaching of Christ and the apostles. That is the reason the 10 Commandments are inscribed on the Supreme Court Building. The moral principles regulating the conduct of human beings have been true from time immemorial and are still true today.
Since some of the moral principles of Abraham through Malachi have been brought over and made a part of the law of Christ, the law of right moral conduct remains the same today. Therefore Paul instructs Timothy:
1 Timothy 1:8-11
8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
Accordingly, the moral principles were made for those who would not live by them to demonstrate the “exceeding sinfulness of sin”—missing the mark of right conduct. Just for whom were these moral laws of Moses and Christ made? There are fifteen (15) specific immoral practices specified in our text and we design to examine each one to demonstrate that those who practice these actions endanger themselves, the individual, the church and the nation. They are:
1. The Lawless, from anomos–ἄνομος, meaning one who departs from the law, a violator of the law, lawless and wicked. As the ancient proverb says, “Out of the wicked comes wickedness!” We are commanded to obey the law of man and God.
2. The Insubordinate, translated from anupotaktos–ἀνυπότακτος, refers to anyone that cannot be subjected to control. They are disobedient, unruly and refractory (cf. Titus 1:6, 10).
3. The Ungodly, from asebas–ασεβας, and refers to those who are “destitute of reverential awe towards God” and are impious in condemning God (cf. Romans 4:5; 5:6; 1 Peter 4:18; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:7; and Jude 4, 15).
4. The Sinners, derived from hamartolois–hαμαρτϖλοις, and meaning one who is not free from sin. In this sense all men are sinners (Romans 3:23), but here the word is used of those who are “pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked” (Thayer, p. 31).
5. The Unholy, from anosios–ανοσιοις, and defines those who are unholy, impious and wicked (cf. 2 Timothy 3:2).
6. The Profane, translated from bebalos–βεβηλοις, and simply refers to men who are ungodly in their conduct (cf. Hebrews 12:16).
Notice that the first six words used to define who the Law of God was made for are all generic and therefore in a general way describe the lawless, wicked and disobedient who refuse to submit to God’s law. In the words of the song, “I fought the law and the law won” aptly describes these rebels who are at war with themselves, others and with God. Lest some still would not understand who the law was made for, the apostle Paul now gives us eight specifics and one that includes anything else contrary to sound doctrine. Let us notice each one of these and we should have no doubt what is moral and immoral.
7. The Murderers of Fathers, from patroloas–πατραλωαις, a parricide who robs children of their father and murders their fathers—something that happens almost every day in America and around the world. And likewise,
8. The Murderers of Mothers, from matraloas–μητραλωαις, a matricide who kills and robs children of their mothers.
9. The Manslayers, derived from androphonos–ανδροφονοις, a manslayer.
10. The Fornicators, translated from pornos–πορνοις, and refers to “a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute” in the classical writers and identifies “a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator” in the New Testament (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1;10; Hebrews 12:16; 13:4; Revelation 21:8; 22:15).
11. The Sodomites, from arsenokoitas–αρσενοκοιταις, which is compounded from arsan a male and koita a bed. Therefore, in plain language it identifies “one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite” (Thayer, p. 75). In the New Testament this word is only found in 1 Timothy 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9, that reads, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites” NKJV. No one acquainted with the moral law of the New Testament can endorse this style of living no matter how many even in high places say it is permissible!
12. The Kidnappers, from andrapodistas–ανδραποδισταις, and refers to “a slave-dealer, kidnapper, man-stealer, i.e. as well one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery, as one who steals the slaves of others and sells them” (Thayer, p. 48). The moral evil of slavery was something the founding fathers of America wrestled with, but could not abolish it and establish a united republic. It took good old “father Abraham” to emancipate slavery in America forever!
13. The Liars, translated from pseustas–ψευσταις, and identifies one who is a liar, a false and faithless person. The apostle John says “all liars will have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone!” The liar identifies himself with the devil because he was a liar from the beginning. Liars have Satan as their spiritual father!
14. The Perjurers, derived from epiorkos–επιορκοις, and is found only one time in the New Testament and defines “a false swearer, a perjurer.”
15. “Any Other Thing…” Finally, the apostle sums up the whole discussion by an inclusive statement that relates to any immoral conduct that opposes the sound, healthy doctrine of Christ: “…and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust” (1 Timothy 1:10-11).
These fifteen immoral practices have always been contrary to the will of God. It is not right when we pick and choose which immoral practice is acceptable today. Many political and ecclesiastical leaders today pick and choose some immoral conduct and say there is nothing wrong with such and such lifestyle. Christian people must listen to God rather than man, regardless of their station in life. We must reject any conduct “that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust” (1 Timothy 1:10-11). In this essay we have identified what is moral by specifically identifying what is immoral. In this case the negative immorality makes the positive morality stand out even more plainly for those who love the truth of God. On this principle I take my stand!
Copyright © 2012, 2015 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street