Living by the Code
Without noticing we as humans live by codes and laws, we chose for ourselves. These codes and laws we live by are mostly based on value judgments we subconsciously have or popular opinions of people that we adhere to, whichever one has more weight in our minds at any given time. In other words, if something will be beneficial for us or make us ‘in’ with the crowd we will do it or live it out, whether it is socially acceptable or not. It is also clear by my estimation of human nature, that whether your desire is lawful or not, you will do many things including breaking the laws of the land to fulfill your desire. Many times we do not know how we came to the decisions we made or how we got to our value judgments, but that is just because we are not aware of our own laws and codes which subconsciously guides us. This is true for everyone that comes into the world. As I thought on this it seems to me that your age has not much to do with your value judgments, because it does not matter how young you are if you did anything, you made a decision to do it, and you must have decided by some code or judgment.
The question we must ask ourselves is; up to now, did my own personal codes, which caused my decisions, bring me good results or was it mainly detrimental to me? As we grow we are given an education, but nevertheless, the value judgments does not seem to improve much, because although we know how to spell words and do mathematics, our decision-making process still does not become much better even with education in relation to everyday living. In addition, even though we as humans gain more knowledge with every year that passes, the crime rates and poor morals still are part of our everyday lives. Education is therefore not a measure for good decision-making in life issues; it will only help you in the sphere of your qualification it seems. If education were the measure of good decision-making, then it would follow that adults who have more knowledge with education and life experience will do less crime and will live with high moral values, but that is not the case. In crime statistics, it is mostly adults, who are responsible for crime in the world, adults with life experience and education. We seem to be living with a built-in code we cannot control; in fact, it controls us many times. In addition, it seems we cannot educate this code out of our system and judging by the standards of the world since the time of Adam, the codes we live by, are definitely detrimental to us to answer the question posed above.
Since there is no outstandingly moral or crime free society in the world, we can deduce then that all humans must be born with a corrupt code of conduct, which tend to override their better judgment many times and they seem to be powerless against it. In my estimation, it seems that society does not take our inherent fault seriously; it seems we just bear the consequences of one another’s actions and look to authorities to sort out social problems. The question must be asked, how can a human government, consisting of fallible humans sort out social problems? It seems to me that we should rather look to the individuals of a society to straighten up their act, than to rely on a government to police us. However, it is also clear to me that we need someone higher than us to lift us out from where we are. We have laws to punish if we overstep our bounds, but laws try to prevent and then punish transgression, laws are not for fixing the problem. If we try to give everyone what they need to fend for their physical bodies, via education and skills training, why are we not doing something to try to cure our bad and lawbreaking decision-making?
We live by our codes and even if we do not know why or how we make decisions, we make them anyway and just bear the consequences when they come. Why? Many people will tell you that they do not know why they did what they did, the phrase is sometimes used, something just came over me, and I did it. Men will put their marriages at risk for one time of indiscretion and then say; well it did not mean anything, but why do they do it in the first place if it did not mean anything? What drives them to break up something in one night, which they worked on for years? The answer is; they made a value judgment that does not make sense, is it not? Of course, there are those who cheat on purpose, however, I think you understand what I am getting at. Nevertheless, the same could be said for many other predicaments we get ourselves into.
How can we do things like the above mentioned and not learn from our mistakes?
The answer is; we do not take our built-in corrupted code of conduct seriously enough; we think it is just the way we were born. Our weakness is not making bad decisions, but it is not being able to correct the corrupted code we live by which causes the bad decisions.
A strong hold of this corrupted code is that we tend not to want to change it, because we lived by it for so long that we grab for it before we think of what is the right thing to do. This corrupted code is also very easy to follow because it is normally the path of least resistance. We will give up on a marriage before trying our utmost to save it because we had enough of the other person. In the case of a marriage, all will conclude that strong marriages and families are good for the community, but if the marriage becomes too troublesome, we divorce because it is the easiest way according to the corrupted code to solve the problem.
What are we to do?
Well, the answer to that is that we were given an alternate code to live by, but will we take the time and effort to pursue this code with all our heart? There are some who say they live by this code, but truth be told they attempt to live by the code. Because if they lived by this code, they would be just short of perfect, but I have not found one yet and I believe neither did you. We should all know what I am speaking of about by now, the nature of man and the Bible. So therefore, if we consider the faulty code we were born with, the nature of man and the faultless code we were given to live by, the Bible; what is the percentage of both that you are applying in your life? The obvious goal will be to get rid of a hundred percent of the faulty one; the one with the bad value judgments and replace it with the faultless one, but how can I get to that point?
The Bible calls the faulty code we come into this world with the sin nature, and the only alternate code is the Bible. Therefore, how do we address the problem of our corrupted code? A recovered alcoholic will tell you that the first step to recovering from alcoholism is accepting you have a problem. The Bible will call that step the step of confessing your sin. Therefore, if we want to fix the inherent problem we have then it must start with us realizing that we actually have a tendency to do the wrong thing before the right even though something told us what the right thing was. Therefore, if we will start to accept that we do not have a perfect nature then we are on our way to fixing our problem.
However, another thing we should take into consideration is that not everyone comes to this point and we will have to bear with others who find it convenient to stay in the sin nature because they actually like it and do not want to change. However, if you had enough of messing up your life and are finding out that the codes you lived by was causing your problems, then you must read on.
The final authority must change:
This is where healing for your problems start or at least the problems you create for yourself. With contemplating issues in your life, there was a pattern you followed to come to conclusions or decisions. However, before you allowed God and His Word to influence your decisions, you had another final authority that decided what the outcome of your decisions would gravitate to. The outcome would have been more times than most selfish and ego centered. In other words, you would always come out tops in your decision-making and you would not allow anyone to benefit from your decisions except yourself.
We could also say that your decisions was looking out for your fleshly desires and made sure that they were always catered for. Therefore your needs or maybe lusts, was probably the deciding factor or final authority that had to be checked before you made decisions and if you did not benefit, no decision was made. The new code you are going to accept is going to be your new final authority. In addition, this new code, which is the Word of God, will tell you Who to follow in decision-making. Therefore, if a tough decision had to be made, you will not look out for yourself first but go to the One that the Bible recommends to make good decisions with.
That means even if you are going to get the short-end of the stick, if it is the right thing to do, you will follow your new final authority, and that is the Word of God. Following the Word of God is not an easy thing. In fact, you will find that life will become more difficult when you want to follow the Bible’s standards. It actually stands to reason does it not? The standards of the world is in the decline at the moment and as children are born into the moral decline, all they know is what they see their parents and friends do and they promptly do the same. Therefore, when they are confronted with the Bible, it looks like a mountain that they should climb to reach the standards.
However, it is not like that. God did not leave us His Word to follow, then went somewhere else, and left us to figure out what to do next. He says in Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” When we accept Him, He will never forsake us, and that means when we take Him at His Word and give our will over to Him, He will help us when things look impossible for us to achieve.
He says in 1Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” It will be possible for you to bear and beat the things you want to leave behind in your life, the things that caused you to make poor decisions.
In other words, it is possible to beat the sin nature, with the help that God said He will give us, as we quoted above. To live in the world with the sin nature is easy, because the sin nature is catered for more and more. However, we as Christians are called to be the salt and the light. That means we should follow the rules of the One who called us, and because we accepted the One who called us to His ways, we cannot live like the world and follow Him. We should make a difference and live different to the way the world does. Even though life is more expensive and harder if you want to live life God's way, that is give and pay what is expected of you and live contrary to worldly morals, we should remember that living lawless is easy and cheap and wrong!
We came into this sin cursed world in exactly the same way as anybody else did, therefore we should not be fooled by a choice we made to live for Christ and think that the choice alone is going to somehow constrain us to live God’s way. To live God’s way is going to take effort, real effort, because the built-in code we came into this world with is not easy to kill off, to put it that way. I find myself wanting to do the right thing and then end up doing the opposite. I find myself wanting to make a change and falling back to my old ways of letting the flesh decide. Most of the times it is not even sinful things, but the old nature gives you a good fight for supremacy every now and then. This reminds me of Paul when he said in, Romans 7:19 KJV “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”
Christians have an added problem when it comes to works. That is, they are many times bound to their performance before man and God, wanting their performance to count for something. What I mean is this, Christians look to their performance, in other words have I prayed enough this week, have everybody seen me in Church this week, or I must really go to visit the sick, the elderly and do more good for the poor because if I do not do all those things, God will not approve of me. To do those things are very commendable, but they are hardly proving your Christianity because the worldly people do the same, works are good, but do not prove that you are living by God’s code of conduct yet.
The scripture actually says that one of the basics of Christianity is the repentance from dead works! Hebrews 6:1 RV “Wherefore let us cease to speak of the first principles of Christ, and press on unto perfection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” What that means is this, having faith in God is right, but having faith in God does not mean that you press on towards maturity, in addition repentance from dead works mean, to stop trying to impress God and man with your ‘goodness’ and trying to work for your salvation, when Jesus already took care of it. Living by the code of God is a heart attitude, not a performance based variety show to impress. It is to walk in love towards people, not having a plastered on smile every Sunday in Church. It is giving of yourself, at your own cost, while no one sees what you are doing, and being content that even though you did not have an audience, you will do it again when needed, whatever ‘it’ is. Living by the code means not to look to laws of the land to keep you in check, but to lean on God’s leading in every situation in life.
Living by God’s code means that you do not look for laws that force you to do the right thing. Do you need a law to tell you to love your neighbour unconditionally? Do you need a law to tell you that you should support the Church financially? Do you need a law to tell you that you should not divorce? Do you need a law to tell you that you should be active in Church business? Do you really need a law to tell you to be honest? If it really takes a ‘thou shalt’ to get you active for God or to get you listening to God, you are not living by His code yet. Living for God in this world and living out His code from your heart is going to take sacrifice. Overcoming your fleshly desires and the world’s allure is going to take sacrifice. Jesus says in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In this world we will have trouble? Yes, and the trouble is not just living out the daily grind of life, working, paying accounts and taxes, it is overcoming yourself and your own lusts that war against the decision you made to follow God and to live for Him.
So, what is living by the code all about? It is this, to follow Jesus regardless of your social standing or lack thereof. To follow Jesus when it makes you in with the crowd or when it makes you an outcast. It means to follow Jesus and to have the resolve to resist your flesh when you are alone and you think that no one will see you giving in to sin. It means that you follow Jesus and resist doing crime as an easy avenue to gain wealth, and to resist doing crime and using it as an excuse because you are poor and in need of money just to survive. It is to resist being a judge and sarcastic commentator over the state of your country and to get involved with your leaders to make your country what you want it to be. It is basically to do all the ‘hardest’ things, doing the right things, having the right attitude towards life and people, when others have long ago given into their weaknesses of complaining, back bighting, doing underhanded deals and making excuses for sin, you are standing firm because you want to be a mature man/woman for God and you want to show that you really believe what you say you believe.
Having said all that, does it not make you appreciate Jesus Christ just the more? He lived by God’s code. He never crossed into selfish deliberations to look for excuses to hate, revile or to shun His responsibilities. He lived amongst some of the most unthankful people of His time, His own people; the very people that would eventually kill Him, yet did He not turn His back on them. He was prepared to be shamefully treated, abused, made the laughing stock and yet still had the attitude towards them of forgiveness. While He hung on the cross He still was conscious of the code of God which charged that He should forgive all who trespass against Him even though He trespassed against no one.
He forgave and asked God who had the right to judge and condemn to forgive those who did injustice against Him. Jesus could not step out of line in any area of life which the code of God deemed wrong and He did not. We are asked to do the same. To understand our failure in life, we should look at the codes we live by. To make bad decisions is not necessarily sin, to sin is not unforgivable but if you want to live out God’s code, you should be practicing living righteously and living out God’s Word, the Bible.
I want to end off by clarifying our sin. Sin is to live contrary to God’s code of conduct, which is the Bible. The Bible is God’s response to our corrupted code of conduct. The Bible says in Romans 7:7 ASV “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”. For God to help us He needed to show us that what we took as normal, the evil of life, the unfathomable cruelty that people perpetrate against one another and our own unthinkable dumb decisions that hurt ourselves and those who we love, was never His will for human kind.
How could it be, Him being Love, made us to experience Him and His love through our freewill. However we took our freewill and used it against Him and fell to the extent where we are today. The Bible is not just a law to show us our sin; it is a mirror which portrays what we could be like, i.e. Jesus Christ. But you may ask why do I still sin if I am born again? Well, just because you took the decision to be born again, does not mean God suddenly overrode your freewill. You still need to use your freewill, however, for His purposes. Being born again is not to have a license to sin; it is to be just like Adam before he sinned, having freewill, but using it so that God’s will can be done on earth.
Here is the difference between people going to hell and those not going to hell. It is not a matter of the one doing the least sin wins, but it is in what the person practice. Practice? But you might say, I thought that I just have to be born again to go to heaven and those who are not born again goes to hell. That is true, however where the rubber meets the road it is not that simple. You see those who goes to hell does not go just because of rejecting Jesus, but because of making a decision to reject Him and living out that rejection, in other words they practice Bible lawlessness or is willfully disobedient to the Gospel. The Bible says, Matthew 7:22-23 ALT "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Your name, and cast out demons in your name, and did many miraculous works in Your name, did we not? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you*; be departing from Me, the ones practicing lawlessness!” And Titus 1:15-16 KJV “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” And 1Peter 4:17-19 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
On the other hand, if you are born again, you practice sinlessness. You practice righteousness; you embrace the lifestyle of Jesus and emulate it. If you do not do that you will not necessarily lose your salvation, but you will be living a very reckless life style indeed, keeping in mind the quoted passages above. Righteousness is a gift, lawlessness is a born default. You need to make a conscious choice of leaving the born in code of sinfulness alone by accepting God’s remedy for it.
Jesus came to show us how to live life, but since we could not beat our sinful nature He came to pay for our sins so that we can emulate Him. Now we also have to die to fully do what He could do and that was to totally shun sin out of His life. What we have to do is not that easy though, this is the requirement, Romans 12:1-2 KJV “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Those two verses say nothing more than what we spoke about up to now, except that it tells us how to live by God’s code. One, sacrifice that body that just want to keep on sinning and wanting its own way, and two start to think God’s way so that you can eventually get to know God’s perfect will for your life. Can you imagine knowing exactly what God requires of you, what a peaceful place that must be. Nothing could ever really bother you in anyway if you really know that where you are is exactly where God wants you.
How do you renew your mind and be transformed from out of the worldly mess your mind is in?
James 1:21-22 EMTV “Therefore laying aside all filthiness and abundance of evil, in meekness receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (meaning, mind, will and emotions). But become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
What can we say then, the code, Law, Word of God is what we need if we are going to live God’s way. Living by the code is nothing new; it is only a new way of saying live the way the Bible wants you to live. I only wanted to remind us of the fact that we as Christians have been living with a copy of this code probably right next to our beds our whole lives and did not think it worth understanding and just allowed others to give us their opinions about it. Is it not ironic that we lived with our own codes for so long, yet having the code of God right next to our beds our whole lives if we were brought up in a Christian house? God expect much more than that from us, how can we ever attempt to live His way not knowing what he said?
Today, if we are going to take God’s Word seriously and want to live His way we should take the advice God gave to Joshua,
Joshua 1:8 KJV “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Copyright 2007 Richard D Kloosman. All rights reserved
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