James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Inscribed in stone above the courthouse entrance in a local county seat are the words, “Where Law ends Tyranny begins.” Law is the system of rules formed to protect a society. Tyranny is the cruel and unjust behavior of an unrestrained government. The apprehension of God’s people is mounting as we live in an increasingly socialist society propelled more and more by laws that seem to be at odds with God’s law. There has been a gradual migration away from God’s law to humanistic answers. As a culture we are moving into the open arms of a tyrant called gradualism.
Gradualism takes place when we allow the flesh to govern changes to a practice and then justify the change by adjusting doctrine to accommodate the practice. Gradualism is often the result of indifference to detail. Without maintenance things become less orderly. Gradualism is also the result of a purpose driven agenda by the god of this world that produces gradual change to applications of God’s law. The psalmist implies this agenda in psalm 94:20, “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?”
There has been a shift in the way the general populace views God’s law. To a large degree America was regulated by Judeo-Christian principles, with tacit acceptance of biblical precedents. Some of those were the observance of the day of rest, or Sunday as we commonly refer to it, God’s definition of marriage as being for male and female, etc. Now those laws are accommodating to contemporary practices of society. If large segments of society support a practice, then it tends to become law. There has been an erosion of God’s absolutes and a shift to the answers of academia and the popular culture in which we live. This shift seems to have long coattails to the doors of the church and is gradually making its way down the aisle of many churches.
God’s law informs us of His immutable character.
Hebrews 8:10, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.”
The character of His immutable holiness and the relationship we can have with Him through the regeneration of faith in Jesus is the heart of scripture. The heart of the regenerated person has the law of God written in it. It is a heart that is yearning for more of His holiness. It is one who is drawn away from the things and entertainment of this world. The song writer says, “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Why is it that we see so much yearning for acceptance of American culture and the materialism that accompanies it? Is it the heart with the written law of God that spends money on the yard until it matches the pictures in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine, while the mission of the church suffers?
God’s law warns against gradualism.
The scriptures warn of subtle variations to God’s law. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2Cor 11:3). ever since eve heard the words, “Yea hath God said,” Satan has attempted to introduce gradual departure from truth.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2Co 6:14-16).
One of the very subtle temptations of the child of God and the church is to relax the resolve to be a separated people. Gradual acceptance of more of the world’s ways and less of God’s way seems to affect every church. When through due process our church has formed a standard on footwear that says, “Sandals shall not be worn in public life,” why do we see the gradual acceptance of flip flops for travel and other casual occasions? The casual dress wear that gradually is creeping into our wardrobes for the worship service is another example; what does the gradual acceptance of the open bold plaid shirts for worship say about our view of the holiness of God? especially alarming are those who have changed to casual wear while serving in responsible positions in the worship service.
God’s law brings rest against gradualism.
Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” The man of God knows that God is above and behind the current scene of change. Certainly we cannot deny all change that has brought so much conflict in the church, but we can love the law of God and the principle of holiness and support a church that is making practical application to God’s law. The people of God come to rest with the fair, consistent application of a biblical church. Uncertainty plagues the church when it lacks administrative continuity in speaking to subtle adjustments to practice.
God’s law will accomplish His mission in defeating gradualism.
Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” His mission is to save men, women, and nations who are not controlled by the tyrant of gradual departure from truth, but have tenaciously followed the law of God.