We cannot escape laws. Laws touch every aspect of our lives, from the stars in the heavens to the smallest subatomic particles. The stars obey laws of fusion to shine and produce energy. They obey the law of gravity and exert their influence through it. The planets obey the same law as they orbit the stars. Our own Earth obeys the laws of meteorology, geology, chemistry, physics, biology, and plate tectonics, among others. The electrons, neutrons, and protons forming atoms obey the laws of electromagnetism and the laws governing the strong and weak forces. Traffic laws govern our behavior in our cars. Tax laws dictate how much money we have to pay to the government. Water laws direct the distribution of rain water and spring runoff. And this list can hardly be called a beginning! There are laws upon laws that govern our lives.
I’ve tried to think of any aspect of my life that isn’t affected by some law, and so far I can’t. For example, my decision of what to eat for breakfast implicates laws of nutrition that govern my physical health: If I constantly eat food that is high in calories, I’ll get fat; if I eat food high in cholesterol, I run the risk of stroke or heart attack; if I eat rancid meat, I’ll grow ill and vomit; if I don’t drink enough water, I’ll become dehydrated; if I eat poison, I’ll die. Even what I choose to wear involves law: If I choose to wear shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals without a coat in the middle of a snow storm, I’m ignoring the laws of thermodynamics and will inevitably freeze; if I wear revealing clothing, I’m ignoring the laws of modesty and chastity. The choice to brush our teeth is how we obey dental law. Taking a shower complies with laws that keep us clean and healthy. What time we go to bed is a choice whether or not to obey the laws that govern how our body recuperates and recovers from our daily activities. So laws affect everything we do, whether we like it or not.
Truly, where there is a kingdom, there is a law.
So often, we chafe when someone mentions commandments, laws, or rules. We think they rob us of our freedom. After all, the fastest way for someone to spoil a good time is to tell you that what you’re doing is wrong. Inevitably, we bristle and lash out, “How dare you tell me what I can and can’t do! I’m no robot!”
But if that’s our attitude when we’re reminded of the commandments, laws, and rules―what I’ll call “the Law” from now on―we’ve got a lot to learn. The Law, at least Eternal Law, does not exist to spoil our fun. Belief in God mandates a belief in Divine Purpose. And unless we believe that God exists only to keep us from having a good time, there must be something more to the Law. That is, the Law must form part of God’s Divine Purpose for us, His children.
The Law is perfect, and God expects us to live it perfectly. Thus, we need to study the Law, understand its role in God’s plan, and strive to obey it.
If we don’t, we will never reach our potential. And we will never understand the greatest gift any of us have received or will ever receive: the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus came, after all, to satisfy the demands of the Law. He is the only One who obeyed the Law perfectly. And in His success comes our salvation.
So what is the purpose of the Law? I suppose that an entire book could be written about why God has given us His Law. But I won’t try to do that. Instead, we’ll talk about the Law as it relates to our eventual salvation (being brought back into God’s presence because of the merits, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ) and sanctification (being made holy through the merits, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ) or damnation (being cut off from the presence of God because of our sins).
For the next few weeks, we'll discuss how the Law will lead to salvation and sanctification or to damnation.