Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Law and Punishment

Christians tend to assume that passing a law against an activity that they do not like stops it from happening. That is not true. A law change does not change people’s hearts.

All that a law can do is punish the people who engage in the banned activity. Laws lead to punishment. Some people will stop doing the banned activity, but it will be due to fear of punishment, not to a change of heart.

So, when Christians advocate a law change to prevent an activity that they do not like, they are actually advocating that the people who engage in the activity are punished. As a consequence, the people of the world see Christians as people who want other people to be punished. They assume that the Christians’ God likes punishing people. They become hostile to him, because they see him as a punisher, and miss out on his love.

When advocating laws against immoral behaviour, Christians often claim that they are standing up for righteousness, but the people of the world perceive them to be standing up for punishment, which makes their gospel seems like bad news.

Christians see themselves as people of grace, but they are often perceived by the world to be people of punishment, which harms the gospel.

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