Monday, June 22, 2009

4 simple rules

"You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things."

This is James' decision as to what the gentile converts should follow from the Law of Moses.

There are three that deal with food.
No food sacrificed to idols (although Paul later says this isn't a sin)
No Blood (this just seems gross)
No meat from strangled animals (???)

And the last one:
No sexual immorality.

As I look through the commandments, these probably aren't the ones I would choose. Granted, food sacrificed to idols would be very hard to come by today. But, I think that lying and stealing were just as prominent then as now. Why didn't they make the cut?

Were these four laws just highlights? Were they the laws that were toughest to follow? Were these the ones that were the major differences between standard gentile life and Jewish life? Were these the laws that the average gentile would assume were okay, but really were not?

If we wrote 4 rules (maybe not simply rules, maybe ideals) today that the average non-believer would think are okay, but that are contrary to God's will what would they be?

My quick list (I reserve the right to change this at any time):
No sexual immorality (physical or otherwise)
No me-first (or me-only)
No apathy
No withholding grace


  1. I like your 4 but I wonder about James' 4 rules. Do you think we should be living by those today?

  2. Sexual immorality, yes. I think it is one of the biggest problems in our society today.

    James' other 3 have lost a great deal of traction.
    Like Paul says in 1 Cor 8:8, "But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do."

    Idol worship has changed a great deal from what it was in those days. We put a great deal of stuff - from the cars we drive to the latest diet craze to the relationships we have to the size TV we watch in front of God. All of those things (and plenty more) can be idols, but we don't sacrifice meat to them, so the spiritual side of this point has faded.

    There is nothing wrong with following James' laws, there might even be a great deal of good, but they are not as important as they were or maybe as important as James thought they were.