Today I read 1 Timothy 1 where Paul begins his epistle to Timothy. He says some interesting things in this chapter but the one that stood out to me the most was probably verse 9 where he says that the law is not made for a righteous man but rather for sinners and he goes on to list out those sins in detail.
I find it interesting because the righteous man looks upon laws as something to protect him/her. He does not look upon them as burdensome and something to keep him from having fun. Whether it is the laws of man or the laws of God, the righteous will obey them with pleasure and will look upon the laws as a protection. I have often pondered the question what makes a man obey the laws of the land? Is it simply fear of punishment? Is it because laws are meant to be obeyed? Is it because we love the Lord and we have been told that a good Latter-day Saint follows the laws of the land?
We have discussed in the past why people follow the commandments of God. But following the laws of the land is slightly different. The reason being because in most of us, there is not that love of those who created the laws like there is our love for God. I think honestly most people obey the law strictly out of fear of the consequences. We don't want to pay the fines or go to jail if we are caught. Very few of us obey the law because it is our duty to uphold the laws of the land. There are very few people who obey the laws of out patriotism, but it is important to know where you stand in this just as it is important to know why you obey the commandments of God. Because as Paul says, if we are truly righteous, mean we are righteous because we want to be, we are going to obey all the laws just because that is who we are.
When Elder Bednar came and spoke to us last year in September, he asked us a question. He asked us if we enjoyed living the commandments or if we felt it was a chore. Did we enjoy living the Word of Wisdom or was it a constant struggle? Then he said something really interesting. He said that the reward for following the commandments, was more commandments. When we live a good and righteous life, we are expected to live a better life going forward. At the time I thought that was an interesting thing to say, but now I realize that he is right and we won't necessarily be given more commandments from God so much as we will find other ways to live a better life, a life more in keeping with His character. We will start to avoid certain shows and movies, certain types of music and books. We will start to change to be more out of the world than we were before. We will want to become better men and women because that will be the natural thing to do.
When we live the commandments, it changes us and we no longer even have to think about living them anymore, they are part of us. We don't need to question if we are going to drink that cup of coffee anymore, it will be repulsive to us. We will not have to wonder if it is right or not to do a certain activity. We will know! So Paul is correct, the law is not given for the righteous, because the righteous have no need of it. They are living it already and it is a part of them. That is what Paul meant and he is right. Until tomorrow.