Paul's Passing Thoughts

Under Law is What Under Law Does

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 1, 2017

ppt-handleThere are, according to the Bible, two groups of people in the world; under law, and under grace. According to church orthodoxy, everyone is under law, but if you are also under grace Jesus satisfies the “righteous demands of the law” for you. So, according to church orthodoxy whether Catholic or Protestant, you are only under law (unsaved) or under law and grace both (saved). This is contrary to what the Bible states; you are under one or the other only.

So, how does being under both function? Well, if people live by “the means of grace” (found only in church membership—go figure) available to those under grace, Jesus will fulfil the righteous demands of the law they are still under. If you are only under law, you don’t have access to the means of grace. Therefore, love doesn’t get you into heaven, only the means of grace get you into heaven. From this, you might surmise that church folks would spend much more time doing grace through the church sacraments than doing love…and you would be right about that.

While church folks rant on and on about the Pharisees, they are the Pharisees. The true gospel cancels the condemnation of the law and frees real Christians to focus entirely on love without fear of condemnation. Love casts out fear of condemnation, and you can’t sin while you are loving anyway. The Pharisees and those who placed themselves under their authority operated in contrast to being under grace only. The results, like “stupid is what stupid does,” and in this case, under law is what under law does, follow. Because they fulfilled the law through the traditions of men and thereby made the law void regarding love, they were antinomian inside and out. In other words, their inward thoughts were unloving as well as their outward actions. Jesus also said they lacked mercy and justice.

1201171256Our ministry receives testimonies continually from people who have been treated poorly by church people. And usually, it involves petty issues. This month, our ministry experienced such firsthand. Between the back of the Potter’s House and the neighbor’s fence/property line, we have a space that is useless for anything except what I utilized it for this month: the building of two storage sheds. Apparently, the neighbor didn’t like it that the roofs of the sheds can be seen through her tree line if you look closely enough, so she researched the city zoning laws to see if we are in full compliance, and we aren’t. She filed a complaint with the city, and Susan and I attended the zoning hearing on Monday.


I might mention, she not only deliberately waited until the sheds were completely built before filing the complaint, but waited until we moved everything in that was left over from my brother’s benefit yard sale. Both sheds are packed full of stuff. With the building of the foundation deck, the sheds, and all of the moving, Susan and I invested 2500 dollars, hundreds of hours of labor, and this on top of fulltime employment while caring for my mother and brother.

At the hearing, we not only presented a solid case for allowing the sheds legally, but Susan tearfully explained the severe hardship for us that would ensue if we have to remove the sheds. Then the neighbor presented her case, and she was completely merciless. She not only hammered hard on the technicality of the zoning law, but curiously, complained that we “didn’t even ask her permission to build the sheds.” Hmmmmm, really? Oh, and by the way, she also lied under oath.

The zoning board ruled in her favor. However, the zoning officer has allowed an unprecedented amount of time to remove the sheds. What does that tell you? Without citing how I know, the neighbor is a run-of-the-mill churchian—go figure.

Xenia is a church community, and trust me, we get our fill of unmerciful behavior accordingly. Another case is the “Christian” owned auto repair shop that tried to rip us off twice; once for 400 dollars, and another time for around 600 dollars. We also experienced an absurd situation with a local “Christian” printing company.

This is how people who live under law act. Those under law who don’t go to church do better living by their consciences. When they do so, they are at least loving others. But when you are busy avoiding the law and replacing it with the traditions of men, using the law for love is pushed aside and…

…under law is what under law does. That’s church.


7 Responses

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  1. John said, on December 2, 2017 at 3:08 AM

    Oh, my. Paul, your opening paragraph confirms it yet again: Protestants have a law fetish, but surprisingly (not), they keep very little if any part of that law. Also, I can’t tell you how many “laws” and “commands” Calvinists, for example, have “found” in the New Testament. That these people have time to eat is a miracle (and in a way it includes your neighbor).

    But does your neighbor know that you and Susan would help her out too in a similar way if she ever needed it?


  2. Susan said, on December 3, 2017 at 3:48 AM

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. Yeah, I don’t see a whole lot of difference between how Christians live and how non-Christians live. Sometimes the non-Christians are more loving and honest than those who call themselves by Christ’s name. What, then, is the point? Love or legalism, you decide.


    • John said, on December 3, 2017 at 9:55 AM

      Susan, here’s the crux of the matter: “Non-Christians are more loving and honest than those who call themselves by Christ’s name.” You are right.

      My question: What/whose “Christ”? That makes all the difference.


    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on December 3, 2017 at 12:08 PM

      Isn’t it interesting that unregenerate operate according to their own conscience and simple human decency (for the most part, there are exceptions of course), but “christians” have to “learn” how to undo that and operate according to some evil orthodoxy that teaches them they are depraved in direct contrast to what their own innate senses tell them. It takes “church” to make people behave worse than the unregenerate!


  3. republican mother said, on December 3, 2017 at 12:17 PM

    I hate that ya’ll are having to deal with stuff like this. There are people in the church and elsewhere who just LIVE for the chance to take someone to task for a zoning “violation”. They feel alive with purpose and now their life has direction once they can go to a city council meeting for some serious letter-of-the-law fun!

    Protip: anytime you see the “Christian” moniker being used as a marketing tool, run for the hills. One of my friends from the last biblical-leaning church I was at, worked for a Christian advertising circular type publication. She said she had to quit because she felt that they were trying to profit off the Lord’s Name. Which then again, asks the question, which “Christ” are we talking about?

    You see these same people in the church business meetings. It’s like the training grounds for the “big league” of city council. Another example of element of the world incorporated into institutional church, for the Bible doesn’t have a secret section on Robert’s Rules of Order.


  4. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on December 4, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Great comments on this post…thanks all.


  5. Ken B said, on December 6, 2017 at 4:51 AM

    A bit late in the day, but I too am sorry you have had to put up with this.

    My initial reaction was that you are being got at – there is a spiritual warfare going on in the background designed to get you down. If this is what Christians are like …

    With a nod to C S Lewis’ famous dictum on this, most Christians these days it seems to me ignore this side of the Christian battle rather than over-emphasise it.

    I’m not saying your neighbour is a principality and power, but even Peter had to be rebuked for succumbing to Satan. There is entrenched evil going on behind the pious, Sunday morning facade in some circles.


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