Thursday, 10 December 2015

God's Moral Prohibition of Usury is Part of the Eternal Moral Law, NOT only applicable to Old Testament Israel

 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).

Many in the modern Church, including conservative Christian theologians think that the prohibition of usury only applies to the Old Testament Israel. They claim that it is not a Moral Law of God, but only a civil law of God, as John Calvin wrote, twisting the Scriptures, sowing the seed for the legitimisation of usury, and the widespread practice of money-lending, which means lending money at interest or usury. They argue that even if it is a Moral Law, it only applies to Israel.

The Moral Law of God was, is and will forever more be the same unto Eternity for God never changes. It is ironic that of these (professing) Christians claim that the Moral Law of God never changes and applies to all humans in all the ages, but when it comes to the issue of usury, they claim that is only applies to Old Testament Israel.  

Instead, they simply argue that the usury as a sin is no longer applicable because Jesus came. Jesus Himself said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17).  He is telling people to not even for a moment think that any Moral Law or Prophets' commands to obey the Moral Law will no longer apply, including the Prophet's commands to stop charging usury. By no means! Indeed, " it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail" (Luke 16:17). 

The Bible makes it very clear that the Moral Law of God applies to all people, in all the ages. This is because the Moral Law is written on the hearts of all people, not just the Jews: 

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another (Romans 2:14-15). 

The Moral Law of God is written on the hearts of all people so that none is without excuse. No one can say that he did not know for he has known since he has a God-given moral conscience. It is so that each can know they are guilty before a Holy and Righteous God (Romans 3:19). Romans 1:18-20 says:

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

The things which God has shown to the unsaved is not just His Creation. It is also the ungodliness and unrighteousness of people, who suppress the truth by their own unrighteousness. It is because people know that they are unrighteous according to God that they suppress the truth by their own unrighteousness. That is exactly why no one seeks after God, no not one (Romans 3:10-12). It is because their works were evil, and they know that the true God exists who hates their evil works, and they love their evil works (John 3:20).

The Moral Law clearly applies to all people. It should be very clear to the true follower of Christ. When Jesus was declaring what are the Two Greatest Commandments, he explained that "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:40). For the true follower of Christ, this is a glorious truth because it means that he can now keep all the all the Laws of God to please Him.  

The Commandment to love God with all one's heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37) and to love one's neighbour as oneself (Matthew 22:39) covers all the all the Moral Law of the Old Testament and the Prophets. These Two Commandments are do not render the Old Testament Moral Law and Prophets obsolete at all, nor are independent of the Old Testament Law and Prophets as some might mistakenly think. No, they affirm them all the more and increase the standard to one of loving God and others. 

Usury was condemned by the Prophets such as Nehemiah (5:7), Ezekiel (18:8,13-23) and Jeremiah (15:10). They condemned it not because it contradicted a ceremonial procedure, or civil procedure. They condemned because usury itself was of greed, unforgiveness and a lack of love. Usury is sin, just as lying,stealing and adultery are sins. Usury is sin because it is a lack of love.

God's Moral Law against Usury is as applicable today to all people as much as it was to Old Testament Israel. It is a lack of love and he who does not love sins, for God is love. Anyone who does not love sins by his lack of love. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (1 John 4:8).