Sunday, 10 January 2016

Usury is Not a Matter of One's Own Conscience, but a Matter of Sin

 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:32-36).

The New Testament has as much Law as the Old Testament does. The New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament. The Law of God is the delight of the true follower of Christ (Psalm 1:2; 119:16, 97). It is the glorious Law of God, an expression of His perfect and utter Holiness and Righteousness. 

The Law of God is of the Law of Love for God is love. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (1 John 4:8). Romans 13:10 makes it clear that: "love is the fulfilling of the Law". Whoever loves others has fulfilled the Law (Romans 13:8). It is clear that true genuine agape love of God and others is the fulfillment of the Law of God. 

What makes one truly fulfill the Law of God is to love God and others. It is not by simply doing the actions which satisfy the Law of God, such as not lying, stealing or murdering which make one fulfill the Law of God. It is only by truly loving God and others that one fulfills the Law of God. 

A person does not fulfill the Law of God by acting in such as way as to produce good works. He only fulfills it by loving God with all his heart, soul and mind, and loving others as oneself. All the laws and prophets hinge on these Two Greatest Commandments. Matthew 22:36-40 says:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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.

God does not only see the outward actions in judging whether a person is righteous. He looks at the manner of spirit in which one acts (Proverbs 16:2). What makes one fulfill the Law of God is whether his heart is truly seeking to love God and others. This includes the manner of spirit in which he acts. 

Thus, in order to  discern whether one has acted unrighteously, or whether a particular act  done by a person was righteous, one must discern the manner of spirit. There are some actions which can only be done in an evil manner of spirit, making them sin, while others can be done in either a righteous or evil manner of spirit, making it sin depending on whether one violates one's own conscience. 

The Bible does not explicitly state that usury is  a sin in the New Testament. However, it can be discerned that usury can only be done in an evil manner of spirit. It is of the spirit of avarice, unforgiveness and extortion. Usury is not a matter of conscience. No one who has good conscience can charge usury against anyone else in good conscience without feeling guilt. This is because usury is a sin and this can be discerned by discerning the manner of spirit.