Darrow Miller and Friends

God’s Laws Promote Nations’ Lives

Teach the nations to follow God’s laws

God’s commands are beautifully simple and wonderfully profound. Through obedience to God’s commands we thrive when we follow God's lawspeople and nations find freedom, life, and peace.

According to Jesus’ Great Commission, his disciples are to continually engage in teaching the nations. Nations are to actively obey all Christ has commanded. All authority has been given to Christ; all nations are to be discipled, and everything Christ commanded is to be taught and obeyed. He sends us to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey “everything I have commanded you.”

We usually think of obedience in external terms, submitting to government or laws. Christ calls us to a different kind of obedience: to freely and internally govern ourselves according to all that he has commanded.

God’s people are to live as free women and men as they “follow his ways” and build God’s order in their lives. My good friend Dr. Elizabeth Youmans, founder of Chrysalis International, states:

The Christian principle of self-government is God ruling internally from the heart of the believer. In order to have true liberty, man must willingly (voluntarily) be governed internally by the Spirit and Word of God rather than by external forces. Government is first internal (causative), then extends outwardly (effect).

In Christian internal self-government, people and nations do not put the responsibility on others; they themselves are free and responsible.

God wants nations to flourish. His mission is to transform slave nations into free nations, just as he transformed the Hebrew nation, a people with a slavery mentality, into a free and great people, a model for the nations of the world. This transformation occurs through obedience.

Irreducible minimum, comprehensive maximum

Jesus’ words “everything I have commanded” have two perspectives: their irreducible minimum and their comprehensive maximum. When Jesus was asked to identify the greatest commandment, he reduced God’s law to two commands:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:36–40).

The apostle Paul reduces these two commands to one irreducible minimum: “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself ’” (Gal. 5:14). John explains how the two commands—love God and love your neighbor—can be simplified to one: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:20–21). The irreducible minimum of all God’s laws is to love your neighbor. On the simplest level, this is what all nations are to be taught.

If “love your neighbor” is the irreducible minimum of “everything that I have commanded,” what is the comprehensive maximum—the fullest, most profound expression?

The answer lies in recognizing that the entire universe was created and is governed by God. Every aspect of the universe plays a part in the God's laws are seen in his creationcomprehensive maximum of “everything that I have commanded” because God spoke (commanded) the universe into existence.

God governs three ways

The comprehensive maximum is reflected not only in the nature of the universe but also in God’s governing of the universe, which he does in three ways: the laws of creation, his providence, and human wisdom and obedience.

First, God governs the universe through the laws of creation. God’s names include Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. These names correspond to God’s laws of creation. Truth is reflected in God’s physical and metaphysical laws. Goodness (justice) is reflected in God’s moral laws. Beauty is reflected in God’s aesthetic laws. These laws of creation form the infrastructure upon which individual lives and nations are built. Physical laws govern the physical world, moral laws promote human development, and metaphysical and aesthetic laws help societies blossom.

Second, God governs the universe though his providence. God is active in creation, working in space and time. The laws of creation and God’s providence come together as God works providentially to govern the universe through his laws. Deists acknowledge creation laws but deny God’s engagement with creation. Atheists deny the Lawgiver, irrationally severing him from the laws of creation. But the profound biblical revelation stands: God created the universe and he providentially sustains it. “For in him all things were created … and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16–17).

Third, human wisdom and obedience is a means for stewarding God’s creation. It is imperative for human beings to discover and apply the ordinances of creation in personal and national life. Only through wisdom—living in the framework of God’s creation—can people and societies become all that God intends.

God’s glory, the purpose of creationGod's laws are seen in his creation

Christ’s commands propel creation to its grand finale—the City of God, the New Jerusalem, God coming to dwell forever among men. This vision drove Abraham into the desert: “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). Seeking, finding, and applying wisdom allows human beings to engage in this grand story.

God’s glory is the end and purpose of creation. God created and sustains the universe, and calls people to engage in history and the consummation of all history. As we explore creation, we see more and more of God’s glory. God has hidden himself all around us and is waiting for the wise person to seek and find. Wise people grow to understand the laws of creation (discovering God’s thoughts after him) and to know the One who is wisdom so their lives and governments will be rightly ordered.

Here’s a slightly different perspective on this truth. When God made human beings, he made them in his image to rule creation as his vice-regents, to manage his household (oikos). God’s house (oikos) is to be stewarded by humans, built up (oikodomeō) to reach its God-given potential. Humans are to “administer the house” through “house laws,” the laws God established to govern his creation from the beginning. These were laid down at creation and built into creation as a reflection of God’s nature. These are the laws through which God governs the creation by means of his vice-regents.

God’s laws work in human lifewe thrive when we live within God's laws

This is the meaning of Christ’s words “all I have commanded.” Just as loving one’s neighbor is the irreducible minimum of God’s commands, administering all the laws of creation is the comprehensive maximum of God’s commands. God’s commands belong to all people; they are not the exclusive right of Christians or Jews. Furthermore, these invisible laws are immutable. They cannot be broken. Like gravity, they “work”! When a person or nation lives by these laws, the result is more justice, wealth, health, and social peace.

We are to teach nations to obey everything Christ has commanded. This is as simple as loving your neighbor as yourself. It is as profound as using our rational minds to discover and apply all the metaphysical, moral, and aesthetic laws of creation.

– Darrow Miller

This DM&F Classic blog post is excerpted from the book Emancipating the World. For the entire text go here.

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).