The reality is that many Christians do live in bondage to a lot of rules. I say bondage because Christ came that we might know the truth and the truth would set us free from sin’s grip. We don’t get that freedom from keeping rules. Anything that is not of grace and faith puts me back into self-effort. I don’t know about other people, but when I am tangled up in self-effort, then I am not listening to Christ or relying on Him. Instead, I am stuck and tied up in sin.
Besides this, the verse about the Golden Rule ends with a phrase that often gets missed in the quotes:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12, NIV)Jesus is saying that this “rule” is the substance of the entire Scriptures. If His people obey it, everything else is covered. So much for all the “rules” that others perceive about Christian living. Could anything be less complicated?
The problem with it is not in the fact that this is a commandment or a rule (if that word must be used), but in the fact of sinful human nature. By definition, sin is wanting to have my own way and do my own thing. This is never done in a vacuum; others are also involved. When my will collides with the will (or wants, or needs) of someone else, treating them as I want them to treat me becomes an issue when I am filled with my own wants and wishes instead of the Spirit of God.
Life is filled with opportunities to live out this Golden Rule. It is the “Royal” law and is at the heart of serving Christ. I’m with people today and looking forward to how I might be obedient to this rule and “do unto others as I would have them do to me.”