The Law of God.

The Law of God/ An Examination of Bible Doctrines/ Lesson 1, Introduction/ 84-001 (Psalm 19:7–9)

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:7–9, NKJV)

Law: Commonly used Phrases.

  • Book of the law: Code or collection of laws read by Moses to the Israelites.
  • Doctor of the law: An important Jewish sect at the time of Jesus that was devoted to exact observance of the Jewish religion.
  • Law of Christ: A phrase used by Paul in Gal 6:2 and 1 Cor 9:21 to describe humble submission to other people’s needs.
  • Law of Moses: The OT laws found in the Pentateuch.
  • Royal Law: A phrase used by Paul in Gal 6:2 and 1 Cor 9:21 to describe humble submission to other people’s needs.
  • Teacher of the law: Trained interpreters of the law. Scribes often debated with Jesus.
  • Works of the Law: The works that demonstrated a believer’s changed life.

INTRODUCTION: “In all societies, law as the basis of right conduct is vital to the well-being of people. From a theological point of view, law becomes even more important because it includes the law of God, in which divine requirements are made of human beings.”

“From a biblical standpoint, law often points to the Torah or Book of the Law, the Pentateuch, which is traditionally considered to contain 613 commandments. Yet the books of Moses have no monopoly on the topic. From Genesis through Revelation, the law is integral to the history of Israel, to the teaching of Jesus, and to the Epistles of Paul.”

“While different kinds of law are evident throughout the Bible—ceremonial laws, civil laws, health laws, community laws—the law of God is at the heart of the concept. The Decalogue, the moral law, is spiritual and shows the character of God. It transcends time and place, sharing the permanence of its Author.

God’s law must be studied in relation to other topics. The Decalogue is part of God’s covenant with His people. For Paul, law is closely related to grace. Ultimately law must be viewed in the light of the cross, for Christians the central event of history.” [Raoul Dederen, Handbook of Seventh-Day Adventist Theology, Commentary Reference Series, electronic ed., (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2001), 12:457.]

GET THE BASICS.

[1] What is the Law of God?  The expression “law of God” refers particularly to the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. The Bible writers often use the same expression when speaking of all the revealed will of God, including, of course, the Decalogue itself.

[2] What is the Law of Moses? Or the Mosaic Law? It was given by God through angels (Galatians 3:19; Acts 7:38) at Sinai (Exodus 19–20). It is understood in three ways:

The Moral Law or the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17).

  • This refers to moral righteousness, or personal righteousness—the way the people of God were to live their lives.
  • No higher outward standard has ever emerged in human history, in so far as a code of conduct is concerned.

The Civil Law (Exodus 21–23 and other places in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).

  • This dictated how the nation of Israel should govern itself.
  • It had largely to do with relationships between the people of Israel.

The Ceremonial Law (mostly the Book of Leviticus).

  • This shows how the people of Israel should worship God.
  • This covered the details of the sacrifices, holy days and the tabernacle.

AN ORDERED UNIVERSE.

[3] How did the physical universe originate? What is the secret of its harmonious operation?

  • By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3, NKJV)
  • Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26, NKJV)

“Everything in nature, from the mote in the sunbeam to the worlds on high, is under law. And upon obedience to these laws the order and harmony of the natural world depend. So there are great principles of righteousness to control the life of all intelligent beings, and upon conformity to these principles the well-being of the universe depends.” [Ellen Gould White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1896), 48.]

GOD’S BENEFICENT PROVISION.

[4] What beneficent provision has God made that man may know the way of life?

  • Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore, I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:104, NKJV)
  • Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20, NKJV)

[5] To whom does man owe his life? Upon what is his well-being dependent?

  • For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” (Acts 17:28, NKJV)
  • In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:10, NKJV)
  • For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9, NKJV)
  • Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved.” (Psalm 66:9, NKJV)
  • For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”” (Luke 20:38, NKJV)
  • Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25, NKJV)
  • And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:17, NKJV)
  • [Jesus Christ] …. “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, NKJV)
  • that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”” (Deuteronomy 30:20, NKJV)

[6] By what means does God make man conscious of his deviation from the law of God?

  • Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:21, NKJV)
  •  “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” (John 8:9, NKJV)

In John 8, Jesus defends a woman caught in adultery by reminding her accusers that they, too, are sinners.

  • “The accusers were defeated. Now, their robes of pretended holiness torn from them, they stood, guilty and condemned, in the presence of infinite purity. Trembling lest the hidden iniquity of their lives should be laid open to the multitude, with bowed heads and downcast eyes they stole away, leaving their victim with the pitying Saviour.” [Ellen Gould White, The Ministry of Healing, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1905), 88.]
  • When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”” (John 8:10–11, NKJV)

‘Being Convicted By Their Own Conscience.’ (John 8:9)

  • Listen to what John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible  has written on this text: “that they were not without sin, nor free from this; they had a beam in their own eye, who were so forward to observe the mote in another’s; and oftentimes so it is, that those who are most forward to reprove, and bear hardest on others for their sins, are as culpable in another way, if not in the same; when sin lies at the door, and conscience is awakened and open, it is as good as a thousand witnesses; and lets in, and owns the sin which lies heavy, and makes sad work; and fills with anguish, confusion, and shame, as it did these men.”

[7] What is the inevitable fate of those who reject God’s counsel?

  • But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psalm 37:38, NKJV)
  • The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Psalm 1:4–6, NKJV)
  • The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17, NKJV)
  • God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah” (Psalm 52:5, NKJV)
  • May sinners be consumed from the earth, And the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 104:35, NKJV)
  • The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death.” (Proverbs 14:32, NKJV)
  • They will be gathered together, As prisoners are gathered in the pit, And will be shut up in the prison; After many days they will be punished.” (Isaiah 24:22, NKJV)
  • Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”” (Matthew 13:30, NKJV) “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,” (Matthew 13:49, NKJV) “and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”” (Matthew 13:50, NKJV) “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”” (Matthew 25:46, NKJV)
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NKJV)
  • ….. “And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–9, NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20, NKJV) The law functions as ‘a mirror’ to show us our sinfulness; but it can only reveal sin, not remove it. (Rom 3:21–24, 28). “Because the law of the Lord is perfect, and therefore changeless, it is impossible for sinful men, in themselves, to meet the standard of its requirement. This was why Jesus came as our Redeemer. It was His mission, by making men partakers of the divine nature, to bring them into harmony with the principles of the law of heaven. When we forsake our sins and receive Christ as our Saviour, the law is exalted. The apostle Paul asks, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31.” [Ellen Gould White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1896), 50.]

“Only faith in Christ Jesus can bring a person the gracious gift of righteousness that provides forgiveness and salvation. Faith in Christ is not mere intellectual assent to the fact that Jesus died and rose for man’s sin but is personal trust in His death to remove and forgive one’s own sins. It is total commitment to submit to Him as Lord (cf. James 4:7).

Three times in Galatians 2:16 Paul declares that salvation is only through faith in Christ and not by law. The first statement is general: a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus. The second is personal: even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law. The third is universal: by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (cf. Ps. 143:2). All three affirm the same great reality.” [John F. MacArthur Jr., Galatians, MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983), 57.]

Have A Blessed Day! “There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the study of the Scriptures. No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible.” [Steps to Christ, p. 90.]

The Gospel’s Voice/ Bible Study Guides/ Doctrines/ Pillars of our Faith Series/ Law of God/ Lesson # 1