Sabbath, August 15, 2009
“The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” Psalm 37:30, 31.
Christ and the law
1. What did the prophets state centuries in advance about Christ’s relation to the moral law? What did Jesus Himself declare?
Isaiah 42:21 The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
Psalm 40:7, 8 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Matthew 5:17, 18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Repentance is to feel sorry, guilty, or have regret. Confession is to cast away, revere, worship, assent, covenant, or acknowledge. –Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
“Even before He Christ took humanity upon Him, He saw the whole length of the path He must travel in order to save that which was lost. Every pang that rent His heart, every insult that was heaped upon His head, every privation that He was called to endure, was open to His view before He laid aside His crown and royal robe, and stepped down from the throne, to clothe His divinity with humanity. The path from the manger to Calvary was all before His eyes. He knew the anguish that would come upon Him. He knew it all, and yet He said, ‘Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:7, 8.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 410.
Purpose of the law
2. What is one of the first and best known functions of God’s law?
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
Romans 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law.
“It is through the law that men are convicted of sin; and they must feel themselves sinners, exposed to the wrath of God, before they will realize their need of a Saviour.
“The Law of God reaches to those secret purposes, which, though they may be sinful, are often passed over lightly, but which are in reality the basis and the test of character. It is the mirror into which the sinner is to look if he would have a correct knowledge of his moral character. And when he sees himself condemned by that great standard of righteousness, his next move must be to repent of his sins, and seek forgiveness through Christ. Failing to do this, many try to break the mirror which reveals their defects, to make void the law which points out the blemishes in their life and character.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 219.
3. To whom does the law guide the believer to receive the promised righteousness?
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
In Romans 10:4, the word “end” of some versions is translated from the Greek “télos.” This term has more meanings in the original and, according to the context, may be translated “end,” “goal,” “aim,” or “objective.” For this reason, some versions translate this verse in a different manner. An example is the Italian “diodati,” which is clear and direct: “For the goal of the law is Christ for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Thus both verses refer to the law, to Christ, and to righteousness by faith; and both present the law as a guide which has the holy goal of bringing people to Christ, the only one who can justify us through His loving, perfect sacrifice.
“As the sinner looks to the law, his guilt is made plain to him, and pressed home to his conscience, and he is condemned. His only comfort and hope is found in looking to the cross of Calvary. As he ventures upon the promises, taking God at His word, relief and peace come to his soul. He cries, ‘Lord, Thou hast promised to save all who come unto Thee in the name of Thy Son. I am a lost, helpless, hopeless soul. Lord, save, or I perish.’ His faith lays hold on Christ, and he is justified before God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 365, 366.
4. What is the ultimate purpose or goal of God’s law?
1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.
“God’s law is not a new thing. It is not holiness created, but holiness made known. It is a code of principles expressing mercy, goodness, and love. It presents to fallen humanity the character of God, and states plainly the whole duty of man.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 86.
Law and love
5. If this is the goal of the law, what will be its fulfillment? How has the Lord made it possible for the righteous requirement of the law to be fulfilled in us?
Matthew 22:37-40 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.
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(See Matthew 7:12.)
“Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow man; and all based upon the great fundamental principle of love. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.’ Luke 10:27.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 86.
“In human flesh He Christ lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who obey.” –(Manuscript 29, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 915.
The law in our hearts
6. In the time of the old covenant, what promise was given regarding the law?
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Psalm 37:30, 31 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
“The work Christianity is designed to achieve in the world is not to depreciate the law of God, not to detract from its sacred dignity in the slightest degree, but it is to write that law in the mind and heart. When the law of God is thus implanted in the soul of the believer, he is approaching eternal life through the merits of Jesus….
“The object of the gospel is met when this great end is achieved. Its work from age to age is to unite the hearts of His followers in a spirit of universal brotherhood, through belief of the truth, and thus establish heaven’s system of order and harmony in the family of God on earth, that they may be accounted worthy to become members of the royal family above. God, in His wisdom and mercy, tests men and women here, to see if they will obey His voice and respect His law, or rebel as Satan did….” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 50.
7. What is confirmed in the New Testament? How is the law written in our hearts, and what does this mean?
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
Hebrews 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.
“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.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 50.