How did God proclaim His law to His people?
"And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And He declared unto you His covenant, which He com- manded you to perform, even ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone." Deuteronomy 4:12, 13. (See also Nehemiah 9:13, 14. For the Ten Commandments see Exodus 20:2-17.
NATURE OF GOD'S LAW
What is the nature of God's law?
"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin." Romans 7:12, 14.
NOTE.—In His comments on the sixth and seventh commandments (Mat- thew 5:21-28) Christ demonstrated the spiritual nature of the law, showing that it relates not merely to outward actions, but also to the thoughts and intents of the heart. (See Hebrews 4:12.) The tenth commandment forbids lust, or all unlawful desire. (Romans 7:7.) Obedience to this law; therefore, requires not merely an outward compliance but genuine heart service. This can be rendered only by a regenerated soul. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalms 19:7. "Is there such a thing as a perfect law? Everything that comes from God is perfect. The law of which we are thinking came from Him. It becomes sullied in our hands. We take from it and try to add to it, and in that way it becomes less than perfect. In a very real sense the law of God is the manifestation of the nature of the Lord. It could no more be imperfect than He is."—The Augsburg Sunday School Teacher (Lutheran), August, 1937, vol. 63, no. 8, p. 483, on the Sunday School lesson for August 15.
How comprehensive are these commandments?
"Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13.
What inspired tribute is paid to the law of God?
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testi- mony 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." Psalms 19:7, 8.
NOTE.—"Its perfection is a proof of its divinity. No human lawgiver could have given forth such a law as that which we find in the decalogue. It is a perfect law; for all human laws that are right are to be found in that brief compendium and epitome of all that is good and excellent toward God, or between man and man."—C. H. SPURGEON, Sermons, series 2 (1857), p. 280.
What is the essential principle of the law of God?
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:10.
What two commandments sum up the law of God?
"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." Matthew 22:37-40.
NOTE.—If you love God with all your heart, you will keep the first table; if you love your neighbor as yourself, you will keep the second.
PURPOSE OF LAW
What is revealed in God's law?
"And knowest His [God's] will, . . . being instructed out of the law." Romans 2:18.
Why should we fear God and keep His commandments?
"Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
What will be the standard in the judgment?
"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12.
What is sin declared to be? "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4.
By what is the knowledge of sin?
"For by the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20. (See Romans 7:7.)
DISOBEDIENCE TO LAW
How many of the commandments is it necessary to break in order to become a transgressor of the law?
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." James 2:10, 11.
NOTE.—"The ten commandments are not ten different laws; they are one law. If I am being held up in the air by a chain with ten links and I break one of them, down I come, just as surely as if I break the whole ten. If I am forbidden to go out of an enclosure, it makes no difference at what point I break through."—D. L. MOODY, Weighed and Wanting (1898 ed.), p. 119. "The ten words of Sinai were not ten separate commandments," said G. Campbell Morgan, "but ten sides of the one law of God."—The Ten Corn- mandnzents (Revell, 1901 ed.), p. 11. "As he [a Methodist] loves God, so he keeps his commandments; not only some, or most of them, but all, from the least to the greatest. He is not content to 'keep the whole law, and offend in one point;' but has, in all points, 'a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.' "—JOHN WESLEY, The Character of a Methodist, in Works, vol. 8 (1830 ed.), p. 344.
For what did Christ reprove the Pharisees?
"`Why do you, too,' He retorted, 'transgress God's commands for the sake of your tradition? God said, "Honour thy father and thy mother" (Exod. xx:12); and "Let him who reviles father or mother be put to death" (Exod. xxi:17); but you say: "If a man says to his father or mother, 'This thing is consecrated, otherwise you should have received it from me,' he shall be absolved from. honouring his father"; and so you have rendered futile God's word for the sake of your tradition.'" Matthew 15:3-6, Weymouth.
Consequently, how did Christ value their worship?
"But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Verse 9.
Can one know God and not keep His commandments? "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His command- ments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 1 John 2:4.
NECESSITY OF OBEDIENCE
What was Christ's attitude toward God's will, or law?
"Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, 1 delight to do Thy will, 0 My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Psalms 40:7, 8. (See Hebrews 10:5, 7.)
Who did He say would enter the kingdom of heaven?
"Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." Matthew 7:21.
How will men be rated in relation to God's commandments?
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least command- ments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:19.
What did Christ state as a condition of entering into life?
"If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Matthew 19:17.
NOTE.—"The Ten Commandments constitute a summary of the duties God requires of men. These commandments are the foundation which lies beneath the ethical life of humanity. They are as binding upon Christians today as they were upon the Hebrews who first received them."—The Snowden- Douglass Sunday School Lessons for 1946, p. 17. Copyright, 1945, by the Macmillan Company and used by permission.
How CAN MAN OBEY?
Why is the carnal mind enmity against God?
"The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7.
Can man of himself, unaided by Christ, keep the law?
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing." John 15:5. (See Romans 7:14-19.)
What provision has been made for our keeping God's law?
"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." Romans 8:3, 4.
How does the renewed heart regard God's law?
. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." 1 John 5:3.
BLESSINGS OF WILLING OBEDIENCE
How does God regard those who walk in His law?
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." Psalms 119:1. What blessing attends those who keep God's commandments? "Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." Psalms 19:11. What is said of those who love God's law? "Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Psalms 119:165.
What would obedience have insured to ancient Israel?
"0 that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." Isaiah 48:18.
What other blessing attends commandment keeping?
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good under- standing have all they that do His commandments." Psalms 111:10. In what does the man delight who is called blessed? "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. Psalms 1:1, 2. (See Romans 7:22.)
NOTE.—"Added to Divine majesty and intimacy, there is Divine mercy, which not only completes God's right and title to impose His Will upon His creatures, and to frame His Laws for their observance, but makes conformity to Divine will, and obedience to Divine commands, if sometimes difficult, at least at all times delightful, and engraves on the living tablets of human hearts now, the Law written long ago by the finger of God on tables of stone."—JoHN BURR, Studies on the Ten Commandments (1935 ed.), pp. 8, 9.
What promise is made to the willing and obedient?
"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." Isaiah 1:19.
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