THE GIVER OF THE LAW
How many lawgivers are there?
"There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy." James 4:12.
What is said of the stability of God's character?
"For I am the Lord, 1 change not." Malachi 3:6.
How enduring are His commandments?
"The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness." Psalms 111:7, 8. Nora.—"This rule is unchangeable because it is in harmony with the un- changeable nature of God. . . . The rule of God among men is an expression of His holiness. It must be eternally what it has ever been."-0. C. S. WALLACE, What Baptists Believe, p. 81. Copyright, 1934, by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.
CHRIST FULFILLS THE LAW
Did Christ come to abolish or to destroy the law?
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: 1 am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17.
NOTE.—"As the word 'law' is used in various senses in the Bible we may well begin our study with a brief examination of its meaning.
"1. The Hebrew word choq is used in the Old Testament for what we call the 'laws of nature' (Ps. 148:6, Prayer Book Version; compare Prov. 8:29, and Jer. 5:22), but this aspect of law does not concern us here. "2. The word torah is there used for the laws revealed through Moses, but these were of a threefold character.
"(a) The civil law was strictly applicable only to the chosen people, and was adapted to their peculiar circumstances both in the wilderness and. in Canaan, but it has ever since formed the pattern for the legislation of all civilized countries.
"(b) The ceremonial law was also only for Israel and proselytes from heathendom, and it was preparatory and temporary (Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:16, 17, 20, 21; Heb. 7:18, 19; 9:10; 10:1); yet it not only typified the gospel dispensa- tion, but illustrated the perpetual principles of acceptable worship.
"(c) The moral law was given to Israel in trust for all mankind. It contains the elementary rules of moral and religious duty, and embodies the eternal principles of right and wrong. It has never been abrogated but is as unchange- able as its author, being based on our essential relationships to •Him and our fellow men, and it is of perpetual and universal obligation (Matt. 5:17-20). Hence the Seventh Article of the Church of England states: 'Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites, does not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth, yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.' . . . "Confining our attention now to the moral law, let us consider its essen- tial character and its original proclamation.
"1. It may be regarded as the expression of the divine mind and will, universal in its scope, but individual in its application, for it addresses us in the singular number.
"2. It is strikingly compact, but singularly complete; covering every rela- tionship in which we stand both to God and man, and embracing alike our religious and social duties. "It deals not only with our open words and actions, but with our hidden thoughts and motives; the first, second, and tenth commandments regulating our desires, the third and ninth our words, and the remainder our deeds. The commands imply a prohibition of the opposite conduct, and the negative in- volves the contrary positive duties as we see from the summary of both 'tables' in Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12."—WILLIAM C. PROCTER in Moody Bible Institute Monthly (Copyrighted), October, 1933, p. 49. Used by per- mission.
"These laws are what we might call universal. . . These Ten Command- ments are only the codification of what man's own moral nature approves as right; and they are right, and true, and abiding in every age for every race." —Peloubet's Select Notes (on the International Sunday School lesson for Jan. 20, 1946), p. 35. These notes, a yearly commentary on the International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching, are edited by Wilbur M. Smith and published by W. A. Wilde Company, Boston.
"The moral law, contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the Prophets, he did not take away. It was not the design of his coming to revoke any part of this. . .. Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind,' and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God, and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other."—JoHN WESLEY, "Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount," Discourse 5, in Works, vol. 5 (1829 ed.), pp. 311, 312.
What does "fulfill" mean with reference to prophecy?
Accomplish; bring to pass; as, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet." Matthew 4:14.
What does it mean when used with reference to law?
Perform, keep, or act in accordance with; as, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1 (See Matthew 3:15; James 2:8, 9.)
How did Christ treat His Father's commandments?
"I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." John 15:10.
If one professes to abide in Christ, how ought he to walk?
"He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked." 1 John 2:6.
SIN AND THE LAW
What is sin?
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4.
NOTE.—This text says that sin is, not was, the transgression of the law, thus showing that the law is still in force in the gospel dispensation. "Who- soever" likewise shows the universality of its binding claims. Everyone who commits sin transgresses the law. In what condition are all men? "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. "We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin." Verse 9.
By what are all men proved guilty?
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Verse 19.
NOTE.—It is what the law says, and not what one may interpret it to mean, that proves the sinner guilty, and all are guilty before God.
FAITH, LOVE, AND THE LAW
Does faith in God make void the law?
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Verse 31.
What, more than all else, proves the perpetuity and im- mutability of the law of God?
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. "Christ died for our sins." 1 Corinthians 15 :3.
NOTE.—Could the law have been abolished, and sin been disposed of in this way, Christ need not have come and died for our sins. The gift of Christ, therefore, more than all else, proves the immutability of the law of God. Christ must come and die, and satisfy the claims of the law, or the world must perish. The law could not give way. The fact that the law is to be the standard in the judgment is another proof of its enduring nature. (See Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; James 2:8-12.)
What relation does a justified person sustain to the law?
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." Romans 2:13.
Who has the promise of being blessed in his doing?
"But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth, but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing." James 1:25, R.V.
How may we know that we have passed from death to life?
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." 1 John 3:14.
And how may we know that we love the brethren?
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments." 1 John 5:2.
What is the love of God?
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." Verse 3.
NOTE.—"In the moral government of the universe God acts in harmony with a rule. . . . Not only is it unchangeable with respect to places and races, to days and seasons, to conditions and circumstances, but also to ages. It has been unchangeable. It will be unchangeable. "We cannot conceive of an age when the moral government of the uni- verse shall be changed, because we cannot conceive of God becoming different morally from what he is now and ever has been. . . . This Law of God is holy as he himself is holy. . . . It is a universal law. . . . The Law of God is just and cannot be unjust—Its justice is universal. . . . It is more than just; it is gracious. . . It results in welfare, in happiness, in blessedness. It is more than negative, prohibiting wrong-doing. It is more than positive, requiring right-doing. It is linked with all the outgoing of God's life towards man; and this means that it is linked with his great compassionate love. The Law of God is full of the love of God."—O. C. S. WALLACE, What Baptists Believe (South- ern-Baptist Sunday School Workers' Training Course textbook), pp. 80-83. Copyright, 1934, by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Con- vention. Used by permission.
How are those described who will prepare for the coming of Christ?
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.
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