Thoughts On God's Law

Romans 3:20 (KJV) 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."

I came across the following thoughts on God's law in my study this morning:

"The only way that we can determine character is by the law of God. What is the law? The detector of sin. The law is not holiness created, but holiness made known. Holiness is perfect happiness. Sin is perfect misery. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself” [Luke 10:27] was not made when the law was given; it was only proclaimed. The proclamation of the law is mercy, the expression of goodness itself, for it testifies to man what the Creator requires of man on his part. What He ever has and ever will require is perfect obedience to His law, and when Adam failed in obedience to that law sin was brought into the world."

Manuscript 89, 1886.2

There is a lot of confusion on the subject of God's law. Some people think it is no longer binding, others think it has a power to bring about change. Both of these ideas are in error. The purpose of the law is to detect sin. The law is like a mirror. It shows us our condition!

In an age of "anything goes," God's law is the only safe standard by which character can be evaluated.

When people look at the law, however, and recognize that they fall short—especially when they think of the deeper implications of keeping the law—they feel convicted to do better, but in seeking to do better, they look to their own strength and fall flat! 

Paul spoke of this in the following verses:

Romans 7:7 (NKJV) 7 "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet.'"

Romans 7:11 (NKJV) 11 "For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me."

When I was a young Christian I tried to obey in my own strength and found that my efforts were often unsuccessful—I was falling flat!

This greatly discouraged me and almost caused me to give up. At some point I decided I must have committed the unpardonable sin and therefore God was either unwilling, or unable, to hep me.

But one evening while praying the Lord opened my eyes to what Jesus had done for me—lived a perfect life and offered me the benefit of that life—and brought me to a whole new experience.

It was after that experience that I came to realize that I had been deceived into thinking I could keep the law in my own strength. I think Satan was happy to have me deceived and laughed every time I was defeated. I think he even encouraged me to try a little harder. Maybe you know what I am talking about.

The following paragraph further underscores what I have just shared, but also shares God's response to our need: 

"The conditions God had made as the price of everlasting life and eternal happiness were violated by man and there was no hope for man. The law itself could not pardon. There is no saving quality in law to pardon the transgressor of law. If man should say, “Never more will I transgress,” the agreement is broken and there is no word of hope in the law to restore the transgressor of law. God Himself cannot extend forgiveness to the sinner and yet maintain His justice—the infinitely holy, infinitely just, infinitely true. There is something that must be done to place man in a right relation to that law. God so loved the world that He gave His only beloved Son to make an atonement for the sins of the whole world, that man shall not perish but have everlasting life."

Manuscript 89, 1886.3

Note, the law could not pardon, nor was there any saving quality. This is somewhat akin to looking in the mirror in the morning. If the mirror is clean our glance tells us if we need to shave or comb our hair, etc. Hopefully we respond to what the mirror shows us. The mirror itself has no power other than to show what we look like.

But some people don't like the law and therefore claim it is no longer binding. Note the following: 

"But the position taken by the largest number in the Christian world is that because Christ died the royal law of God is no longer in force. This was true of the law of types and shadows, but His laws are as enduring as His own throne. We cannot say otherwise than the Christian world is in a fatal deception on Satan’s side, warring against the government of God just as Satan is doing. Unless they repent of sin, which the Scripture declares is the transgression of the law [1 John 3:4], they will stand no higher in the day of final judgment than the sinners who did not claim to be children of God.

One man, a minister of the gospel, uttered words which he will wish in the judgment that he had never spoken. He called God’s holy law which Christ came to exalt and make honorable—that law which Christ proclaimed from Sinai mount in such terrible grandeur—an old, rickety law, dead and buried and not deserving a gravestone; an old thunder and lightning law; an old bloody, Jewish law. And then to conclude his blasphemous attempts to pour contempt upon God’s holy law, he said he felt better after releasing his feelings in giving the old law a run now and then. No doubt Satan felt the same and was much pleased to have so influential a man as his ally, to utter his feelings in audible words against the Most High God. These are the great, swelling words of the man of sin."

Manuscript 89-1886.9 and 10

What does the Bible say on the subject?

Matthew 5:18-19 (KJV) 18 "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. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, 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."

Isaiah 40:8 (KJV) 8 "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God shall stand for ever."

The Ten Commandment law is as binding today as it was the first day it was given. If everyone kept God's ten commandment law the world would be a safe and happy place. If everyone kept God's ten commandment law doors would not have to be locked, there would be safety everywhere on the planet, and humankind would be able to experience joy and happiness in a way that can not be imagined on this sin-stained planet. To get rid of the ten commandment law is akin to giving a freedom from all traffic rules for one day. Think of the mayhem and confusion and accidents that would occur as people were running red lights, driving down the wrong side of the highway and doing whatever came into their minds. It would be a day to stay off the road. Well society is suffering from that very kind of danger: everyone is doing whatever they think is right in too many cases, and everyone is suffering as a result. 

To ignore the ten commandments is like breaking the mirror in the morning because we don't like what we see. I think a lot of people are doing this, but it doesn't mean they are happier or that the world is a safer place. On the contrary there is violence, theft, sensuality, broken marriages, broken hearts, disrupted lives all around us.

All of these sad behaviors that stem from refusing to accept God's standard of character also preclude our going to heaven.—at least if nothing would have been done to make our salvation possible. 

But God had a remedy: Jesus! Notice the following:

1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV) 24 "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed."

1 John 2:2 (KJV) 2 "And he is the propitiation [the one who made atonement or paid the price] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV) 5 "But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed."

Romans 5:6-10 (KJV) 6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

"Notwithstanding that the law condemns the sinner as still unworthy of the gift of eternal life, unworthy of the confidence of God, through our substitute, Jesus Christ, man may be saved. Jesus will demonstrate to the worlds ... that He became more than a martyr: He became an atoning sacrifice. He became surety and substitute for the sinner. In Christ it was demonstrated that the Lord will punish the transgressor, for Jesus suffered the penalty which every sinner will suffer if he does not by faith lay hold on the merits of Christ and return his allegiance to God by obeying His law. In Him we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of our sins."

Manuscript 89-1886.8

I think we should begin looking at the law in the right way—as the transcript of God's character and what ours should like, and the great spiritual mirror where we learn how we are doing and turn our eyes to Jesus as a result.