Lesson Number Twelve
Law Brings Harmony
The Boston Tea Party was a historic event which triggered the outbreak of the war of independence between the American colonies and England. The unreasonable restrictions connected with the taxing of the tea trade prompted the stand of the early American pioneers who said “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Without true liberty, life becomes a living death. Yet there is always a tendency to shun all restrictions under the guise of liberty, when in reality it is rebellion against law in preference to license. To uphold laws which protect our rights, property, and a pure moral life is to truly live under laws of liberty.
The harmony of all created beings depends upon perfect obedience to the law of the Creator. Not only for all living matter and creatures, but of all motions of inanimate matter and planets, God instituted laws for order and government. The law of God is as perfect and sacred as the Lawgiver. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of His love and wisdom. Everything is controlled by laws, which cannot be disregarded without impunity. But, while everything in nature is governed by natural laws, people have more responsibility, in that they are subject to God’s moral law. The Lord has given to us ability and wisdom to understand His requirements and the justice of His law and to comprehend the sacred claims of His Law.
No government can exist without laws, and wherever anarchy rules, there is chaos and suffering. We are only too well acquainted with lawlessness in our present age. In its wake follows violence, and destruction of life and property, all with the cry of “freedom.” But what constitutes true liberty?
The Law of God - Changeless and Perfect
The whole universe depends upon God, who upholds and sustains all that exists by His unchangeable natural laws. If these laws were changeable all would be in chaos, science would be meaningless and we would not be able to trust God or His word. But these laws are eternal and unvarying as He is Himself.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.
If God could change, He would cease to be perfect. Although all things around us are subject to change, our heavenly Father is a God of love, eternal, and changeless.
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:8.
How wonderful to know that He who is love has given us a set of rules to live by, for our happy, contented coexistence. Opportunity is given to live the perfect fullness of life without fears while we dwell in God’s presence.
God’s Moral Law Is Perfect
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7.
Even as natural law is unchangeable, so moral law cannot be changed. In Psalm 119 God’s moral law is described as “pure,” “the truth,” and “righteousness.” This being the very nature of God Himself, indicates that the moral law is a transcript of His nature.
“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.” Psalm 111:7, 8.
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25.
True Liberty Is in Obedience
It is strange that so many professed Christians claim that the law of God has been abolished. The law of God is often denounced as a yoke of bondage. Yet it is the lawbreaker who is deprived of liberty. This is true with respect to civil law and it is just as true with respect to the moral law. Therefore, James in chapter 1 verse 25 refers to God’s law as a law of liberty.
“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do no 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. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:8-12.
God’s Law Existed Before Moses
At creation man was perfect, without a trace of sin, and God gave him the power of free choice to obey. The only restriction was concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When the first pair disobeyed God, they lost their perfect liberty and happiness which had been enjoyed up to that moment. They became subject to Satan. They lost the pure character which they had previously possessed. Even though they desired to continue to live in the garden, they could not do so. They had become subject to the fallen human nature, unable to obey God’s commandments and unable to retain their harmony with God.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16.
If it had not been for the plan of salvation which placed enmity in the heart against their own human nature (Genesis 3:15) there would have been no hope for the human race. True freedom depends on perfect willing obedience to the law of God. When people disobey God they become "vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart is darkened'' (Romans 1:21).
The knowledge of God’s law was passed down from Adam and Eve to after generations. Abraham, who lived after the flood, but well before the law existed in written form, was well acquainted with the commandments of God.
“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 26:5.
Jesus, our Saviour, was charged on many occasions by religious leaders of His day, of changing the law of God. What was His answer to these charges?
“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. 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.” Matthew 5:17-19.
The fulfilling of the law was further clarified when Paul expounded the magnitude of the Ten Commandments. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8.
Who Is the Lawgiver?
The first written record of the law of God was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. God regarded His law so sacred that He did not entrust to human scribes the writing of His law, as He permitted with all other Scripture (2 Peter 1:21). He spoke the law Himself and wrote it on stone with His own finger (Exodus 20:1; 32:16).
The Lord identified Himself as the Deliverer of His people: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:2.
Jesus is and ever was present with His people because His interest is bound up with theirs.
“In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9.
“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4.
Right in the heart of the law, He reveals Himself as the Creator:
“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:11.
We read further of Him in John, chapter one: “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3. Christ is revealed here as the Creator. The apostle Paul wrote: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Colossians 1:16.
Who is our Deliverer, symbolized by the deliverance from Egypt, or Redeemer from sin? “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.
Just as Jesus led His people, Israel, out of the land of bondage, so He delivers those seeking to be freed from the bondage of sin.
It becomes more and more evident that Jesus is the great Lawgiver.
How Can the Law Be Kept?
We saw that Jesus came to deliver us from the bondage of sin. What is sin?
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.
If sin is transgression of the law, then the keeping of the law must be the very opposite of sin. The term used in scripture is “righteousness.” The apostle Paul refers to the law of God as “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). This holy law is the standard by which everyone shall be judged: “So speak ye and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:12.
Paul speaking of our fallen nature, sums up the problem of the sinner: “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:14.
And if we are carnal, or slaves of our sinful natures, we have no hope of standing in the judgment.
“For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23.
How then can an imperfect, unholy person keep a perfect, holy law? They can not.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7.
Here is where Jesus comes in! He has promised to take from us our carnal nature and replace it with His own spiritual nature.
“. . . I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Hebrews 8:10.
In faith, we may surrender our sinful hearts to Him, and lay hold of His righteousness. This tremendous change in a person’s life is called “the new birth.” Our hearts are filled with gratitude, and love for our Saviour, and for God’s principles as embodied in the royal law of liberty.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:2-4.
Liberty! A freedom realized when we truly love God and find His commandments are not grievous.
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10.
The Law of God
1. Love to God
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” Exodus 20:7.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.
2. Love to Man
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12.
“Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14.
“Thou shalt not steal.” Exodus 20:15.
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Exodus 20:16.
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s.” Exodus 20:17.
Friend, where do you stand, will you follow the world or will you choose God’s Law of Liberty and live your life for Him?
Quiz For Lesson Number Twelve
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