1. THE CHANGELESS CREATOR
a. What must we realize about Christ’s relation to God’s moral law while He lived here on this earth as the Son of man? Matthew 5:17, 18.
b. How particular were the Jewish leaders regarding the outward observance of the law? Matthew 23:23; Philippians 3:4.
“[The Jewish leaders] were zealous to maintain an appearance of holiness, but they neglected holiness of heart. While they were sticklers for the letter of the law, they were constantly violating its spirit. Their great need was that very change which Christ had been explaining to Nicodemus—a new moral birth, a cleansing from sin, and a renewing of knowledge and holiness.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 174.
c. What can we observe about Jesus’ trial that reveals that He was not a lawbreaker? Matthew 26:59, 60.
“Neither the Saviour nor His followers broke the law of the Sabbath. Christ was a living representative of the law. No violation of its holy precepts was found in His life. Looking upon a nation of witnesses who were seeking occasion to condemn Him, He could say unchallenged, ‘Which of you convicteth Me of sin?’ John 8:46, R.V.”—Ibid., p. 287.
2. THE LAW IN THE HEART OF JESUS
a. What was prepared for Jesus when He came to earth? Hebrews 10:5–10.
“It was not a chance, but a design that the world’s Redeemer should lay off His crown, lay aside His kingly robe, and come to our world as a man. He clothed His divinity with the garb of humanity, that He might stand at the head of the human family, His humanity mingled with the humanity of the race fallen because of Adam’s disobedience.”—The Southern Work, p. 85.
b. When we read the same passage in the Old Testament about Christ, what was prophesied to be in His heart? Psalm 40:6–8.
“It was the transgression of the law that resulted in sin, sorrow, and death. Satan declared that he would prove to the worlds which God has created, and to the heavenly intelligences, that it was an impossibility to keep the law of God. When Adam yielded to the temptation of the enemy, and fell from his high and holy estate, Satan and his angels exulted. But from the throne of God a voice was heard speaking words of mysterious import. [Psalm 40:6–8 quoted.] When man fell, Christ announced His purpose of becoming man’s substitute and surety.”—The Review and Herald, September 3, 1901.
c. When we accept Christ into our heart, what are we accepting inseparably with Him? Psalm 119:70, 72, 77, 174.
“The yoke that binds to service is the law of God. The great law of love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will of God. If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan’s ranks and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service. The yoke of service Christ Himself has borne in humanity.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 329.
“Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and ‘God is love.’ 1 John 4:16. It is conformity to the law of God, for ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness’ (Psalm 119:172), and ‘love is the fulfilling of the law’ (Romans 13:10). Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God. The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 18.
3. ACCORDING TO THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS
a. When Jesus was explaining to the disciples that His life was living proof that He was the Messiah, what texts did He use? Luke 24:27, 44.
“It was His purpose to enlighten their understanding and to fasten their faith upon the ‘sure word of prophecy.’ He wished the truth to take firm root in their minds, not merely because it was supported by His personal testimony, but because of the unquestionable evidence presented by the symbols and shadows of the typical law, and by the prophecies of the Old Testament. It was needful for the followers of Christ to have an intelligent faith, not only in their own behalf, but that they might carry the knowledge of Christ to the world. And as the very first step in imparting this knowledge, Jesus directed the disciples to ‘Moses and all the prophets.’ Such was the testimony given by the risen Saviour to the value and importance of the Old Testament Scriptures.”—The Great Controversy, p. 349.
b. How did the disciples, as they were preaching the gospel message, prove that Jesus was the promised One? Acts 28:23.
“The Spirit of God accompanied the words that were spoken, and hearts were touched. The apostle’s appeal to Old Testament prophecies, and his declaration that these had been fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, carried conviction to many a soul longing for the advent of the promised Messiah. And the speaker’s words of assurance that the ‘glad tidings’ of salvation were for Jew and Gentile alike, brought hope and joy to those who had not been numbered among the children of Abraham according to the flesh.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 172, 173.
“In preaching to the Thessalonians, Paul appealed to the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Christ in His ministry had opened the minds of His disciples to these prophecies; ‘beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.’ Luke 24:27. Peter in preaching Christ had produced his evidence from the Old Testament. Stephen had pursued the same course. And Paul also in his ministry appealed to the scriptures foretelling the birth, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. By the inspired testimony of Moses and the prophets he clearly proved the identity of Jesus of Nazareth with the Messiah and showed that from the days of Adam it was the voice of Christ which had been speaking through patriarchs and prophets.”—Ibid., pp. 221, 222.
4. LAW AND FAITH
a. Does placing our faith in Jesus as our personal Saviour do away with the law? Why or why not? Romans 3:31.
b. What blessing is pronounced upon commandment keepers? Revelation 22:14.
“By transgressing God’s commandments a curse fell upon Adam and Eve, and they were deprived of all right to the tree of life. Christ died to save man, and yet preserve the honor of God’s law. He says ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the City.’ The Son of God here presents the doing of the commandments of God as the condition of a right to the tree of life. The transgression of God’s commandments deprived man of all right to the tree of life. Christ died, that by virtue of His blood, obedience to God’s law might make man worthy of the heavenly benediction, and grant him a right again to the tree of life.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 88.
“Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass to the gate of the city. Jesus raised His mighty, glorious arm, laid hold of the pearly gate, swung it back on its glittering hinges, and said to us, ‘You have washed your robes in My blood, stood stiffly for My truth, enter in.’ We all marched in and felt that we had a perfect right in the city.”—Early Writings, p. 17.
c. How does this show that God never changes? Hebrews 13:8.
“Jesus will do great things for us, if we will faithfully perform our duty. We must yield our will to the will of God. We must honor the Lord by obeying all His commandments, even in what we term little things. The truth, like its divine Author, is unchangeable in its requirements, the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is not in harmony with the traditions of men, it does not conform to their opinions. The truth has ever brought a separation between God’s people and the world. But if our position in former years, as a peculiar people, was approved of God, how does He regard our present position? Have we gained in spirituality since we departed from our early simplicity?”—The Signs of the Times, May 25, 1882.
5. WRITTEN IN THE HEART
a. How is it possible to have the law of God in our life in the same way that Jesus had? Hebrews 10:16; 8:10.
“God has given us His holy precepts, because He loves mankind. To shield us from the results of transgression, He reveals the principles of righteousness. The law is an expression of the thought of God; when received in Christ, it becomes our thought. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 308.
b. What does God show us before we can even begin this heavenward journey? 1 John 4:19, 8.
“The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known.”—Ibid., p. 22.
c. What is possible only after this love of God is in our hearts? John 14:15–17.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did Jesus maintain the character of God while living in humanity?
2. How is the same character of Christ manifested in true believers?
3. In order to truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah, with what prophecies must we become thoroughly familiar?
4. How is it possible that sinful human beings can have the right to the tree of life from which they were barred by sin?
5. What is the only way that we can experience genuine obedience?