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February 2008 Table of Contents

 
    March 2, 2008 - March 8, 2008
 
 

The Great Law of Love

The Great Law of Love

 

Key Text

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”  Psalm 119:18.

 

Study Help:   Selected Messages, Book 1, 211–215.

 

Introduction

“The law of God is as holy as He is holy, as perfect as He is perfect.  It presents to men the righteousness of God.  It is impossible for man, of himself, to keep this law; for the nature of man is depraved, deformed, and wholly unlike the character of God.  The works of the selfish heart are ‘as an unclean thing;’ and ‘all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’  Isaiah 64:6.”  Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, 54.

 

1          What is written about the Law of God?  Psalm 19:7, 8.

Note:   “In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings.  Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable.  He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man.”  The Acts of the Apostles, 505.

 

2          What is the relation between the Law of God and the unconverted heart?  Romans 8:7.

Note:   “By nature the heart is evil, and ‘who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.’  Job 14:4.  No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul.  ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’  ‘Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.’  Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19.”  The Desire of Ages, 172.

 

3          What did Paul declare in regard to the Law?  Romans 7:12.

Note:  “Through the plan of salvation the law holds its dignity in condemning the sinner, and the sinner can be saved through the propitiation of Christ for our sins, ‘in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.’  [Ephesians 1:7.]  The law is not changed in any particular to meet man in his fallen condition.  It remains what it ever has been,—holy, just, and good.”  The Review and Herald, May 23, 1899.

 

4          Mention one of the purposes of the Law.  Romans 7:7, 8.

Note:  “Paul says that ‘as touching the law,’—as far as outward acts were concerned,—he was ‘blameless,’ but when the spiritual character of the law was discerned, when he looked into the holy mirror, he saw himself a sinner.  Judged by a human standard, he had abstained from sin, but when he looked into the depths of God’s law, and saw himself as God saw him, he bowed in humiliation, and confessed his guilt.  He did not go away from the mirror and forget what manner of man he was, but he exercised genuine repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  He was washed, he was cleansed.  He says, ‘I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.  For without the law sin was dead.  For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.’  [Romans 7:7–9.]

 “Sin then appeared in its true hideousness, and his self-esteem was gone.  He became humble.  He no longer ascribed goodness and merit to himself.  He ceased to think more highly of himself than he ought, and he ascribed all the glory to God.  He was no longer ambitious for greatness.  He ceased to want to avenge himself, and was no longer sensitive to reproach, neglect, or contempt.  He no longer sought earthly alliance, station, or honor.  He did not pull others down to uplift himself.  He became gentle, condescending, meek and lowly of heart, because he had learned his lesson in the school of Christ.”  Review and Herald, July 22, 1890.

 

5          What other essential function does the Law of God have?  Galatians 3:24.

Note:  “‘The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.’  [Galatians 3:24.]  In this scripture, the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking especially of the moral law.  The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ, and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1110.

“When the law was proclaimed from Sinai, God made known to men the holiness of His character, that by contrast they might see the sinfulness of their own.  The law was given to convict them of sin, and reveal their need of a Saviour.  It would do this as its principles were applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit.  This work it is still to do.  In the life of Christ the principles of the law are made plain; and as the Holy Spirit of God touches the heart, as the light of Christ reveals to men their need of His cleansing blood and His justifying righteousness, the law is still an agent in bringing us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.  ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’  Psalm 19:7.”  The Desire of Ages, 308.

 

6          What is the essence of God’s Law?  Romans 13:8–10.

Note:   “The law of God, from its very nature, is unchangeable.  It is a revelation of the will and the character of its Author.  God is love, and His law is love.  Its two great principles are love to God and love to man.  ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’  Romans 13:10.  The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law.  Says the psalmist: ‘Thy law is the truth’; ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness.’  Psalm 119:142, 172.  And the apostle Paul declares: ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’  Romans 7:12.  Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.”  The Great Controversy, 467.

 

7          What will be the standard of judgment of all human beings?  Romans 2:12, 13.

Note:   “There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the judgment—those who violate God’s law and those who obey it.  Christ gives the test by which to prove our loyalty or disloyalty.  ‘If ye love Me,’ He says, ‘keep My commandments. …  He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.  And he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. …  He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.’  ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’  John 14:15–24; 15:10.”  Christ’s Object Lessons, 283.

 “He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with God’s great standard of righteousness, His holy law.  This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men.  This will be the test of character in the judgment.”  Ibid., 314.

 

8          How is the duty of every person clearly delineated?  Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Matthew 5:17–20.

Note:  “In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings.  Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable.  He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man.  In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God.  In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  The Acts of the Apostles, 505.

 

9          What vital question did a learned man put to Christ?  Matthew 19:16.

Note:   “The Lord desires every one of us to be decidedly in earnest.  We cannot afford to make a mistake in spiritual matters.  The life-and-death question with us is, ‘What shall I do that I may be saved, eternally saved?’  ‘What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life—a life that measures with the life of God?’  This is a question that it becomes every one of us to consider carefully.”  Selected Messages, Book 1, 98.

 

10        What was Christ’s answer?  Matthew 19:17.

Note:   “‘If thou wilt enter into life,’ He [the Saviour] added, ‘keep the commandments.’  [Matthew 19:17.]  The character of God is expressed in His law; and in order for you to be in harmony with God, the principles of His law must be the spring of your every action.”  Christ’s Object Lessons, 391.

 

Additional Reading

“By the death of Christ the changeless character of this moral standard of righteousness [Law of God] is shown.  Christ lived the law of God’s government; he was an expression of God’s character; and he died to save men from the penalty of the transgression of this law.  Those who reject God’s law crucify the Son of God afresh.  They identify themselves with those who crucified him between two thieves on the cross of Calvary.”  Review and Herald, January 30, 1900.

“Every soul who receives Christ, is to reveal Christ to the world through a transformed character.  His life is to be a continual manifestation of devotion to the will of God.  By obedience to the commandments of God, man is to honor and glorify his Maker.  In his own transformed character he is to magnify before the world the plan of salvation as a plan that is laid in the mercy and the love of God.  The name of Jesus will be exalted by these representatives of Christ; for there is no other name given among men whereby we may be saved. 

“The man who is truly converted is taken into the plan of God, to work for the salvation of his fellow-men.  In his own life he reproduces the character of Christ.  The earnest, disinterested labor of Christ in behalf of sinners is repeated in his life; the same fervor and solicitude is revealed in his prayers.  The Saviour often left His disciples for seasons of prayer with His Father.  At these times he poured out His soul in strong crying and tears for those He had come to save, and for power and grace to carry out the great plan of redeeming the world.  His example in prayer Christ desired should be a lesson to His disciples in all ages. ...

“The law of God is to be obeyed.  God’s Word sums up obedience of God’s law in the words, ‘Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.’  [Luke 10:27.]  God’s law is a law of mercy, an expression of goodness; it holds His creatures responsible for allegiance to Him, places them under obligation to reveal in their characters the attributes of its Author.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit the law of God is to be exemplified in the life of a Christian. 

“To live the law of God, means to reveal the holiness of God’s character in every action of the law.  In the lives of many of our teachers and ministers this holiness is sadly lacking.  With many, the law has become a dead letter.  To those who, instead of allowing their lives to be controlled by the law of righteousness and truth, are being swayed by hereditary and cultivated traits of character, I [Ellen White] am given this message: There is no time to lose.  The end of all things is at hand. … 

“The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul assures us that all our external privileges, all our high profession of acceptance with God, cannot take the place of faith.  Sincere faith in Christ is that alone which can secure for us an entrance into the city of God.  Faith in Christ, expressed in the life and character, revealed in love for God and for our brethren, makes the human agent a power in the world and in the church.  I am made sad to see that many have not this faith and love; for these are the signs of our Christianity, the witness that we are the children of God.”  Lake Union Herald, November 17, 1909.

   
   

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