GOD'S LAW
EYE OF THE STORM

How would you convince a millionaire that he would be happier as a street beggar? Or a star young athlete that he would be better off in a wheel chair? Ridiculous? Satan's initial plan to overthrow God and gain rulership of the universe was a harder con job than either of these. He had to gain the allegiance of other angels, who also were created with intelligence and free will. Somehow he had to convince them that he had more to offer them than God Himself. It was no small task, considering the following points in God's favor:

  1. God was their Creator, their only source of life.
  2. There was no legitimate source of dissatisfaction present in the universe at the time.
  3. Satan himself had nothing to offer them in return for their loyalty.
A difficult task indeed! But amazingly, Satan found a solution! Of course it did require some rather grandiose lies. First he had to convince the other created beings that God really did not have the power of life and death over them. Then he had to sow seeds of bitterness against God, creating a source of dissatisfaction in an untroubled universe. Satan found his opportunity in attacking the law that god had established to preserve peace and harmony. This law, voluntarily kept by all God's creatures to that time, had insured their safety and happiness. It was the source of common trust between them. Now Satan represented God's law as a needless infringement on the freedom of His creatures. He said it was a restriction of their liberties, designed specifically by God to keep them in subjugation to Himself.

Speaking through the serpent, Satan used a very similar argument to cause the fall of mankind. Notice in the third chapter of Genesis, verses 1-5, that Satan denies God's power of life and death over His creation ("Ye shall not surely die"). He also implies that God's command not to eat of the forbidden fruit was meant to keep them in a state of ignorance and subordination. Satan had already proven himself an accomplished liar. The ultimate insult was in persuading Eve that by eating a piece of fruit (as if it were some sort of magic) she could become equal to God. Jesus said of Satan, "there is not truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44.

Satan continues his warfare against the law of God in the world today. Phrases are often repeated such as, "The ten commandments are outdated, old fashioned, Victorian, a joke to enlightened mankind." But who's laughing at the current crime rate; at the rapes, the armed robberies, the vandalism, the arson, the suicides and homicides, not to mention governmental corruption and graft? If the ten commandments were heeded by all, none of these things would exist. Maybe God's commandments are not such a bad standard after all. But God's standard has fallen to man's standard, which most of us recognize as the "double standard." It's the standard that says, "I want crime to stop, but not at the expense of the things I enjoy." "I want to look sexy, but I don't want to get raped." "Sure, I'd like to see the drunks off the road, but not if it means giving up MY cocktails." "Stealing from the store is a crime, but stealing from the government is just good business.",

God does not try to force His free will creatures to obey His law. Only those who obey out of love are acceptable to God, and these will receive eternal life in His kingdom. When God gave His creatures free will, He intended for them to have it for eternity. But only those who have developed a heartfelt respect for God's law can be trusted not to plunge the universe into misery again. In God's time, only these will be allowed the privilege of living there. "Wait!" you say. "Is that free will? Is obedience voluntary if the consequences are death?" Think of this. Could you step out in front of a truck today? Or jump from a high place? Or swallow a lethal dose of poison? People do it. So could you. Does the fact these things mean you do not have the freedom of choice? Of course not! Be sure of one thing. Disobedience to God's law is not the prelude to murder. It is an act of suicide! Of all who will ever be banished from God's universe by destruction, the choice will have been THEIRS, not God's. God's law is not a prison fence, but a guardrail!

1.

How did Jesus regard God's law when He was on earth? Psalm 40:7-8, Hebrews 10:7

Helps and hints: The passage in Hebrews indicates that verses 7 & 8 of Psalm 40 are "messianic", that is, they apply to Jesus Christ. For Jesus, who was ever in harmony with God's law, that law was a "delight"! This is not legalism, but educated loyalty, lived out in a willing heart.

2.

What is one way Jesus said we could express our love for Him? John 14:15

Helps and hints: It is Jesus Himself who links love and obedience together. He reaffirms this twice more in the same chapter. In verse 21 He says, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." In verse 23 He says, "If a men loveth me, he will keep my words."

3.

How did Jesus say we can abide in His love? John 15:10

4.

What prevents mankind from being in harmony with God's law? Romans 8:7

Helps and hints: The word "carnal" has been defined:
  1. Relating to the appetites and desires of the flesh or body; sensual; animal.
  2. Worldly or earthly; not spiritual; not holy or sanctified. (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).
The word "enmity" means a deep-seated hatred or animosity. We all inherit a carnal nature, and by our own efforts we are unable to submit ourselves to God's law. Paul says that as long as we remain in this condition, we can never be in a right relationship with God.

5.

Does this mean there is something wrong with God's law? Romans 7:12

Helps and hints: Some have concluded that a law which cannot be kept must be faulty. Paul clarifies that the problem is not with God's law. We will see that some misused the law, attempting to make it a means of salvation. This is not possible, because of the condition of the carnal mind. But this also cannot be counted as a fault of the law itself.

6.

Who failed to measure up to the "law of righteousness?" Why? Romans 9:31,32

Helps and hints: The Jewish nation for the most part fell into the trap of attempting to obtain merit with god by their own works. Christians who follow in their footsteps, by attempting to "be good" to earn salvation will also end up discouraged or deceived! The problem remains the same. As Paul says: "The law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin." Romans 7:14. The spiritual mind could choose to become carnal through disobedience, but the carnal mind cannot choose by its own strength to become spiritual. Anyone who wants to can take up smoking. But once they've contracted emphysema, the lungs cannot be restored to their original condition.

7.

What is it that the law cannot do for us? Romans 3:20

Helps and hints: None of us can claim to be right with the law. We have all broken it. Therefore it cannot justify us before God. But even in our fallen condition the law is still useful to us, and this text tells us what the purpose of God's law is for those who have already broken it. The law exposes sin, and points people to the need of divine grace and forgiveness. It is like a mirror. By looking in a mirror we can tell if our face is dirty. But the mirror cannot wash the dirt away. For that we must use soap and water. Likewise the law of God cannot make us clean. It only reveals to us that our hearts are stained with sin. David, a king of Israel, tells us in Psalm 51 how we can become clean. He says, "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin . . . , Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:2,10.

8.

What definition of sin is given in the Bible? 1 John 3:4

Helps and hints: Those who teach that God's moral law is no longer in force need to pay closer attention to this simple statement. The Scriptures are clear on this point! The apostle Paul states clearly that "where there is no law, there is no transgression (sin)." Romans 4:15. But he also affirms that this is definitely NOT the case. In Romans 3:23 he states, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
NO LAW = NO SIN = NO NEED OF SALVATION
Every freshly turned grave is a mute testimony to the folly of such a conclusion.

9.

Did Jesus Himself give any indication that God's law was still in force? Matthew 5:17,18

Helps and hints: Some hardened adversaries of God's law have tried to say that the word "fulfil" in this passage means "to do away with." The argument has little merit. Substitution of this definition yields the following illogical statement, "I am not come to destroy, but to do away with." The fulfillment that Jesus was speaking of is described in Hebrews 8:10.
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."

10.

What did Jesus say of those who set aside the commandments of God? Matthew 15:18,19

11.

Does being "saved by grace" free us from the claims of God's law? Romans 6:1,2,14,15

Helps and hints: God's grace frees us from the penalty of the law, and brings us back into harmony with the law, but it does not do away with the law, as some have assumed. Murder, theft, covetousness, and blasphemy will always be unacceptable behavior in God's universe. To assume otherwise is very dangerous. It would be like getting stopped for speeding, and because the officer gives you 'grace' and lets you off with a warning, you assume that traffic laws no longer apply to you at all. In all likelihood it would not be long until you discovered otherwise. God's law is a 'safety' law. It preserves peace and harmony in the universe. Those who seek to deny or destroy it (even in the name of 'grace') prove that in reality they still do not respect God's righteous standard. This is serious, for even if they claim to accept God, it is only on their own terms.

12.

How do people "born of God" show their love for God and one another? 1 John 5:1-3

13.

How does the Bible describe those who say they know Jesus, but don't keep His commandments? 1 John 2:1-4

14.

What two things characterize the saints of God in the last days? Rev 14:12-14

Helps and hints: Someone once chided a commandment-keeping Christian, "You may have the law, but I've got the faith! But Revelation 14:12 does not say the saints keep the commandments of God OR the faith of Jesus, it says they "keep the commandments of God, AND the faith of Jesus." How is that possible? They keep the commandments BY FAITH! God's grace has written His law on their hearts, and they "delight to do His will."

15.

What does the apostle Paul identify as the fulfilling of the law? Romans 13:10

Helps and hints: A few zealous opponents of God's moral law have suggested that since "love is the fulfilling of the law," if we just have love, we don't have to keep the law (another supposed "proof" that the moral law is no longer in force). A moment's reflection, however, would correct this misconception.

Can you imagine riding downtown in a car that has no tires, no wheels, no engine, no fuel tank, no chassis, no seats, and no body? As long as you have a CAR, who needs those things? The illustration may be foolish, but the principle is the same. When someone says 'car', you don't question whether is has those things. Generally speaking, it is not a car without them.

What about LOVE? Can you imagine someone telling you they "love" you, while they pick your pocket, have an affair with your spouse, or tell lies about you behind your back?

Jesus was once asked, "which is the great commandment in the law?" He answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:36-40. One verse before Paul tells us that "love is the fulfilling of the law," he gives a clear explanation of just what he means. He says, "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and it there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended ("understood" or "included") in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Romans 13:9. For Paul, "love" is not a sentimental feeling, it is a PRINCIPLE of behavior. Jesus taught the very same thing when He said, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Of the ten commandments given in God's moral law, the first four are a description of how we express love for God, and the last six describe how we express love to one another.

Today, our world has a perverted concept of love, because it has been separated from God's moral law. For some it means only sentimentality, for others only the physical sex act. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary shows us that real LOVE is far more than what our selfish natures are accustomed to believe.

The animosity toward God's law in the world today stems from two sources. First is the natural opposition of the "carnal mind" to the things of God. Second is a reaction on the part of well- meaning Christians to the idea that the law can be used as a means of salvation. Unfortunately, both accomplish the same purpose. They both law aside the authority on which the foundation of God's government is built.

God did not give His moral law to force arbitrary subjugation on His creatures. He gave it as the only realistic guide to peace and harmony in the universe. It is the LAW of LOVE, a description of what true love is when put into action. The Bible tells us that God Himself is love. That law is a transcript of His character. That is why Jesus was able to keep it perfectly on earth. And that is Good News. Jesus didn't behave the way He did on earth as a bit of good acting, some "PR" for God. He did so because that is what He is truly like, right "down to the bone". And that is why we can trust Him completely!



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