In this study we shall cover a subject of supreme importance. We have discussed in previous studies, salvation is a gift of God. We cannot earn it. We can never be good enough to deserve it.
The basis of our salvation is God's grace We will now answer some very important questions. What is the function of God's law?
What is the role of grace? Does it free us from keeping the law? Will a saved person willfully' break God's law?
1. The law of God is a transcript of His character, a description of His will. Without the law there is no sin. How does the Bible define sin? I John 3:4,
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness."
There are many sincere Christians who believe that the law of God has been abolished. If this is true, sin, too, has been abolished. "For where there is no law there is no transgression." Romans 4:15. If there is no sin, then why do we need grace to cleanse us from sin? Why do we need a Saviour to atone for our sins?
2. What is the function of God's law? Romans 3:20.
MY BIBLE SAYS; "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
3. Is the law of God the eternal, unchangeable standard of His government? Psalm 111:7, 8; 89:34.
MY BIBLE SAYS: ". . All His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, ." "My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips."
God's law is the basis of His government. It was established to ensure the peace, order, harmon,, and unity of the universe. A broken law brings sorrow, suffering, bondage, and death (Proverbs 5.22, Romans 6:16, 23
4. To what does the Bible liken the law? James 1.23-25.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
The law is a mirror that enables man to see himself and recognize his need of saving grace.
2. What is the role of grace? Romans 1:16. Ephesians 2:8.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."
Grace is the power of God to atone for our past failures. it enables us to live righteously in the present. Grace is the unmerited favor of God to bring us back into harmony with our Creator. The sole basis of our justification is grace.
Grace has always existed. It means pardon. mercy, love, and kindness (Genesis 6:8: Romans 4:1-4: Ephesians 2:4-8). Grace frees us from the condemnation of the law.
Thus, by grace we pass from life to death to those who turn from disobedience to obedience (Romans 2:13; Psalm 103:17).
6. What is the converted person's relationship to the moral law? Romans 7:22.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man."
A Christian lives the law (Psalm 119:34; Romans 3:31), and loves the law (1 John 5:2, 3; Psalm 40:8). A Christian meditates upon the law and continually recognizes it in its full dimensions (Psalm 1:2; 119:60).
STATEMENTS ON THE LAW:
John Wesley: "The moral law contained in the Ten Commandments and enforced by the
prophets, He (Christ) did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of this. This is the law which never can be broken, which stands fast as the faithful witness in heaven.' " Wesley continues: "The ritual of ceremonial law, delivered by Moses to the children of Israel, containing all the injunctions and ordinances which related to the Old Sacrifices and service of the Temple, our Lord indeed came to destroy, to dissolve, and utterly abolish." The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, 1829, Third Edition, VoL 5, p. 311.
Question: Are we under obligation to keep the moral law?
Answer: Yes, because that is founded on the nature of God, and cannot be changed; it is of universal application, which was impossible with respect to the ceremonial laws.
Question: Are we under obligation to keep the ceremonial or church laws of the Jews?
Answer: No, the ordinances which it enjoined were only types and shadows of Christ, and when they were fulfilled by His death, and the distinction between Jew and Gentile was removed, the ceremonial law was abolished, because it was no longer necessary.—Shorter Catechism, p. 16.
"Question: Some religious people I know tell me that the Ten Commandments are part of the 'law' and do not apply to us today. They say that as Christians we are 'free from the law,' Is that right?
Answer: No, it is not right, and I hope you will not be misled by these false opinions. It is very important to understand what the New Testament means when it says that Christians are 'free from the law.' It certainly does not mean that they are free from the obligations of the moral law of God and are at liberty to sin.
You see, the word 'law' is used by the New Testament writers in two senses. Sometimes it refers to the ceremonial law of the Old Testament, which is concerned about ritual matters and regulations regarding food and drink and things of that kind. This ceremonial law was of a passing character, and was done away when Christ came. From this law Christians are indeed free.
But the New Testament also speaks of the moral law, which is of a permanent, unchanging character, and is summarized in the Ten Commandments. This law sets forth God's demands on human life and man's duty to God and his neighbor. That it definitely applies to the Christian is made clear in Romans 13:8-10.
Of course, it is quite true that the Christian is not 'saved' by his efforts to keep the law. But as one that is saved by God's mercy through faith in Christ, he is under an obligation to obey God's law. As it has been said, in Christ, we are free from sin, but not free to sin. 'If ye love me,' He said, 'Keep my commandments.'Dallas-Tunes Herald, July 14, 1955."
"The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall . . . delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, and written in two tables of stone.— The Baptist Encyclopedia, p. 1355."
"The moral law is . . of universal and perpetual obligation . It must not, therefore, be confounded with the ceremonial law which was abolished under the New Testament dispensation.—Confession of Faith, pp. 43-45."
D. L. Moody:
"Men may cavil as much as they like about other parts of the Bible, but I have never met an honest man that found fault with the Ten Commandments.— Weighed and Wanting p. 11."
MY DECISION: By God's grace I am determined to live in harmony with the ten commandment law of God.