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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON THIRTY-SIX The Law and the Gospel

    1. The law of the Ten Commandments sets forth the standard of righteousness, and consequently it makes known sin. Isaiah 51:7; Psalm 119:172, 138, 142. Romans 9:31; 10:5; Deuteronomy 6:24, 25; Philippians 3:6; Romans 2:20; 3:20; 4:15; 5:13, 20; 7:7, 1 Corinthians 15:56.TDOC 91.4

    2. The law of God is founded upon the principle of love, and teaches us how to express our love to God and to man. Matthew 22:35-40 (compare Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 and Leviticus 19:18); Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8 (compare John 13:34 and Matthew 7:12); 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6; Deuteronomy 30:20.TDOC 91.5

    3. Love is of God; and man, separated from God through sin, is utterly unable to fulfill the law of love. Romans 7:12, 14-19; Galatians 5:17.TDOC 91.6

    4. In the gospel is revealed the righteousness described in the law, and the law witnesses to the genuineness of this righteousness. Romans 1:16, 17; 3:21.TDOC 91.7

    5. This righteousness is received through believing on Christ. Romans 3:22, 25; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:21.TDOC 92.1

    6. Thus, to meet the need created by the weakness of the law, the power of the indwelling Christ is provided for us. Romans 7:24 to 8:4; Philippians 4:13.TDOC 92.2

    7. Faith in Christ establishes the law in our lives by laying hold of the power which enables us to obey. Romans 3:31; Hebrews 10:8, 9; 11:8.TDOC 92.3

    8. Christ did not abolish the law, but by his own death he abolished death, the penalty of disobedience to the law. Matthew 5:17; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:26, ARV.TDOC 92.4

    9. The gospel of God’s grace brings salvation, and delivers us from the transgression of the law. Titus 2:11; Romans 6:12-14.TDOC 92.5

    10. The law reveals the sin from which it is unable to save, and thus urges us to Christ as the one who can supply the righteousness required. Galatians 3:21-24; Romans 10:4.TDOC 92.6

    11. Those in whose hearts the law of God has been written through Christ’s mediation of the new covenant, have peace with God and are kept from sin. Psalm 1:1-3; 119:165; Jeremiah 31:33; Romans 5:1; Psalm 119:11.TDOC 92.7

    NOTES: Righteousness defined

    “Righteousness is defined by the standard of God’s holy law, an expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai.”-Steps to Christ, 66.TDOC 92.8

    A great mirror

    “The law is a great mirror let down from heaven in which a man may see himself as he is. That is why the law brings condemnation and death.”TDOC 92.9

    Obedience the sign of discipleship

    “The law of God is an expression of his very nature; it in an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of his government in heaven and earth. If our hearts are renewed in the likeness of God, if the divine love is implanted in the soul, will not the law of God be carried out in the life. When the principle of love is implanted in the heart, when man is renewed after the image of him that created him, the new covenant promise is fulfilled, ‘I will put my lawn into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.’ Hebrews 10:16. And if the law is written in the heart, will it not shape the life! Obedience— the service and allegiance of love-is the true sign of discipleship.”-Steps to Christ, 65.TDOC 92.10

    Law and grace

    “The law is ‘just’ (Romans 7:12), and therefore heartily approves goodness, and unsparingly condemns badness; but, save Jesus of Nazareth, the law never saw a man righteous through obedience. Grace, on the contrary, is not looking for good men whom it may approve, for it is not grace, but mere justice, to approve goodness; but it is looking for condemned, guilty, speechless, and helpless men whom it may save through faith, sanctify and glorify.”TDOC 93.1

    “Law always has a place and work distinct and wholly diverse from that of grace. Law is God prohibiting, and requiring (Exodus 20:1, 17); grace is God beseeching, and bestowing (2 Corinthians 5:18, 21). Law is a ministry of condemnation (Romans 3:19); grace, of forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7). Law curses (Galatians 3:10); grace redeems from that curse (Galatians 3:1). Law kills (Romans 7:9, 11); grace makes alive (John 10:10). Law shuts every mouth before God; grace opens every mouth to praise him. Law puts a great and guilty distance between man and God (Exodus 20:18, 19); grace makes guilty man nigh to God (Ephesians 2:13). Law says, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21:24); grace says, Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also’ (Matthew 5:39). Law says, Hate your enemy; grace, Love your enemies, bless them that despitefully use you. Law says, Do and live (Luke 10:26, 28); grace, Believe and live (John 5:24). Law utterly condemns the best man (Philippians 3:4, 9); grace freely justifies the worst (Luke 23:24; Romans 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 11). Law is a system of probation; grace, of favor. Law stones an adulteress (Deuteronomy 22:21); grace says, Neither do I condemn thee (John 8:1, 11). Under law the sheep dies for the shepherd; under grace the Shepherd dies for the sheep (John 10:11).”TDOC 93.2

    The everlasting gospel

    “The Old Testament is as verily the gospel in types and shadows as the New Testament is in its unfolding power. The New Testament does not present a new religion; the old Testament does not present a religion to be superseded by the New. The New Testament is only the advancement and unfolding of the Old.”-Testimonies for the Church 6:392.TDOC 93.3

    Two errors

    “So fundamental is the correct understanding of the Christian’s relation to the law, that if Satan is not able to beguile Christians into staying in bondage under the law, he will seek to drive them into an opposite error that is just as deadly to true liberty. This is the notion that a Christian has nothing to do with the law, and is under no obligation to have his life conform to it.”TDOC 93.4

    The law’s receipt in full

    “If the Holy Spirit shows us the wounds of the dying Christ for condemning us, he immediately shows us the wounds of the exalted Christ for comforting us, His glorified body is death’s certificate of discharge, the law’s receipt in full, assuring us that all the penalties of transgression have been endured, and the Sin-bearer acquitted.”TDOC 94.1

    The way of acceptance

    “It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen, and. we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey a holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now he offers to take our sins and give us his righteousness. If you give yourself to him, and accept him as your Savior, then, sinful as your life may have been, for his sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”-Steps to Christ, 67.TDOC 94.2

    Obedience guaranteed

    “If we are appropriating the promise of the Spirit, our inheritance through faith, we are having fulfilled in us the law of God at this present moment. That is what the word of God gays. That is what happens when we are under grace and not under the law. Obedience to the law is guaranteed while we are under grace, walking in the Spirit. Disobedience to the law can come only when the Christian is living under law, walking after the flesh.”TDOC 94.3

    Magnifying the law

    “That law which, resting on the solemn authority of its firm and unalterable requirements, demanded a fulfillment up to the last jot and tittle of it, has been magnified and has been made honorable by one illustrious Sufferer, who put forth the greatness of his strength in that dark hour of the travail of his soul when he bore the burden of all its penalties.”TDOC 94.4

    Legally free

    “This condition of death for sin having been effected for us by our Savior, we are held legally or judicially free from the penalty of the violated law, if by our personal faith we will consent to the translation.”TDOC 94.5

    Fulfilling the law

    “The law of God is pure and holy and spiritual, and has never been abrogated. The new covenant does not take away the law: it provides a way of fulfilling the law.”TDOC 94.6

    The law permanent

    “The law here in view was the whole revealed will of God touching man’s behavior, coming as a will of authority, requiring obedience. The discussion in the earlier chapters of the epistle to the Romans makes this plain. And Paul’s way of keeping the law in those old days, though it was necessarily too external, had not been so merely external as is sometimes supposed. His obedience had been zealous and resolute, with as much heart and meaning as he could put into it. But law-keeping for righteousness had been the principle of it. The Jew was placed under a law; obedience to that law should be his pathway to a destiny of incomparable privilege and gladness. That was the theory. So believing, Paul had given himself with zeal to the work, ‘living in all good conscience before God.’ A great change had now befallen him; but that could not imply on his part a renunciation of God’s law. The law, better understood indeed, and far more inwardly apprehended, still retained for Paul its great outlines, and was reverenced as divine. It was holy and just and good. It was felt still to shed its steadfast light on human duty, awakening and illuminating the conscience; and therefore it revealed most authentically the moral situation, with its elements of failure, and danger, and need. The law stood fast. But the scheme of life which stood in keeping the law for righteousness had passed away for Paul, vanishing in the light of a new and better day.”TDOC 95.1

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