09: Christ, the Law and the Gospel – Thought Starters
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[Thought questions for Christ, the Law and the Gospel May 28, 2014]

1. Memory text. Does the word “but” in the memory text (John 1:17) trouble you in any way? (…the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth…through Jesus Christ…) Could you explain to someone that this does NOT mean that the law has no place in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Does law contradict grace in any way? What is the end result of the law–and grace–in our hearts?

Image © Consuelo Udave from GoodSalt.com

Image © Consuelo Udave from GoodSalt.com

2. Sin and the law. Why did Paul ask the question, “Is the law sin?” especially if he didn’t believe the law to be sin? What indeed did Paul believe the law to be? Have you ever driven in another country and found yourself quickly learning a new set of highway laws? Have you ever encountered a law that you thought was unfair and wrong? How common is the sin of coveting? Do most people consider coveting something that belongs to someone else to be just one of those things that runs through the mind? How can coveting relate to murder? to adultery? to stealing? Do you want coveting in the church? in your heart?

3. The law and Israel. Could only the people of Israel understand and accept God’s law? Why didn’t God reveal the law to surrounding nations as vividly as He did to His desert nation? How did the law as given in the wilderness by God affect the relationship between God’s people and the other people nearby? What happens to your faith when you obey God? Were the Israelites blind to the benefits of obeying God’s holy law? How should the utter failure of the children of Israel in following God’s word affect us as we approach the end of time on earth?

4. The law and the nations. Remember God’s overwhelming desire for the Children of Israel? What did He want them to learn? Can God reach people who can’t read or hear God’s word? How? Do you think we’ll meet people in heaven whose whole experience with God came from watching nature and longing to be full of love to others? How do we learn love from surroundings that are so chock-full of sin, envy, and sins of passion and hatred? Falling short of Sabbath keeping, church membership and so many other elements of “our” church, how will these people fit into the eternal kingdom? What is our obligation to them now?

5. Grace and truth. When Adam sinned, how did the curse of death affect the just-created world? What do you think Adam thought when he saw freezing rain, wilted flowers, and angry sharp-toothed creatures? Why is Jesus called “the Second Adam?” Did Jesus come to live on the earth with no sin at all in His heart or mind? How could he be totally human without sin? What does His sinless life do for you and me? What is the grandest gift God could possibly give His loved ones who choose to follow Him? Why is that gift so special and rewarding?

6. The law and the gospel. Do you ever see signs of sin and death as you’re taking a pleasant walk on Sabbath afternoon? Would you agree that a horrible way to be punished by death would be to be chained to the body of a dead person, absorbing the smell and the germs of the rotting corpse until you died? Can you and I avoid living a life chained to the body of sin? How? What is the result of being covered with the robes or righteousness rather than the moldy, dank rags of sin? If you choose a life of joy and obedience to the loving God, can you have His righteousness as your reward?

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09: Christ, the Law and the Gospel – Thought Starters — 5 Comments

  1. We are so like Israel it scares me. Currently, SDA Church members in five Pacific Island nations officially observe Sunday as the Sabbath when the Bible teaches that Saturday is the Sabbath. (See Sabbath Issues)

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      • I just don't understand why in some other parts of the world could be a seventh day Adventist church that deliberately worship on Sunday. Who else knows about this? Please could someone out there assist us to understand how and why........?

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  2. Briefly, the Pacific Islands involved in Sunday worship lie just to the east of the 180th meridian and have decided to have their time zones aligned with nations such as Australia and NZ to the west of the 180th meridian. The history of decisions by Adventists about which day to keep close to the so-called "international date line" (IDL) is long and complex and some of it has been based on misunderstandings. Suffice it to say that in these island nations we have groups of Adventists who worship on Saturday and others who worship on Sunday. The official church position in the South Pacific Division is that they should worship on Sunday because the decision by the government to align their time zones with Australia and NZ is a man made one. (I personally believe the Church's position is not right) Clearly this issue could only occur along the IDL. One needs to remember that the IDL is not an internationally recognised agreement but simply a line drawn on maps by cartographers reflecting the time zone decisions of those nations near the 180th meridian.

    The story is quite involved and as one who has friends on both sides of the argument, I pray that a resolution will be found. It is not easy to resolve. One must remember that thinking people on both sides of this discussion have come to their respective points of view after much prayer and reasoning. It is now time for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of folk to heal the rift that has developed.

    If you would like to know more about the issue follow the link at the end of John Wallace's comment above.

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