Tuesday: The Law and the Nations

(Acts 10:34, 35)

Read Acts 10:34-35; Acts 17:26-27; Romans 1:20; and Romans 2:14. What is the central teaching of these texts?

Image © Don Mammoser from GoodSalt.com

Image © Don Mammoser from GoodSalt.com

Despite Israel’s mistakes, God did not leave the people in other nations without a witness. Those who were not privileged to receive God’s written revelation received divine messages through the pages of natural revelation (Rom. 1:20). God’s book of nature contains enough information to direct a person to Him.

God has also instilled a measure of spiritual desire in every human being. According to Paul, those who sense God’s indwelling Spirit will engage in a quest to find Him (Acts 17:27). So many people sense an emptiness in their lives that nothing this world offers-fame, power, money, sex-can ultimately fulfill. At its heart, this was the message of the book of Ecclesiastes. This emptiness, this dissatisfaction, often leads people in a quest for something beyond, for something that transcends everyday existence. They are drawn to revealed truth in a desire to quell the longings and emptiness of their souls.

Whether God’s will is revealed through written documents or nature, the person who receives it has the responsibility to live it. Truth is truth, regardless of the vehicle that delivers it, and those who suppress the truth will experience the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18). Consequently, although many people may not have received the Bible or the Ten Commandments, God still holds them accountable for the portions of truth that they have gleaned. Ultimately, everyone will be judged, and the standard of judgment will be law: either the law God expressly revealed through His prophet Moses, or, for those who are ignorant of the written law-the law of conscience, which has been developed by listening to God’s voice in nature.

What great disappointments have you faced that have helped you see just how untrustworthy and unsatisfactory the things of this world really can be? How can you learn from these disappointments about what truly matters?



Tuesday: The Law and the Nations — 11 Comments

  1. Although Isreal was the receiver of the writing law through Moses, Tuesday's lesson reveals a truth that most of us might not be aware of. For an individual who has not read or heard about the law, God has placed in us all a kind of spiritual desire, a longing that nothing in this world can quench, and this longings with our conscience awakened leads us to search out for ourselves that knowledge embedded in nature which speaks of her creator and by this a searcher of truth is lead to Christ who is the truth and giver of all wisdom. There is really no excuse for sin. For when the Gentiles who know nothing about the commandments do those things that are contained in it, it becomes laws to them.

  2. Vanity of vanities! Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of men.
    This world we live in is full of disappointments and what truly matters and that will never disappoint is following the law of God.

  3. I love reading classic literature and this quote spoke to me: "And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists."
    /Moby-Dick by Herman Melville/

    • Sarah, that's a profound quotation. Essentially "disobeying ourselves" means denying self the supremacy in our lives. It means what we usually call "self-denial," and that's exactly what it takes to love God supremely.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. job9:2"i know it is so of a truth;but how should man be just with God?"when the spirit of the Lord is indwelling in the human heart the actions of heaven becomes the law within us.for those who don't have the law the verse from galatians says it all,5:22"but the fruit of the spirit is love,joy,peace,longsuffering,gentleness,goodness,faith,its the "light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world".Christ is intrinsic in all of humanity.the invisible of Christ is the grace of heaven,rom.6:14"for sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law,but under grace.MAHALO KE AKUA

  5. I have a question regarding this lesson. The lesson talks about judgement and how we will be judged according to the law; however, we are also told that we will not go to heaven based on our works. I think this is confusing because it has two messages.

    • someone correct me if I'm wrong.
      sometimes we, as humans,think we can work and work our way to heaven.
      Oh let me give to this person and let me give to that pet rescue for example.

      Those are good deeds yes, but those are not going to get us to heaven. When we know the law and what God wants from us, we will do good automatically we will not think of it, and it won't make us look good. God's love will flow through our veins. Lets look at Ephesians 2:8-9 see how works can make us boast and "look good" That is not what God wants. He can see your works you do not have to advertise, (I am taking about myself also.....)Pray and let it come naturally.

      • Kristina, it is true that the standard of judgment always have been and always will be the Law of God.

        It is not contrary to the fact that we can work our way into heaven. None of us can possibly "keep" the Law of God perfectly. Thus we cannot possibly work our way into heaven.

        Recognizing the holy Law of God as the standard of judgment should lead us to recognize our helplessness and wholly depend on our Savior who has made a way of salvation for us. And when we thus depend on Him, He works in us to do and to will of His good pleasure.

    • Hi Janet God's law is a summary of HIS character, if we are truly walking with Him we will behave as He behaves. So we are not saved because of our works but our daily surrender and walk with Him and Him living in you will produce a character that performs good works. Matthew. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
      Heb. 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons
      unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Luke. 12:50-straitened.
      5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
      5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
      Phil. 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even
      the death of the cross.
      1 John. 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
      3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 1Tim. 5:22. James

    • I also see a danger to believe that "the standard of judgment will be law". We are saved because of our adherence to a love relationship not because of our obedience to (a greater or lesser amount of knowledge of) some prescriptions nor because of our coherence to our love choice as well! However Paul in 1 Cor 3:10-15 says "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

  6. This lesson study clears the question of sinning by ignorance which many have taken advantage of. I feel that we all know the law, atleast we know the second most important commandment "naturally" and by knowing it, we are enabled to understand and fulfill the first most important commandment with some little education. And our church is supposed to give that education-the whole essence of the gospel!!


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