Home » Friday: Further Thought ~ The Law as Teacher    


Friday: Further Thought ~ The Law as Teacher — 29 Comments

  1. Marriage law is complicated. I checked with the Australian Government Website for Marriage and Family and there are 16 pages of information. To make matters even more complicated these pages are mainly links to other documents. And in addition to that there is a long history of cases that have come before the various courts of law. These also have a legal bearing on the institution of marriage. However, most of us who are married in Australia have little knowledge of most of the legal documents.

    When the topic of the law comes up, I always think that marriage is a good illustration. The marriage law is necessary and defines a whole lot of things about marriage, but for most of us that really important thing is that we love one another. I do not get up every morning and say to myself, “I’m married! I must not commit adultery today!”
    I do not recite marriage law to Carmel to stop her from breaking our marriage vows. Nor do I take out our marriage certificate and show it to her to remind her that we are married. (Come to think of it I would be pretty hard pressed to find the certificate right now. I’ll have to ask Carmel where she hid it!) Marriage is “heart stuff” if it is really going to work, not “law stuff”.

    God wants our spiritual journey to be “heart stuff”, not something where we are forever worried about whether we have broken the law or expressed it using "kosher" linguistics . Here are some verses that help:

    I enjoy pleasing you.
    Your Law is in my heart.’ Ps 40:8 CEV

    I love and obey your laws
    with all my heart. Ps 119: 167 CEV

    Here is the new agreement that I, the LORD, will make with the people of Israel: “I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jer 31:33 CEV

    Jesus replied, “Moses gave you this law because you are so heartless. Mark 10:5CEV

    But now I tell the people of Israel this is my new agreement: ‘The time will come when I, the Lord, will write my laws on their minds and hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Heb 8:10CEV

    When the time comes, I will make an agreement with them. I will write my laws on their minds and hearts. Heb 10:16CEV

    Do we really understand that messge?

  2. Thy law have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.

    The Law as a Teacher
    A teacher job description- preparing lesson plans, educating students, assigned homework and grading them as is needed and documenting progress. In all classes from preschool to tertiary a register is kept about our attendance(teachers know who comes from who dont). Teachers knew their students by names. A teacher is a supporter, facilitator, mentor and a coach.
    There are good and bad teachers. The good ones encourages the students in every step of the way. The work given is not to harm the students brain but to enlighten their understanding to knowledge about their surrounding and life itself.

    When the law was given it was intended for the leaders to teach us like a teacher. The ten commandment embodied in the law itself is good and its everlasting. Love God and love our human friends.
    Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

    Solution- #3 showing why this obedience is not the source of our salvation? We as a people are called to love our Maker and other humans as ourselves. Obeying Christ is obeying his laws. visa/versa. The source of our salvation is Christ. Only he can save but how do we obey him? By obeying his words.

  3. I see God's Law embodying the Image of Him based on His righteousness administered by His life-sustaining Love. If we walk by His Law of Love, Light and Life, we will experience the effects of God's loving righteousness; if we transgress it, we will be experiencing the effects of God's mercyful justicement and efforts to impress on us the need for correction; all done because He loves us. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and Guide.
    Ellen White's quote: Through unselfish service we receive the highest culture of every faculty. More and more fully do we become partakers of the divine nature. We are fitted for heaven, for we receive heaven into our hearts." Education p.16

    • I don't see the Law as the portrayal of the image of God or it is so limited to describe His nature. God's nature of forgiving, kind, compassionate, long-suffering, patient, kind, gracious, benevolent,omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent- is not reflected in this 10 commandments. The Law was given after sin and God nor the angels do not subscribe or bound to obey this rules because they are not flesh. Our obedience to the Law is only the result of our faith in accepting the gift of salvation that Christ paid on the cross by fulfilling the Law for us which we cannot do.

      • Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. Psalm 40:6-8

        Alvin A - It is the Sabbath and I lay in my bed and was thinking about people getting rid of the law and replacing it with grace although grace was from the beginning in Eden.
        Things that came to my mind- if no law then the people live lawless.
        1. Can I ask anyone for their bank account and password so I can withdraw all their savings- remember thou shalt not steal meant nothing without a law. Then, afterward, I will pray and grace will take effect.
        2. I was in the breakroom recently and a worker was reading the news, it said- the police was contacted after a married couple went to another woman and asked her to buy/rent her horse so they can commit bestiality. If I put away the law, then the sin of adultery (approx 25 different sins) will not apply to me/no one. Lev 18:1-30. Are these sins still binding for the Christians?

        As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be before the coming of the Lord. Eating and drinking, marrying and giving into marriage. Do we read/interpret/understood that as eating veggie burgers and drinking fruit juice. God looked and he was sorry he made the earth because men had become so wicked. Gen 6:1-12. Matt 24:37-39
        Do we see these days we are living in as those days and things are getting worst. Put away the law (10 commandment) of the bible and see what society we will create.

        • Lyn, thank you for your response to my comment. I think we are on the same page in honoring the Law. What I am referring to is the notion of totally equating God's image to the Law. The Law that was given to the fallen race is but a dim reflection of God's goodly and glorious nature. We downgrade His level to our nature if we consider the Law as His only image. As He is Higher in heaven or other heavens than on earth is his image glorified. The Law (10 Comn'ts) was specifically made for man and of course there are other higher laws in other worlds that we don't have to worry about but as a loving God, I think that all Laws that He enacts will be based on His love...

      • Hi Alvin - thank you for sharing your thoughts. As I see it, the Law in written and oral form was made available to man as a means to teach him the way that is right - God's way; though this was only its packaging. The Law is now is written on/into the hearts of those who love Him - the heart is its final packaging; this transfer was to have taken place even then.
        The spirit of the Law is Love - the embodyment of our Creator's Spirit, His Image. We are made in His Image, capable to love, which we express when we exercise faith as we love Him and our fellow man.

        Yes, all His wonderfully beneficient attributes in His nature are expressed in the Fruit of the Spirit, available to those who keep His commandment to love Him with all their being. If we do, we will then again be living in His Image, His nature expressing itselve in the spirit of love.

  4. How do I love God and fear him at the same time? I know what God wants me to do because he has given me his law. He says if I love him, I will keep his commandments. I am not afraid of him because of what will happen to me if I do not love him (keeping his commandments. I fear not making him happy, I fear disappointing him because his law does not seem complicated to me even the Sabbath commandment that so many people find a burden. The Sabbath was made for man. He wanted me to rest to spend time worshiping him. However, if I have failed to love him for whatever reason, he says he is faithful and just to forgive me because he loves me and wants me to be saved.

    The law is there to protect me. Just like a mother tells her child not to touch a hot plate of porridge because it will burn the child. If the child obeys, they will not feel the pain of touching the hot plate.

    I want to love the Lord not out of fear but out of love because I am safer following his law because it was given out of love. My challenge at the moment is keeping it in my heart. There seems to be so much to do and unfortunately the cares of this world seem to be taking a larger portion of the time I should be writing the law of God in my heart.

    I delight to do thy will oh Lord.

    • Hello Thembelani - I want to encourage you to let your heart-felt thoughts talk with the Father all the time, even, or especially when you get busy attending to the cares of the world; always keep a song of praise and thankfulness in your heart! We know how this joy will lift us up when we love someone that is special to us, right? Those that are special to us are always close to us in the thoughts of our heart!

    • Thembelani, every time you see the word “Fear” in the Bible, replace with the word “Respect or Reverence” . This is a better translation. This should make it easier for you to balance the two responses to God.

      • Amen Jim. What loving father want his children to be afraid of him?

        We don't "fear" God like we fear enemies or the virus. We love Him back for His grace and forgiveness: "But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared." (Psalm 130:4 KJV). It follows that to "fear" God is to love Him.

  5. "Obey" and "Law" are trigger words for our Community of Faith because some people accuse of us trying to earn salvation, that the Law is OT and Grace is NT. So we, I, get my self into knots trying to "prove" the 10 commandments are still valid. I have now realized that I need to follow Jesus' example, He didn't try to prove others wrong, He just stated the truth per the Scriptures.

    Was it God the Father or God the Son who gave the 10 commandments on Mt Sinai? We do know that Jesus Christ repeats and/or references them when He was here on earth. Mark 2:27,28, Mark 7:21-23, Mark 12:29-31, Matthew 22:37-40, John 14:15 is a direct quote from the heart of the 10 commandments Ex 20:6

    When I let Jesus tell me what He means, I see the connection between love and obey, He said keep my words/teachings/commands in your heart because I love you and you love me. John 15:7, John 14:23
    John 15:10 MKJV  If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
    What is obedience? It is allowing the LORD through the Holy Spirit to change our heart, mind, and spirit to be like Jesus Christ. This is my favourite quote from Desire of Ages (p668) as it explains what obedience is all about.

    All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.

    • My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee........Hosea 4:6
      ......Knowledge of the Holy one is understanding. Prov 9:10

      The Law as Teacher-
      Shirley you said some strong words. I was reading Hosea and the Lord mentioned some strong words as a spouse to his wife. Hosea and his wife the Lord used to signify He and his church. It is obedience to God and through fear(a sense of awe and reverence) we are drawn to the Godhead. Hosea 2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever/ yea...in righteous(right living), judgment (vindication of his name as a great husband), lovingkindness (tenderness and consideration towards others), and in mercy (compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm).
      The Lord is saying, I love you and created you for my glory (greatness, honor, splendor, importance), but you my people have forsaken me and turn to another who cant give you anything. Indeed, instead, you are taking what I gave you and giving it to another husband. Can two walk together if they do not agree?
      The law is there to remind us about the loving agreement we agreed to follow by loving the Lord (our Husband) with all our hearts, soul, strength, and mind and our neighbors as ourselves.

    • What comes first, obeying the Law or loving God by faith? The Lord said," come unto me sinful as you are, and I will give you rest from your sins"- then just like the psalmist desires God will create in us a new heart where He writes His Law and a new Spirit to give power or live/dwell in us to be able to do his will and results in obeying His Laws. If God does not abide/live in us first, our evil nature persists...

      • Alvin - I suggest to go even further back than our love and faith. At the beginning is the love of God extended to mankind by His Spirit - John.6:44. Once we accept Him and believe, His faith expressed through us will lead us further in the Way we should walk as long as we abide in God's love.

    • It is an act of will to rebel and sin against God but unfortunately it is our fate to fall into sin as sinners by nature physiologically/biologically and inheritance from Adam. It is easy to say copy Christ's character, follow Jesus' example in obeying the Law but our nature currently does not allow; we cannot in ourselves change our character just as the bible says-"the leopard cannot even change its skin". Our character defines our identity but Christ invites us to- "come just as you are"-, Christ accept us even how filthy we are and washed away our sins whiter than snow. "For by grace are we saved through faith, and that faith is not even yours but the gift of God..." Therefore obedience to the Law is not the basis of our faith but the result of it. Jesus said, "If you who are evil by nature know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more does the Father give you the Holy Spirit"...so its not by your might or your personal power but by the Holy Spirit living/dwelling in you would you find success. What then?- The only way to accept His gift is total surrender of self and absolute submission of our will to God so He can work towards our salvation; - for He said: "those I have chosen and have chosen me, I in no wise fail them"...

      • Thank you Alvin. The 10 commandments aren't rules to be followed but promises God will achieve in us when we love Him (John 14:15; Ezekiel 36:27).

        I like how the Adventist Pastor below describes it:

        "To believe that Good News changes the law of God from an Old Covenant set of impossible rules into a beautiful New Covenant gift of ten promises. It's not, "Now you must do this and that and that, and then I will deliver you from the slavery of sin." God never makes bargains with us for He knows that we have a sinful, carnal mind or nature which is "enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7 KJV). The Old Covenant tells you what to do if you hope to be saved; the New Covenant tells you what to believe because the Savior has already given Himself to save you. He has already died your second death instead of you. He has already paid the penalty for your sin. You wonder how can you know for sure? Simply take a breath: The life you now have is the proof that He wants you to enjoy eternal life "in Christ." If He had not died for you, you would already be eternally dead. So, thank Him!"
        --Pastor Paul E. Penno

  6. God is the One who let us live and do everything we do, but we were created free! We ourselves were turned captive because of our own choices! Thus, because of God's love, He gave His Son to die for us so we could be restored to our original state! What do must of us do with this Second chance? Do we throw away this gift again or do we accept Him and learn from Him? God's nature never gives up on us.

    • Yes in the beginning man was created free but we lost that freedom because of Adam's sin. Now our choices are only secondary to God's choice; He has chosen to love us first and to save us otherwise our human nature is to run and rebel. Our only choice is to accept that gift, believe and be saved...

  7. The first great commandment cannot be accomplished without God putting His spirit in you first. He said: "I will put my spirit in them and write my Laws in their Hearts"...And the 2nd great commandment is not really bad but if we base our love to ourselves as the standard of loving others is somewhat outdated. Christ said: I give you a new commandment that you love others as I love you"... This I believe supersede that old saying; and the love of Christ in us as unconditional Love, we cannot closely follow unless Christ live within us...

    • Amen - Alvin; I also prefer to say it this way: 'that you love others as you have been loved', or as you have stated it: "...that you love others as I love you".

      • Thank you Brigitte, that's enlightening , that's a good one: "...as you have been loved". and to state further that to be perfect like the Father in loving - depends on our level of maturity, knowledge and capacity- Ex: You cannot expect a child not to commit adultery, covet the neighbor's goods, etc...

  8. "• What is the difference between setting a standard and making a rule? In your experience, is Adventism more concerned with setting high standards within its community of believers or in making rules that unite its community? What does Scripture say about setting high standards for oneself? One’s family? One’s church?"
    please I need your comment on this. Friday lesson.

    • Perhaps the only "standard" or "rules" should be found in what God's Word defines as such? Our only true creed as a church is God's Word. The church should be promoting Truth as shown by God's word and not going about to make standards or rules except to help define what we all agree as being the will of God.

      As I understand it, our fundamental beliefs are the result of this.

    • The ultimate standard in making rules for oneself, one's family or one's church is still no other than the 10 commandments. Any good civil code or religious beliefs is based and drawn from these 2 great commandments (Loving God and loving our fellowmen) in fairness to live peacefully with one another while we live on earth. We have no use of it in the new heaven and the new earth but we are still bound to different and higher laws of love then as the heavenly beings are bound to obey whatever God will impose on them...

  9. Both love for and fear of God is fulfilled by the same response; the entire surrender of the will that God's will(desire/purpose) may be fulfilled in my life. If/when we sin, confession(to agree) and repentance(change mind) is required as a recognition of our surrendered will. IF we truly know God according to all He has revealed to us, we will do this with joy and delight(Ps 40:8) and our life will be as a light in a dark place, influencing others.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>