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God’s Law: The One, the Two, the Ten and the Many — 42 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful and comprehensive description of the law of God. I only wish that more time had been taken to explain the process of how God will write His law in our hearts. Self renouncing love is a wonderful discription of the love Jesus has for all of his creation, but how do we acquire " self renouncing love" . Are we even capable of acquiring it on our own? Finally, my desire is to have a self renouncing love, but I am incapable of acquiring this love on my own. Oh Lord please help me love as you love.

    • Jose, whether you realized it or not you answered your own question.

      We can't change our hearts, that is something that only God can do which is what you stated. Your prayer seems to acknowledge.

      It is through the acceptance of the new covenant promise found in Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8 that a our heart is changed. While we pray for a new heart we also need to realize that sanctification is both completed and yet a work of a lifetime.

      Paul's letter to the Corinthians states, "to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor 1:2 NKJV) and again, "But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor 6:11 NKJV). Notice that they were already sanctified "in Christ" and yet Paul did not think of himself as perfect, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me (Phi 3:12 NKJV).

      So while we are set aside for God (the meaning of sanctified) through the ministry of the Holy Spirit we are also growing up into His likeness day by day through the same ministry.

      One other thing needs to be said. Our desire for a changed heart must be honest. We can't hope for the change to happen if we stubbornly choose to continually sin.

    • This self renouncing love comes by loving GOD. Only by yeilding ourselves to HIM, the I AM whose principles of love is embodied in HIS commandment or rather, HIS relationship with us and our relationship with our neighbours. Who is our neighbours? The man, woman and child that comes into contact with us every day!!! These contacts gives us the privilige to be like JESUS showing/reflecting that self renousing love that is received from GOD. We might not get it right the first time, today but our LORD will grant us that opportunity to do better tomorrow, the next time. Review our mistakes and be more like HIM the next time. This is what our lives are about....we eat, we sleep, we work, we play, we learn........its all about that self renouncing love. We cannot receive it without giving it. So Jose.....its not just praying for it.....you need to practice it as you receive it from GOD.
      Keep on loving Jose, not just your friends and family but also the strangers and most definitely your enemies.
      Love always.

    • As we focus on Jesus daily, the Holy Spirit will fill us with His love.

      The law of worship states that by beholding we are changed (2 Cor. 3:18). "It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. It becomes assimilated to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence." {The Great Controversy, p. 555}.

      "It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross." {The Desire of Ages, p. 83}

  2. Thank you for your comment, Jose.

    I believe you point up the purpose of the law in our lives: It is to remind us that we need a Savior, because we cannot manufacture such love on our own.

    We used to live next-door to a man who claimed that he could think up better laws than the Ten Commandments. That just demonstrated that spiritual things are spiritually discerned. As an agnostic, he could not see beyond the shallowest meaning of the exact words.

    • Inge, I am not to sure that what you say isn't also a major problem with many in the Seventh-day Adventist church today. We seem to be oriented to interpreting things strictly in a literal way and that spills over into things such as the Ten Commandments. In other words if it isn't spelled out explicitly as a tangible concrete thought it doesn't seem to register which was the problem the people had with the sermon on the bread of life (John 6:53-66).

  3. "Are the Ten Commandments the eternal Law on which the government of God is founded?........Sounds a bit ridiculous, when you stop to think about it, doesn’t it?"
    What law did Satan and his angels break? what laws?
    Like David, I find the law of God (which from the original language means: the directions of YHWH) is what I need in my life: Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
    8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
    9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
    10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
    11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
    There are 2 great laws: on them hang the 10, on the 10 hang the statutes that God gave to explain the 10!
    Isn't he good to us?! He wants to convert our souls, make the wise simple, enlighten our eyes, warn us and give us great reward. Plus they are to be more desired than gold, and sweeter than honey!

    The word law comes from the Hebrew word torah, which means teachings, instructions, directions (which include the 2, the 10 and the statutes and judgments and the testimonies that David wrote about above).......(also see Psalms 119 in the KJV)
    when people say they are "not under the law", they are really saying they are not under the instructions of the Almighty One of Heaven. So whose instructions are they under? The last I heard there are only two choices. We are given free choice......so are the angels in heaven. "Chose you this day whom you will serve......."

    • Hi Shelley,

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂 You ask,
      "What law did Satan and his angels break?" And I think you go on to answer it, with the beautiful texts from Psalm 19:7-11.

      As I suggest in my original post, the "two great laws" to which Jesus referred can be summed up as the great Law of self-renouncing love which He demonstrated by His life and His death for us. It was that law which the angels broke -- even though they were not even conscious of there being a law, because it was inscribed on their hearts -- in the same way as in the new-covenant promise (Jer. 31:33). Sin originated in self-seeking. It is interesting to read the descriptions of Lucifer Isa. 14:12-20 and see how much focus there is on "I."

      The Law of God -- whether the One, the Two, the Ten or the many -- simply describes what love looks like in action. Any "love" that violates the Law of God is not genuine love for God or man.

      On the other hand, love fulfills the Law. And any law that is not an outworking of self-renouncing love is not part of the eternal Law of God.

      Paul does write of not being "under the law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). I believe he means that we are not under the condemnation of the Law because we are justified by the grace of Jesus Christ, and that makes us free to live in harmony with the Law. When we fall, He picks us up, and we continue to walk in faith.

      • "What law did Satan and his angels break? what laws?"

        They broke the first commandment --
        "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
        By defying the authority of God and attempting to place self above God they broke that commandment.

        Satan broke the fifth commandment --
        "Honor thy Father -- God had given life to Lucifer and as such was entitled to that honor, but Lucifer decided not to give honor.

        Satan broke nineth commandment --
        "Don't bear false witness"
        He was spreading all kinds of dubious ideas amongst the angels about God.

        And how about the tenth commandment? -- Thou shalt not covet.
        Satan coveted the authority and honor due only to God. He wanted it for himself.

        And there are probably more--

        Yes, by breaking these commandments he was going against the law of love, -- God's unselfish love. But that law of love also has the ten to define love.

        • Are you sure that the expression of the principles of love takes precisely the same form in heaven as on earth -- that the angels have a law against adultery and against coveting their neighbor's wife? Angels marry??

          And are you sure that we will be exhorted in the new earth not to commit adultery and not to covet our neighbor's spouse?

          From what Jesus said, I got the idea that there will be no marriage in heaven. (Matt. 22:30) And, by extensions -- that angels do not marry. How do you interpret His words?

          • Inge:

            Thank you so much for taking the time to clarify our understanding of God's eternal law of love which was spelt out at Sinai as the Ten Commandments and ceremonial laws etc. because of transgressions (Gal. 3:19) and was given "for the lawless and disobedient" (1Tim. 1:9,10).

            The law of love is a natural law upon which life is built to operate and, as you've quoted, "is the law of life on earth and heaven" {DA20}.

        • Actually Inge,
          From my observation of the way sexuality has been preverted I think the fallen angels take great delight in defiance against that law of purity.

          Also, for a God of love to create beings incapable of intimate relationships is a little hard to believe.

          You see, I don't interprete the ten commandments in the narrow way of limiting the seventh commandment to a physical act. It is a law of purity and covenantal commitment in a binding relationship.
          While scripture seems to indicate that angels don't have exactly the same type of relationship like humans, they probably still have intimate relationships of some kind that are rich in blessings when abiding by God's design.

          The seventh commandment has a vast depth to it -- next to our covenant with God, it embodies our covenant in a relationship with another human being.

        • Ulrike, I agree with you that the commandments go much further than the surface interpretation we so often give to them. But I also agree with Inge. God meets us where we are and in our situation it is somewhere down in the sewer. So I believe the stated commands were tailored to meet us there and communicate to us on our level the meaning of love.

          As for your statement, "While scripture seems to indicate that angels don’t have exactly the same type of relationship like humans, they probably still have intimate relationships of some kind that are rich in blessings when abiding by God’s design." it seems to me to be inadequate. Scripture doesn't "seem to indicate," when Jesus said, "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God1 in heaven (Mat 22:30 NKJV) he was equating what our relationship will be in Heaven with the relationship angels have which He does in the context of marriage. Furthermore, while it is interesting to conjecture about the relationships that angels have it is sometimes rather dangerous to go beyond what is plainly stated.

    • "What law did Satan and his angels break? what laws?"
      The law of Love. God's law is based in Love, Love for the Lord your God, and love for your neighbors.

      Satan and his angels forgot about Love, they became caught up in love of Self. Satan forgot that he was created to show the Love of God to his fellow angels and the worlds around them. He wanted them to see "him" without the Love of God, which lead to him starting a revolt in Heaven. I can imagine him saying, as other people continue to say today, "Why does God get to have all the Worship and Praise? We were given talents too! Why can't we be worship and praise as well?" Satan and his angels didn't see the future, that if you are willing to be worshipped and praised, then you must be willing to die for those who worship you; you must "willing" sacrifice yourself that others may live. Only one person, who wants our worship and praise, was also willing to die that we may live, that Jesus Christ. Satan and his angels would have never died for us, because they do not, and never will, love us.

      I have said this before, we make this concept difficult, when it is very easy. God is love, His law is love, and every law, as Inge said, is based on love, love for God and our fellow man. However, we make this concept difficult because of our selfishness. If we could only think of the law of God as His love for us, our eyes will be opened. For example, my love for my husband motivates me to think of him first before my own needs, to show my love by doing little things to please him. Instead, the divorce rate is so high because many marriages are based on selfish love, on what "I" can get out of this marriage. And sadly, that what a lot of Christian think about Christianity, a selfish religious love based on what God can give them. I could go on and on, but please remember, true love doesn't think about self, it thinks about "how I can help others".

  4. Inge asks......

    "In what way was Christ born “under the law” (Gal. 4:4)? And was Paul talking about the same eternal law that I wrote about in my post?"

    I don't believe this is an "either/or" scenario.
    Christ willingly placed Himself under the condemnation of the law as a Substitute and Surety for the human family.

    He was also "under the law" as a rule of life, and kept it perfectly as our example.

    The beauty of this is to demonstrate that God is not an "elitist" who makes laws for His created beings that He Himself will not subject Himself to.

    This was a major charge of Lucifer against God's government.

    So, Jesus is not only "under the law" as pretaining to the laws penalty and condemnation, He is also "under the law" as a rule of life and keeps it.

    Bill Sorensen

    • Thank you very much for this explanation of the phrase "under the law" in Galatians 4:4. I have been trying to harmonize this expression in Gal. 4:4 with the two other verses which say that we are "not under the law"---Rom. 6:14 and Gal. 5:18.

      Let me see if I understand it right. Since He was "made under the law", "Christ willingly placed Himself under the condemnation of the law as a Substitute and Surety for the human family". Therefore, he was delivered (or given up) for our sins (Rom. 4:25).

      The reason we are "not under the law", according to Romans 6:14, is that we are under grace. According to Galatians 5:18, we are "not under the law" because we are led by the Spirit. Rewording it: If we are under grace and are led by the Spirit, we are "not under the law" and "we will not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Rom. 5:16)

      "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1) and "are not under the law".

  5. Not to belabour to point, but I'd like to point out that the applicability of the most literal interpretation of "under the law" goes beyond the book of Galatians. Let's just try things out.

    Galatians 4:4: God's Son was born under the condemnation of the law? No, He was born under the domination of the law -- under extreme pressure from the legalists -- in order to redeem us from all of that.

    Galatians 4:21: Some of the Galatians desired to be under the condemnation of the law? Hardly. They desired to be under its domination, and Paul said they were foolish.

    Romans 6:14: Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under (the condemnation of) law but under (the approval of) grace. Really? Mere approval can break the dominion of sin in the life? Try this. Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under (the domination of) law but under (the power of) grace. Law's domination cannot break the dominion of sin in the life, but grace has the power to do it.

    Yes, that last one was rather a fine point, but I love having a consistent interpretation of Paul's oft-used phrase "under the law" that makes sense every time -- especially when it only means taking the most literal approach possible.


    • Thank you, R.G., That makes sense.

      Let's see if I can say it "in other words."

      In other words, for the person who has accepted Christ, the Law no longer has the final say about his/her destiny. Through Christ, grace has the final say. (The Law can only condemn.)

      I would like to think also that a Christian's focus is not primarily on what s/he must do, according to Law, but the focus would be on Christ and what s/he can do, by His grace and power.

      It makes a difference.

      Focusing on "must-do's" is the focus of a slave. Focusing on Christ and what we can do by His grace and power is the focus of the child of a King.

  6. Thank you for the article. I heartily agree that all of the law hangs on the two great commandments of whole-hearted love for our creator and love for one another. On the other hand, this does not mean the rest is not eternal. Scripture makes clear a wider application of the ten commandments than to suggest adultery is only sexual (note what all our creator calls adultery elsewhere in scripture--Ps. 73:27 and many more). I am not so sure that the ten commandments (as well as statutes not directly tied to the Levitical priesthood) were first introduced to mankind at Mt. Sinai, given that Abraham walked in Yahweh's commandments, statutes, and law--Gen 26:5.

    You ask a question in the opening of the article which may be misleading to those not familiar with the balance of Paul's writings:

    Law even seems to have a bad reputation in Christian circles. After all, Paul said that the Law is no longer needed after a person comes to Christ, right? (See Gal. 3:24) We are now free in Christ – free from law!

    Law does generally have a bad reputation in today's society--"Christian" or not. This may stem partially from the injustice of many of the world's laws we live under, but is likely primarily an outworking of rebellious characters which don't want to be under the leadership of anyone but number one (same problem Satan had in heaven). As such, would we want to equate this "reputation" of law to Paul's comments in Galations? To say "we are now free from the law" must either be interpreted in harmony with our savior's words "If you love me, keep my commandments," or pit Paul against our savior (not to mention Paul against Paul elsewhere in his writings).

    If we do love our savior, we will love his law like David did--meditating on it day and night. If his law is the transcript of his character, as I believe it is, then we cannot truly claim to love him if we do not love his law. It's not a matter of focusing on "must dos", but rather by his grace I "can do" and "get to" live in harmony with this wonderful law/character--he can lift me out of the gutter I'm in and make me fit to be a child of the king.

    Following the previous quote, the article goes on to say:

    And that has some Adventists defending the Law of God with vigor – sometimes to the extent of eclipsing the grace of God.

    Is it not the grace of our creator and redeemer who lives out his life--the righteousness of our Messiah--within us, causing us to walk in his statutes as promised in Eze. 36:27? If it is grace which brings us into harmony with the law/character of our creator and thus fits us for the society of heaven, how can a defense of that law eclipse the grace of the lawgiver? Did not our Messiah come and die with the express purpose--among others--of vindicating the law of our creator? If the great controversy is over the law of our creator, which side are we on? Those who seek to set aside the law of our creator will not find themselves in good company. Those who defend his law are in good company... however--and this has often confused the issue--, not all those who on the surface appear zealous for his law are; those who add or take away from his law are breaking his law (Deut. 4:2). The Pharisees who crucified our savior were in this latter camp, and so were breaking the law--they made it of none affect by additions as well as their traditional and wild interpretations which in some cases placed the exact opposite meaning on the words of the law. We are in the same camp as the Pharisees when we add to or take away from our creator's law.

    I appreciate a later comment posted by the author:

    The Law of God — whether the One, the Two, the Ten or the many — simply describes what love looks like in action. Any “love” that violates the Law of God is not genuine love for God or man.

    Would it be fair to say that another way to put this is that the moment we are breaking the least instruction in our creator's law that we are in need of that schoolmaster to show us what true love looks like so we can turn in repentance to our saviour and ask him to change our heart in this area where the schoolmaster has shown us our need?

    I no longer need my math teacher when I can work out math problems accurately. If I don't like the fact 2+2=4, I need my math teacher. In the same way, if I don't like a part of my creator's law, I submit I am very much in need of that law.

    Our savior cautioned us to be careful what we teach men not to do--and that we ought to keep not only the letter of the law, but the spirit of it (which does not do away with the letter):

    Matthew 5:17-22 KJV Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (20) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (21) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: (22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

    I love my creator and his law/character and am grateful for a redeemer who offers the grace to create that character in me--bringing me into harmony with the eternal law of love in all of it's specific applications.

    • Hello Walter, I can agree with you on a lot of what you say but there are a few things that perhaps need clarification.

      First, it is my understanding that what Inge was saying is that the Ten Commandments were worded expressly for man especially what was given at Sinai. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t based on principles that Heaven abides by eternally. All Ten Commandments have much deeper meaning than what we generally see on the surface and that just might be the principals of God’s government that go down in depth infinitely.

      To see this I shall use the fourth commandment as an example. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NKJV). In it He doesn’t include angels. I suppose that we could extend that to Heaven but as I read Revelation I get the impression that they worship God on a continual basis (for instance Rev 4:8-11). Furthermore, since the timing of the Sabbath hours is based on the rotation of earth on its axis it would result in a logistical nightmare with all the various worlds that probably exist out there perhaps each one spinning at a different rate. Even if we were to conclude that only Heaven and earth are inhabited, we still have a problem and I’m not too sure that Heaven spins at all (it certainly doesn’t need to). So from my perspective the Sabbath command, at least, is geared specifically to this planet.

      Second, you said, “You ask a question in the opening of the article which may be misleading to those not familiar with the balance of Paul’s writings.” I think when Inge uses a question mark and an exclamation mark she is raising a question, not making a statement.

      Third, you asked, “If it is grace which brings us into harmony with the law/character of our creator and thus fits us for the society of heaven, how can a defense of that law eclipse the grace of the lawgiver?” If a person is putting himself under the conditions of the old covenant he/she most certainly can and often does. Besides that if we, like Peter take our eyes off the source of the law in our hearts and our ability to keep the law and rather focus on the doing, we will end up sinking like he did.

      No one is here advocating diminishing or erasing one bit of the law. The question here is, whether we are to focus our attention on self or on Christ the one works in us.

      “I love my creator and his law/character and am grateful for a redeemer who offers the grace to create that character in me–bringing me into harmony with the eternal law of love in all of it’s specific applications.” Amen, according to the new covenant He does it not me!

    • Thank you for your comment, Walter. We appreciate such thoughtful commentary.

      I'm sorry that my representation of certain attitudes in society was so unclear that it could be mistaken for my views. I shall have to watch that in the future. Tyler did a good job explaining what I really meant.

      Let's take a closer look at what is eternal and what is not. God's character is eternal. Thus the principles of the Law that are an expression of His character are eternal. That would include the two "great commandments," which are an application of the law of self-renouncing love.

      I proposed that the Ten Commandments are an application of the principles of the two great commandments to the condition of mankind on this planet. The Jews recognized this when they summed up the Ten Commandments as loving God supremely and our neighbors as ourselves.

      You rightly suggest that each of the Ten Commandments has a wider application than the specific words suggest. That wider application represents a recognition of the underlying principles.

      You also cite an instance in which God compares his relationship with Israel to a marriage. (And there are many more such instances.) Here we need to recognize that this is an analogy, similar to Christ's parable when He likened the Kingdom of Heaven to a precious pearl, a shepherd seeking the one lost sheep, a woman seeking a lost coin, etc.

      Marriage is, by definition, a close emotional-mental-physical relationship with one of the opposite sex, designed by God to be the foundation of a family. I'm sure you recognize that when God compares His relationship with His people to a marriage, He is not saying that He has an actual physical-sexual relationship with any human being.

      My point was that the specific wording of the Law of God that includes reference to sexual relations is not applicable to heavenly beings who do not have such relationships. And, by extension it is not applicable to redeemed humans who will be "like the angels," according to the words of Christ. (Matt. 22:30)

      Tyler mentioned the fourth commandment, in the very heart of the Ten, which demonstrates that the Ten Commandments were "made for man." Since Jesus specifically designated the Sabbath as being "made for man," it follows that the expression of the Law of God that contains rules for keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, with reference back to the creation of this planet, is also "made for man."

      While this understanding may not make much difference to a lot of people, it does make a difference to thoughtful people who try to wrap their minds around the implications of the "eternal" Law of God.

      I appreciate your reference to the new-covenant promise that God will write His Law into the heart of the believer. (Eze. 36:26,27 See also Jer. 31:31-33) This, of course, will result in keeping the Law of God, not just in the letter but also in the spirit (recognizing the underlying principle of self-renouncing love). I thought my whole post was a "defense of the law."

      I also agree with you when you state:

      "Would it be fair to say that another way to put this is that the moment we are breaking the least instruction in our creator’s law that we are in need of that schoolmaster to show us what true love looks like so we can turn in repentance to our saviour and ask him to change our heart in this area where the schoolmaster has shown us our need?'

      And that points up the role of the law in the life of the Christian. The law cannot save us. Even law-keeping cannot save us. Only Jesus Christ can save us. However, the Law is the eternal standard of righteousness. It is analogous to a mirror. When I look in the mirror and see that my face is dirty, I do not try to use the mirror to clean my face. I use soap and water. In the spiritual sphere, when we recognize that we are out of harmony with the Law of God, we need to seek the cleansing that only Christ can give. To stay clean, we need to stay connected with Him, so He may empower our choices moment by moment to walk in His ways, not the ways of our own choosing.

      I also appreciate your closing statement, which recognizes the underlying principle of all expressions of the Law of God:

      "I love my creator and his law/character and am grateful for a redeemer who offers the grace to create that character in me - bringing me into harmony with the eternal law of love in all of it’s specific applications."

      Recognition of the underlying principle will prevent us from trying to "keep" the letter of the law while transgressing its foundational principles. Any time we act in a manner that is contrary to the law of self-renouncing love, we are violating God's eternal law, whether or not we appear to be in harmony with its "letter."

  7. We will always be sidetracked if we forget the purpose of the law.
    This is where a sharply focused understanding of the Great Controversy comes into play.

    The question is not so much "*who* is the Boss?" As it is "who *is* 'the Boss?"

    If we understand that the law is a transcript of God's character as *fully* revealed in the person of His Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, we can then work backwards from Jesus and see the law in the right perspective.

    For too long for some, we have used Jesus to bolster our conception of the law. That is, we use Jesus's words about not abolishing the law to beat people back into our concept of how to keep it perfectly.

    • Thank you, Andrew, for your very perceptive comment.

      I may not have expressed my idea as well as I could, but I agree totally that Jesus demonstrated the one eternal Law of God in His character. His life and character is the ultimate expression of God's self-renouncing law of love.

  8. As a Seventh Day Adventist, I try not to preach too much about the Sabbath Observance but about loving God and fellow humans. The Ten Commandments are indeed binding in 2012 and so shall they ever be. Once logic and reason has been used, even the lowest of minds should understand that God expects us to obey him fully and not make excuses about any of his word. We should preach as to not be offensive neither to impose but preach that our God is one of love and so are his commandments. Maybe as Adventist we should come up with tactful and creative ways to preach about the Ten Commandments so that's its palatable even to the unbeliever. It's not all about what you say but how you do it...just my view

    • Soren, you suggest:

      Maybe as Adventist we should come up with tactful and creative ways to preach about the Ten Commandments so that’s its palatable even to the unbeliever.

      I believe that if we present the law of God for what it really is - the law of self-renouncing love that is expressed in a number of different ways - it will be much more "palatable" to unbelievers. Additionally it will prevent the rampant self-righteousness seen in those who believe they are obeying the law by adhering to the mere letter of the Ten Commandments.

      Seeing the Law for what it is - an expression of God's character which is also the foundation of God's government in heaven and on earth - helps us realize that we cannot possibly live up to this lofty ideal. All we can do is surrender ourselves fully to Christ so that He can mold our characters into His image.

      The "surrender" is the move from being a rebel to being an obedient servant of Christ. It cannot be done part-way.

    • May I suggest a little different approach? Since the world is obsessed with a me first attitude I believe we need to reach them on that level, where they are. Why not present the Ten Commandments as a protective barrier against intrusions into what “we” have. For instance, if it weren’t for a law that says not to murder our lives would be hanging on a thread ready to be cut at the whim of anyone who didn’t like us being alive. Also working to have possessions would be useless if it weren’t for a law that said not to steal.

      In other words I think we need to talk to them about the things that mean the most to them. After that sinks in and they see the necessity for the law then we can talk to them about other benefits of the law like those that Inge suggests. We could at that point also witness to how great Heaven will be because law exists and everyone looks out for the well being of others.

      • Yes, Tyler, you're right. We need to offer solutions to the felt needs of the people around us. And for those who feel the need for security, we can demonstrate that God's Law fills that need.

        On the other hand, doesn't everyone feel the need for love and relationships? And God's Law provides the underlying principles for loving relationships. The glory of heaven is in the overflowing love that will bind all hearts to God and to each other - the natural result of being in harmony with God's law of self-renouncing love.

  9. God's Divine and Eternal Law is perfect-ly suited and adaptable for every world and every creature that has the ability to choose. God gave it to us in words that would fit our (fallen) circumstances and covers every possible offense. And for the angels, it could be just as perfectly appropriate in their situation (and ours when we shall dwell with them), though it might be worded differently in than our 10, but it would be based on the same principles as the 10 given to our sinful world. We only need to know the law as it applies to us (Eccl 12:13) no matter where we find ourselves placed by God. The underlying principles that are the foundation of God's government are capable of being applied for every need that might arise in all of creation and our "10" show this to be true. For us, here and now, "the law of the Lord is perfect..."

    I believe that this is the best "argument" to prove the existence of God and the inspiration of scripture: the law is PERFECT. How do we know??? We are in perfect agreement when it comes to how we would want to be treated in all situations.

    Here's an illustration: a reporter in New York years ago met a lady on a street corner shouting to all who could hear; "The law of the Lord is PERFECT", but not in those exact words. What she was saying was "it's just not right!!! What they did to ME was wrong!!!"

    "And what was that?" asked the reporter. "Those men there," she said pointing down the street as a small group of men made their way home with their arms full of loot, "they stole all my things from me! Those are MY things! They belong to ME! What they did was not right!"

    "What things?" the reporter asked. Well, it so happened that the men had taken from her the things she had just stolen from a store during an power black out. Many were looting and she thought nothing about God's perfect law until SHE was the one offended, and there she stood, with loud voice, proclaiming that "the law of the Lord is perfect!"

    In the great controversy, the Law of God, as demonstrated in the life and death of Jesus, stands as exhibit A, which led to Satan being cast out. (John 12:31)

  10. Hi Soren and all,
    As a preacher like you, I always preach the Sabbath in the light of Gods covenant. As you read the bible you would always see, “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God”; “My Sabbath.”
    Sabbath means; rest, cessation. Does God needs rest? Does He ever get tired? Of course not. But Christ made it plain; “Sabbath was made for Man, not man for the Sabbath;” “I demand mercies not sacrifice”.
    Ezekiel 20:12, Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
    It is a covenant from God that He will rest on the seventh day, for man. He is not an idler, but a concerned God, giving us quality time, and giving us chance to give our quality time for Him, our family, and all that is within our gates.
    As Jesus said, “what I saw my father doeth, that I do.”

  11. Oh my goodness Ms. Anderson! I’ve been asking the Lord to help me understand how do you actually get your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? After praying about it today, the Holy Spirit brought this principle to my mind… “People will know that you belong to me if you love them as I have loved you.” I’ve read that text many times, but tonight it was like an epiphany that made me ponder His love for me and how I have applied it in my interactions with others.

    Later on I felt impressed to go to SSNET and what did I find? A beautiful and simple description of what God was trying to teach me. As you said, “The Ten Commandments are, after all, the embodiment of the eternal Law adapted for the understanding of humanity.” It seems that God picked those ten applications because they are the sins that so easily beset us, the things we are most prone to doing.

    Can you imagine how difficult it was for Jesus to make it through each day surrounded by the selfish nature of people who claimed to know the ways of God? As you said, “Until He demonstrated it in His own incarnation, even sinless beings could not fully understand the principles of God’s Law.” No wonder Jesus groaned and was troubled in Spirit. Like the rich young ruler, we do church and keep Sabbath with fervor, thinking we are rich and in need of nothing. But we are lacking in the overarching principle of self-renouncing love, which makes us wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. I certainly don’t want to spend my life in church and end up hearing those dreaded words, “depart from Me I never knew you.”

    I just love this quote… “the law of self-renouncing love, is also the guiding principle in the life of the individual Christian. It is the spring of action from the renewed heart that only God can give. It is the Christian’s power, fueled by the Holy Spirit.” The more I experience God’s love in a personal way, the more I want to follow the example of Jesus and extend that love to others. But I can only do it by the power of His Spirit, because that kind of love is not in me. Praise God for sending Jesus to reconcile us back to our heritage of love and may God continue using you in His service.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful sharing, Rosalyn. I believe our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life as soon as we surrender our lives to Christ who is the Lamb. And that results in a love relationship.

      I pray that we may each grow daily in our extending Christ's love to others.

  12. I have not read all the contributions to this blog,but I would ask from what aspect do we arrive at the conclusion of the opinions regarding a particular kind of law? Some of the reference material is less specific than what I would choose. Where and for what purpose did God originate a commandment law?? We are told that Satan is the originator of sin. This as I see it is the reason for a Law in heaven. Gods human governments throughout history have all committed sin. The types of sin are not the issue, but referring to the law in Exodus 20 it says if it is just one commandment we are guilty of all of them, James 2:10. As was mentioned, in order to be a member of a particular society we can not exist without a form of laws to guide us. I believe that God in his all knowing ability knows the needs of the entire universe. The controversy that began in Heaven is Gods purpose for the laws that we are discussing, as I see it.

    • Paul, I appreciate your comment that no society can exist without Law - not even a heavenly society.

      However, God's Law is not a response to sin.

      God's Law is as eternal as God Himself, because it is a reflection of His character. We're not just talking about the Ten Commandments here, but the eternal Law of self-renouncing love (the "One" Law) by which heavenly beings lived until Lucifer broke that Law by focusing on self and cherishing pride.

      I recommend reading my post again, because I touch on some deep issues.

  13. Reading all the comments on the principle of self-abnegation and its relation to the commandment as well as our position under the law or not under the law, the following tentative thoughts crossed my mind:

    The principle of self-abnegation as a principle of life over against the principle of self-seeking as a principle of death, suffering and sin, is illustrated in the passage of 2 Samuel 23:13-17. Driven from the principle of self-seeking, David was longing to drink water out of the well that was situated at the very heart of the Philistine camp. So he requested to drink of that water. (2 Samuel 23:15) Three of his brave men broke through the lines of the enemy, drew water out of that well and braved their way back to David to satisfy his desire. However, David refused to drink that water poured it out to the Lord realizing that he would drink the blood of these men. (2 Samuel 23:17) Had David confessed this at the point of his desire, he would have demonstrated the principle of self-abnegation sparing the life of his men, would have overcome his temptation remembering the 10th commandment which testified the principle of self-abnegation. (Exodus 20:17) This principle comes out of the commandment existing in inseparable unity with the commandment. The Holy Spirit within a new created heart (Psalm 51:10-11) would have reminded him of that commandment representing that self-abnegating principle. (I am referring to only historical events at this point not looking at cosmological dimensions.)

    As to overcoming: In his letter to the Galatians Paul is pointing out the inner contention of flesh against spirit and spirit against flesh. (Galatians 5:17) In Romans Paul says that living according to the spirit would put to death the deeds of the body. (Romans 8:13)

    As to our position under the law and not under the law: In Galatians Paul is saying that being led by the spirit we are not under the law. (Galatians 5:18) In this context the works of the flesh are mentioned as being under the condemnation of the law inasmuch the law is condemning sin. (Romans 3:19; Galatians 5:19-21) Opposite to that condition the fruit of the spirit is listed with its various aspects connected with the statement: Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:23) The law does not condemn the fruit of the Spirit, hence those who represent the fruit of the Spirit are not under the law in the sense of not being under the condemnation of the law (see Galatians 3:10-13). They have arrived at the point of no condemnation (Romans 8:1-2) As they are justified and sinners at the same time (1 John 1:8-9), the law comes into action in leading sin and sinners over again to Christ. Justification is ongoing.

    If the Galatians want to be under the law, certainly not under the condemnation of the law, in this context they want to be under the authority of the law, but missing the point as they are misusing the law as an instrument of salvation. (Galatians 4:21; 5:4)

    Science of salvation is a vast topic leaving room for all eternity.

    Winfried Stolpmann

  14. In the article the statement is made that: “Law even seems to have a bad reputation in Christian circles. After all, Paul said that the Law is no longer needed after a person comes to Christ, right? (See Gal. 3:24) We are now free in Christ – free from law!”

    I hope that the author is not attributing to Paul the “bad reputation.” That would be an example of 2 Pet 3:16.

    What the article misses is that no where in the New Testament does any of the writers denigrate the law or clamor for its abrogation.

    What Paul consistently teaches is that there is a higher source of guidance and strength allowing us to live in total harmony with God’s character. That power is the Holy Spirit. Paul does not teach that we should leave the law and then live in anarchy. He does not teach that by viewing the law in any way that is not synonymous with our cherished beliefs that he is permitting someone to lie, cheat, dishonor God, break the Sabbath, etc. On the contrary, he instructs that we should let the Holy Spirit be the guide. In doing so, then every action, thought, or motive would be God-given and would be in harmony with every applicable directive from God.

    In Rom 2:14, 15 Paul talks about the Gentiles who do not have the law, and by nature do the things in the law, showing the work of the law written in their hearts. That is one example of the Holy Spirit at work internally.

    You will find that scriptural references which on the surface appear to place the law in a background position, are not exalting lawlessness, but on the contrary, but are lifting up the more glorious work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. See 2 Cor 3:7-11.

    Romans 7:6 encourages us to “serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

    Romans 8:1 reminds us that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, and who walk according to the Spirit.

    Romans 8:4 points out that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in those who walk according to the Spirit. Then in Rom 8:6 we are told that to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

    Romans 8:10 tells us that if Christ is in us, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    In Rom 8:14 we are told that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

    2 Cor 3:4-18 says it more plainly that I ever could. That passage is worthy of meditative contemplation.

    In case we think that the Holy Spirit is not able to teach us everything we need to know about God’s will for our every moment by moment, and daily lives, 1 Cor 2:10 teaches us that God has reveals these things to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

    When the article addressed the “function of law” it failed to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit ensures that the law functions in the lives of believers exactly as God intended. Gal 5:16.

    Similarly, under “law and government” it does not discuss that with the Spirit in full control of an individual, he/she can only be in sync with God’s government – after all – it’s God’s Spirit in control of that individual.

    I have addresses these points with numerous other scriptural references and in supporting detail in the following previous posts:

    • Thank you for your contribution. I agree with what you write about the Law of God.

      If you will read the whole post, I believe you will find that the post is pro-Law-of-God, not against it. I thought most people would recognize that I was representing the thought of many modern antinomian Christians when I wrote:

      “Law even seems to have a bad reputation in Christian circles. After all, Paul said that the Law is no longer needed after a person comes to Christ, right? (See Gal. 3:24) We are now free in Christ – free from law!”

      This neither was nor is my sentiment, as the rest of the post should make clear. (Sorry for the confusion!)

      As for what was not included -- I suspect that my post was probably already long enough, and the additions suggested were not part of my focus, which was to show that there is but One Law of God that is represented in a number of different ways. But the One Eternal Law of God is the Law of Self-renouncing Love, which is the essence of the character of our Creator, as Christ demonstrated in His life.

      • "I agree with what you write about the Law of God."

        I would rather say that what I wrote is about, and highlights, the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. Successful Christian living is not achieved by works of the law, but by the grace and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

        • In our acceptence and use of the power of the Holy Spirit we get to the point in our relationship where we can say: I love Your commandments, more than fine gold, yes than fine gold. Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right, I hate every false way. Your testimonies are wounderful, therefore I keep them. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for Your commandments. Psalms 119:127-131. I am so free that I need Christ 24/7.

          • I love David’s expression of devotion to the Law – the Ten Commandments and the entire Torah. That was his revelation of Jesus Christ, who was the Messiah to come. David declared prophecies, had visions, wrote songs and poems, and was only able to imagine with heavenly instinct, the realities of what Jesus was to provide and teach in the future. David lived under the old covenant.

            1 Peter 1:10-12 delivers this marvelous expression of what the patriarchs could only dream of – “of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.”

            Jesus came in the flesh and the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Col 2:9, and taught that there was greater revelation to come from the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the One who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. John 1:33. The Holy Spirit teaches us all things. John 14:26. Those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior and follow Him all the way, will be filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 4:31. Rom 15:31 – Paul’s prayer was that God will fill the church at Rome with all joy and peace in believing, that they may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

            As impressive as David’s pronouncements about the law were, Rom 15:16 teaches that we are sanctified not by law, but by the Holy Spirit.

            The progression of the Christian life is not from the Holy Spirit to the law and commandments, but the reverse – from the law and commandments to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Rom 10:4, Gal 3:19,24,25. He is the power that when He is placed in the heart, allows us to live a holy life and to live in harmony with God’s will and standard of righteousness.

            We get to the point in our relationship with God that we recognize the excellent ministry of the Holy Spirit, which exceeds the glory of the ministry of death and condemnation engraved and written in stone, and we reach for and hold tenaciously to the glory which remains, the glory that gives life. 2 Cor 3:6-11.

  15. Thanks be to God Almighty for wisdom, knowledge and understanding of his word. Thank you lord for opening my eyes to the truth and your word.
    Amen, Amen, Amen.


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