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Monday: Faith and Law — 25 Comments

  1. "Clearly, if Paul wanted to endorse the idea that the law was somehow done away with at the cross, as some people today claim he taught, this would have been the time."

    The word "some" is indefinite as far as quantity. There are more than 2 billion nominal "Christians" on Earth and the "some" quantity is in the millions and the "people" include thousands of misled /deceived pastors.
    I know this for a fact because I do not participate only on SDA internet forums but multi-denominational as well.
    We learned last quarter how Peter wrote in 2 Pet 3;16 how the unlearned & unstable do corrupt the writings of Paul to their own destruction. The unconverted Rom 8:7 mindset churchgoer accepts antinomian/law abrogation doctrine when hearing preachers misuse verses like , "Christ is the end of law", "we are not under law but grace", "the law was our schoolmaster...", etc.
    This is why authentic Christians need to be like the Bereans in ACTS 17:11, to escape deception.

    • Jim

      It is interesting that we love to use Rom 3:31 to show that Paul states that we do not nullify the law by this faith, but rather, we uphold the law. However, if we look back at Rom 3:20,21 we see that through the law comes the knowledge of sin. We see in the next verse that APART from the law, the righteousness of God is revealed.

      He repeats the same concept in Rom 7:12 where he states that the law is holy just and good. Whereas, if we look back at the preceding verses he shows that the law was "good" in that it revealed his sinful condition. Medicine is very good for dealing with a disease or illness, however when we have become well we do not continue to take the medicine. Absolutely, the medicine was good, awesome, etc., but it served it purpose. The law is great, because it shows us our need, then drives us to the solution for our problem, then we stick to that solution - Jesus Christ our ever present Savior.

      Christ is in fact the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, Rom 10:4 But having reached the "end" we do not revert back to loose living, we stay with the Righteous sustainer of our salvation. How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Rom 6:1,2.

      Many are afraid of comments like these, because they think they are meant to remove law keeping from our mindset. Conversely, they are meant to show that by beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, we can be transformed into His glorious image through the working of the Spirit of the Lord. We should prayerfully mediate on 2 Cor 3.

      • Fred,

        Thanks for your reply and it is continuing evidence that 2 Pet 3:16 applies.(Rom 10:4)
        In my most recent sermon, I used the illustration of how parents teach their children to say.."please",thank you", and "sorry" and how the external & internal motivation changes as the children get older & more mature.

        I remember years ago, when talking with A Graham Maxwell, after a very contentious debate involving the views on atonement, that he told me that the main issue is "interpretation". I knew what he meant because of the verse in Neh 8:8.

        By the way, I know the validity of the law. The clues are Rom 8:4 & Gal 5:18.

        Are you one of those who loves to use Rom 3:31 as your post indicates?

        • Jim

          I would love to hear/read your recent sermon.

          You ask if I love to use Rom 3:31. I love to use the entire bible, after prayer for God's guidance and interpretation. For any verse, I look for the context in which it is written, the audience and other circumstances surrounding the text, then compare with other scriptures. I try not to use a text as proof of a certain long held position, while ignoring other scriptures that explain the text.

          I am sure you understand 2 Pet 3:16 correctly, but many people actually twist what Peter is saying. Paul was saying things that were "strange" to the Jewish believers, and they were twisting his words to essentially say that he was preaching against the law and Jewish traditions. That is what Peter is referring to. That twisting of Paul's statements still occurs today. Early in my Adventist days I had difficulty with many of Paul's statements because they did not line up with our teachings and practices. Through the teaching of the Holy Spirit I have come to see that they plainly mean what they say, and this has given me a new appreciation for the Word of God.

  2. In Christ both the spiritual and physical principles of the law were fulfilled. He made an object application of the law whose principles remain forever the greatest standard of righteousness. He came to fulfill all righteousness. Paul writes ". . .God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" [Rom 8:3-4].These are they that have a living connection with Christ.

    Faith upholds, establishes and exalt all these principles of the law. Man living in the spirit fulfill the law too. The bible says "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" [Gal 6:2]. Love One Another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law". [Rom 8:13]. This is the law of service. The law of service is the connecting link that connects us to God and to our fellowmen. These last six commandments from of the Decalogue demonstrate this connection. They enjoin this supreme love to God, and equal love to our fellowmen. Both the physical the spiritual principles of law are covered.[Matt 22:37-40].

    Christ met all the vital functions of God's law.
    He came to magnify the law and to make it honorable for His righteousness sake [Isaiah 42:31]. He proved the fact that humanity, having a living connection [living faith]to divinity, can keep all the commandments of God. "He came, not to set men free from that law, but to open a way whereby they might obey that law and teach others to do the same".—The Review and Herald, November 15, 1898. 2MCP 565.1

    He demonstrated the perfect harmony between the law of God and the gospel of the Kingdom [Good News]. The gospel of Christ is the Good News of grace, mercy and love by which we may be released from the condemnation of sin and enable to be obedient. It is only until man see that God's law, is the law founded on principles of grace, love, mercy, justice and peace, that they may have true faith [living connection with divinity].

  3. Faith in Christ alone brings us into the Kingdom and this Kingdom has laws to be observed by its citizens. However observing the laws alone while outside the Kingdom does not make you a citizen.

  4. Really, if the Law was done away with because of faith, Jesus death was meaningless! He only died for us because we all broke the Law, which means we all sinned! Since the salary of sin is death, He came to pay this price for us! Thus, we must believe that when Christ came to die for us He just reinforced the importance of the Law that He Himself created... Law, love and God are one!

  5. Another way of seeing why the Law was not done away with is this:
    The Law of God - which is the Law of self-renouncing love, adapted to the conditions of created beings in various stages - is an expression of God's character. It can no more be done away with than God Himself.

    However, false attitudes towards the Law abound. Seeing law keeping as adding anything to the salvation Christ provided denigrates not only the sacrifice of Christ but the Law itself, by implying that we can really "keep" it.

    Paul addressed the conundrum of the relationship between faith and the Law in Gal 2:20, where He explained that it is Christ who keeps the Law in the person of the believer. It is His grace that expresses itself in Law keeping. Nowhere does Paul suggest that this Law keeping adds anything to faith. Rather it is an expression of the faith that allows Christ to live within the believer.

    • How would you explain to a new believer,in some detail, using scripture, how the law is an expression of God's character?

      • We could start with John's observation that God is love and study through 1 John 4:7-21.

        Then go on to the observation that love is the fulfilling of the Law. Ro 13:8,10; Gal 5:14.

        Add that summary of all the commandments of God, as verified by Christ. Mark 12:29-31.

        Carry on from there. 🙂

    • "adding anything to the salvation Christ provided"

      "provided" seems to be past tense. What does that mean?

      "but the Law itself, by implying that we can really "keep" it."

      Does this mean that Christians can't?

      • Yes, Christ provided salvation as a gift for us to accept through faith. There is nothing we can add to it. An attempt to add our works to the gift is, in effect, a rejection of this unspeakable gift.

        Consider this: Let's say you went to great expense (thousands of dollars, let's say) to buy an exquisite gift for a loved one and that love one said, I can't accept it without helping to pay for it and then offering you $10.00. Would that not be an insult? Yet it is less of an insult than our attempt to add our works to help pay for our salvation.

        No, we cannot "keep" the Law. But Christ in us can "keep" the Law. Gal 2:20; Eph 2:10

      • It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence, the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, “I consent unto the law that it is good.” “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages. To all, there is but one answer, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.

    • "Paul addressed the conundrum of the relationship between faith and the Law in Gal 2:20, where He explained that it is Christ who keeps the Law in the person of the believer."

      Yes Inge. YES!

      The KJV (Gal. 2:16; Gal 2:20) is clearer in stating that it is the faith OF Jesus that justifies, not our faith IN Jesus. The Greek translation for "faith" in both instances is "faithfulness"(pistis). Thus, it is the faithfulness OF Christ that is credited to us and thereby justifies us (Gal 2:16) and it is the faithfulness OF Christ that that is lived through us when "Christ liveth in me..." (Gal. 2:20). Thus, Paul is being literal when he says, "...not I, but Christ..."

      This quarter's lesson on July 18 discusses this in a very clear and comprehensive manner:


      This difference between faith "OF" and faith "IN" is important and also applies to the last part of the 3rd angel's message (Rev. 14:12) which is often misinterpreted as "... faith IN Jesus."

  6. Promises do not change the truth of the gospel of the Kingdom. People change the gospel of the Kingdom because they don't understand the weight, value and depth of the promise. Only the maker knows them fully. For those before Christ, they zoomed in on God's law. The Pharisaic laws were more about pleasing the Almighty at whatever cost. They placed His promise to punish disobedience above His law of Love. True God does promise punishment for disobedience.

    For us after the Christ era, the focus is mainly His Love and goodness because we know He died for us. It's undeniable, some in the Christian world believe God will not destroy sinners. If sinners will be destroyed, it means Christ died in vain. Salvation for all they preach. It is true salvation for all is possible only if all live His will. This is obedient to Him. Ellen White says "The law and the gospel go hand in hand.The one is the complement of the other. The law without faith in the gospel of Christ cannot save the transgressor of law. The gospel without the law is inefficient and powerless. The law and the gospel are a perfect whole. . ." 1888 783.2 .They are of equal weight to the one who promised life in obedience and also promised death to the disobedient.

    Paul seeing how his gospel had been taken writes to the Hebrews ". . .For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil". [Heb 5:11-14] almost the similar statement to the Corinthians ". . .I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. . ." 1 Cor 3:1-4. The disciples at the Council in Jerusalem decided on this gospel to spiritual babies. [Acts 15]. This is an introduction gospel. Paul's gospel was.

    My question is since almost the entire Christian world doesn't believe Ellen's Writings as true revelation from God, how did they take Paul's teaching from the first century to the middle of the twentieth century?
    We can stand here and say Paul meant Ceremonial Law here because of Ellen's revelations. The bible does not have anything called Two Laws, Moral Law or Ceremonial Law except the Amplified Bible of the SDA. How do they know the difference?

    • Anele, Ellen's "revelations" was that it was both the moral and ceremonial law. " I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments.-Selected Messages, Volume 1 Page 233.

      • Thanks for sharing the pertinent EGW quote/your thoughts on the law in Galatians William. I think we all stand to benefit greatly from meditating deeply upon Christ's sacrifice on the cross and on the holy and righteous of God as revealed therein and in his commandments. All of our self-sufficiency and pride would melt away and we would cry out with Isaiah, "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" (Isaiah 6:5). The whole of the law points out our incurable deficiency in comparison to God's righteousness; AND it points us to the only One whose perfect righteousness is our only plea.

    • Anele, you said, ["The disciples at the Council in Jerusalem decided on this gospel to spiritual babies. [Acts 15]. This is an introduction gospel. Paul's gospel was."] Actually "Paul's gospel" (which wasn't really his, Rm 1:16; 15:19) was light-years ahead of his community's prevailing religious understanding! He described the ministry he was charged with by God as "the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began" (Rm 16:25). The concepts he presented orally and written caused the religious community then, as it is doing now, a lot of angst (Act 15:2; 2 Pt 3:15-16). His audience's understanding was compared to "a babe", but there was really nothing "introductory" about his message.

      Our struggle to digest Christ's Gospel is really one symptom of what is our larger human problem (Deut 5:29; Isaiah 1:5-6). The human mind, in its current fallen state, will not--really cannot--relate appropriately to its Creator! (Rm 8:8). That, of itself, is a hard truth to come to terms with. The Apostles in recognition of the truth that the human mind is in need of purification, and that that purification has only one Source delivered sound truth to the Jerusalem Council (Act 15:8-9). Paul understood that "the law" was placed as a "yoke on the neck" (Act 15:10) to bring God's people, at that time, to the awareness of the greater need of all humans--Jew or Gentile (Gal 3:24; Act 15:11).

      I've used this example before on this site because it helps me to personally stay focused on my reality. I didn't realize until I was about 12 years old that I was near-sighted (I see things close Ok). It was a mandatory eye test for school that brought me and my parents to that truth. They got me new glasses and for the first time in my life I realized how someone should really see!!...but I hated the thick-lensed, black-plastic-framed monstrosity!! I've since learned that nearsightedness is a common problem that runs in families and has to do with misshaped eyeballs. "The law"--Ceremonial, Moral or even all of Scripture--is like my glasses, they correct my vision by changing how light focuses inside my misshaped eyes, but they do NOTHING about the REAL PROBLEM--the INHERITED SHAPE of my eyes (Jn 5:39-40). When I take "the law" off and put them aside, I'm back to being my old half-blind self. I like seeing well...its much less embarrassing to call out to people I actually know rather than to ones who only look like people I know. But if I hate "the law" and refuse to wear them, things might go from just being embarrassing to life-threatening when I get behind the wheel of my car!

      Our Creator wants all humans to realize our need and come to Him for renewal by faith. It is His work of love, unknown and unappreciated by us, that gifts us with awareness (justification) as well as the gift of life-sustaining faith (sanctification) (1 Cor 6:11; Rm 8:31-32; Ps 51:6,10). The world is in need of the faith from Christ (Eph 2:7-8: Heb 8:10).

  7. This might be a hard concept for many of us because of the way we have been taught.

    Paul points out in Rom 3:19 that what the law says is for those who are under the law. Rom 6:14,15 states that we are not under the law, but under grace. That does not give us license to sin, because being transformed from a slave to sin to a slave of righteousness, Rom 6:18 we live righteously by a greater power than law - God's Holy Spirit Himself. What greater power can there be? Paul grew in understanding and transformation to the point where he could say that he was not under the law but under Christ, 1 Cor 9:20,21.

    In Gal 3:23 he states that before the coming of faith in Christ, we were held in bondage under the law. Faith frees us from that prescriptive view of the law. Gal 4:4, 5 shows us that Christ came under the law to redeem those who were under the law, and from the mental boundaries that the prescriptive law encases around us. Paul even chides the Galatians for wanting to be under the law Gal 4:21. He sums it up by saying in Gal 5:18 - "but if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law."

    In other words, we cannot have the full rich experience of Spirit-driven living while we are mentally bound to the confines of behavioral law-thinking.

    • Mr Roberts, please enlighten me, what do you mean by behavioral law-thinking? Because some Christians who say that SDAs are still bound by the law because of Sabbath they keep other commandments.

      • Kana Carla

        When our behavior and our actions are driven by law - any law, then we are letting the law be our guide.

        For the born again child of God, the law was perfect in leading us to Christ. The law could not save us in that it was weak - Rom 8:3,4. The law could not keep us from sinning, it is God who does that - Jude 24, and the law has no role in our salvation - Rom 3:20, 28 and Gal 2:16 - it only shows us our need and brings us to Christ - Gal 3:23-25.

        For the born again child of God, the righteousness requirements of the law are being carried out by the indwelling Spirit of God - see again Rom 8:4. So for someone who is truly born again their actions would appear to be in harmony with the prescriptive law. You would look at their lives and say to yourself that they are keeping the law. But what you are really seeing is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit shining through and bearing fruit - Gal 5:22, 23.

        Sometimes we are afraid to put the law in its rightful place, lower than the working of the Holy Spirit (see 2 Cor 3:7-11) because we think we will lose the Sabbath as a permanent role. However, if you believe that the Sabbath originated from Eden, then even if Sinai did not happen, or if the Ten Commandments were removed (in a manner of speaking only), you would still have the Sabbath.

        There is much more to Christian living than the Ten Commandments cover. The Levite and the priest in considering the Samaritan on the road as they went to church could mentally go through each of the Commandments and be correct in believing that they were not required to stop and help. Jesus came to demonstrate and amplify godly living. He started with the Ten Commandments, which the Jews knew, and expanded on it to bring their thinking up to God's thinking and God's character and to the overarching Law of God from eternity past - the ultimate standard of righteousness. He moved it from external behavior and compliance up to mental operation as an automatic living out of principles.

        That is the effect of the "law written in the heart."

  8. The law is holy and just and good ( Rom 7:12). It IS God's character. I thank Him every day that the Mercy seat covers the law on our behalf. My faith, and trust grow in His grace and my respect for His law, his character, grows daily as well. Thanks be to God for providing salvation.

  9. Notice how Romans 8:4 does not say, "...who walk not after the flesh but AFTER THE LAW." It says, "Who walk not after the flesh but AFTER THE SPIRIT." It is by THE SPIRIT and BY FAITH that we stay focused on JESUS and not THE LAW. This is OUR ONLY HOPE OF SALVATION, JUSTIFICATION, AND SANCTIFICATION. AMEN!


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