(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matthew 6:10.
The will of God is expressed in the precepts of His holy law, and the principles of this law are the principles of heaven. The angels of heaven attain unto no higher knowledge than to know the will of God, and to do His will is the highest service that can engage their powers.
But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8.
The petition, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established. Then in earth as in heaven will be fulfilled “all the good pleasure of His goodness.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.
44 Now this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel.
19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes,
58 “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD,
10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law,
46 and he said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law.
2 And he said:
“The Lord came from Sinai,
And dawned on them from Seir;
He shone forth from Mount Paran,
And He came with ten thousands of saints;
From His right hand
Came a fiery law for them.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
10 “At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. 2 And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’
3 “So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. 4 And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. 5 Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the Lord commanded me.”
6 (Now the children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah, where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead. 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of rivers of water. 8 At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God promised him.)
10 “As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the Lord also heard me at that time, and the Lord chose not to destroy you. 11 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.’
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.
8 So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.
1 “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God, from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to put His name. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.
5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which the Lord your God gives you; 6 but at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
I redeemed you from the house of bondage;
And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
6 ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
7 ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.
8 ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 9 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
11 ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
12 ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
16 ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
17 ‘You shall not murder.
18 ‘You shall not commit adultery.
19 ‘You shall not steal.
20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
21 ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’
22 “These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.
1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. Romans 3:21, 22.
What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
Those whom heaven recognizes as holy ones are the last to parade their own goodness. The apostle Peter became a faithful minister of Christ, and he was greatly honored with divine light and power; he had an active part in the upbuilding of Christ’s church; but Peter never forgot the fearful experience of his humiliation; his sin was forgiven; yet well he knew that for the weakness of character which had caused his fall only the grace of Christ could avail. He found in himself nothing in which to glory.
None of the apostles or prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God had honored with divine light and power, have confessed the sinfulness of their own nature. They have put no confidence in the flesh, have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ. So will it be with all who behold Christ.
The righteousness of Christ, as a pure white pearl, has no defect, no stain, no guilt. This righteousness may be ours. Salvation, with its blood-bought, inestimable treasures, is the pearl of great price.
The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken.
1 “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’ 3 Therefore understand today that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said to you.
4 “Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.
6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
The law of God is the only genuine standard for the measurement of character. Christ displayed to the world by his life and teaching, by his divine character, what obedience to the law means. He was man’s example; but man cannot set up a standard for himself. Man is ignorant of the infinite purity of God, and without divine enlightenment he cannot appreciate the holy exactions of the law of God. While he is ignorant of the uncompromising character of God’s law, he is unconcerned about his defective, sinful character. He fears nothing, he has no disquietude, because he measures himself by a false standard.
How many cry, “Believe, only believe. Peace, peace,” and fail to arouse conviction, or to convert men from the error of their way, because of their superficial knowledge of the claims of God’s law. Men in this condition make a claim of perfection, but such perfection is simply ignorance of imperfection, lack of perception as to what is required by the law of Jehovah. The peace that may come from such self-satisfaction is a false peace. When the truth comes in contact with such persons, their peace is disturbed, and they make it manifest that they have not the peace of Christ.
The enemy of Christ, who rebelled against God’s law in heaven, has, as a skilled, trained general, worked with all his power, bringing out one device after another, full of deception, to make of none effect the law of God, the only true detector of sin, the standard of righteousness. The great mass of mankind are thoughtless, careless, irreverent, and they do not concern themselves with serious thoughts as to the things of eternal importance. One reason for the state of carelessness in society is that the Christian world itself has made void the law of God. Large numbers claim sanctification who will not hear to the binding obligation of the divine precepts. They are willfully ignorant of the attributes of God, ignorant of the law, ignorant of what constitutes genuine religion, and ignorant of their own sinful, defective characters. If the truth as it is in Jesus should flash upon their hearts, they would be constrained to cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” They would, if candid, have to repent of their transgression of God’s law; for “by the law is the knowledge of sin;” they would have to exercise faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood alone can cleanse from all sin. Then they would have the peace of Christ. Righteousness and peace would meet together in their experience, and they would be able to become symmetrical Christians. They would have the peace that passeth understanding.
There are many who seem to imagine that outside observances are sufficient for salvation; but formalism, rigorous attendance on religious exercises, will fail to bring the peace of God which passeth understanding. It is Jesus alone who can give us peace. He says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The peace of Christ cannot be disturbed by the presentation of truth, for it is in harmony with the spirit of truth.
Those who are self-righteous, who claim that they are saved, are not always patterns of piety. We have found that those who say most concerning their sanctification, are most opposed to the principles of God’s law. Satan often deludes the mind, and men are led to erect false standards of their own, whereby they measure character. They exalt their own ideas, boast of their attainments, of their assurance, and place all their confidence in their feelings. They do not find a foundation for their faith in the word of God. Many have a fanciful religion. They talk of God’s love, claiming that he is not severe and exacting, but long-suffering and lenient; at the same time, they echo the suggestion of Satan, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? ... Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” It was though he had declared that God’s threatening was all a pretense, and man need not be alarmed, for God would not be so severe and exacting. The very same reasoning is employed today in the Christian world. When the claims of the law are presented, men begin to frame excuses for continuing in disobedience, stating that God will not punish them for the breaking of his precepts. But let us think of it soberly. Will God change his holy law to suit my convenience? Will he sanction sin, and countenance disobedience? If God had a character of this kind, we could not reverence him. His authority could not be respected. Every transgression of God’s law will be visited with its penalty upon the transgressor. The wages of sin is death. God is jealous for the honor of his law; it is the foundation of his government in heaven and earth, and it will stand throughout eternal ages. The prophet declares, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Sin is the transgression of the law. But, again, it is written for the comfort and salvation of the penitent: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” God cannot change his law in order to save men; he cannot alter it to save the world; but he has not refused to give his own Son, that men might have another probation, and become heirs of heaven. Jesus took humanity upon him, and in so doing what honor he placed upon the race! He suffered as a man, he was tempted as men are tempted, yet without sin. He was made sin for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Let us call to mind what is due to our Lord from his professed followers, and not be deceived by our own hearts. The truth exerts a purifying, refining influence upon our characters, that we may be sanctified through it; and we must permit it to work reformation in our life, if we would bear the title, the “peculiar people” of God.
The age in which we live is one of temptation, and if the people of God stand clear from the corrupting influences around them, they will be termed, “peculiar,” “old-fashioned,” and “odd.” But God has declared that he is purifying to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. If the truth is brought into the character, it will have a sanctifying power upon the life. But those who claim to believe the truth, and yet imitate the world in its practices, and go contrary to the word of God, manifesting selfishness in their business relations, are bodies of darkness. They encourage sin, and are full of hypocrisy. Everything God’s people do should be as transparent as sunlight. Escaping detection does not justify crime, and make it honesty and righteousness. Temptations are surrounding us on every side, and our only safety is in becoming in reality the peculiar people whom God is cleansing from all iniquity, redeeming unto himself, to be to him an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of his glory.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.