Lesson 20 | Sabbath, 16 November 2019
“The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy. While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. He must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed; and faith in Christ, His atoning sacrifice. Thus he obtains ‘remission of sins that are past’ and becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is a child of God, having received the spirit of adoption, whereby he cries: ‘Abba, Father’!” –Reflecting Christ, p. 47.
1. What fundamental knowledge does the righteous law impart? Is this just for the sake of information, or does it impact one’s eternal destiny?
Romans 7:7; 3:19 What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet…. 3:19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
James 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
“The will of God is the law of heaven. As long as that law was the rule of life, all the family of God were holy and happy. But when the divine law was disobeyed, then envy, jealousy, and strife were introduced, and a part of the inhabitants of heaven fell. As long as God’s law is revered in our earthly homes, the family will be happy.” –Child Guidance, p. 79.
“The law of God is the standard by which the characters and the lives of men will be tested in the judgment. Says the wise man: ‘Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment.’ Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. The apostle James admonishes his brethren: ‘So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’ James 2:12.” –The Great Controversy, p. 482.
The law’s dominion
2. According to the apostle Paul, what is the law’s relationship to man? For how long is this the case?
Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
“The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart’s action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul….
“To him who learns thus to interpret its teachings, all nature becomes illuminated; the world is a lesson book, life a school. The unity of man with nature and with God, the universal dominion of law, the results of transgression, cannot fail of impressing the mind and molding the character.” –Education, pp. 99, 100. [See End Note 2]
3. What impact does this have on the relationship between husband and wife? For how long does this last?
Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
1 Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will.
“The marriage vow … links the destinies of the two individuals with bonds which nought but the hand of death should sever.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 253.
“My dear brother and sister: You have united in a life-long covenant. Your education in married life has begun. The first year of married life is a year of experience, a year in which husband and wife learn each other’s different traits of character, as a child learns lessons in school. In this, the first year of your married life, let there be no chapters that will mar your future happiness.
“To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 45.
4. What happens if a man or woman marries another person while his or her spouse is still living? Does the law allow a widow or widower to remarry? Does the marriage of a widow change the law?
Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Deuteronomy 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.
“… Any woman who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will listen to his advances, and whose ears will be pleased with the outpouring of lavish words of affection,… of endearment, is an adulteress….” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 434, 435.
Dead to the condemnation of the law
5. What does it mean that, through the body of Christ, believers are made dead to the law? If the condemnation of our sin falls upon Jesus, does the law still have the right to judge and condemn us to death? Does our death in Christ by faith involve the abolition or end of the law? What fruit will appear in the believer after he dies to sin and is free from the condemnation of the law?
Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Galatians 5:22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
“God is calling upon all to behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Christ lifts the guilt of sin from the sinner, standing Himself under the condemnation of the Lawgiver. He came to this world to live the law in humanity, that Satan’s charge that human beings cannot keep the law of God might be demonstrated as false.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 279.
“Paul calls the attention of his hearers to the broken law, and shows them wherein they are guilty. He instructs them as a schoolmaster instructs his scholars, and shows them the way back to their loyalty to God.” –Review and Herald, April 5, 1898. [See End Note 3]
6. What is our spiritual condition like when the impulses of the flesh control us? In the natural sinful condition of our flesh, what do our sinful actions under the law ultimately lead to?
Romans 8:3, first part; 7:5; 6:6 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh…. 7:5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death…. 6:6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
“The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and the law under the new covenant. He says: ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.’ ‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh’–it could not justify man, because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law–‘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.’ Romans 5:1; 3:31; 8:3, 4.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 140.
7. But when we are free from the burden and threat of condemnation, with what spirit will we serve God? [See End Note 3]
Romans 7:6; 6:14; 5:1, 2 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter…. 6:14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace…. 5:1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
“Sin did not kill the law, but it did kill the carnal mind in Paul. ‘Now we are delivered from the law,’ he declares, ‘that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.’ Romans 7:6. ‘Was that then which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.’ Romans 7:13. ‘Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ Romans 7:12.” –Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 212, 213.
“In the Word of God the honest seeker for truth will find the rule for genuine sanctification. The apostle says: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, 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….’ Romans 8:1, 3, 4.” –Faith and Works, p. 97.
For additional study
“Is he now free to transgress God’s law? Says Paul: ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.’ Romans 3:31. ‘How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ Chap. 6:2. And John declares: ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.’ 1 John 5:3. In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then ‘the righteousness of the law’ will ‘be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:4. And the language of the soul will be: ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97.” –The Great Controversy, p. 468.