Lesson 4 | Sabbath, 24 July 2021
“If God’s commandments are to be binding for a thousand generations, it will take them into the kingdom of God, into the presence of God and His holy angels.
“This is an argument that cannot be controverted. The commandments of God will endure through all time and eternity. Are they, then, given us as a burden? No. ‘And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.’ Deuteronomy 6:24 The Lord gave His people commandments, in order that by obeying them they might preserve their physical, mental, and moral health. They were to live by obedience; but death is the sure result of the disobedience of the law of God.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 413, 414.
Commandments linked to eternity
1. When the Israelites came to Mount Sinai, what did the Lord give for the benefit of His people, speaking to them directly with His own voice? Then, where did He write them?
Exodus 20:1. And God spake all these words, saying,…
Deuteronomy 9:10. And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
Exodus 34:28; 31:18. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments…. 31:18And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
“The commandments of God are comprehensive and far reaching; in a few words they unfold the whole duty of man. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Mark 12:30, 31. In these words the length and breadth, the depth and height, of the law of God is comprehended; for Paul declares, ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Romans 13:10. The only definition we find in the Bible for sin is that ‘sin is the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:4. The Word of God declares, ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ Romans 3:23. ‘There is none that doeth good, no, not one.’ Romans 3:12. Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 320.
2. What do the Scriptures record about the validity and extent of these divine principles? What did Jesus say about how long the holy law would be valid?
Psalm 111:7, 8. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.8They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
Matthew 5:17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Luke 16:17. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
“‘Till heaven and earth pass,’ said Jesus, ‘one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.’ The sun shining in the heavens, the solid earth upon which you dwell, are God’s witnesses that His law is changeless and eternal. Though they may pass away, the divine precepts shall endure. ‘It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.’ Luke 16:17. The system of types that pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God was to be abolished at His death; but the precepts of the Decalogue are as immutable as the throne of God.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 308.
“Our work is to hold up the law of God; for Christ has said that ‘it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one tittle of the law to fail.’ He has said, ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’” –Signs of the Times, April 22, 1889
The standard for salvation
3. In addition to the divine, holy Decalogue, what did Moses give to the people from the Lord to govern the sanctuary services and daily life? What was included in the additional provisions?
Leviticus 7:37, 38; 11:46, 47. This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings; 38Which the Lord commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai….11:46This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: 47To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
Exodus 22:31. And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs.
“‘The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate.’ Many marvel that the human race have so degenerated, physically, mentally, and morally. They do not understand that it is the violation of God’s constitution and laws, and the violation of the laws of health, that has produced this sad degeneracy. The transgression of God’s commandments has caused His prospering hand to be removed.” –Spiritual Gifts, vol. 41, pp. 123, 124.
“… The Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 370.
4. What is the function of God’s law, since it cannot justify the sinner?
Romans 3:20; 7:7. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin…7:7What 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.
“‘By the law is the knowledge of sin’ (Romans 3:20); for ‘sin is the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:4. It is through the law that men are convicted of sin; and they must feel themselves sinners, exposed to the wrath of God, before they will realize their need of a Saviour. Satan is continually at work to lessen man’s estimate of the grievous character of sin. And those who trample the law of God under their feet are doing the work of the great deceiver; for they are rejecting the only rule by which they can define sin, and bring it home to the conscience of the transgressor.
“The Law of God reaches to those secret purposes, which, though they may be sinful, are often passed over lightly, but which are in reality the basis and the test of character. It is the mirror into which the sinner is to look if he would have a correct knowledge of his moral character. And when he sees himself condemned by that great standard of righteousness, his next move must be to repent of his sins, and seek forgiveness through Christ. Failing to do this, many try to break the mirror which reveals their defects, to make void the law which points out the blemishes in their life and character.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 219.
Reflection of love and loyalty
5. Given by the loving God, what is the fulfilling of His law?
Romans 13:8-10. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
“Love to God must be brought into our daily life. Then, and then only, can we show true love for our fellowmen. When this is done, when Christ is enthroned in our hearts, we manifest by our daily life, by our conversation, by our unselfish interest in one another, by our deep love for souls, that we are doers of the Word of God. The reality of our conversation is marked by a deep earnest piety, which purifies the soul, and works unceasingly for the good of others.
“‘Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God.’‘Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.’‘The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things, have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.’” –Signs of the Times, March 11, 1897.
6. How significant is the fact that Israel was given God’s law, promises, prophecies, and oracles? What did Moses and the apostle Paul write about this?
Deuteronomy 4:6. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
Romans 3:1, 2; 9:4, 5. What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God…. 9:4Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
“Moses called their attention to the ‘day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb.’ And he challenged the Hebrew host: ‘What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?’ Today the challenge to Israel might be repeated. The laws which God gave His ancient people were wiser, better, and more humane than those of the most civilized nations of the earth. The laws of the nations bear marks of the infirmities and passions of the unrenewed heart; but God’s law bears the stamp of the divine.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 465.
7. What do the Scriptures say about those who obey the holy commandments of the Lord? How will every Christian relate to these precious principles?
Psalms 112:1; 128:1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments….128:1Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.
Revelation 22:14. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
“God had given men His commandments as a rule of life, but His law was transgressed, and every conceivable sin was the result.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 91.
“None need fear that their liberality would bring them to want. Obedience to God’s commandments would surely result in prosperity. ‘For this thing,’ God said, ‘the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. ’‘Thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.’ Deuteronomy 15:10, 6.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 187.
“He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with God’s great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men. This will be the test of character in the judgment.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 314.
For additional study
“God requires perfection of His children. His law is a transcript of His own character, and it is the standard of all character. This infinite standard is presented to all that there may be no mistake in regard to the kind of people whom God will have to compose His kingdom. The life of Christ on earth was a perfect expression of God’s law, and when those who claim to be children of God become Christlike in character, they will be obedient to God’s commandments. Then the Lord can trust them to be of the number who shall compose the family of heaven. Clothed in the glorious apparel of Christ’s righteousness, they have a place at the King’s feast. They have a right to join the blood-washed throng.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 315.
“It is for the best interest of men, even in this world, to obey God’s commandments. And it is surely for their eternal interest to submit to God, and be at peace with Him…. God made him a free moral agent, to obey or disobey. The reward of everlasting life–an eternal weight of glory–is promised to those who do God’s will, while the threatenings of His wrath hang over all who defy His law.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 76.