But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
SUMMARY OF THE LAW
“Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
The Ten Commandments teach us how to love God (the first four) and how to love our neighbor (the last six). No man can truly keep the Law without love. No man can truly love God and his neighbor without keeping the Law.
God does not leave sinful man in the dark. We are not left to our own deceitful hearts to determine how to love God and our neighbor. God has defined love by the Ten Commandments.
A picture frame needs a nail to hang on a wall. The Ten Commandments need love for God and neighbor in order to function correctly.
THE LAW AND THE GENTILES
Both Jews and Gentiles are to be judged by the same Law of God -- the Ten Commandments.
“Now 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.” (Romans 3:19)
The Ten Commandments, and they alone (of all God's statutes to Israel) were written directly by the finger of God. They were written on tables of stone to show their permanent nature.
They were first written on the heart of man at Creation. The Fall of man into sin did not completely erase it.
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, having not the Law, are a law unto themselves:
Which show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another...” (Romans 2:14,15)
THE LAW AND CHRISTIANS
“For the Commandment is a lamp; and the Law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” (Proverbs 6:23)
The Law was given to Israel, not that they might be redeemed, but because they had been redeemed -- out of bondage -- by the blood of the Passover Lamb. When God redeems us, He instructs us in His Law.
He commands us to walk in the light of it. The Ten Commandments are binding on all men, both Jew and Gentile, in all time periods.
They teach us our duty -- how to love God and how to love our neighbor. Christians are not exempt from these duties.
When Paul taught that Christians are "not under the Law" he meant not under its curse. Christ became a curse for us and paid the Law's death penalty due our sins (Galatians 3:10-14).
Keeping the Law does not save us. Neither was Moses or David (Hebrews 11) saved by keeping the law. Salvation has always been “by faith” in the Messiah.
But we are still obliged to love God and our neighbor. “If ye love me, keep my Commandments.” (John 14:15)
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his Commandments.” (1 John 2:3)
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law.”
“For 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.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Romans 13:9-10)
Paul did NOT say that love is the ABOLISHING of the Law. Rather, he said love is the FULFILLING of the Law. Real love obeys God's Law.
Paul also wrote, “Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Law.” (Romans 3:31)
The Law defines our duty to God and neighbor. It defines love. It defines right and wrong. “... sin is the transgression of the Law.” (1 John 3:4) Let there be no mistake at this point. Christians will be judged by the Ten Commandments.
“For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the Law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be JUDGED by the Law of Liberty.” (James 2:11-12) (Emphasis mine)
James was writing to believers. He says the Law will judge us. Both saints (James 2:12) and sinners (Romans 3:19) will be judged by it.
For saints, it will not determine eternal destiny, but gain, or loss of reward. James calls the Ten Commandments the Law of Liberty.
True freedom (liberty) is to walk in the light of God's Law. The heresy of the "Judaizers" was not that the insisted on the Law as a rule of life.
Their heresy was that they insisted on the works of the Law as a way of salvation (Acts 15:1-5). The main issue in Galatians is not what the standard of conduct for the believer is.
The main issue is, “How are we saved -- by law -- or by grace?” (Galatians 5:4) "Not under the Law" does not mean under no obligation to obey. It means not keeping the Law in order to be saved.
MESSIAH AND THE LAW
“Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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.
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.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
Note the perpetual obligation of the Ten Commandments. It was not done away when Christ died. Rather, it is “till Heaven and Earth pass.”
Our Lord Jesus Messiah is speaking to believers. He says the Law is binding on them and will determine their degree of reward. Christ did not die to keep us in our sins. Rather “he shall save his people from their sins.”
Sin is the transgression of the Law. Therefore, Christ died in order that we might begin keeping the Law. He died that we might live eternally, loving God and our neighbor, as ourselves. As one advocate of the Ten Commandments has rightly said:
• The Law is our condemnation; the Gospel of grace is our salvation.
• The Law condemns; the Gospel justifies.
• The Law convicts; the Gospel of grace relieves.
• The Law produces rebellion in the heart; the Gospel of grace produces submission.
• The Law depresses us with our inability to keep it; the Gospel enlivens and delivers us from that depression and produces joy.
• The Law produces pride in those who ignorantly suppose that they have kept it; the Gospel, indeed, produces humility in those who know they are accepted, even though in themselves they are unacceptable. The Gospel says, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” The Gospel says, “Grace unto you and peace.”
• The Law says, “Do”; the Gospel says, “Done.”
• The Law says, “Go”; the Gospel says, “Come.”
Have you kept the Law, at all times, in thought, word and deed? If you are honest, your answer will be no. Neither have I.
But we can go to our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness, and cleansing through His shed blood and death on the cross.
We can go in repentance and faith. Will you join me in prayer?
Lord Jesus, your Law is holy and just and good. It shows me how to love you and how to love my neighbor. Yet I’ve failed you many times. I deserve only death and hell for my sins. Please forgive and cleanse me by your shed blood.
Thank you for dying on the cross for sinners. I know you rose again from the dead. I receive you by faith. Come into my heart and be my personal Lord and Saviour. Give me a new heart with your Law written on it. I trust you alone to save me from sins.
I love you, Lord Jesus and thank you for promising to hear and answer my prayer.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss