THE CORRELATION OF GOD’S LAW OF
LOVE WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. GOD IS LOVE; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16.
The Bible reveals God’s character. God’s Ten Commandment law is a standard of character. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalms 19:7 It reveals our sins. It cannot cleanse from sin, but it converts our thinking about sin and about ourselves and our standing with God and our fellow men. The law is mentally assenting to Christ so He may live out His will (law) in our minds through His spirit.
To keep the law means to guard against “doing” the sins the law says we must avoid if we would be like God and thus have His character… His righteousness, which is His L_O_V_E. RIGHTEOUSNESS IS LOVE. Loving Jesus means not to “worship other gods,” not “to bow down to or make other gods,” not to “take His name in vain,” not to “break the Sabbath,” not to ”dishonor your father and mother,” “not kill,” “steal or bear false witness or covet.”
So, we see that there are no “works” in the Ten Commandments. God’s holy law describes ten areas of relationship with God and man where we can and must resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” is often quoted to show how we are to overcome and get the victory. But, this is only the last half of the text of James 4:7. The first part says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
Really, then, it is a love relationship that brings victory. As soon as we become partakers of His divine (Christ’s) nature we receive power to obey Him. Get married to Jesus, by allowing His very life to flow into your life. CHRIST’S LIFE IS THE OUTFLOW OF UNSELFISH LOVE. For God is love and “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Cor. 5:19.
In the Hebrew language the number ten was all encompassing. The ten toes of the image of Daniel 2 represented all the nations that would ever exist until the end of time. And so the Ten Commandments were given to cover every facet of human conduct. If we are to be like God and have His character written in our hearts and stamped upon our lives, we must overcome in each one of these ten areas of human conduct.
Romans 7 documents Paul’s utter failure to overcome in his own strength, but his victory was in Christ when he surrendered to what Jesus had already won for him at Calvary. The cross draws us to God for reconciliation, but it is His life “In The Father’s Heart,” in the most holy place of the sanctuary, in heaven, that saves us. Romans 5:10. He found out that the law was “ordained to life,” by saving us from death, and that it is “spiritual,” Romans 7:10, so that his inward man “delighted” in God’s law, but his carnal fleshly nature sold him into sin. He discovered that he could only “serve the law of God” by mentally assenting to it; that what it warned him against was absolutely right; that he could not avoid sinning in his own strength in these ten areas of human conflict with the forces of darkness.
He discovered the wonderful truth that it is only through Jesus that we gain the victory of surrendering to His beauty and purity of character. Those who discover this relationship find that the Sabbath is more than just a cessation from the regular mundane, but is a special relationship we enter into with the One in whom our soul delights, even the Lord Jesus Christ. You can rest on any day, or avoid work on any day, but you can SABBATH ONLY ON THE SABBATH. You cannot SABBATH on any other day except the seventh day of the week.
There is no English equivalent for the Hebrew word “SHAVATH” or “SHABATH.” The word “rest,” simply means, “To Sabbath.” Israel’s problems in Egypt really began when they started keeping the seventh day Sabbath. “Pharaoh said…ye make them ‘rest’ (Sabbath) from their burdens.” Exodus 5:5. Persecution is coming again. Revelation 13.
Now, when we understand the law in its true light and let our Creator write it in our minds (Jeremiah 31:33), we begin to understand the character of God and the relationship we are to have with Him by “guarding” His law. You might say that the law is our marriage vows when we get married to Jesus. And since the law is a transcript of God’s character that law or character is inscribed in our lives as we seek to be like Him more every day.
It is impossible to talk about the love of God without explaining the relationship of the law to His love for us. These ten restrictions were given to us so that we might have life to the full and experience fullness of joy. In this study I wish to show: 1) that the Character of God as revealed in His law has never changed, and thus God never changes; 2) that God’s law is founded upon that eternal principle of love. Nehemiah 9:6-15.
The Law of God, the moral law, is as unchangeable as God Himself. The Law of God is the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. I submit that Jesus Christ gave us that law on Mount Sinai and that it was not nailed to the cross or changed in any way by the death of Jesus, for it is perfect. Psalms 19:7. Only the ceremonial laws of animal sacrifices were nailed to the cross.
Just as the law is the same in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, so character is the same in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, just as grace is the same in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. I further submit that just as many people have misunderstood the law of God in the Old Testament and how it has been carried over into the New Testament unchanged, so many Christians today, who claim to believe the whole Bible, have misunderstood the truth about God’s love and character in the Old Testament and have failed to see how the God of the Old Testament is the same exact God of the New Testament.
Somehow they have not been able to correlate the actions of the God of the Old Testament, who was Jesus Christ, with the God of the New Testament who also was Jesus Christ.
Now, let me ask you a logical question. If we believe His law was the same in both testaments and that His grace was the same and that His love was the same, why do we think that His character would not be the same also since His law is a transcript of His character? The word of the Lord says it was the same in both the Old and New Testaments.
Now, if the final issue in this old world is going to be over the Law of God, then it must also be over the character of God, for the law is a transcript of His character. Therefore, if people have a question regarding the validity of the Law of God today for man, then they also have a question about His character as well, and some questions about His love, for the law reveals His character of love.
We know that a great apostasy has taken place in the church today, but it is to get even worse. Now, we have always taught that the final issue in this world will be over the Sabbath, and it will be, but the final message to go to the world is not just the right day to worship on; but, the final message to go to the world is also the LOVE OF GOD, as revealed in the Sabbath message.
The reason the world is in such a sorry mess is because people are apprehensive (afraid of) about God. His character has been misrepresented from the very beginning. Does not this point up the tremendous importance of giving a message today that will enlighten the darkness of our modern minds? Is it not time that men and women everywhere found out the real truth about God? The final message to go to this dying world must of necessity be about the love of God in Christ.
The importance of God’s love as revealed in His law has never been fully understood and therefore, never fully realized by His people. Satan has misrepresented and distorted God’s real personality or character so much that men are afraid of God and even hate Him or deny His existence. But, there is a very good reason why Satan has done this. He knows that if we find out what God is really like we will desire with all our hearts to be like our heavenly Father.
THE REAL PURPOSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH
If you were to ask a sincere Christian why he is trying to study deeply into Christ Our Righteousness, he would probably say something like this: “Well, I am trying to learn how to receive enough faith from Christ so I can be like Him; that is, live the same kind of victorious life that He lived.” And I think that is a very good answer. In our study, however, I wish to tie two additional, or shall we say “neglected,” aspects of Christ’s Righteousness into the picture, to enable us to see the whole concept in its totality and completeness.
Many sincere Christians who believe in Jesus want nothing to do with the Law. But they do not realize that when they say this they are actually rejecting Christ’s righteousness, for His rightness or righteousness comes as a result of His perfect obedience to His Father’s Law, which is the center of the whole controversy. Jesus became righteous and formed a Character like His heavenly Father because He permitted His Father’s love and power and Law to be imprinted upon His mind and life fully.
And so the LAW OF GOD or the TEN COMMANDMENTS and GOD’S CHARACTER are two aspects of the study of RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH that I wish to emphasize and tie in here in this study. Notice Psalms 119:172. “My tongue shall speak of thy word; for all thy commandments are righteousness.” The word CHARACTER is not used in the Bible per se, but we can find it implied all the way through. For example, the word “image”in Hebrews 1:3 is from the Greek word charakter, which means “an exact copy or representation: i.e. express image,” as Paul says, “Who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of his person.” Heb. 1:3. Character means the distinctive qualities or traits that form a person’s personality or identify him. It has to do with his conduct more than anything else. That is why the Ten Commandments are called the MORAL law; for this law has to do with moral conduct and behavior in society.
The word moral is not used in the Bible, but we can see that the Ten Commandments are concerned with our conduct or morals. The reason Jesus was able to live a perfectly righteous life was because His Father’s Law or Character was written in His heart. “I DELIGHT TO DO THY WILL O MY GOD: YEA, THY LAW IS WITHIN MY HEART.” Psalms 40:8.
The very next verse tells how Jesus says to His Father, “I have preached RIGHTEOUSNESS in the congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not HID THY RIGHTEOUSNESS WITHIN MY HEART; I HAVE DECLARED THY FAITHFULNESS and thy Salvation: I have not concealed thy LOVING-KINDNESS AND THY TRUTH from the great congregation.” Psalms 40:9,10.
Now, I want us to catch the full import of these scriptures. Jesus is here talking to His Father in heaven and telling Him that He is revealing to the people all the truth about Him. Now, keep in mind that when we are talking about truth, and righteousness, and holiness, and perfection, and law, and character, we are using words that are all synonymous or equal to the attributes of God. Now why would Jesus want to make such a big deal about His PR campaign down here on earth for His Father? Someone might say, “I thought everyone already knew that God was a nice person.” I speak like a modern to make a point. But wait a minute. All that the Jews had to go on for their concept of Jehovah is what they had read in the Old Testament Scriptures and what they themselves had built up in their traditions. What kind of picture did they have of God? Well, their rigorous adherence to multitudinous rules and man-made regulations indicated that they believed in a very strict and unyielding, unbending deity who would serve judgment upon the sinner without a moment’s notice for the least departure from any of these laws.
It was not a religion to bring joy or happiness to the heart or face. When you put with this the continuous slaughter of animals and the constant haggling and quarreling over the purchase price of animals for sacrifice, one begins to see the kind of picture that generation had of God.
He was to them a God that demanded strict obedience and a lot of blood and money. He was a God who loved to destroy His enemies in battle to show His superiority over the false gods of the heathen. He was a God who would curse you if you disobeyed. “The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly….” He was a God who would smite you. “The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation and with an extreme burning, and with the Sword, and with blasting, and with mildew.” Deuteronomy 28:15,20,22.
Is it any wonder that they considered all sickness and disease a direct judgment from God? To help the sick and suffering would be interfering with God’s disciplinary measures. The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) pointed out this concept. So, is it any wonder that the Jews did not accept Christ when He came to them talking about a God of love and mercy and telling them that He had been sent to heal the sick and poor? It just blew their minds away. But why? Take your Bible with me now as we study the God of the Old Testament and try to discover who He really is.