Saturday, June 21, 2014

Christ’s Church and the Law

Christ's Church and the Law

Memory text: Revelation 14:12

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

The object of our lesson is to prove that in the end what will identify the church of Christ is that they keep the commandments.  And, while this is true, we need to clarify that the Greek word for commandments is singular.  So, it cannot be referring to Ten Commandments.  What commandment is John referring to?  Let us go to 2 John 1: 5 and 6,

2Jo 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

2Jo 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 


The commandment is that we love one another.  This does not deny the Ten Commandments.  This is what the Ten Commandments point to.  Now, how are we to love one another?  John tells us again,


1Jo 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


What we are talking about here is living for others as Christ lived to minister unto others and not be ministered unto.  The all-important question in the Judgment will be, Have we learned to love others with heavenly love? Not how many "works of the law" have we engaged in, but have we received His over flowing love and allowed it to spill over onto others daily. Jesus separates His people as sheep from goats on that one score of true love (Matt 25:31-46)... After all, Christ said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).


Someone said that to discuss the commandments of God without giving equal prominence to the 'faith of Jesus' (the Head of the church) is like teaching about the Sabbath without giving equal time to the Lord of the Sabbath.  Ellen White said in the following quotes of how we have treated the Sabbath. 


"The faith of Jesus has been overlooked and treated in an indifferent, careless manner. It has not occupied the prominent position in which it was revealed to John... The great subject of the righteousness of Christ connected with the law, which should be constantly kept before the sinner as his only hope of salvation." - {1888 212.1}


"While you hold the banner of truth firmly, proclaiming the law of God, let every soul remember that the faith of Jesus is connected with the commandments of God."  {SpTA01b 15.1}


"Let Jesus be our theme. Let us with pen and voice present, not only the commandments of God, but the faith of Jesus.This will promote real heart piety as nothing else can." {SpTA01b 19.1}


The Word is very clear, the just (those who keep the law) shall live by faith.  Abraham lived by faith.  How did he keep the law?  Gen. 15:6 details Abraham's continued and ever strengthening choice, "he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness."  Man often emphasizes his law keeping as righteousness but God counts biblical faith as the "right thing" for the sinner to "do" (John 6:28, 29). Perhaps that's why Hebrews 11 reiterates "by faith" instead of "by keeping the law." A faith surrender to a living and indwelling Christ is obedience and results in a life that keeps both the letter and spirit of God's holy law.


Now if faith yields righteousness, and, we need the righteousness of Christ, it follows that we need the faith of Christ.  His faith is tested and never failed.  We need a faith that overcomes the enemy and the World (Revelation 12: 11, 1 John 5:4).  We need a faith that will empower us love not our lives unto the death (Revelation 12: 11).  This is the faith of Jesus.

Raul Diaz