amaury-gutierrez-rzmQOng8h8I-unsplash.jp

LESSON 15:

RESPONSE

Lesson 15A Picture of God
00:00 / 07:50

Audio

Start Here

The great law of Love is more than just an idea; it is an action. Without action, the idea is useless. It is like saying that we love someone and then doing nothing with them or for them. If we love, we will show it.

 

We must demonstrate that the great law of Love lives in our hearts. If you have surrendered your life to God by making Jesus your Lord and Savior, then let Christ work in your heart to remove your selfishness and to establish in you a humble heart of self-sacrificing love (Ezekiel 36:26).

 

This is what it means to be a Christian. Anyone who lives out these principles is demonstrating that Christ is molding their hearts into His character.

Love in Action

 

The Bible explains how the law works and how we should relate to it.  Galatians 3 puts the law in its proper perspective. The law is a tutor. It is teaching me the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and it shows me that I’m a sinner in need of a Savior and Sustainer.

 

The Old Testament presents case studies that show the results of good decisions and of evil ones. Paul says that when children grow up, they are no longer under a tutor. So, many Christians, therefore, throw out the law. But that isn’t what Paul intended (Romans 3:31). Though we aren’t saved by the law (Galatians 3:11), through understanding the law we are given a deeper understanding of the nature of sin and death. The Holy Spirit uses the law revealed in scripture and especially the life of Christ to lead us to the feet of Christ (Galatians 3:24), where we can learn and grow. This is character development.

 

God did not invalidate His law after Christ died for our violation of the law. It would be like, after someone is punished for a crime, the law defining that specific crime is then done away with, and hence the action is no longer criminal.

 

After the cross, Christ forgave us and has put us in a position to keep the law, not from below it – in condemnation – but from above it, with the righteousness of Christ covering us (1 John 3:10; Romans 8:12-14). But if we make law-keeping our goal then we have missed the point. Our goal should be abiding in Christ. Then, through the indwelling of Christ and the Holy Spirit, our fruit will be good deeds, or the keeping of the law.

 

When a person gets to college, they don’t ignore all the valuable rules, principles, and lessons they learned under all the teachers before them. They use all that knowledge to grow and expand their understanding. They learn greater things because of the information that they had learned before. The previous information actually shapes them as a person. When God sent Jesus, He presented the greatest educational experience in history about the law and the love of God. Jesus was Love and He lived the law perfectly, obeying every precept of it (Matthew 5:17, 18), revealing before men and angels what true love is, really, about.

Tutor

 

Who hasn’t heard about or experienced those who have given you a false sense of what love is, or what good is? Only God can define these qualities, and He gave us the best definition of them when Jesus came to earth. It is our obligation as Christians to surrender ourselves to the Bible’s definition of good and evil, and then allow God to pattern us after that definition. We will find that certain behaviors and traits need to be removed and rejected as God shapes us into the character of Christ.

 

Every time the Holy Spirit reveals to us more about ourselves that needs changing, we will be challenged to 1) either surrender our lives to God, or 2) to take Christ off the throne of our life so that we can keep the thing—whatever it is—that we don’t want to change (1 Corinthians 15:31-33). In those moments – run to Jesus.

Defining Love

 
 

God’s law is not meant to be painstakingly hard to keep and to be an annoyance. God included within the commandments, blessings. The fourth commandment was to be a great blessing. It is the one commandment that emphasizes the equality of humanity in mandating that men, women, children, servants, strangers in your house, and even your animals, be given rest from their labors. It doesn’t matter your class, caste, gender, race, or position in life, on the Sabbath you are given the freedom to rest and find peace (Exodus 20:8-11). Jesus makes this call to humanity, saying: “Come unto me and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus was the one who gave this gift at creation (Genesis 2:1-3) and spoke it as law from Sinai. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, and He declares that it was made as a gift to humanity (Mark 2:27, 28).

 

How incredible that the God of the universe gave His creation a special day on which He would visit with them personally and lavish His love and grace on them!

 

This is what the Sabbath was created for, in Genesis 2. It is a day for fellowship and rejoicing. It is a day for rejuvenation and reconnection. It is a day that allows the created to rest in their Creator and Redeemer, knowing that God will provide for their needs and that He will save them (Deuteronomy 5:15). Hebrews 4 tells us that the Sabbath is a celebration of God as our Creator and Redeemer that we can enter into by faith. It tells us that the Sabbath remains a blessing for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9)! In fact, all ten moral precepts remain as a blessing to humanity.

Blessed Law

 

After God sent Jesus into the world to demonstrate the character and law of God, which is love, you can imagine how hurt God was by Christianity when, during the first centuries, many in church quickly perverted these precious truths about the character of God. They changed the law of God, by ignoring the second commandment, which forbade idolatry; and they changed the fourth commandment, God’s day of worship, from the Bible Sabbath, Saturday, to Sunday, a day with no biblical sanction whatsoever. They hid the Word of God from the people; they sought power and alliances from the kingdoms of this world; and, finally, they persecuted anyone who believed anything contrary to their dogma and decrees. No wonder it has been called “The Dark Ages.”

 

Yet Revelation 11 says that God’s faithful people, His true church, was figuratively hiding in His house, worshiping the true God during this horrific period of history known in the Bible as “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:1-3).

Perverted Law

But at all times in history, God has a people who remained true to Him. Some of these remnant people brought forth the Protestant Reformation. People like John Wycliff, Jan Huss, Jerome, Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, John Wesley, and others. They were unwilling to see the reputation of God get trampled on by the church. The church was teaching that you could earn salvation by your works, especially the works that put money in their coffers. The reformers told the truth: salvation can’t be bought; it can be experienced only through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

 

While the universal Christian church at the time had built a tabernacle for the devil (Revelation 2:9; 3:9), the true church was maintaining purity in the Tabernacle of God. False Christians were heaping sins upon the Lord’s house. God’s name was being drug through the dirt. Innocent blood was being spilled under a false banner of love.

 

Eventually, God was going to cleanse that house (Daniel 8:14). This cleansing would involve judgment. He would finally perform the last acts of the plan of salvation. It was time to move from the part of the Tabernacle service, called the Tamid or the daily service, to the Yoma, or the yearly service. It was time for Christ to return in glory. It was time for a transition in history to “the time of the end” (Daniel 8:17). God would rescue His own and execute justice in the end of time.

Remnant

 

Course Work

Next Lesson:
Lesson 16 - Hope