This week, Pastor Ted Wilson talks about the law of God, the subject of the nineteenth fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventists.
Our first fundamental belief states that “the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration. The inspired authors spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to humanity the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the supreme, authoritative, and the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the definitive revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.”
In line with this, Psalm 119:105 (KJV) says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” It is upon God’s Word—the Bible—that all our fundamental beliefs are based.
Now, let’s focus on Fundamental Belief #19: The Law of God.
Remember Moses at Mount Sinai, receiving the Ten Commandments written by God’s own hand on two tables of stone? These commandments were so important that before writing them down, He spoke them to the Israelites, reminding them that He is the “Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2).
But God’s law existed long before it was written upon the tables of stone. It has existed since eternity.
In summary, the first four commandments describe how we show our love to God:
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself any idols.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
On the other hand, the following six commandments describe how we show love to others:
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet.
Unlike human laws that only regulate outward behavior, God’s ten brief yet comprehensive, authoritative precepts go much deeper.
“There is not mystery in the law of God. All can comprehend the great truths which it embodies. The feeblest intellect can grasp these rules; the most ignorant can regulate the life, and form the character after the divine standard” (Ellen White, Selected Messages, book 1, page 217).
Our Fundamental Belief #19 says: “The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, and its fruit is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow human beings. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.”
While 1 John 3:4 defines sin as “the transgression of the law” and Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” God’s law points out our need of a Savior, Who justifies and sanctifies us through His blood and His Spirit, giving us His power to keep His commandments.
“We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Jesus also tells us, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). And the Apostle John assures us that “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
God’s law is an inspiration to the soul. Psalmist David exclaims, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). “I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold!” (verse 127). “Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights” (verse 143).
God gave His law to provide people with abundant blessings and to lead them into a saving relationship with Him. Let’s thank Him for the incredible gift He offers through His power as revealed in His eternal law of love.