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Second Quarter 2014 (April–June)
COMMENTARY ON CHRIST AND HIS LAW
Week 9: May 24–30
COMMENTARY ON CHRIST, THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL
Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.
The Sabbath School lesson makes three main points:
It is true: God is passionately interested in us and longs for a deep, intimate relationship with us. The Law was given to Israel in the form of a covenant. The Mosaic Law or Old Covenant was explicit in its teaching regarding how to live a righteous life. There were blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
However, the Law was given for these purposes according to Romans 3:19, 20:
We would summarize our beliefs this way:
Let’s define Grace and Law.
Grace: unmerited favor from God toward us through which He bestows salvation and blessings.
Law: (Though the Bible uses the term “law” in several ways, in the context of our discussion, this is the appropriate definition for Law): Scripture containing 613 commands to Israel from God, also known as Torah.
The Law and Grace are contrary to one another. They do not work together to produce righteousness.
The Law produces condemnation and only condemnation. The Law produces a circular lifestyle of trying hard to be good, failing, despair, summoning the will and energy to try even harder to be good only to fail again. The Law is focused on what I can do to be holy and righteous.
Grace does not work in sync with this cycle, indeed it interrupts and destroys it. Instead grace is focused on what God has done through Christ.
Do you see how different they are? What would it be like for you, dear reader, to rest from the futility of trying to be good enough? What if Jesus is longing for you to rest from your works and trust Him to produce holiness in you? What would it be like to focus your eyes on Christ alone instead of your own failures?
The writer of Hebrews makes this profoundly Lawshattering remark in chapter 12:2a:
“...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”
Paul reiterates this same jawdropping truth in Philippians 1:6:
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
You see, God did not only design the beginning of our lifestyle of righteousness in Christ’s work, He produces it in us by the Holy Spirit. Our “part” is to simply believe Him. He begins the work and HE completes the work.
The author quotes Ellen White at the end of the lesson. While this is a lovely quote, it nullifies what the author himself wrote that the Law and grace are inexplicably linked. In a nutshell, this contradiction summarizes the Adventist doctrinal problem. Adventist doctrine teaches two distinctly contradictory things:
These two statements are totally opposite from one another. They are biblically illogical and do indeed produce despair.
My prayer for you as you read this commentary is that you will be freed from the belief that God is counting on you to understand the Law well enough to live right enough to be Light enough to the world...
...because Jesus is enough.