Perpetuity of the Law
“There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.” James 4:12. What is said of the stability of God’s character?
“For I am the Lord. I change not.” Mal. 3:6.
How enduring are His commandments?
“The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” Psa. 111:7,8.
Did Christ come to abolish or to destroy the law?
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matt. 5:17.
NOTES.-The law; broadly, the writings of Moses; specifically, the ten commandments, or moral law, from which the writings of Moses primarily derived their name. The prophets; that is, the writings of the prophets; Neither of these Christ came to destroy, but rather to fulfil, or meet their design.
“The laws of the Jews are commonly divided into moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The moral laws are such as grow out of the nature of things which cannot, therefore, be changed,-such as the duty of loving God and His creatures. These cannot be abolished, as it can never be made right to hate God, or to hate our fellow men. Of this kind are the ten commandments; and these our Saviour neither abolished nor superseded. The ceremonial laws are such as are appointed to meet certain states of society, or to regulate the religious rites and ceremonies of a people. These can be changed when circumstances are changed, and yet the moral law be untouched.”- Dr. Albert Barnes, on Matt. 5:18.
“Jesus did not come to change the law, but He came to explain it, and that very fact shows that it remains; for there is no need to explain that which is abrogated…. By thus explaining the law He confirmed it; He could not have meant to abolish it, or He would not have needed to expound it…. That the Master did not come to alter the law is clear, because after having embodied it in His life, He willingly gave Himself up to bear its penalty, though He had never broken it, bearing the penalty for us, even as it is written, ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.’… If the law had demanded more of us than it ought to have done, would the Lord Jesus have rendered to it the penalty which resulted from its too severe demands? I am sure He would not. But because the law asked only what it ought to ask, namely, perfect obedience, and exacted of the transgressor only what it ought to exact, namely, death as the penalty for sin,-death under divine wrath,-therefore the Saviour went to the tree, and there bore our sins, and purged them once for all.”-“The Perpetuity of the Law of God,” by C. H. Spurgeon, pages 4-7.
“The moral law contained in the ten commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of this…. Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages, as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstance liable to change, but on the nature of God, and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.”-John Wesley, in his “Sermons,” Vol. I, No.25, pages 221,222.
When used with reference to prophecy, what does the Word fulfil mean?
To fill up; to accomplish; to bring to pass; as, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet.” Matt. 4:14.
What does it mean when used with reference to law?
To perform, to keep, or to act in accordance with; as, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2. See also Matt. 3:15; James 2:8,9.
How did Christ treat His Father’s commandments?
“I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10.
If one professes to abide in Christ, how ought he to walk?
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.
What is sin?
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.
NOTE.-This text does not say that sin was the transgression of the law, but that it is this, thus demonstrating that the law is still in force in the gospel dispensation. “Whosoever” likewise shows the universality of its binding claims. Whoever of any nation, race, or people commits sin, transgresses the law.
In what condition are all men?
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23.
How many are included in the “all” who have sinned?
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise:
for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.” Rom. 3:9.
By what are all men proved guilty?
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Rom. 3:19.
NOTE.-It is what the law says, and not what one may interpret it to mean, that proves the sinner guilty. Moreover, God is no respecter of persons, but treats Jew and Gentile alike. Measured by the law, all the world are guilty before God.
Does faith in God make void the law?
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Rom. 3:31.
What, more than all else, proves the perpetuity and immutability of the law of God?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “Christ died for our sins.” 1 Cor. 15:3.
NOTE.-Could the law have been abolished, and sin been disposed of in this way, Christ need not have come and died for our sins. The gift of Christ therefore, more than all else, proves the immutability of the law of God. Christ must come and die, and satisfy the claims of the law, or the world must perish. The law could not give way. Says Spurgeon in his sermon on “The Perpetuity of the Law of God,” “Our Lord Jesus Christ gave a greater vindication of the law by dying because it had been broken than all the lost can ever give by their miseries.” The fact that the law is to be the standard in the judgment is another proof of its enduring nature. See Eccl. 12:13,14; James 2: 8-12.
What relation does a justified person sustain to the law?
“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Rom. 2:13.
Who has the promise of being blessed in his doing?
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25.
By what may we know that we have passed from death unto life?
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” 1 John 3:14.
And how may we know that we love the brethren?
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:2.
What is the love of God?
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:3.
How are those described who will be prepared for the coming of Christ?
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14:12.
O THAT the Lord would guide my ways
To keep His statutes still!
O that my God would grant me grace
To know and do His will!
O send Thy Spirit down to write
Thy law upon my heart,
Nor let my tongue indulge deceit,
Nor act the liar’s part.
From vanity turn off my eyes,
Let no corrupt design
Nor covetous desire arise
Within this soul of mine.
Order my footsteps by Thy word,
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.
Make me to walk in Thy commands,
‘Tis a delightful road ;
Nor let my head, nor heart, nor hands
Offend against my God.