(Continued from Step #1)
2. The Law of God: The Command to Holiness.
"Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary [its most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ . . . They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place."
– C.H. Spurgeon
Key Scriptural Support:
"Therefore you shall keep My commandments, and perform them: I am the Lord. 32 You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you, - Lev 22:31-32 (NKJV)
You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you. - Deut 6:17 (NKJV)
"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. - Deut 30:15-16 (NKJV)
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." - Matt 22:35-40 (NKJV)
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” - Matt 5:17-20 (NKJV)
Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." - Matt 19:16-17 (NKJV)
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. - Romans 3:19-20 (NKJV)
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." - Gal 3:10 (NKJV)
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. - Gal 3:19-25 (NKJV)
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. - Psalms 24:3-4 (NKJV)
In Galatians 3:19 Paul asks a common question that people still ask today: What is the purpose of the law? As he continues to write Paul explains that basically, the purpose of the law was to make sin clearly known until the Messiah came. But it’s not that the law is comparable to the promises of God, rather it shows us that we are confined under sin and can’t measure up to God’s righteous standards. The promise of God (salvation) is given by faith to those who believe in Christ. Before we were in Christ we were under the law, and we were all under the law whether we liked it or not. Since we cannot keep it, we are under its condemnation and curse. Also, it’s not that the law didn’t exist or was invalid prior to it’s writing, but it just wasn’t written down clearly. Romans 2:14-15 says that mankind has the law of God written on their hearts, so even if they never hear or read the written law, they are without excuse. Romans 3 says, that “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). This is why Paul can say that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). It shows us our need of Christ!
Paul writes in Galatians that “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal 5:18). Some people have quoted this verse to show how they have complete liberty to do what they want, but that is not what the verse is saying. Yes, it says you are not under the law, but first it has a conditional statement. It says “if you are led by the Spirit”. This means you must first be under the Spirit, led by His authority, not by your own free will. And if you are under/led by the Spirit, then you are not under the bondage and condemnation of the law. We have been set free, but not to go our own way, for that would bring us back into bondage to sin. We’ve been set free to serve a new Master. We are free to love Him, to love others and find therein our joy.