Law And Gospel: Restoring The Divine Image In You

The Law and the Gospel are blended in Christ. He came to this world in the form of humanity to live the Law of God and to be the Gospel of salvation, fulfilling every specification of the Law.

The Gospel of Christ gives full recognition to the Law of God, and declares God’s supreme authority. Righteousness and judgment are the establishment of His throne. Psalm 97:2.

The Law and the Gospel are in perfect harmony. Each upholds the other.

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The Law confronts the conscience, causing the sinner to feel his or her need of Christ as the propitiation for sin.

The Gospel recognizes the power and immutability of the Law: I had not known sin, but by the law. Romans 7:7.

Thus the Law points to Christ and the Gospel of Christ points to the Law.

God’s Law condemns sin and points to the Gospel, revealing Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John 1:29.

The Gospel doesn’t ignore humans obligations due to God. It is the Law unfolded and gives no more freedom to sin than does the Law.

Furthermore, the Gospel of Christ’s grace calls people to repentance of sin. Sin is the transgression of the Law. 1 John 3:4.

Therefore the Gospel calls humans from their transgression back to obedience to the Law of God, through the grace of Christ.

Jesus taught the strictest obedience through His life. Moreover, He died – just for the unjust, and the innocent for the guilty.

Thus the honor of God’s Law is preserved, and yet humanity is not utterly perished.

The sacrificial offering ceased in the death of Christ and the ceremonial law was done away.

On the other hand, the Law of Ten Commandments was established by the crucifixion. The Gospel has not done away with the Law, nor detracted one tittle from its claims.

In Christ mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Psalm 85:10.

The example of Christ is before us. Thus we are ever to keep the Law and the Gospel closely connected.

How do Law and Gospel harmonize?

The law and the gospel go hand in hand. Each upholds the other.

The Law confronts the conscience, causing sinners to feel their need of Christ as the propitiation for sin.

The Gospel recognizes the power and immutability of the Law.

I had not known sin, but by the law. Romans 7:7.

The sense of sin brings us to the Savior. Therefore, in our need we may present the mighty arguments of the cross of Calvary, claiming the righteousness of Christ.

Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

The first step in reconciliation to God is the conviction of sin.

By the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20.

In order to see our guilt, we must test our character by God’s standard of righteousness.

It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables us to discern our own defects. Thus the law reveals our sin.

Furthermore, It is continually pointing us to the Gospel for pardon, peace and grace by its demands for undeviating obedience.

The Gospel of Christ alone can free us from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. We must exercise repentance toward God for the transgression of His Law, and faith in Christ – our atoning sacrifice.

This is the good news of grace, or favor, by which we may be released from the condemnation of sin, and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law.

Do we then void the law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:31.

The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Romans 7:12.

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The Law violation had made the plan of salvation necessary

The Son of God is the essence of the plan of redemption. He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8.

Moreover He is the Redeemer of the fallen race of all ages.

Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12.

The Gospel was good tidings of joy to Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. It presented to them a coming Savior. Thus they looked by faith forward to Christ’s coming.

It is just as essential for us to have faith in our Redeemer who came to earth and died our sacrifice, as it was for the ancients to believe in a Redeemer to come, represented by their offerings and sacrifices.

Therefore, the typical sacrificial system was done away at the death of Christ. Thus the moral Law of God was adored and respected.

Furthermore, God’s requirement under grace is just the same He made in Eden – perfect obedience to His law.

Therefore, the Gospel of good news is not to be interpreted as allowing people to live in continuous rebellion against God.

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22.

The New Testament Gospel is not the Old Testament standard lowered in order to save sinners in their sins.

Though Christ is our hope and our refuge, His righteousness is imputed only to the obedient.

Therefore, let us accept it through faith, that the Father will find in us no sin, and have peace with Him through Christ.

Law and Gospel principles

Their principles are exemplified in the life of Christ.

Therefore, the greatest evidence of the sincerity of our professed adherence to God’s Law and our profession of allegiance to our Redeemer is unselfish, self-sacrificing love for our fellow men.

The Gospel’s glory is founded upon the principle of restoring the Divine image in the fallen race by a constant manifestation of beneficence.

Those who follow Christ’s example of self-denial for the truth’s sake make a great impression on the world. Their example is convincing and contagious.

Others see that there is among God’s professed people that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from selfishness.

Thus in the lives of those who obey God’s commandments, the world sees convincing evidence that the Law of God is a law of love to God and people.

The Law is the expression of His will, and it is through obedience to that law that God proposes to accept us as His sons and daughters.

Therefore, we should understand the relation of Christ to the moral law.

Our righteousness is found in obedience to God’s Law through the merits of Christ.

His infinite sacrifice has been made that the moral image of God may be restored to mankind, through willing obedience to all the commandments of God.

Mankind cannot meet the demands of the Law of God in human strength alone. All will be tainted with sin.

Therefore, Savior’s remedy has been provided. He can give humanity the virtue of His merit, and make them co-laborer in the great work of salvation.

Thus Christ is righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to those who believe in Him, and who follow in His steps.

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All Scriptures testify of Christ

Jesus addressed the Pharisees:

Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. Matthew 22:29.

The most learned at that time did not discern the relation of Christ to the Law and its moral excellency. Moreover, they:

  • did not comprehend the salvation which was offered
  • mingled their own preconceived notions with the teachings of Christ
  • had incorrect interpretation of the Old Testament Scriptures, not seeing the spiritual and practical bearing of God’s

commands on their life and character.

In the same manner, many today don’t understand the mysteries of redemption nor the mediatorial work of Christ.

The Law and the Gospel are so blended, that the truth cannot be presented as it is in Jesus, without blending these subjects in perfect agreement.

The Law is the Gospel of Christ veiled. On other hand, the Gospel of Jesus is nothing more or less than the Law defined, showing its far-reaching principles.

Therefore we need to search the Word of God to find out what is true. God’s test to prove doctrine is :

To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20.

Therefore, when thinking of the Law, also think of its Author. The Law of God explains His character in detail. The Law speaks God’s will.

Come, see for yourselves that the law is what Scripture declares to be – holy and just and good. Romans 7:12.

Though the Law:

  • reproves sin and condemns sinners
  • cannot remit the penalty for sin

it shows us our need for Christ, with whom there is plenteous mercy, goodness and abundant pardon to all who repent, and believe in Him.

The atoning Sacrifice of Him who was equal with the Father magnifies the law, and makes it honorable. Isaiah 42:21.

Law and Gospel both require obedience

The Law of God requires spiritual perfection. It was required of Adam and Eve before the fall. Furthermore, perfect obedience to His Law is required today from those who would be His followers.

God has made provision for the forgiveness and restoration of sinners. Through the infinite sacrifice of His Son humanity may become a partaker of the divine nature.

Thus the same requirements may be fulfilled by mankind today that were given in Eden.

Nevertheless, we have no perfection of ourselves.

Without me, ye can do nothing. John 15:5-7.

Therefore provision for our perfection is found in union with Christ.

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John 17:23.

Thus we obtain righteousness without a blemish only through the imputed righteousness of Christ.

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.

As accepting God’s free gift, we become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and are complete in Him.

Nevertheless, those who do not obey God’s Law manifest that they have not accepted Christ’s righteousness.

Therefore, they may claim sanctification, but it is of a false character. Thus by their actions they deny the Lord who bought them with the Highest price possible.

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these [ my disciples of all time] have known that thou hast sent me. John 17:25.

When the sinners see Jesus lifted up on the cross, dying that mankind might not perish but have everlasting life, they realize something of the enormity of sin.

Furthermore, they long for pardon for all their transgressions, and for the mercy of God. As the Holy Spirit impresses their mind, they pray earnestly and believe that if they ask, they shall receive.

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Perfection of character

Christ made a living application of the Law, which principles remain forever the standard of righteousness. He came to fulfill all its righteousness.

Moreover, as the Head of humanity, to show people that they can fulfill every specification of God’s requirements.

Through His grace perfection of character is attainable by everyone who strives for it. This is the very foundation of the new covenant of the Gospel.

As accepting the mercy of Christ and His healing from the power of sin, one is brought into the right relation with God.

Thus his or her daily obedience to the Law of God obtains for them a character that assures them eternal life in the kingdom of God.

This shows that the Law contains something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the Law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the Gospel.

The law points out one’s duty and shows him or her their guilt. Furthermore, to Christ they must look for pardon and for power to do what the Law requires.

If you follow Christ, you will find that in the path of obedience: Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165.

You cannot disrespect or break God’s holy Law, and still have the favor of God.

If you love God, you will be obedient to all His commandments, for His commandments are not grievous.

Jesus lived a life of obedience to all His Father’s commandments.

I have kept my Father’s commandments. John 15:10.

Furthermore, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8.

Thus He became the propitiation for the sins of humanity and the world was lighted up.

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:31,32.

Thus Satan’s hold upon the humans’ souls was broken. The defaced image of God will be restored in humanity, and a family of believing saints will finally inherit the heavenly home.

This is the result of Christ’s death. Moreover, in His life He gave to the inhabitants of this world an example of what perfect humanity might be when united with divinity.

Law and Gospel ethics

Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1 John 4:7.

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12.

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16.

The entire law is fulfilled in one who loves God supremely and his or her neighbor as themselves. This is the revelation of God through Jesus Christ to our world.

It is Christianity – glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will to men. Luke 2:14.

The work Christianity is designed to achieve in the world is not to depreciate the Law of God. Nevertheless, it is to write that Law in the mind and heart.

When the law of God is thus implanted in the soul of the believer, he or she is approaching eternal life through the merits of Jesus.

This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3.

I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. John 17: 26.

As the sacrifice in our behalf was complete, so our restoration from the defilement of sin is to be complete. No act of wickedness will the law of God excuse.

The object of the Gospel is met when this great end is achieved. Its work from age to age is to unite the hearts of Christ’s followers in a spirit of universal brotherhood, through belief of the truth.

Moreover, to establish Heaven’s system of order and harmony in the family of God on earth, that they may be accounted worthy to become members of the royal family above.

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Atonement from the One equal with God

The broken Law of God demanded the life of the sinner. Nevertheless, Divine love had conceived a plan whereby mankind might be redeemed.

In all the universe there was but One who could, in behalf of humanity, satisfy the claims of the Law. Since it is as sacred as God Himself, only One equal with God could make atonement for its transgression.

None but Christ could redeem fallen race from the curse of the Law, and bring them again into harmony with God.

The Father is fully satisfied with the atonement that Christ has made. He was in Christ, suffering with His only-begotten Son in order to reconcile the world unto Himself.

Moreover, the object of this atonement ( the at-one-ment with God) was that the Divine Law and government might be maintained.

Thus the sinner is pardoned through repentance toward God and faith in Christ. There is forgiveness of sin, and yet the Law of God stands immutable and eternal as His throne.

Furthermore, Christ’s atonement for the sin of the world is the argument that the Law of God is binding upon every human being.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  Matthew 5:17.

As bearing the penalty of all, Christ speaks to every soul:

He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, Romans 8:32, that through His merits He should become an accepted substitute for the sinner – how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? Hebrews 2:3.

Though Christ died in the sinner’s stead, the sinner is liable to all the penalty of the Law if he or she does not comply with the conditions of the Gospel – obedience through the grace of Christ.

By His death Christ makes it possible for us to keep the Law. Though dead in trespasses and sins, we are quickened by faith in Christ.

Thus we see by faith our Savior, who:

  • Is alive forevermore, able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him. Hebrews 7:25
  • Provides complete salvation, purchased at such infinite cost, that our souls are filled with praise and thanksgiving
  • Imputes His righteousness, wrought by His obedience, to all who repent in His name.

When sinners have a view of the matchless charms of Jesus, sin no longer looks attractive to them.

They behold the Chiefest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely. Song of Solomon 5:10, 16.

Thus they realize by personal experience the power of the Gospel.

Conclusion

The Law is the Gospel embodied, and the Gospel is the Law unfolded. Therefore, no one can rightly present the Law of God without the Gospel, or the Gospel without the Law.

The glory of the Law is Christ. He came to magnify the Law, and to make it honorable. Thus we know that the Gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the Law of God.

Therefore, the gospel of Christ requires penitence for sin, which is the transgression of the Law.

I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shown you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:20, 21.

The Gospel does not promise the favor of God to anyone who in impenitence breaks His law. In that case corruption of the human heart, guilt of transgression and the ruin of sin remain.

Thus the individual cannot benefit by the Cross where Christ has made a way of escape.

Therefore, he or she will reform their ways and become loyal to God only through the strength obtained from their Savior.

The requirement of God under the covenant of grace is just the same as the requirement He made in Paradise – harmony with His law, which is holy, just and good.

It is no less required under the New Testament than was required under the Old Testament.

Let no one take up with the delusion so pleasant to the natural heart, that God will accept sincerity no matter how imperfect the life may be.

God requires of His child a perfect obedience.

References:

  1. RH, Feb 1891; BE, 1894; RH, Sep 1886; 7T 145; RH, Feb 1890; 1SM 373; AG 141; DA 608, 625; RH, Jul 1891 The Ellen G. White Estate
  2. King James Bible Version (KJV)

Why Wait Longer?

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Your Creator And Redeemer Longs For You – Take Him At His Word

Learn to trust in God’s love and His power to save and restore His moral image in you. The Spirit of God is pleading with you to seek for those things that alone can give you peace and rest – the grace of Christ and the joy of holiness. Give to Christ your guilt and fear today. He can satisfy the craving of your heart. Believe the Son of God. He will receive you. He welcomes you. 

His hand is stretched out still. Why wait longer?

 

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