Memory Verse: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).
INTRODUCTION: The Lord, referring to the Christian dispensation, said “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). Apostle Paul refers to the same thing in 2 Corinthians 3 where he says, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart,” “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of His countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory” (2 Corinthians 3:3, 7-9).
There is much confusion among churches today regarding these verses. Many interpret them to mean that the law has been abolished. But notice the subject of these verses and just what was to be changed. In Jeremiah 31 the Lord states that He would write His law upon their hearts. He says nothing about a change in law. He does state that there will be a new covenant. The major diﬀerence under this new covenant is that His laws are now written in our hearts.
Apostle Paul elaborates on this theme and explains that the law has been taken oﬀ stone and placed in our hearts. Once again, it is not the law that is changed but the ministration. Here in the United States we hold presidential elections every four years. This brings about a change in administrations. But just because we have had a change from a Republican to a Democratic administration does not change our laws or constitution. Why can so many people easily comprehend this and yet become so confused when the Bible deals with a similar situation?
How did this new covenant or change of administration aﬀect God’s basic law, the Ten Commandments? Well, it definitely did not abolish them as Jesus told the young man that he must obey them to receive eternal life (Matthew 19:16-19). Apostle Paul recognized that they are to be kept in this dispensation (1 Timothy 1:8) as did James (James 2:10-12).
Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would magnify the law and make it honorable (Isaiah 42:21). This is the greatest change that took place under the new covenant. It is not enough to refrain from killing, we must not hate. It is not enough to refrain from adultery or stealing, we must not even covet. So instead of doing away with the law, Jesus established and magnified it. In the very last chapter of the Bible it states that those who will enter the kingdom are those who keep the commandments. How, then, can some say they were abolished?
- Was the law of God in existence before it was given to Moses? Genesis 26:5.
- How many of the Ten Commandments were in force before Sinai as recorded in the Bible? Genesis 4:8-10; Genesis 31:19; Genesis 35:2; Genesis 39:7-9.
- Did Jesus abolish this moral law? Matthew 5:17-18. What is said about those who speak against the law? Matthew 5:19.
- What question was asked Jesus in Matthew 19:16? What was Jesus’ reply? Verse
- To what law did Jesus refer to as being necessary for eternal life? Matthew 19:18-19.
- How is the law described in the Old Testament? Psalm 119:72, 97-104, 137-38.
- How are they described in the New Testament? Romans 7:12; Romans 8:4.
- How does James describe the law? James 1:25; 2:12. Compare this to Psalm 119:44-45.
- To what law is this referring? James 2:10-11.
- Will our obedience to the law aﬀect our final destination? Revelation 22:14.