Christ and His Law

April, May, June 2014

Want to learn more about Christ and His Law? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: Laws in Christ's Day (Romans 2, 5 & 13, James 2, Revelation 22)
For decades my brother lived in Southern California. When he would speak to me about towns, I would have an idea of the direction and distance to that town. He has now moved and when he mentions a town I have no idea about either direction or distance. Imagine you have to travel to a town and you have no idea about its location. You need a map. We start a new series of lessons on the law of God. It seems so natural to think of the law and grace as being opposed to each other. My goal in this series is to help us think about the law and grace as being gifts. Like a map, the law is a wonderful gift from God to help us to understand how to get safely to our destination. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 2: Christ and the Law of Moses (Luke 2, Matthew 17, Mark 3)
Last week we discussed natural law, the moral law, civil law, and ceremonial law. Which one is the "Law of Moses?" Moses delivered both the moral law and the ceremonial law in written form to God's people when they journeyed to Canaan. However, did they exist prior to Moses writing them down? Do they apply today? Let's plunge into our Bibles and see what we can learn!

Lesson 3: Christ and Religious Tradition (Matthew 5, 15 & 23)
Recall our previous discussion about natural law, moral law, civil law and ceremonial law? Our working theory is that each level of law (with natural law at the top) is intended to support or explain the higher level of law. We know, however, that this does not square with what we observe in life. Some civil laws are clearly contrary to moral and natural law. Humans substitute their own judgment for that of God. We see the disasters which follow. How do we deal with the failure of human lawmakers? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 4: Christ and the Law in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5)
Last week's study ended with Jesus' saying that He came to fulfill the law, not abolish it (Matthew 5:17-20). Not only would the law would remain according to Jesus, but our righteousness must exceed that of the religious leaders of the day. We concluded (I hope) that the law is like a map to help us in life, thus we did not want it to go away. And, we decided that since we are covered by the righteousness of Christ, we are miles ahead of the religious leaders of the day. Our study this week is Jesus' next topic - a surprising commentary about what it means to keep the law. How does detail about the law make sense if we are saved by grace? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can discover!

Lesson 5: Christ and the Sabbath (Genesis 2, Exodus 20, Mark 2 & 3, John 5)
The Sabbath is a special time. When I was very young, it was the day when the family was all together. No doubt there were times that I wished the Sabbath day would end because my parents restricted what I could do on the Sabbath. When I was in college, it was a great day to spend with my girlfriend and not have to study. In law school and thereafter in life, it was a wonderful time to rest without guilt. Normally, I've got things to do and deadlines to meet. But, since I believe that working on Sabbath is a sin, it was a guilt-free rest. What is the Biblical basis for taking the Sabbath seriously? How should we view the Sabbath? Let's dive into our Bibles and find out!

Lesson 6: Christ's Death and the Law (Romans 7 & 8)
When we studied Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), you might have felt a little depressed. Jesus explained that keeping the law is not just a matter of avoiding sinful acts, it has to do with our thoughts and attitudes. It requires attitudes that are, frankly, foreign to our natural heart. We are to do good to those who abuse us? Turn the other cheek? The good news is found in our lesson today. Jesus kept the law for us. The law is still our ever constant "map" to keep us out of trouble, but the high standard Jesus holds before us is not the test of salvation. Let's wade into our Bibles and learn more!

Lesson 7: Christ, the End of the Law (Romans 5-8)
What does "the end of the law" mean? If someone said "the end of you," you would be seriously concerned that "end" meant "death." What else could it mean? If you have a boss who leaves the company, you could reasonably say, "That's the end of him!" "That's the end of her!" Is that the way the Bible means (Romans 10:4) that "Christ is the end of the law?" Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see!

Lesson 8: The Law of God and the Law of Christ (Matthew 22, John 13, Galatians 6)
Are you bored? I hope not! You may be concerned that the last few lessons seem to repeat the same concepts. If you are bored, I apologize. On the other hand, understanding grace is critical - and hearing about it more than once is a blessing. The good news for the bored is that our lesson this week takes a turn to explore what grace means for everyday life. The good news for those who feel they could still use a little repetition about grace, is that we are still generally on that subject. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about the law and grace!

Lesson 9: Christ, the Law and the Gospel (Romans 1, Acts 17, John 1, Ephesians 2)
Whether someone has shared a secret with you, or you have some unique knowledge or skill, you feel special when you know things others do not. Some secrets are not to be shared, but sharing knowledge or skills is one of the greatest blessings in life. You are able to improve the lives of others by teaching them important things they do not know. The gospel is like that. God entrusts His message to you. What a blessing it is to share eternal life! Some of the message is understood without your help, but other parts rely on your explanation. Let's wade into our study of the Bible and learn more about sharing the law and gospel!

Lesson 10: Christ, the Law and the Covenants (Genesis 9, 15, 17 & 31, Galatians 3)
"Covenant" is not a common term these days. The modern legal word would be "contract." The Bible speaks repeatedly of "covenants" between God and humans. Normally contracts are entered into by two parties with relatively equal bargaining powers. Would "contract" be correct when referring to an arrangement between God and humans? Could we enter into a contract with our Creator, the one who sustains us moment by moment? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can discover!

Lesson 11: The Apostles and the Law (Jude, 1 Peter 2, John 15, 1 John 2)
Many years ago, I met a young man who had recently been saved. He wanted to talk with me about theology, and he was adamant that the Ten Commandments had been abolished. He was saved by faith alone and had no obligation to obey any of the law. While I agreed with him about salvation by faith alone, I pressed him about his obligation not to kill anyone. Was that no longer relevant? He would not bend. A few years later I met him again and recalled our conversation. "Do you still believe that you have no obligation to keep the law," I asked? With more study, he had changed his mind. He agreed that the law was important. Let's plunge into the topic of what the Bible says through the apostles about keeping the law!

Lesson 12: Christ's Church and the Law (Genesis 3, 6 & 12, Deuteronomy 7, Revelation 12)
In our study two weeks ago, the Apostle Paul taught us in Galatians 3 that nothing has changed in the contract between God and Abraham. This agreement, that Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6), is available for every one of us because of what Jesus has done on our behalf. Is it really true that nothing has changed? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and look at the relationship between God's people and the law throughout the ages!

Lesson 13: Christ's Kingdom and the Law (1 Corinthians 15, Revelation 21 & 22)
Are you a part of the Kingdom of God? If you are reading these lessons, the answer is probably, "Yes." When I see things going wrong in the world, or I get upset about national politics, I have to remind myself that I am first a citizen of the Kingdom of God. How can we know the Kingdom of God is real? How does our study of the law fit into our belief in the Kingdom of God? As we finish our series on the law, let's dive into our Bibles and study what it means to be citizens of the Kingdom of God!

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