The Signs of the Times


March 4, 1897

Christ and the Law


Supreme love to God will be shown by every man or woman who is a true follower of Jesus Christ. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name,” writes the psalmist; “for the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.” Those who surround his throne, the sinless angels, bow down and adore him, praising his name, and crying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” We are his creatures, the work of his hands, and he is justly entitled to reverence, honor, and love. ST March 4, 1897, par. 1

Only by obedience to him can we prove our love. If he is our fear, we shall seek to honor and glorify him, and shall find our highest happiness in doing his will. Any failure to render willing obedience to him will show that our love for him is false. ST March 4, 1897, par. 2

In love, with a desire to elevate and ennoble us, God provided for us a standard of obedience. In awful majesty, amid thundering and lightning, he proclaimed from Mount Sinai his ten holy precepts. This law reveals the whole duty of the human family; the first four precepts define our duty to God, and the last six our duty to man. A certain lawyer came to Christ, and tempted him, saying: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” ST March 4, 1897, par. 3

God requires perfection of character from his children. He demands that his law be remembered and meditated upon, that unswerving obedience be rendered to its requirements. “And now, Israel,” he asks, “what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes.” But sin entered this world, and by yielding to the temptations of the enemy, man became degraded and sinful. His ability to distinguish between right and wrong was lost; his power to obey was weakened. Full of sin, he was of himself unable to meet God's standard of righteousness. ST March 4, 1897, par. 4

God saw man's hopeless condition. He looked with sorrow upon the world, which was steadily growing more and more degraded and sinful. He could not change his law to meet man's deficiencies; for he says, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” But in his great love for the human race, in his desire that man should not be left to meet the penalty of his transgression, but that he should be elevated and ennobled, he “gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ laid aside his royal robes, and came to this earth, bringing with him a power sufficient to overcome sin. He came to live the law of God in humanity, that by partaking of his divine nature, we also might live that law. ST March 4, 1897, par. 5

The Jews had misinterpreted the law of God, robbing it of its spirituality, and making it burdensome by their many exactions. Christ came to correct this. The very One who ages before had spoken the law from Mount Sinai, now came to magnify it and make it honorable. In his Sermon on the Mount he explained the law, showing what each precept comprehended. Covetousness was shown by him to be idolatry, lust adultery, and anger murder. He made manifest the spirituality of the law, and pointed out that it reaches to every phase of life. ST March 4, 1897, par. 6

Before the universe of heaven, before the fallen angels, and before those whom he had come to save, Christ lived the law of God. By his supreme obedience to its requirements, he exalted and enforced it. By his purity, goodness, beneficence, devotion, and zeal for the glory of God, by his unsurpassed love for his fellow-men, he made known the perfection of the law. By his blameless life he illustrated its excellence. ST March 4, 1897, par. 7

Christ was the representative of the love of the infinite God, and all his words and actions were the outflowing of God's love to humanity. And in word and action he was all that God required him to be. The law was a controlling power in his life. Ever the language of his heart was, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” ST March 4, 1897, par. 8

This example of obedience is presented to the world. Christ is to be made our pattern in all things. He says to us, “Learn of me.” “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” ST March 4, 1897, par. 9

The law which Christ gave from the mount, and which he exemplified in his sinless life, is far-reaching in its character. It condemns every evil action, and demands perfect obedience. Those who truly follow Christ will keep God's commandments as he kept them. If they sincerely accept him as their personal Saviour, they will be actuated by an earnest desire to fulfil their duty to God, and to represent him in character. And if the law were perfectly obeyed, the earth would not now be corrupted under the inhabitants thereof. Oppression and injustice would not exist. Love, harmony, and joy would be seen. The power of Christianity would be revealed in the churches, and the world would have no cause to charge the followers of Christ with inconsistency. The converting power of the Holy Spirit would be felt, and thousands would be added to the church of such as should be saved. ST March 4, 1897, par. 10

But too often professed Christians forget their duty to their Maker. Dreading the cross, they neglect to honor him by rendering obedience to his commandments; and religion is misinterpreted and despised by unbelievers, because so many who profess to follow Christ, do not reveal his character in their lives. Christianity loses its power because Christians constantly transgress the law of God, because selfishness is seen, and idolatry and covetousness manifest themselves. ST March 4, 1897, par. 11

We may say that it is impossible for us to reach God's standard; but when Christ came as our substitute and surety, it was as a human being. “He took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” He “was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” With his divinity veiled by humanity, he lived a life of perfect obedience to the law of God. “He was tempted in all points, like as we are,” that he might be “able to succor them that are tempted.” He has “given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Shall we, for whom he has done and suffered so much, choose our own way in preference to that of God? ST March 4, 1897, par. 12

Much responsibility rests upon those who profess to know and love God. As dutiful sons and daughters of God, he expects them to let their light shine, not by pretension and assertion, but by good works, revealing to the world by their simple, elevated piety the binding claims of God's law and the power of Christ to keep them from transgression. But when those who claim to love God reveal by their works that they have little conception of his requirements, God is dishonored. If they could see themselves as God sees them, if they could realize how far short they fall of doing the will of God, they would be filled with terror lest their lives should be cut off in the midst of their disobedience. ST March 4, 1897, par. 13

“This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” “Wherefore receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 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.” ST March 4, 1897, par. 14

Obedience must come from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. As we endeavor to honor God, discouragements will come to us; the enemy will try with all his power to make us swerve from the right; but we need not, because of this, give up the warfare against evil. Our duty is to guard carefully the weak points in our characters, seeking by divine grace to make them strong. There is no one living that has any power which he has not received from God, and the source whence it came is open to the weakest human being. If we draw near to God, the unfailing source of strength, we shall realize the fulfilment of the promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” If we lift the cross, leaving the results with God, who has given us the law which we are trying to keep, we shall find that “all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” ST March 4, 1897, par. 15

As Christ lived the law in humanity, so we may do if we will take hold of the strong for strength. As we realize that we can do nothing of ourselves, we shall receive wisdom from on high to honor and glorify God. And as we behold “the glory of the Lord,” we shall be changed into the same image, “from glory to glory;” and at the last great day we shall receive the benediction, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” ST March 4, 1897, par. 16

Mrs. E. G. White