Mankind has always wanted to go his own way---to live the way that he himself deems fit. “Every
way of a man is right in his own eyes” (Prov.21:2). “All the ways of a man are pure in
his own eyes” (Prov.16:2).
Yet, in living according to the dictates of his
own reasoning, mankind has brought about untold suffering---to himself and to others! God’s word says, “There
is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”! (Prov.16:25).
than deciding for ourselves how to live, we are instructed in God’s word to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all
your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov.3: 5-6). “Direct my steps by Your word,” the Psalmist implores God (Ps.119:
133). “Your word
is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (verse
Only God, in His supreme wisdom, knows the way
of life that leads to peace, happiness, and prosperity. “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says
the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and
My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa.55:8-9).
Yes, God knows the way, and the Bible is God’s revelation
of that way of life. It is the revelation of the way of life that God Himself---and Jesus Christ---live. And it’s the way
that He commands us to live! Jesus Christ Himself
said that man shall live “BY every word
of God” (Luke 4:4). “Not My will, but Yours, be done,” is the attitude that Christ had---and the attitude He expects us to have (Luke 22:42). God’s desire is that we
humble ourselves, and have such deep respect
for His word that we virtually tremble when we read it! “But on this one will I look; on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa.66:2)
In telling us how to live, God gives us laws that He commands us to live by. The law being
referred to is God’s spiritual law.
“The law is spiritual,” said Paul (Rom.7:14). But what
law is Paul referring to as “spiritual”? The answer is found
just a few verses earlier, where Paul says this in verse 7: “I
would not have known sin [i.e., he
would not have known ‘what sin was’ (NIV)], except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness [i.e., he wouldn’t have known that covetousness was sinful] unless the law had said, you shall not covet.” Which law says, “you shall not covet”?
The Ten Commandments! So, the Ten Commandments is the law which Paul
says is “spiritual.” It is the law through which God
tells us how to live. It is the law which defines sin.
the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4 KJV). Whenever
you transgress God’s spiritual law, you have sinned! Yes, “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom.3:20)
---the knowledge of the right and wrong way of life!
The spiritual law---summarized by the Ten Commandments---is God’s revelation of
the way of life that leads to peace, happiness and prosperity. It’s the way
of life that Jesus Christ instructs us to live (Matt.7:21-23; 19:16-19).
No, we are not
talking about the laws of rituals and animal sacrifices that God gave temporarily
to Old Testament Israel. Nor are we speaking of the hundreds of detailed and burdensome laws made by humans---under the name of Judaism---which were wrongly added to God’s laws. Rather, we are talking about the spiritual law, as summarized by the Ten
Commandments. The law which tells us how to live. The
law which defines sin (I John 3:4).
God’s spiritual law always has---and always will---be in effect!
Consider what Herbert W. Armstrong had
to say about God’s spiritual law:
Notice how like God [the law] is!
The law is GOOD (Rom.7:12). God is good.
The law is HOLY (Rom.7:12). God is holy!
The law is JUST (Rom.7:12) God is just!
The law is SPIRITUAL (Rom.7:14) God is spiritual!
The law is PERFECT (Ps.19:7). God is perfect!
The law---including all his Commandments---is immutable, ETERNAL,
stands fast FOREVER AND EVER (Ps.111:7-8). And God is eternal!
Of course---for the law is the very character, the very nature, of God! It is the WILL of God.1
Jesus Christ said that “it is easier for heaven
and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17).
Yes, God’s law is of extreme importance: “God GAVE His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON rather than compromise one iota with HIS LAW!” 2
Aside from Christ’s sacrifice
and His living within us, there is absolutely nothing more
important than God’s spiritual law!!
Even in the New Testament,
there are many scriptures which speak of God’s law in a positive light and
show its vital importance. Some
examples of such scriptures are as follows:
Rom.7: 12,22; Heb.8: 10; 10: 16; Rom.8: 7; I John 3: 4; Rom.7: 7; 2: 13; 3: 31; Matt.5: 17-19; 19: 16-19;
7: 21- 23; 13: 41-42; James 1: 25; 2: 24; Rev.12: 17; 14: 12; 22: 14-15; II John 6: 1; I John 2: 3-5; 3: 22,24; 5: 3; Rom.8:
4; Titus 1: 16; I Cor.7: 19; II Peter 2: 21; Matt.15: 3-4; 22: 36-40; 23: 23; Mark 7: 8-9; 10: 17-19; 12: 28-31; Luke 1: 6;
10: 25-28; 16: 17
So, it is obvious--- from these scriptures
and others--- that even the New Testament places much emphasis
on God’s law!
Furthermore, it seems certain that
the writers of the New Testament would have placed even more emphasis
on God’s law, if it weren’t for the following facts:
With the emphasis of God’s law already in the Old Testament, the fact that Christians should obey God’s spiritual law was a foregone
conclusion! Accordingly, the primary
purpose of the New Testament was to emphasize Christ---who
had just come to earth as the prophesied Savior.
the Old Testament was already filled
with emphasis on God’s spiritual law, and we are certainly to still use the Old Testament in addition to the New Testament! For any who doubt that, consider
That which we today call “the Old Testament,” the early
apostles respectfully referred to as “the word of God” (Acts 13:46). They referred to it as “Scripture” (II
Tim.3:15-16; II Peter 1:20-21). These “Scriptures” of the Old
Testament were not considered “old” or “no longer applicable.”
“The New Testament refers to the
Old Testament about 250 times. You cannot accept the New Testament without recognizing
the authority of the Old. The two don’t contradict; they complete each other. The Bible is one book. It cannot be divided.” 3
“ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [‘teaching,’ NAS], for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness” (II Tim.3:16). “In this passage he
[Paul] was referring to the Old Testament---because the New Testament hadn’t
even been fully written or canonized at that time. In verse 14, Paul instructed
childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings [the Old Testament] which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus’ (II Tim.3:14, 15). In Timothy’s childhood there was no New Testament written---so Paul must have been speaking of the Old
Paul, at Rome, “explained and
solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets
[i.e., from the Old Testament], from morning till evening” (Acts
(2) Let’s consider a second reason why
God did not inspire the writers of the New Testament to emphasize His spiritual law even more. If anyone had a reason to not emphasize “law,” it was the New Testament writers, living in an overly legalistic society! By the time of Christ, legalism had become dominant in Jewish society. The Jewish leaders had come to
the point where they erroneously taught that the physical rituals and animal sacrifices of the law of Moses were a means of
justification of past sins. Also, they placed heavy burdens on the people by having added hundreds of man-made religious laws to God’s spiritual law. It was these humanly devised religious laws and traditions that were attacked by Christ and the apostles. Paul’s argument throughout the New Testament was against the teaching of Judaism that salvation
could be gained through rituals and sacrifices---and without faith in Christ.
Unlike the legalistic society of Christ’s
day, we today live in a society that has little concern about God, and whose rally cry is for individual freedom to live whatever
“lifestyle” we choose. We today---much more so than those
of Christ’s day---greatly need to hear God’s spiritual law regularly emphasized! And this is especially true, in light
of the fact that churches all around us are teaching that God’s law has been done away---or that it has nothing whatsoever
to do with salvation!
In conclusion, God’s spiritual
law is of supreme importance to God----and it should, likewise, be of supreme
importance in our lives!!
1. Herbert W. Armstrong, “False Conversion!” Plain Truth magazine, Feb. 1982
2. Herbert W. Armstrong, Plain Truth
magazine, March, 1977, p.34
3. Dibar Apartian, “Is the Old Testament Inspired?” Good
News magazine, Dec. 1980
Your Bible,” pp. 13-14 of article reprint series by Worldwide Church of God