OBEDIENCE BY FAITH--HOW GOD ENABLES YOU TO OBEY HIM
I - GOD HAS A GOVERNMENT
Psalm 103:19—“The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all.”
2 - THERE CAN BE NO GOVERNMENT WITHOUT LAW
Romans 7:12—“The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
Romans 7:14—“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
Proverbs 28:9—“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”
3 - GOD’S LAW WAS FOR MEN IN BIBLE TIMES
Romans 3:31—“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
James 2:10-12—“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”
4 - GOD’S LAW IS FOR THE REMNANT IN THE LAST DAYS
Revelation 12:17—“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Revelation 14:12—“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (also verses 13-15).
5 - THERE IS GENERAL REBELLION AGAINST GOD’S LAW
Romans 8:7—“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
Psalm 119:126—“It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.”
6 - THERE ARE PROMISES FOR THE OBEDIENT
Psalm 119:165—“Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
Isaiah 48:18—“O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.”
7 - THE SACRIFICIAL LAWS WERE ABOLISHED AT THE CROSS
Colossians 2:14—“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Hebrews 10:1-16).
Colossians 2:17—“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
God uses the law to do for the sinner just what needs to be done. The sinner must realize that he is a sinner. The heavy hand of the law must be laid upon him, and he must be arrested in his course. Notice the following carefully:
1. It gives a knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:20—“By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 7:7).
2. It brings guilt and condemnation.
Romans 3:19—“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
3. It acts as a spiritual mirror.
James 1:23-25—“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” (James 2:9-12).
Without the law, the sinner is like a man who is afflicted with a deadly disease that he doesn’t know he has. Paul said, “I had not known sin, but by the law” (Romans 7:7).
9 - WHAT IS THE LAW UNABLE TO DO FOR THE SINNER?
The law cannot forgive. Law does not possess the power to forgive those who transgress its precepts. Only the Lawgiver can do that. Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). The law cannot keep the sinner from sinning because “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
The law only shows the sinner where he needs to change; but the law, itself, cannot change him. And so let us get three facts about the law very clear.
1. It cannot forgive or justify.
Romans 3:20—“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.”
2. It cannot keep from sin or sanctify.
Galatians 3:21—“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
3. It cannot cleanse or keep the heart clean
(Romans 9:3, 7-8).
The law is limited in its ability to do all that needs to be done for the sinner. A wound cannot be sewed up with only a needle. The thread of the gospel must do that.
10 - WHAT DOES THE GRACE OF CHRIST DO FOR THE SINNER?
When the law of God and the Spirit of God have made the sinner conscious of his sin, he will then feel his need of Christ and go to the Saviour for pardon. The publican found it so (Luke 18:13-14). The woman taken in adultery felt condemned and ashamed. She needed sympathy and forgiveness, and Christ was ready to grant these to her. Then He said, “Sin no more.”
If we confess and put away sin, He will forgive (1 John 1:9). This is grace, or unmerited favor. This gracious love of Christ awakens love in the heart of the sinner, and he then desires to serve and obey God. Here are four elements of the saving grace of Christ:
1. It forgives and justifies.
Acts 13:38-39—“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Luke 18:13-14).
2. It saves from sin, or sanctifies.
Matthew 1:21—“She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”
1 Corinthians 1:30—“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
3. It inspires faith.
Ephesians 2:8-10—“By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
4. It brings God’s power.
Romans 1:16—“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Forgiveness of sin and power over sin came through the exercise of simple faith in God’s promises and a full surrender of the heart to Him.
11 - HOW DOES A SINNER SAVED BY GRACE RELATE TO THE LAW?
1. The law becomes the standard of his life.
1 John 5:3—“This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.”
2. He permits Christ to fulfill in him the righteousness of the law.
Romans 8:3-4—“God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
3. Christ writes the law in his heart.
Hebrews 8:10—“This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people” (Psalm 119:11).
12 - MORE PROMISES FOR THE OBEDIENT
John 1:12—“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
Galatians 2:20—“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
Philippians 2:13—“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”