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Bible verses about Law of God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Kings 18:17-18

Elijah is declaring himself as one sent from God. A prophet will always have the law of God at the foundation of his message.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

Psalm 19:7-9

A commandment is a specific instruction or law from God that we are to obey forever. Commandments have no precedents because they establish original, divine law.

A statute designates a law that one engraves, meaning a lawgiver establishes it unchangeably unless he alone changes it. A religious statute sets rules for worship. Secular statutes have the force of a royal decree. A statute is formulated like a law: "You shall (not) do so-and-so" (Exodus 22:18-23:33). A synonym for statute is "oracle."

A judgment is a decision based on an established law. A judge takes associated factors into account to decide appropriately for the specific situation. It takes the form of a case-law: "If you do so-and-so, you will pay so much" (Exodus 21:1—22:15). A synonym for judgment is "precedent."

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

Psalm 19:7-14

Clearly, there is great similarity between Psalm 19 and Psalm 119, but there is also dissimilarity. The similarity, of course, is that the law of God is the focus for extolling all of the Word of God. The dissimilarity is that Psalm 19 is both more concise (after all, Psalm 119 is 176 verses) and more specific or more to the point. The author of this psalm is David. He uses law, statutes, precepts, commandments, fear, and ordinances as part of the means by which he intends to teach us something vital.

One might wonder why fear is included. It is because fear represents the specific attitude required to make the best use of God's law. Solomon writes in Proverbs 9:10, "The fear [a deep and abiding respect tinged with terror] of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." In addition, remember that wisdom is right application of knowledge and understanding. If fear is not present, we will not even start to build towards faith, hope, and love. Godly fear gets us jump-started, gets us going to do what is right.

Psalm 19 is divided into three sections: The first section—beginning with "The heavens declare the glory of God" and concluding in verse 6—concerns the revelation of the Creator God in His creation. The second part, beginning with verse 7 and extending through verse 11, is the revelation of the Covenant God in His Word, most specifically in His law. The third part comprises the last few verses, and it contains the response of the man of faith to the first two sections.

In "the heavens declare the glory of God," the word "God" is not Elohim but the singular El. In verse 7, LORD is Yahweh. Thus, the same Being is identified as El and Yahweh. Through this psalm, David is saying that, though the creation reveals the majesty and the power—the implication of the name "El"—of the One who created, the law of God reveals in a much clearer, more comprehensive way the specifics of the nature, character, and purpose of that Being—as suggested by the name "Yahweh." God's law is, therefore, of far more practical help to the created, us.

Thus, he makes a comparison. He says, "Here is the creation. It is great and good. However, it does not even begin to teach you as the law of God does." The specifics that we need about how to live are in the law of God. Both are needed, but the revelation of the law takes one far beyond the nature of the creation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 14)


 

Psalm 119:1

This scripture is saying that the way of God is defined by the law of God. This is not the whole picture, but it is a major portion of the package. This is one of the essential doctrines that cannot be left out.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 2)


 

Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus is the One who gave the laws in the Old Testament, but He says, "You have heard that it was said." He does not say, "written" but "said." He is referring to the oral law, to that which became the Halakha.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 25)


 

Matthew 5:38-40

What kind of justice does God dispense? Is it based on a so-called cruel Old Testament law? The "Christian" churches of this world say that Jesus came to do away with that law. Preposterous! Without law as a foundation, there can be no justice. Jesus explicitly says, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).

Some think that Jesus condemns the Old Testament system of justice in Matthew 5:38-40. However, He is correcting, not nullifying, an abuse of the eye-for-an-eye principle, which the Romans called Lex Talionis. The Jews of His day were advocating it for settling personal disputes. In effect, each person was taking justice into his own hands, and Jesus says that was not His intent when He gave it to their forefathers.

Considered by many to be barbaric and primitive, the eye-for-an-eye principle is, on the contrary, the basis for God's system of judgment, of civil law, for ruling a nation (Exodus 21:22-25; Leviticus 24:19-20). It has its foundation in equal justice as provided by equal payment for damage done. God established this principle so that a judge could be merciful in evaluating the circumstances of the crime and render a fair and just decision in cases of sin against other men.

This does not mean that if A bloodies B's nose, then B has to punch A in the nose in return. Lex Talionis requires commensurate payment for damage done, punishment fitting the crime. It is the basis for evenhanded justice, demanding fair compensation for damages. As implemented in God's law, Lex Talionis was enforced with a system of fines—with the money paid to the injured party, not to the state (e.g. Exodus 21:22, 28-32).

Though it was to be the basic law, a judge had the power to give mercy. For instance, if he determined that B really goaded A into punching his nose, he was free to show mercy along with the payment required. In His judgment of us, God does the same. When we deserve death because of sin, God shows us mercy by allowing Christ's blood to cover our transgressions. He has decided to forgo the strict application of the eye-for-an-eye principle and extend mercy.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part One)


 

Matthew 19:16-22

The young man's question to Jesus is "How can I have eternal life?" In connecting it to the New Covenant terms in Hebrews 8:10, w can see that the writing of the law on the heart is a two-sided affair. Only those who have 1) made the New Covenant with God, and 2) met the terms within the framework of the time that they live, will be given eternal life. The Boss—Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master, the Messenger of the Covenant, our Savior, the One who preached the gospel, who knows what He is talking about—says, "If you want to have eternal life, keep the law!"

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 10)


 

Luke 4:8

Jesus Christ kept the Ten Commandments (Luke 4:8; John 15:10), and taught others to do likewise (Matthew 19:17-19). He elaborated on keeping them in Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28. Jesus emphatically says, "If you want to enter into [eternal] life, keep the commandments." Could anything be clearer? John writes, "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4). Paul instructs Timothy, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ [calls himself a Christian] depart from iniquity" (II Timothy 2:19).

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

Acts 18:21

Here we have a mention of a holy day, which may have been the Feast of Tabernacles. Paul says, "I must by all means keep this feast." The Protestant interpretation of the book of Galatians primarily, and the book of Romans secondarily, puts the apostle Paul into the position of being a hypocrite! These commentators suggest that he tells people, on the one hand, that they do not have to keep the law of God, the Sabbath, and the holy days, yet the book of Acts shows him in every city keeping the Sabbath and here telling the people, "I must keep this feast." They make him out to say one thing but do another.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 24)


 

Romans 2:12-13

We cannot be justified before God except through faith in the sacrifice of God's Son, Jesus Christ, and then God gives us grace. This does not excuse us from keeping the law because He says those who keep the law will be justified; therefore, keeping the law cannot justify. It cannot save a person, but those who keep the law will be justified and saved—not because they are keeping the law in order to be saved but because they are faithful in showing God that they are preparing their lives for His Kingdom, where everybody will live the same godly life, according to the same rules. That is what God's law outlines—His way of life.

This section, up to verse 16, shows that both those with a formal ignorance of God's law (say, the Gentiles) and those with knowledge of the law (in this case, the Jews, or in our context now, Christians) will be judged by the law. Why? Because the law defines sin! Sin brings God's judgment.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 16)


 

Romans 3:1-2

Paul extends the meaning of oracles here in two ways—in content and audience:

The content of the message includes the entire Law. Since the general context is circumcision (see chapter 2), we can conclude that the oracles given to the fathers included the covenants and hence the promises that attended them. The context does not limit the oracles to the revelation of God in the Pentateuch, but can include the Writings and Prophets as well.

The audience of the message includes those outside national Israel. Just before he writes of the oracles being committed to the Jews, Paul informs us that "he is not a Jew, who is one outwardly; . . . but he is a Jew, who is one inwardly" (Romans 2:28-29). Paul is speaking of the "Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16). In this regard, Peter makes an instructive statement in his conversation with the gentile Cornelius:

The word [logos] which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John [the Baptist] preached. (Acts 10:36-37)

Peter came to recognize that the oracles of God are for all men, God showing "no partiality" (verse 34).

Charles Whitaker
The Oracles of God


 

Romans 3:23

"The glory of God" in this context is the way He lives. Hamartia, sin, is to fall short of the ideal, to miss the mark in the way we live. Combined with sin's definition in I John 3:4, hamartia ties what we might think of as rather minor, unimportant, and secondary issues directly to the law of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Sin Is & What Sin Does


 

Romans 10:4

Paul says that Christ is the object of the Bible. The law, as one aspect that represents the whole plan of salvation, is the instrument that broadly describes God's righteousness. Like everything in God's purpose, the end—the goal—of the law is to bring us "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

Jesus fulfilled the law in that He perfectly exemplified God's desires in everything He did (see Matthew 5:17). He personifies perfect love and government. He is the perfect man yet also God in the flesh. He is the Standard toward which men are to strive.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christ, Our Passover


 

Galatians 3:17-25

Galatians 3:17 confirms that, when Paul was talking about the law, he was also talking about the entire Old Covenant. He uses "law" synonymously with "covenant."

The translators have difficulty deciding whether the "covenant" refers to the Mosaic covenant or the one made with Abraham. Most modern translations connect "covenant" to the one God made with Abraham. However, the more literal translations such as the King James version and Young's Literal Translation put the word "covenant" in the sentence so it refers to the Mosaic covenant. The Emphatic Diaglott translates it as, "Now this I affirm, that a covenant-engagement previously ratified by God, the Law, issued four hundred thirty years afterwards does not annul, so as to invalidate the promise." Thus, Paul viewed the law as the symbol and embodiment of the Old Covenant and used the terms "law" and covenant" synonymously.

This agrees with the way the covenant was sometimes referred to in the Old Testament. In II Chronicles 6:11, Solomon says, "And there I have put the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD which He made with the children of Israel." Only the two tables of stone upon which were written the Ten Commandments were in the ark (II Chronicles 5:10).

Moses writes, "So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone" (Deuteronomy 4:13; see Exodus 34:28). Even without this evidence, it is very clear that Paul refers to the two covenants, not just to what we would consider the law itself.

Further, notice how Paul uses the term "law" in Galatians 4:21-23. The births of Ishmael and Isaac are recorded in Genesis 16 and 21. Though this happened long before the Ten Commandments and the other laws were given through Moses, Paul refers to this portion of Scripture as the law! Obviously, Paul uses "law" to mean the entire Pentateuch or Torah (the first five books of the Bible), not just the Commandments. In Galatians 4:24, he specifically mentions the Old and New Covenants.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
What Was the Law 'Added Because of Transgressions'?


 

Galatians 3:24

All of God's law is a teaching vehicle. The Hebrew word most frequently translated as "law" is torah, but torah more closely translates into the broader meaning of "instruction." Instruction spans a wide spectrum of information and methods of increasing understanding, including law but also principles, symbols, and examples from people's lives. For example, the way Jesus kept the Sabbath should be understood as torah by those determined to follow in His steps. The goal of this broad teaching approach is to reveal God and His plan to us as clearly as possible.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wavesheaf Offering


 

2 Thessalonians 2:13-15

What did Paul teach them that he calls "traditions" (verse 15)? The King James Study Bible says in a note regarding traditions which you were taught: ". . . refers to more than customs. In view here is the totality of the apostolic doctrine as it was given to them."

He is not referring to the rituals or ceremonies of the apostolic church. He is talking about keeping the commandments of God—about keeping the Sabbath and the holy days, about living the Christian way of life, and about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 2:14 says that the Thessalonians were "imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus." How were the Judeans conducting their Christian lives? They certainly did not think the law of God was done away.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 20)


 

James 1:22-27

Only by careful study of God's Word, the ultimate standard of thought, speech, and conduct, can we know what is right and wrong. We must follow our study with honest and truthful comparison of those words with our own lives. If we read the words of God and walk away, forgetting what we saw, we deceive ourselves. None of us compares favorably with what we read in Scripture, so we must make changes. James says our religion—our practice of God's way of life—is vain if we omit either the positive instructions (visiting widows and orphans) or the negative ones (removing the spots from our character).

Staff
Overcoming (Part 1): Self-Deception


 

James 1:22-25

James mentions "law" ten times in his epistle, and in each case it is the moral law. He has nothing but good to say about it. James, taught by Christ, exalts the law—he glorifies it, identifying it with the gospel.

In James 1, when speaking of the Word and the importance of hearing and doing it, he, in the same breath, speaks of looking into "the perfect law of liberty." James looks at the law as explained in the gospel—the gospel shows the law in its spirituality—as the guide of the true Christian who has entered into the spirit of the law or is keeping the spirit of the law as well as the letter.

Even in the Old Testament, as Psalms 19 and 119 specifically show, it was possible for spiritually-minded people to see the beauty of the law and find delight in its precepts.

Martin G. Collins
The Law's Purpose and Intent


 

James 1:25

What is the law of liberty? Specifically, it is the Ten Commandments, but we can consider it broadly as the law of God. Israel had the benefit of the law of liberty, though they did not use it rightly.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 23)


 

Revelation 21:8

God's law will still be in effect once His Kingdom is established. Even after the Millennium, when New Jerusalem comes down, no lawbreaker will be allowed in the city. In Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, obedience to God's law is the central issue. This is very clear proof that the law of God, which reflects the holy conduct of the Almighty, will be the standard for all eternity!

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

 




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