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    May 18, 1896

    The Law in Christ or, the Relation Between the Law and the Gospel

    WWP

    W. W. Prescott

    The words “abolish,” “take away, “destroy,” and “change” have been so persistently connected with the law by some public teachers that there exists in the minds of many people the honest conviction that all which is expressed by these words was done to the law by Christ. It is true that He came to “abolish” something, and to “take away” something, and to “destroy” something, and to “change” something; but it is important that we-should know just what it was that He abolished, and what it was that He took away, and what it was that He destroyed, and what it was that He intended to change by His work in behalf of man. This we can easily learn from the Scriptures.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.1

    WHAT WAS ABOLISHED

    It is said of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that He “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10. Death is the result of sin. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:15. But “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. Christ, therefore, came to abolish that which is the result of being out of harmony with the law, and He did it, not by abolishing the law, but by bringing us into harmony with the law.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.2

    WHAT WAS TAKEN AWAY

    We read that Christ “was manifested to take away our sins.” 1 John 3:5. He is the sin-bearer, “who His own self carried up our sins in His body to the tree, that we having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24, R.V., margin. Sin is lawlessness, and Christ was manifested to take away, not the law, but lawlessness.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.3

    WHAT HE CAME TO DESTROY

    The attitude of Christ toward the law is set forth in the prophecy which says: “He will magnify the law and make it honourable.” Isaiah 42:21. In His sermon on the mount, which is itself but the interpretation of the principles contained in the words spoken from Mount Sinai, Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am, not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matthew 5:17. He “came to explain the relation of the law of God to man, and to illustrate its precepts by His own example of obedience.” [Desire of Ages (DA), p. 308] But we are taught that “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. The works of the devil are those which are contrary to God’s law. “The devil sinneth from the beginning,” and in every case “sin is the transgression of the law.”BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.4

    Furthermore, Christ came to destroy the devil himself. Satan had introduced into this world rebellion against God and His law, and Christ’s mission and work were to put an end to that rebellion and the instigator of it. In order to do that, He took our flesh, “that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” Hebrews 2:14.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.5

    WHAT HE CAME TO CHANGE

    It is a blessed thing to know that a change was wrought by Christ in giving Himself for man. There was certainly need that a change should be made. Men were far from righteousness, “being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them” (Ephesians 4:18), “having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12. “But God, who is rich in mercy,... hath quickened us together with Christ,... and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6. And thus “we all... are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. But more even than a change of character has been provided for us, for “we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Philippians 3:20, 21. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. Glorious change! A renewed character and a renewed body! This is the fulness of the salvation provided for us in Jesus Christ.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.6

    It thus becomes evident from the teaching of the Scriptures that Christ came to abolish, not, the law, but death; to take away, not the law, but our sins; to destroy, not the law, but the devil and his works; to change, not the law, but us. He did all this “by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:26. If the law could have been changed or abolished, Christ need not have died.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.7

    SIN TRANSIENT; THE LAW ETERNAL

    In different ways God teaches that sin is transient, while the law is eternal. While Jesus was teaching on one occasion “the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery,” and asked what should be done in such a case, not because they desired to be instructed, but “tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him.” After her accusers had made their charge, “Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground.” John 8:3, 6. “Although doing this without apparent design, Jesus was tracing on the ground, in legible characters, the particular sins of which the woman’s accusers were guilty.” [The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2 (2SP), p. 350] Thus Jesus wrote the record of sins in the sand. How easily could this record be obliterated! A gust of wind or a dash of water, and it is gone! But God wrote His law with His finger upon tables of stone,-an unchangeable and imperishable record of His own character. This same law He writes in the heart of the believer, there to remain to all eternity; for “he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” 1 John 2:17. Sin, and death the result of sin, may be taken away; for “the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), and “death is swallowed up in victory, (1 Corinthians 15:54), but “all Thy commandments are righteousness” and “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.” Psalm 119:172, 142. “Hearken unto Me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law;” “My salvation shall be forever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished.” Isaiah 51:7, 6. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8, R.V.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.8

    The very charge made against God by Satan was that His plan of government was defective, and His law imperfect, and the whole controversy between Christ and Satan has been waged over this point: Shall God’s rule be acknowledged and His law respected in this world, or shall the rebellion succeed, and the kingdom of Satan be established here? Is it not clear, therefore, that everyone who today takes the position that God’s law has been changed or abolished is really putting himself on the side of the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and in opposition to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”? Ephesians 1:3. But God will show to the satisfaction of the universe, even in the very face of Satan’s work, that His law is perfect and His government just. “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” Revelation 15:4.BEST May 18, 1896, page 146.9

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