STUDY THE BIBLE COURSE
LESSON 17A: WHAT IS SIN?
Bob Thiel, Editor-in-Chief
Published 2020 by the Continuing Church of God
Preface: This course is highly based upon the personal correspondence course developed in 1954 that began under the direction of the late C. Paul Meredith in the old Radio Church of God. Various portions have been updated for the 21st century (though much of the original writing has been retained). It also has more scriptural references as well as information and questions not in the original course. Unless otherwise noted, scriptural references are to the NKJV, copyright Thomas Nelson Publishing, used by permission. The KJV, sometimes preferred to as the Authorized Version is also often used. Additionally, Catholic-approved translations such as the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) are sometimes used as are other translations.
Many business people admit, that it is very difficult for HONEST people to SUCCEED in business. Especially in these increasingly foreboding days. But do YOU have to be dishonest, cheat and lie, to be able to adequately provide for YOUR family? – YOU who are learning more and more about God and His ways each day?
Here is the PLAIN TRUTH about financial security for YOU, written in HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
It was late in 1933 – the very depth of the great depression. Ed Smith was a well drilled by profession, but nobody seemed able to afford to have wells drilled.
Ed and his wife, Emma, attended services Herbert W. Armstrong was then holding in a one-room country schoolhouse twelve miles west of Eugene, Oregon. Ed made no profession of Christianity until later. But he attended services, and went up and down the countryside discussing Bible doctrines with his professing Christian neighbors.
“You’ve got to pay tithes and obey God,” he insisted. “The Bible says so. It’s PLAIN!”
One of his neighbors became irritated. “Look here, Ed,” the neighbor exploded, “why do you come around here trying to talk me into these things, when you don’t obey the Bible and pay tithes yourself?”
“Because,” came Ed’s quick and ready answer, “I don’t profess to be a Christian, and you do. Besides,” he added, “I can’t afford to tithe, anyway.”
There are millions who, like Ed Smith, reason in their own minds that they can’t afford to tithe, even though, like Ed Smith, they realize the Bible commands it.
Herbert Armstrong heard about the above conversation, and preached a sermon on the question of whether the unconverted should obey the Ten Commandments and pay tithes, or whether as Ed had reasoned, these things were only for Christians. He pointed out that God’s law as put in motion for humanity’s good – it is THE WAY of life that brings peace, happiness, prosperity, the full, abundant, interesting life; success, joy, HERE AND NOW, as well as eternal life through Christ for the saved.
He showed that it PAYS, and it the only sensible way of life, entirely apart from the matter of salvation. He pointed out God’s promises to PROSPER the tithe-payer, and that this is a definite LAW God has set in motion, which operates inexorably and automatically on the just and unjust alike.
Ed began to obey the Bible. At the very next service where Herbert Armstrong was holding services at this little schoolhouse three times a week, and three other nights a week in a hall in downtown Eugene at the time Mrs. Smith smilingly handed him a one dollar bill.
“That’s Ed’s first tithe,” she said triumphantly. “We are now down to $10, and Ed decided to start tithing with what we have on hand.”
The very next service she came to Herbert Armstrong with another happy smile.
“Here’s a five dollar bill,” she said. “The very next day after Ed gave God’s Work a tenth of all he had, a customer who had owed him $50 for a year came and paid up. So here’s the tithe of that $50. After paying the total $6 tithe, we now have $54 on hand instead of the $10 we had the other day.”
It was beginning to PAY! But only BEGINNING! By the next service, as Herbert Armstrong remembered it, Ed had received his first order in one or two years to drill a new well, for which he received cash payment. Before he finished that job, another was contracted. Soon he had three or four jobs coming in at once, and was forced to begin employing men to work for him.
Ed Smith was only one of MANY Herbert Armstrong had known who learned by EXPERIENCE that one cannot afford NOT to pay God the tithe that BELONGS TO GOD! Herbert Armstrong remembered that Ed Smith did encounter some troubles of a different nature later, and his wife and son were sent to the state tuberculosis hospital, and he finally broke down in real repentance, accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour. He came to Herbert Armstrong, according to the command of James 5:14, and both his wife and son were completely healed and returned home.
This is a true story, and the name is not fictitious. Ed Smith died many years ago, but Herbert Armstrong said he was happy to remember these incidents in his life in the hope they may start many other on the right and profitable, as well as the Christian way of life.
Why did God ordain tithing? Was it to place increased burden and taxation upon us? Let us not misunderstood God’s love and wisdom!
It isn’t that God really NEEDS your first tenth. He could have established some different system for carrying on His Work. But to have done so would have robbed us of the blessing that flows back to us if we are faithful in TITHES AND OFFERINGS!
The tither invariably a prosperous one. Herbert Armstrong said he did not mean WEALTHY – but one whose actual needs are always supplied. Tithers, if faithful and obedient to the Eternal, are not often found in want. “Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit THAT MAY ABOUND TO YOUR ACCOUNT” (Philippians 4:17, KJV).
God promises His children shall always have something to give (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). It is only when they withhold and misappropriate the tithe and OFFERINGS that He fails to prosper them. For through John He tells us “I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health” (3 John 2).
“Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the FIRSTFRUITS of all your increase; SO YOUR BARNS WILL BE FILLED WITH PLENTY, And your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10).
“PROVE ME now herewith,” challenges the Eternal to us, in a prophecy for OUR day (Malachi 3:10, KJV), “if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it” – financial blessings!
William Colgate, a soap fame, left home when a very small boy. He soon met a prosperous old sea captain. He asked the boy what he could do, and the boy replied he knew only how to make soap and candles.
“Yield yourself to God,” advised the old sea captain, “and pay Him a tenth of your income. Some day there is going to be a man at the head of the great soap industries in New York, and there is no reason why you should not be the man.” The boy took the advice, got a job, earned a dollar and paid a dime.
Very soon he earned two dollars and paid twenty cents. Soon he got a job in a soap factory and he continued to pay a tenth and to prosper. He rose from the common laborer to a foreman. Later to manager, and then to president of the company, and finally he owned the entire establishment. As he continued to prosper, Colgate paid two tenths. He prospered still more and paid three tenths. Still he prospered, and he paid four. His prosperity kept increasing and he decided to give HALF of all his income. AND STILL HE PROSPERED!
Herbert Armstrong reported that he knew a man who started a small grocery business in a small city in the sate of Oregon during the great depression. He had practically no capital, and the poorest location in town, and refused to sell tobacco. Others said he could never succeed. Thus handicapped, starting in the beginning of the worst depression the world ever knew, not many would have dared pay a whole tenth.
This man decided he would be a faithful steward, take God into partnership, and trust the Lord with his business. He prospered from the start and was the only grocer in his town who weathered the storm of depression successfully.
When God received His portion of all your income, God becomes your partner, sharing in your profits. He causes His partners to prosper, and if you are in debt, take God into partnership FIRST, and watch Him prosper you until finally you are out of debt! Remember the debt you owe God comes FIRST.
Yes so many say: “I don’t think it would be right for me to tithe while I’m in debt.” Yes, it is right, and not to tithe is WRONG, but it is also wrong not to pay your debts. “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Proverb 14:12.) God’s word tell us what is RIGHT, and God tells us to pay His Work the FIRST fruits of all our income. Regarding our material and financial needs, even debts, God says “but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).
THE TITHE IS THE DEBT THAT YOU OWE GOD. This debt is FIRST in time and principle. Pay your debts to God, make Him your PARTNER in your finances, and receive His blessing in temporal affairs. This will enable you to pay your debts, or to get a job, or to have your needs supplied more quickly than if you evade His debt.
Remember your ALL belongs to Him, not to you (Deuteronomy 10:14). You are in the position of steward handling that which BELONGS TO ANOTHER. God is your silent partner, and the first tenth, in ADDITION TO OFFERINGS, is His share. The rest He gives freely to you. But if you appropriate for yourself His share, God says you are STEALING, and ROBBING GOD (Malachi 3:8).
The only SURE WAY to know you have God as partner and that He is taking care of your interests is to obey Him in tithing.
God has graciously blessed you as you have YIELDED to Him according to the light He has revealed to you, from His Word! While you have the light, WALK in it, lest darkness come upon you! (John 12:35-36.) “GROW in the grace and KNOWLEDGE of our Lord …” (2 Peter 3:18). See also Romans 11:22.
Seek FIRST the Kingdom, and your material needs shall be ADDED (Matthew 6:33). Try it! Take God at His Word! PROVE HIM! (Malachi 3:10, KJV.) SEE HOW YOU BEGIN TO PROSPER! Be a faithful steward; make God your PARTNER and receive His BLESSING!
IF every professing Christian would accept this plain instruction from God, honoring HIM instead of themselves with their substance, Christ’s true gospel would go forth with such mighty power that the world would be SHAKEN TO ITS FOUNDATIONS!
IS OBEDIENCE TO THE TEN COMMANDMENTS NECESSARY TODAY?
The Bible teaches that “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4) or as the KJV put it “sin is the transgression of the law.”
WOULD YOU like to be given eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God? – and have ETERNAL LIFE so you could CLAIM this inheritance?
“Yes, but what must I DO,” you might ask, “to receive eternal life?”
When the young rich man asked Jesus Christ: “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I DO that I may have eternal life?” – Jesus replied, “if you want to enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” (Matthew 19:16-17)
KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS? That’s what Jesus said!! Does that SURPRISE YOU?
False Concepts Today
You’ve probably heard that obedience to the Ten Commandments is NOT NECESSARY today. That God’s law was ABOLISHED – “NAILED to the cross” by Jesus Christ!
But is this assumption really true? This is no mere irrelevant theological or religious question. This it he very ESSENCE of your life – your home life, your social life, your business life.
It’s the very CRUX QUESTION behind ALL world troubles today! Strange as it may seem the Ten Commandments did not begin at Sinai. Yet, the law was in effect since no later than Adam. The reason that we say “no later” is that Lucifer and his followers also would have known about it. DISOBEDIENCE to the Ten Commandments has produced all the wars, SUFFERING and DEATH the world has experienced SINCE Adam!
The common FALSE teaching of much of modern Protestantism holds that the old covenant WAS the Ten Commandment law. That Jesus Christ came to establish a NEW covenant containing only grace and promises – liberty to do WHATEVER YOU PLEASE, but certainly NO LAW! “Grace ALONE IS what saves you now,” they say. “NO COMMANDMENT KEEPING IS necessary today.”
The basic arguments against the Ten Commandments are that they are burdensome (though the Bible teaches otherwise in 1 John 5:3), they were nailed to the cross, and that Christians are to love which fulfills all the commandments.
This diabolical teaching would lead you to believe that the law of God is harsh, CRUEL, ENSLAVING – that the fault of the old covenant was with the law, and since GOD gave the law, the fault must have been HIS!
Then there are those who believe the Ten Commandments are either the SAME as, or PART of, the RITUALISTIC LAW of Moses, That the Ten Commandments didn’t exist until Moses and that they lasted only UNTIL Christ.
What MISUNDERSTANDING! What DISTORTION of the plain truth about God’s law!
DO YOU realize that those who believe and teach these false concepts are actually worshipping God IN VAIN – worshipping Him WITHOUT any prospect of receiving eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God?
Listen to what Jesus Christ says to them: “Howbeit IN VAIN do ye worship me, teaching for doctrines the COMMANDMENTS OF MEN. For laying aside the COMMANDMENT OF GOD, yet hold the tradition of men … [and now note the following especially] … Full well ye REJECT the Commandment of God, that ye may keep your OWN TRADITION.” (Mark 7:7-9, KJV.)
Jesus plainly taught OBEDIENCE o the Father’s law: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who DOES the WILL of My Father in heaven”! (Matthew 7:21.)
(More information this can be found in our free book available via ccog.org titled: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.)
Back to the Faith Once Delivered
God warns us in the book of Jude: “Beloved, when gave all diligence to write unto you of the COMMON SALVATION, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was ONCE DELIVERED unto the saints. For there are certain men who crept in unawares … ungodly men, turning the GRACE of our God into LASCIVIOUSNESS, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4)
Even before the New testament was completely written, ungodly men had crept into the Church in an attempt to corrupt it by turning GRACE into LASCIVIOUSNESS.
And what is “lasciviousness”? It means “license” – unrestrained liberty – abuse of privilege. In other words, license to do what seems RIGHT in your OWN eyes – according to HUMAN CONSCIENCE – though it disobeys God’s law!
Notice two other translations which uses more common language:
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 3-4, NIV)
3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4, NLT)
That change is exactly what some of the ungodly men in the first century were beginning to do – turning God’s GRACE into unrestrained privilege to DISOBEY His law! Turning to HUMAN conscience as a guide! We find this very SAME ATTITUDE permeating modern Protestantism today! ( For more on that, check out the free book, online via ccorg.org titled: Hope of Salvation: how the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants.)
That being said, early Christians DID believe that the Ten Commandments were part of the original faith.
It is truly bizarre that many people who think that they are Christian do not believe that they actually need to strive to keep the Ten Commandments.
The Apostle Paul kept the Ten Commandments (Acts 21:18-24; 28:17-19) is believed to have taught against the Ten Commandments (Against Heresies. Book III, Chapter 12, Verses 11-12; cf. Acts 8:23).
A major second century apostate known to have taught against the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath was Marcion of Pontus, who later went to Rome. Marcion taught “his disciples to believe in some other god greater than the Creator” (Justin. First Apology, Chapter XXVI). Despite being a major apostate, he has been called “the first Protestant” (Harnack A. Marcion and his impact on church history Volume 150 of Texte and Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literature).
It should be noted that there was no faith like the type of Protestantism currently seen in many parts of the world in the beginning of the Christian church (check out also the free online booklets, Continuing History of the Church of God and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism). All early true Christians believed in keeping the Ten Commandments.
Those, like, Marcion and Simon Magus would be in categories that the Apostle Paul warned against:
17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)
Christians were not lawless like Marcion and Simon Magus (2 Thessalonians 2:7), but obedient (Romans 16:19). Sadly, many have followed their ways. Marcion, himself, was condemned by Church of God Bishop/Pastor Polycarp of Smyrna as “the first-born of Satan” (Against Heresies. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4).
Church of God Leaders Taught the Ten Commandments
Polycarp of Smyrna was appointed bishop/pastor by the original apostles (Against Heresies. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4). “Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures” (Eusebius. The History of the Church. Book V, Chapter XX, verse 5).
Like the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:2; 18:4 see also 13:14,27,42,44), Polycarp’s custom was the preach the word of God on the Sabbath (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 22). Unlike the Apostle Paul (Acts 23:39), Polycarp was a Gentile.
In his Letter to the Philippians, Polycarp repeatedly taught that Christians should keep the commandments (chapters 2,4,5, & 11). He also warned about following the “vanity of many and their false doctrines” (chapter 7), who were following false forms of Christianity.
This is consistent with what the Gentile Ignatius of Antioch wrote as he warned against false Christians that would not respond to the “law of Moses” (Ignatius. Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Chapters IV-V). Let it be understood that Ignatius did NOT replace the Sabbath with Sunday as people who have relied on mistranslations of one of his writings have claimed – the Greek basically teaches that Christians are to keep the Sabbath the way Jesus did, and not follow the way of the Pharisaical (Thiel B. Ignatius and the Sabbath. Sabbath Sentinel, May-June 2016; Thiel B. More on Ignatius and the Sabbath. The Sabbath Sentinel, Volume 70 (2): 15-17, 2017).
Bishop/Pastor Melito of Sardis was also a Gentile. In his “Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar” he taught the commandments and mentioned that it was a sing to break them. Bishop/Pastor Theophilus of Antioch taught that the seventh-day Sabbath was still in effect (To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapters XI, XII, XIX). Regarding the Ten Commandments, which he called “ten heads,” he also wrote:
Of this great and wonderful law, which tends to all righteousness, the ten heads are such as we have already rehearsed. (To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter IX)
Like Polycarp, Theophilus also denounced the lawless Marcion.
Thus, it should be clear that Church of God leaders, who spoke and wrote in Greek, did not believe that the New Testament somehow did away with the Ten Commandments.
An anonymous 2nd century document that has been called “the oldest complete Christian sermon that has survived” (Holmes M. Apostolic Fathers, p. 102) repeatedly teaches that Christians must keep the commandments to be God’s people (2 Clement 3:4, 4:2-5, 6:7, 8:4, 17:3-7).
Leaders outside the Church of God, that various Greco-Roman-Protestants consider to be saints, also taught the Ten Commandments.
Bishop Ireneaus of Lyon, taught “all … the words of the Decalogue … remain permanently with us” and that since Jesus came, they were increased and extended and not abrogated (Against Heresies. Book IV, Chapter 16, Verse 4).
As far as the order of the Ten Commandments, the roman Catholics accepted changes to the order that were not original. But they did, at least, profess that they should be kept.
There Were Compromisers
Sadly, the influence of Simon Magus, Marcion, and other apostates made some more inclined to compromise on God’s law. Imperial edicts against the Jews also persuaded many to compromise on biblical holy days like the Sabbath.
While most think that crosses are a “Christian” symbol, most people do not realize that the Greek terms translated as “cross” and “crucify” in the New Testament come from words meaning “stake” (stauros) and “impale” (sustauroo) and are NOT specific to crosses.
In the early second century, notice the following charge against Christians in the late second/early third century:
Why have they no alters, no temples, no acknowledged images? (Minucius. The Octavius of Minucius Felix)
No acknowledged images means that symbols like crosses were not considered to be Christian symbols then.
It was not until the advent of the pagan Emperor Constantine that crosses became a widespread symbol for those who claimed to be Christian. Crosses most definitely were NOT part of the original faith. It was because of compromise with Emperor Constantine that other compromises with the Ten Commandments were adopted by many of the Greco-Romans who claimed Christ (note that many items in the catacombs that people have claimed were early crosses, were actually millennial symbols per the Catholic scholar Bagatti’ Church of the Circumcision, pp. 298-299).
The warring religion of the sun-god Mithras and its customs and dress, as well as other pagan faiths, also affected many who claimed Christianity.
Those in the true Church of God refused compromises with the pagan religions and have continued to faithfully observe the Ten Commandments throughout the intervening centuries (cf. Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Jerusalem, 1972. Church of God, 7th Day. 1990 reprint, pp. 252-253; 275-277) to this present time.
We in the Continuing Church of God are NOT Protestant as our spiritual ancestors formed the original New Testament Church of God in Acts 2 and we advocate keeping the Ten Commandments.
This present age is desperately lawless! Everywhere the spirit of disobedience is weeping society. From the pulpits you hear that Jesus Christ abolished His Father’s Law – that it is not necessary to obey God today.
But your Bible says no one can be born into God’s Kingdom unless that individual recognized and SUBMITS to the authority and rule of God in his life! Arguing with God or using human reasoning to evade the plain commands of Scripture will get us nowhere!
God is Supreme Creator and Supreme Lawgiver. He knows what is BEST for us. He has perfect wisdom and understanding and has given us His perfect law. We can therefore place ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE in Him and rely on His judgement which He has committed to us in writing – in the Holy Bible.
Yes, it’s time we look into the Bible to see what it really says about God’s law!
Why Bad News Today?
The natural tendency is to use human reasoning to sidestep that which seems of lesser importance to us. I’s so easy for us to say: “I don’t see why God would want me to obey His law. It SEEMS SO IMPRACTICAL in this modern age. Now here is the way I see it.”
The overwhelming truth is that God’s law are AS PRACTICAL today as they were in the beginning when He originally gave them!
Have you noticed that the news today is nearly ALL BAD?
There’s a REASON why!
Not only do we have war, fear of war, and strife between NATIONS, but we also have strife and competition in BUSINESS. We have quarrels leading to divorce IN THE HOME. We have a nervous younger generation blowing off stream and getting into all sorts of troubles.
What’s the matte with us anyway? Are we AFRAID to stop and look at things as they really are? Do we dare recognize the fact that we are bringing all this fear and worry, this heartache, suffering and frustrating emptiness on OURSELVES?
There is a reason for it all. But are you WILLING to hear it? Will you DENY the TRUE reason? Or will you ACCEPT the TRUTH OF GOD?
The Basis of Life
IF you were told that GOD ALMIGHTY, the Creator, set in motion invisible, SPIRITUAL LAWS FOR OUR HAPPINESS and FOR OUR GOOD, and that all our woes and our troubles are the DIRECT RESULT of our REJECTION and TRANSGRESSION of those laws, you’d probably say, “But I’ve been taught that those laws were abolished by Christ!” Or, “Why, that’s a religious and theological question that I know nothing about. It has NOTHING to do with my practical, down-to-earth, everyday life anyway.”
You’re WRONG! It has EVERYTHING to do with your everyday life. It has EVERYTHING to do with all the bad news you hear and read about every day. It has everything to do with the fact that most people today are restless, discontented and not as happy as they would like to be.
IT has everything to do with today’s chaotic world conditions, with social unrest and with the troubles most people are having in their own homes!
It is the TRANSGRESSION of God’s law of LOVE that has caused all the mental anguish and suffering in the same world today!
God’s Law of LOVE
God has ordained a law – the supreme eternal SPIRITUAL law which is LOVE. God and Love are inseparable, “for God IS love”! (1 John 4:8.) Love is the BASIC CHARACTERISTIC of God’s nature!
God lives completely in accordance with His law of love at all times! And God has ordained that we will must LEARN TO LIVE BY His law of love if we are to inherit the gift of eternal life. “For this is the love of God, that we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3.)
Love toward God and love toward fellow humans−that is the very ESSENCE of God’s spiritual law (Matthew 22:36-40). The first four of the Ten Commandments teach us love toward God. And the last six teach us love toward our fellow humans.
These ten SPIRITUAL laws are summed up in the one word “LOVE.” They compose the Royal Law that James expounded – the Royal Law of Love! (James 2:8-10). “Now the purpose of the commandment is love” (1 Timothy 1:5).
But humans are CARNAL – Unspiritual by nature. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7).
We, of ourselves, do not have the SPIRITUAL LOVE necessary to keep God’s SPIRITUAL law. This love comes from God “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts BY THE HOLY SPIRIT” (Romans 5:5). With this love we CAN FULFILL the law, for “love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10.)
God will give us His Holy Spirit as a FREE gift – IF we REPENT of our sins, are BAPTIZED and sincerely STRIVE to obey Him (Acts 2:38; 5:32). Notice the “fruits,” or Godly characteristics, which will be manifested in our lives if we have the Holy Spirit. “LOVE, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23.)
These attributes of God’s Holy Spirit are what enable us to OBEY the various points of His SPIRITUAL law of love. And these are the “fruits” we must show forth in our lives to be born of God at the resurrection!
So, the Ten Commandments constitute a SPIRITUAL LAW that is inexorable and eternal. A law that is love and the FULFILLING of which is love – a law that was set in motion for our happiness to produce everything good which we have foolishly denies ourselves.
The Ten Commandments are obviously entirely DIFFERENT and SEPARATE from the RITUALISTIC “Law of Moses” which was just a code of PHYSICAL laws – NOT spiritual laws.
Jesus Kept the Law!
Jesus tells us that our OBEDIENCE to the Ten Commandments is an absolute PREREQUISITE to receiving God’s gift of eternal life (Matthew 19;16-17).
But did Jesus really PRACTICE what He preached? Or does He expect us to perform the impossible?
Witness Christ’s absolutely SINLESS life (Hebrews 4:15). Has Jesus sinned in the SLIGHTEST POINT of God’s spiritual law, He cold NOT have become our Saviour!
Since Jesus was composed of human flesh with human nature, the same as we all have (Hebrews 2:14; 2:7, ASV), then HOW was He able to obey God? The answer is that He was BEGOTTEN by the Holy Spirit just as you can be – if you repent, believe and are baptized! Jesus had the POWER of the Holy Spirit working within Him!
Jesus Christ has the Father’s help to keep the commandments. Notice what He said:
“I can of MYSELF do NOTHING.” (John 5:30.)
“the Father who DWELLS IN ME does the works.” (John 14:10.)
The Father dwelt in Jesus by the Holy Spirit. And this power enabled Jesus to keep God’s commandments perfectly!
Christians have access to the Father and the Son (John 6:44; Hebrews 4:16)! We “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13).
This lesson is to be continued in the next edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine.