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Does Faith Abolish the Law?
The Bible teaches that “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a free gift, without money or price (Isaiah 55:1; John 4:14; 2 Corinthians 9:15; 1 John 5:11). Works and obedience to the law are not a cause but an effect of salvation (Romans 3:31).
Justification by faith shows God’s esteem for His law in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God. If justification by faith abolishes the law of God, then there was no need for the death of Jesus. God’s Son died to free the sinner from his transgression and guilt that he may be restored to peace with God.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). In this passage, Paul stressed the place of law as a moral principle. And he asserted that the law, viewed as a revelation of the holy will of God and of the eternal principles of morality, is established by the righteousness of faith.
Jesus Magnified the Law
He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17,18 also Isaiah 42:21). By fulfilling the law Christ simply “filled” it “full” of meaning—by giving men an example of perfect obedience to the will of God, in order that the same law “might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:3, 4).
The great Lawgiver Himself confirmed the obligation of keeping God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17) as binding upon those who would be His followers, and declared that anyone who should attempt to cancel them either by word or by action would “in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
Obedience – The Acid Test of Faith
To the believer, genuine faith means a complete willingness to carry on the will of God in a life of obedience to His law (John 14:15). Real faith, based on wholehearted love for the Savior, can lead only to obedience. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
The fact that Christ endured such suffering because of our transgressions of God’s law is one of the strongest motives for obedience. We do not easily repeat a behavior that hurts our earthly friends. Likewise, we can only hate the sins that caused such suffering on the best Friend of all. While the plan of salvation allows for the sinner’s justification, it also gives positive motives for obedience.
The Purpose of the Law
The plan of righteousness by faith places the law in its right place. The purpose of law is to convict of sin (Romans 3:20) and to show the high standard of righteousness. The sinner who faces the law sees his transgression and shortcomings. Then, the law directs him to Christ for cleansing and victory over sin (Galatians 3:24). And faith and God’s love produce in him a new desire to obey the law (Romans 1:5; 16:26). Thus, love fulfills the law (Romans 13:8, 10).
The End-Time Controversy
The final conflict in the great controversy between Christ and Satan will be based on obedience to God’s law. Satan’s last deception would be that it is no longer necessary to obey every principle of God’s law. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). But God’s children will be identified as those that “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
The specific commandment controverted will be the fourth in the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). There is general agreement among the believers that the other nine are of universal requirement. But the early Christian church substituted God’s seventh-day Sabbath with the first day of the week as the day of worship. This act was predicted in Daniel 7:25. However, this claim is not supported by Scripture. (Read The Seal of God and the Mark of Apostasy)
In His service,