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The Law Does NOT Save.

February 24, 2010

Jesus does.

However, there is a prevailing misconception about Seventh-day Adventists being legalists.  Those unfamiliar with Adventist doctrine think that Adventists believe adherence to God’s moral law (10 Commandments) guarantees salvation; that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  The law does not save, grace and faith in Christ does.   Here is the official statement on the Law of God from the Adventist Church site.

19. Law of God:
The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness. (Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 40:7, 8; Matt. 22:36-40; Deut. 28:1-14; Matt. 5:17-20; Heb. 8:8-10; John 15:7-10; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 8:3, 4; Ps. 19:7-14.) [emphasis mine]

So to paint Adventists as legalists and judaizers is misguided, and often reveals one’s ignorance and bias.  Here is one simple way of looking at the Law of God. The Laws of God are for our own good, and not to hold us down.

Without laws, there would be chaos in this world.  Imagine our roadways without traffic laws, it would be utter mayhem.  Same with God’s laws.  If God’s law didn’t exist, there is nothing to stop me from taking your life, your wife, your possessions, and doing whatever I please, even if it harms you.  God has these universal laws for us to prevent sin from ruining our lives.  The law points out our flaws and defects.

God’s law is like a mirror, by showing us what is right and wrong  about our appearance to God.  Without the mirror, we wouldn’t be able to see dirt on our face.  The law points out sin. (Romans 3:20)

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Just like a mirror, the law can’t clean us of our sins.  We need something to clean our face with, so we reach for a cloth.  Same thing when we see sin in our lives, it forces us to reach out for the cleansing power of our Lord and Saviour.  The Law shows us our need for Jesus. To say we no longer need God’s law is dangerous, as by extension implies that we no longer need a Saviour to clean us, as there is no sin. (Romans 6)

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)

Every man has fallen short, and the law points out the need for our Saviour’s cleansing blood.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, (Romans 3)

So clearly, God’s Law is still in place. Why? because we can see sin everywhere in this world.  A world without sin wouldn’t need any laws, because everyone would behave perfectly. Since no one is perfect, we’ll need God’s eternal law to guide us, and when we mess up, we can always go to Jesus to cleanse us and make us whole.

It’s that simple.

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