Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

God's Commandments Are Good for You

You are here

God's Commandments Are Good For You

Downloads
MP3 Audio (21.12 MB)

Downloads

God's Commandments Are Good for You

MP3 Audio (21.12 MB)
×

The Commandments, laws and statutes of God are spiritual, perfect, holy, just, and good. They provide a foundation for defining, understanding and living God's love. The law of God reveals the only way to true everlasting life, and the only possible way to achieve happiness, peace, and joy.

Transcript

God's Law - The Only Way to Happiness, Peace, and Joy

The United Church of God believes and teaches that the Commandments, laws and statutes of God are spiritual, perfect, holy, just, and good. They provide a foundation for defining, understanding and living God's love. The law of God reveals the only way to true everlasting life, and the only possible way to achieve happiness, peace, and joy.

God created human beings to ultimately become members of His family, to inherit immortality and live in harmony with Him and with one another. To dwell with God in harmony we must also agree with, embrace and share His way of thinking. These values are revealed to us in His law… which have been carefully recorded in scripture. Those who God chooses also are given  understanding through the power of the holy spirit.

We are given understanding of the application of God’s law… but  also its meaning and purpose. Which is simply: that anyone who seeks this ultimate relationship with God must make every effort to heed the directives of God's law.

Sin & God's Law

We know the laws and commandments of God go back 3,500 years to the establishment of His covenant with Israel at Sinai. But these laws really go back further than that… they can be traced back to Abraham… and before that to the very beginning of creation itself… and even before the beginning… because they are a revelation of the mind of God who created all things.

The essential substance of these laws has not, and does not, change. They are the ideal model for human behavior and the standard against which human behavior is judged. Breaking any one point of God's law is sin and brings upon a person the penalty of death.

All injustice, misery, anguish and woe have come from transgressing God's law.

Sin came into the world through the disobedience of the very first human beings. As a result, they were cut off from the tree of life, and only death remained for them. All human beings are under this penalty of separation from God and the source of everlasting life... and all human beings are subject to death.

The sin that separates us from God, and from everlasting life, is the product of both the deception of Satan and of the very makeup of the human heart and mind [which is geared toward fleshly goals not spiritual].

The good news is that forgiveness for sin and release from its penalty are available through Jesus Christ.

Today we will go though the scriptural backing for this summary of the United Church of God's understanding and teaching concerning sin and God's law. It will be organized into 6 points. We will primarily use NT verses since the teachers of lawlessness use these so much.

  1. Sin is the Violation of God's Law

1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
American King James Version×
 [the KJV/NKJV read “sin is the transgression of the law”... NIV reads “sin is breaking the law”] a literal translation of the verse is "whoever does sin does lawless, to sin is to be lawless". The word transgress or break is not in the original text but was added by translators [transgress = parabaino G3845 pass over, neglect, violate]. The popular translation [transgression or break] is not a wrong statement but it is incomplete.

To act in a sinful way is to act as someone who does not have the law, literally one who is lawless [anomia=no/law]. This way of putting it covers not only sin that comes from doing wrong but also sin that comes from not doing what is right.

James 4:17 James 4:17Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
American King James Version×
 sins of omission…  [avoiding breaking a commandment is not sufficient, we must also proactively do what is right]… but there is more.

Romans 14:23 Romans 14:23And he that doubts is damned if he eat, because he eats not of faith: for whatever is not of faith is sin.
American King James Version×
 there can be sins of conscience, caveat [be careful what you approve and disapprove].

Our conscience must be properly informed about what is, or what is not sin. This is a vital function of God’s law. It may lead to a guilty conscience… or it may lead to a clear conscience.

Romans 7:7 Romans 7:7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet.
American King James Version×
God's law provides us with a definition of what sin is: 1) that which we must not do 2) that which we are expected to do. Note: what we are expected to do comes out in a more pronounced way in God’s statues and judgments [for example, Exodus 21-23]

  1. The Commandments and Law of God is Perfect, Holy, and Just

Romans 7:12 Romans 7:12Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
American King James Version×
 the commandments provide a definition of what is holy righteous and good.

Romans 7:14 Romans 7:14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
American King James Version×
 the commandments of God are spiritual in nature… and  by comparing ourselves against the Godly spiritual standards of holiness, and righteousness we are able to better see our our limitations as flesh and blood creatures... which should inspire and motivate us to leave behind what is limited, temporary, corruptible [put off the old] and aim instead for the high calling we have in Christ [put on the new].

  1. The Commandments and Law Define Godlike Love

Romans 13:8-10 Romans 13:8-10 [8] Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. [9] For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [10] Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
American King James Version×
 here Godly love [agape] is directly connected to conforming our behavior to the standards of the commandments. To fulfill the law means to do what it says. Fulfill [pleroo] - [excerpts from Strong's] ... to fill up, to carry through to the end, to accomplish, to perform, execute, bring to pass. See also Galatians 5:14 Galatians 5:14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×
.

These verses and others address Godly love in terms of our behavior towards our fellow human beings. Note: the phrase “love you neighbor as your self is from a section of God’s statutes and judgments found in Leviticus 19].

But what about our behavior towards God himself?

Some might argue that our love of God is demonstrated  through our moral actions towards other people. A good example of that would be the teaching found in Matthew 25:31-46 Matthew 25:31-46 [31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. [34] Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [35] For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: [36] Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? [38] When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? [39] Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you? [40] And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me. [41] Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [42] For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: [43] I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you? [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. [46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
American King James Version×
where our actions towards our fellow human beings [both positive and negative] is equated with actions towards God [both positive and negative]… read verse verse 40, 44-45.

That way of defining Godly love is not wrong but it is not complete. When Jesus gave us what is commonly known as the royal law of love, He cited two categories 1) to love God with all our heart mind and soul 2) to love our neighbor as we love our self.

Our love of God is not completely defined by the moral commandments and our actions towards other people. Our love of God also includes the other commandments [commandments 1,2,3,4] which address how we interact directly with God, by:

  1. Maintaining a proper understanding of who and what God is
  2. Avoidance of idolatry, false Gods, and false worship
  3. Communal, and private, worship towards God on the Sabbath

1 John 2:1-6 1 John 2:1-6 [1] My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: [2] And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [3] And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [5] But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. [6] He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
American King James Version×
 Jesus kept His Fathers commands... so should you… this is the love of God.

4. God's Law Does Not Change & Remains His Standard For Judgment

Matthew 5:17-19 Matthew 5:17-19 [17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. [18] For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×
 ... Psalms 119:142 Psalms 119:142Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is the truth.
American King James Version×
,144,160
 ... God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow ... James 1:16-1 James 1:16-1
American King James Version×
7.

5. The law remains God’s standard for judgment

James 2:10-11 James 2:10-11 [10] For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. [11] For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law.
American King James Version×
 we believe [and scripture teaches] that breaking any one point of God's law brings upon a person the penalty of sin... which is everlasting death. This is the horrible predicament which we need to be saved from through Jesus Christ.

However, even though we find salvation and life through this faith in Christ the law of God still remains as the standard we look to in matters of behavior, and worship Romans 3:31 Romans 3:31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish the law.
American King James Version×
.

  1. God's Law is The Only Way to True Life, Happiness, Peace, and Joy

Matthew 19:16-17 Matthew 19:16-17 [16] And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [17] And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
American King James Version×
 God's commands are a path to how eternal beings live. Walking in God's commandments is a living lesson in what eternal life is all about. And they are a required subject of study and application for those who want it.

Romans 2:5 Romans 2:5But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up to yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
American King James Version×
-
10 doing what is good is the path to glory, honor, and peace.

Romans 7:12-14 Romans 7:12-14 [12] Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. [13] Was then that which is good made death to me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. [14] For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
American King James Version×
 doing good/goodness is the doing of God's law. Note: we also read earlier: when asked what good thing should I do to enter eternal life... Jesus replied "keep the commandments".

Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
American King James Version×
 God gives us His commands for our benefit [emotional, physical spiritual].

Proverbs 13:15 Proverbs 13:15Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.
American King James Version×
 by contrast the way of the disobedient is hard.

Conclusion

Sin is part of our life in the flesh: it has entered into our world through the deceit of Satan, but also from the very nature of our flesh which is fundamentally selfish. As flesh and blood beings we prioritize our own survival, comfort, and reproduction... none of which are evil of themself but can, and often do,  put us in conflict with the higher spiritual goals of our Creator.

Psalms 51:4 Psalms 51:4Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight: that you might be justified when you speak, and be clear when you judge.
American King James Version×
 all sin, including the effect it may have on others, should be understood as “against God”. And when you consider the effect of sin upon our quest for immortality… our sins are against our self.

Sin is an enslaving power from which we need redemption and release. On our own we are powerless to bring about this redemption and must look to the plan and pattern of salvation revealed to us by our Creator. Once we have sinned [and we all do] no amount of obedience can reverse it effect... even though obedience is expected. 

Hebrews 2:14-15 Hebrews 2:14-15 [14] For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; [15] And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
American King James Version×
 only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ can provide this redemption and release from the penalty of death and open up the door to resurrection and  immortality.

Through God's gracious forgiveness of sin we can find freedom in obeying God's law James 1:21-25 James 1:21-25 [21] Why lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. [22] But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. [23] For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to a man beholding his natural face in a glass: [24] For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. [25] But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
American King James Version×
.

God's law gives us a working definition of sin... God's law leads us to repentance... God's law gives us a pattern of living that helps us put aside or old patterns of behavior... and replace them with patterns of behavior and thought that bring life, glory, honor, and peace.

Lasting peace... lasting honor... lasting glory... and everlasting life.