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The Purpose of God’s Law and Obedience to It. Roy E. Gane SDA Theological Seminary Andrews University. Roy E. Gane Westpoint Presentations. The Purpose of God’s Law and Obedience to It Law, Legalism, and “Righteousness by Faith” Guidelines for Applying Biblical Laws to Modern Life

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The Purpose of God’s Law and Obedience to It

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The purpose of god s law and obedience to it l.jpg

The Purpose of God’s Law and Obedience to It

Roy E. Gane

SDA Theological Seminary

Andrews University


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Roy E. GaneWestpoint Presentations

  • The Purpose of God’s Law and Obedience to It

  • Law, Legalism, and “Righteousness by Faith”

  • Guidelines for Applying Biblical Laws to Modern Life

  • How to Identify and Apply Timeless Principles in Biblical Laws

  • Application of Biblical Laws Regarding Divorce and Homosexual Practice


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Roy E. GaneWestpoint Presentations

  • THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S LAW AND OBEDIENCE TO IT

  • Law, Legalism, and “Righteousness by Faith”

  • Guidelines for Applying Biblical Laws to Modern Life

  • How to Identify and Apply Timeless Principles in Biblical Laws

  • Application of Biblical Laws Regarding Divorce and Homosexual Practice


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Reaction of Many to God’s Law

FEAR


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Teaching of Love

  • Torah = teaching/instruction

  • Whole Bible: Torah, Torah, Torah + Torah

  • Teaching about God’s character and ways

  • God’s character is UNSELFISH LOVE (1 John 4:8—“God is love”)

  • Whole Bible is teaching about love (Matt 22:37-40)


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Teaching of Love

  • Saving personal knowledge of God comes from all kinds of biblical teaching

  • Prescriptive “law” is one kind of teaching

  • Accountable for all teaching because we are saved through relationship with Christ (1 John 5:11-13)

  • Emulate God’s holy/loving character (Lev 11:44-45; 19:2, 18; 1 Pet 1:15-16)


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Teaching of Love

  • God’s love is our guide to living: Ps 143:8—“Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

  • God’s law, like other teaching, is based on love (Matt 22:37-40; Rom 13:10)

  • Love through three Creation institutions generates 10 Commandments


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Teaching of Love

“Why is love so important? Because real, unselfish love is the only basis on which intelligent beings with free choice can live in harmony and not destroy each other. Love is as essential to the long-term survival of the human race as food and water are to our short-term survival. Ultimately we cannot live without love”—Roy Gane, Altar Call, p. 88.


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What is “Law”?

  • The order of justice and right to which people should conform and which judicial authority should enforce

  • Rules play some role in this order

  • Also principles and values belonging to the community’s collective conscience

  • Explicit rules—laws—are only the tip of the iceberg of “Law”—Dale Patrick, Old Testament Law, p. 4.


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Authority Behind Biblical Law

  • Source and authority: God of Israel

  • Conveyed through Moses and other prophets

  • Not “J, E, D, P”!

  • Our ethical/moral standard: self-revealed character of God, which is love

  • Need for absolute standards

  • Love = justice + mercy (Exod 34:6-7)


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Purpose of God’s Law

  • Reveals God’s character of love

  • Benefits us (Deut 10:13—“for your good”) by guiding us to live in harmony with God’s principles of cause and effect

  • “God’s law—the wall that He has placed around His chosen ones for their protection, and obedience to whose precepts of justice, truth, and purity is to be their perpetual safeguard.”—Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 678.


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Purpose of God’s Law

  • Divine guide to excellence of model community for evangelistic purpose (Deut 4:6-8)

  • God wants to lavish blessings on His people to lead others to Him (Gen 12:3; Deut 28; Dan 1)

  • Law reveals sin (departure from love) to show need for mercy and restoration (Rom 3:20; 7:7; James 1:23-25)


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Covenant Framework

  • God’s cumulative covenant phases structure the whole Bible

  • Law functions within covenant framework

  • See blessings and curses: Lev 26; Deut 28

  • Compare ancient Near Eastern treaties

  • Law contributes to purpose of covenant: to reveal and express God’s character

  • Compare prologue to Hammurabi’s law code: laws exemplified king’s justice


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Covenant Framework

  • God inaugurated covenants and gave laws to people whom He had already delivered

  • Noah already saved from Flood (Gen 7-9)

  • Abraham already spared from danger while rescuing Lot (Gen 14-15)

  • Israelites already delivered from Egypt (Exod 19-24)

  • Laws function within covenant framework of grace

  • Law-keeping doesn’t save anyone


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Obedience and Salvation

  • Laws benefit those who keep them (Lev 18:5)

  • Laws can’t help those who break them (Gal 3:10-12).

  • Only God’s mercy through Christ can remedy failure (Gal 3:13-14)

  • We can’t obey on our own (Rom 7)

  • Obedience (living by love) is a gift of grace received by faith through God’s Spirit (Rom 5:5; Gal 5:6)


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Love, Spirit, and “Latter Rain”

  • End-time law of love and Elijah message of relational reconciliation (Mal 4:4-6)

  • End-time law of love and faith of Jesus (Rev 14:12)

  • End-time “latter rain” outpouring of God’s Spirit (Joel 2)

  • Therefore, love from the Holy Spirit is the power of the “latter rain”!


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Benefits of Biblical Law

  • Character of God and theodicy

  • Deliverance and social justice

  • Communal ethics

  • Marriage and sexual morality

  • Beneficial lifestyle

  • Sabbath and sanctification (Exod 31:13)


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Benefits of Biblical Law

  • Illuminating other parts of the Bible

    • Lev 11:36; 15:25-30; Num 15:37-41 as background to Luke 8:43-48

    • Num 5:11-31 background to Luke 7:36-50

    • Lev 1 background to John 20:17


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