The Law of God

An Expression of God’s Will

The law of God is an expression of the will and nature of God. That being true, everything that is true about law is a reflection of the nature of God. Likewise, everything that is true about God, will be reflected in his laws.

Characteristics of the Law

An Expression of Will

A law is the expression of the will of the lawgiver. If the legislators of our government desire to pass a fifty-five-mile-per-hour speed limit, it becomes law. If they are opposed to such a law, it would never be proclaimed. The law of God is an expression of the will of “the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exod. 20:2). When God gave Israel his law, he revealed his nature as the basis of that law. He is saying, “Because I am who I say I am, this is the way I want you to live.”

A Standard to be Obeyed

The speed limit does not exist as a revenue-making device. It exists to let motorists know what is expected of them. While God is willing to forgive us when we sin, he is also concerned that we obey him. Even God’s anointed King Saul had to be reminded that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22). Jesus said, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).

A Penalty for Disobedience

When we are caught driving too fast, we pay a fine. For various crimes, there are various penalties reflecting the seriousness of the crime. Breaking the law of God is an affront to the Person of God. When we understand this, we understand the penalty for sin, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The word “death” refers not only to the end of our physical life on earth, but includes our eternal separation from God. It is described vividly in John’s vision of the end times. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death”‘ (Rev. 20:14).

Similarities between the Law and God

If we were to list the attributes of God, we would have a list of the characteristics of the law of God. Many Christians think of the law in strictly negative terms. They often quote the apostle Paul, not understanding the context in which Paul wrote. Although Paul opposed those who preached salvation by law as another means of salvation, Paul had some positive words to say about the law itself.

God is a God of love AND Justice.

God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). However, God also demands justice. He requires that wrong be punished and right be rewarded.

God’s justice has been at work in this world ever since the creation of mankind. We do not know why God created man when He knew that man would sin and bring great pain and suffering upon himself. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God…” This is one of the mysteries that God has chosen not to reveal to us. Yet, we know that our great creator God has a reason for all His actions. So, whatever His reasons, we can be sure they were and still are pure and holy.

God placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden to test Adam and Eve. From their creation, they were perfect and had uninterrupted fellowship with God. But God wanted to test their true love for Him and used the tree to accomplish this. The only true love is tested, Adam and Eve failed the test. So, God showed His ever-abounding love to sinful men by sending Christ to pay the penalty for man’s sin. He provided a way out.

How God’s Justice Proves Life is Valuable

The fact that Christ died for all increases the self-worth of every individual. Christ’s death provided the opportunity for all to be saved. This is how God demonstrated His great love for man, even in his sin. But, not all will receive the free gift of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of their sins. Therefore, since God is holy and just, He cannot allow this person (still in their sins because of failure to receive Christ’s forgiveness) to go to Heaven. Rather, He allows the person to go the way he himself has decided to go – the way of not accepting Jesus Christ as Savior – the way to Hell.

Hell cannot be thought of as cruel and unusual punishment when it is realized to what lengths God went to prevent anyone from going there. God does not force Himself on anyone. Otherwise He would have forced Adam and Eve to obey Him, making the human race like robots. Rather, God allows man to have a free will and to choose for himself the course of action he prefers. God has done so much to give man the opportunity to have his sins forgiven, we certainly cannot think God to be unfair when He condemns a person to Hell who has rejected the free offer of a merciful God to go to heaven.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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