The Law as Teacher

Galatians 3, Romans3, Deuteronomy 28
English
Year: 
2020
Quarter: 
3
Lesson Number: 
3

Lesson 3

The Law as Teacher

(Galatians 3, Romans 3, Deuteronomy 28)

Copr. 2020, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Two boys were born on the same day in the same hospital. One was my son and the other the son of another couple we knew in the community. Our families were not friends, but we knew each other because of a mutual friend. One day, when our sons were about five years old, my son and I happened to be walking by a school at the same time as this other boy and his father. A beautiful woman passed us and to my astonishment, the five year-old and his father were discussing her body. My son didn’t even know this was a discussion topic, much less know enough to have an opinion. What a difference a parent’s education can make in the life of a child! God is our parent and His law is our teacher. As we teach our children about God’s law, how should we approach it? What attitude should we teach our children to have about the law? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Law Examined
    1. Read Galatians 3:10. Wait a minute! If the law is our teacher(as the title of the lesson suggests), then why are we cursed for relying on our teacher?
      1. Imagine one of my students explaining: “I like Professor Cameron as a teacher, but if you rely on his explanation of the law you are under a curse.”
    2. Let’s focus on the second half of Galatians 3:10. What is the reason for the curse? Is it the teaching or a failing to follow the teaching? (It is a failure to follow. The critical words are failing to “abide by all things written” and a failure “to do them.” The teaching is not the problem, the problem is in the failure to follow the teaching.)
      1. Isn’t this obvious? If I’m teaching a class of future lawyers, if they do not learn the law they are in for trouble when they start representing clients, right?
      2. Did you notice a problem with my first question - the text says relying on the “works” of the law - as opposed to relying on “the law.” What are works of the law?
    3. Read Galatians 3:11. Why is it “evident” that no one is justified before God by the law? (What is evident is that no one keeps the law. If humans could perfectly keep the law, then this statement is wrong, and not evident.)
      1. The text links what is “evident” with “the righteous shall live by faith.” How do you understand that link? (The righteous don’t get to live because of their works, they get to live because of their faith.)
    4. Read Galatians 3:12-14. How shall we live? If it is not by keeping the law, what is it? (Christ redeemed us from the curse of not keeping the law. He became a curse for us. Thus, as verse 11 says, “the righteous shall live by faith.”)
      1. Think about this a minute. Does the fact that we cannot perfectly keep the law say anything negative about the law? (No. It says something negative about us.)
      2. Notice that verse 14 talks about our faith and “the promised Spirit.” What does this teach us about the Holy Spirit? (It is a critical result of faith.)
        1. If you deny the Trinity, what are you saying about the Holy Spirit?
    5. Read Romans 3:21. Focus on the last part of this verse. How do the “Law and the Prophets bear witness” to the “righteousness of God?” (There are a number of correct answers, but for our purpose this shows that the law is consistent with the righteousness of God.)
    6. Read Romans 3:31. What does salvation by faith alone mean for the law? (It upholds it.)
      1. How can that be? If we are not saved by the law, if we cannot perfectly obey the law, then how does our trust in Jesus to obey the law for us “uphold the law?” (Jesus died, at least in part, to uphold the law. If it was of no importance, God would simply have abolished the law. He would not have come down to be born as a human and perfectly keep the law.)
  2. Law Upheld
    1. Read Romans 3:20. What is one reason why the law is so important? (We understand sin because of it. We see what we should avoid.)
    2. Read Romans 3:19. What is another reason for the law? (It stops those who would brag about their righteous works. We are all unable to keep the law. We are all “accountable to God” for our sins.)
    3. Read Romans 3:22-24. Is this good news? (There is no better news! Our failure to keep the law is why it is so important to have the gift of grace through what Jesus has done for us.)
      1. As you contemplate the last three texts that we read, what is your reaction to trying to keep the law? (The law is good. It is failing to keep the law that is bad.)
    4. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-2 and then scan Deuteronomy 28:3-14. What does God say is the benefit of obedience to the law? (All sorts of blessings!)
    5. Read Deuteronomy 28:15 and scan Deuteronomy 28:16-68. What happens when you disobey God’s law? (Terrible things! Everything is taken from you.)
    6. I recently read “we do our students a disservice” to teach that those who obey the law prosper. The reason for suggesting this is a “disservice” is that we all know good people who had bad things happen to them. If you doubt that bad things can happen to good people, then read the book of Job and Hebrews 11. But, let’s put this in perspective. Do you think that eating nuts tends to make you more healthy?
      1. If you said “yes,” (and yes is the obviously true answer), then tell me, does everyone who eats peanuts get healthier? (Again, the obviously true answer is, “no,” you read warnings about peanuts all the time.)
      2. Do we normally believe that the exception invalidates the rule? If you looked at the life of everyone you know, are those who live in accordance with God’s law doing better or worse? Are those living in opposition to God’s law doing better or worse? Limit your comparison to people you truly know. (Those who follow God’s law do better in every way. I think it is a “disservice” to fail to teach that obedience to God is the path to a better life here and hereafter.)
    7. Read Romans 1:4-5. What does this tell us that faith will bring? (Obedience.)
      1. Does this make logical sense to you? (If you believe something is true, you would logically act in accordance with the truth.)
      2. Look at the last phrase of Romans 1:5. What important reason do we find here for obeying the law? (“For the sake of His name among all the nations.” We bring glory to God by obeying the law.)
        1. Once again, let’s think about this a moment. Why does obedience to God bring glory to Him? (One reason is that it reflects well on God when you obey. You make God look good.)
        2. Is this what we call a “win, win?” (Obedience blesses you and it blesses God!)
    8. Read Psalms 40:8. Is this true for you?
      1. Notice the progression of reasons to obey the law that we have discussed thus far. First, it teaches us something very important - it gives us knowledge of what to avoid. Knowing the right thing to do and doing it (as far as possible), brings blessings. The connection between our faith and our obedience brings a logic into our life. We live honestly. We don’t brag about being better than we are. The honest, loving, productive life brings glory to God and glory to us. Finally, we reach a point where obedience is central to who we are. It is a delight!
        1. Where are you in this progression?
    9. Read Hebrews 11:24-25. What caution does this bring to the picture we have been constructing of obedience to God? (We touched on this earlier. Obedience can (and does) bring fleeting problems and sin can (and does) bring fleeting pleasure.)
    10. Perhaps looking at the other side of obedience will help us better focus on the issues. Read Titus 3:3. Would you prefer this picture of life? Do you see yourself described in this?
    11. Friend, we have a clear choice. We do not obey the law to earn salvation, we obey the law because it is a blessing to us and brings glory to our God. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into every good work?
  1. Next week: “The Eyes of the Lord”: The Biblical Worldview.