The Foundation of God's Goverment

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(Hebrews 9, Revelation 12, Romans 7-8)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 9

The Foundation of God’s Government

(Hebrews 9, Revelation 12, Romans 7-8)

Copr. 2024, 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: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: “Lexrex” has been on the license plates of my cars for decades. Is my plate about Lex Luthor, the villain in Superman? No. “Lex” is Latin for law, and “rex” is Latin for king. It should be translated, “Law is King.” The plates are significant to me because I’m a lawyer and because of my belief in the importance of the Ten Commandments to the Kingdom of God. Is the law the foundation of God’s government, or is love the foundation? Would love be meaningless without the law? When it comes to teaching the importance of the law, error lies very close to the truth. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can find about the truth concerning the importance of the law!

  1. Inside the Ark of the Covenant
    1. Read Hebrews 9:3-5. The “tablets of the covenant” are the Ten Commandments. See Deuteronomy 10:2-5. Why are they not simply in the sanctuary, not only in the Most Holy Place, but actually inside the Ark of the Covenant?
      1. Why are Aaron’s staff and manna also in the Ark? What do they all have in common? (Numbers chapters 16-17 records that the budding of Aaron’s staff was central to putting down a rebellion and establishing the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Manna, of course, is the food God provided to feed the people on the exodus from Egypt. These, along with the Ten Commandments, are symbols of God’s leadership and care.)
    2. Read Exodus 25:16. God calls what was placed in the Ark “the testimony.” Why? (It was to remind the people of God’s care for them. They were a witness to His care.)
    3. Hebrews chapters 8-10 are an explanation of why the sanctuary on earth with its animal sacrifices were a type of prophecy about the coming of Jesus and His superior sacrifice of Himself on behalf of our sins. What does this suggest is a reason for the Ten Commandments being placed in the Ark in the Most Holy Place? (It suggests two things. First, the law is of central importance to God. Jesus died to fulfill the requirements of the law on our behalf. Second, the law tells us what is sin, and sin causes death. Thus, Jesus came to save the law and us. Romans 6:23.)
  2. Is the Law King?
    1. Read Revelation 12:9-12. What has happened to Satan and his allies? (They have been tossed out of heaven and thrown to earth.)
      1. Is that a good thing for the people who live where Satan was thrown? (Of course not. “Woe” is the term used to describe how we should feel.)
      2. Is it just bad luck to be where Satan landed? (This is not an accident or bad luck. Humans invited Satan to live here when we chose Satan over Jesus in the Garden of Eden. See Genesis 3.)
    2. Read Revelation 12:17. Who is Satan targeting with his rage? (Those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.)
      1. If Satan is not angry with us, what do you think that means? (It means we are not his opposition. We pose no problem for his wicked kingdom.)
        1. What does this say about the law? (It is very important in the battle between good and evil. Notice that, just like the law being in the Ark, this reinforces the importance of the law.)
        2. What does it mean to hold to the testimony of Jesus? (Look again at Revelation 12:11. These are those who testify that Jesus is God and who rely on salvation by grace. The blood of Jesus covers their sins.)
    3. Read Colossians 2:11-14. What was nailed to the cross? (“The record of the debt that stood against us with its legal demands.”)
      1. When the texts refers to “legal demands,” is that a reference to the law? (Yes. We were dead because we all violated the law. It is our debt due to sin that was nailed to the cross.)
      2. These verses tell us that Jesus saved us by keeping the law for us and by dying for our sins. Why did He do that? Because of love or because of the importance of the law? (If the law was not king, Jesus would have merely claimed “love,” and ignored our failure to keep it. Jesus kept the law AND died in our place because the law is central to His kingdom and He loves us in an unfathomable way. I think that makes law king.)
  3. Relating to Lex Rex
    1. Read Romans 7:3-6. Paul tells us that we are released from the law - just like we are released from our marriage vows when our spouse dies. Is the King dead?
    2. Read Romans 7:7-8. Some argue that the law that died was the ceremonial law and not the Ten Commandments. What do these verses teach us about which law is being discussed? (These reveal that the law from which we are released is the Ten Commandments and not the ceremonial law. The command against coveting is the Tenth Commandment.)
      1. If the law was so important that Jesus died for it, why would we be released from the law? Why would Satan consider his true enemies to be those who keep the commandments?
    3. Read Romans 7:22-25. What does Paul say is his attitude towards God’s law? (He delights in it! He serves “the law of God” with his mind. The problem is that his body does not cooperate.)
    4. Look again at Romans 7:24 and read Romans 8:1-4. How are the requirements of the law met in us - who have trouble obeying the law? (Through Jesus. He obeyed for us.)
    5. Read Romans 8:4-6. Has Paul just reversed course? He told us that he wanted to do what was right but could not (Romans 7:19). But now he warns us that we will die if our mind is set “on things of the flesh.” How do you explain this? (Consider for a moment what we have studied so far. The Ten Commandments were in the Ark because they are a testimony about God’s guidance and love. Jesus died over the law so that we could live. He did not (as He could have) said, “Forget the law. My love for you will overlook these artificial requirements.” Instead He died to preserve the law and us. This is a powerful witness to the importance of God’s law.)
    6. Read Romans 8:12-14. How does this say we are able to keep the commandments? (By the Holy Spirit.)
      1. How do you interpret this? Are we stronger than Paul? (We cannot keep the law because we are sinful people and our flesh is weak, but the Holy Spirit changes all that.)
    7. Read again Romans 8:4. The critical phrase is “walk not according to the flesh.” We read next in Romans 8:5 that this has to do with how we “set the mind.” What God wants of us is an attitude of obedience. He wants us to delight in the law. He wants obedience to be the general direction of our life. He does not expect perfect obedience - that was His job!)
  4. Setting the Mind
    1. Read Rev 14:6-7. This is called the “eternal gospel.” Why? (We honor and worship God because He is our Creator and Judge.)
      1. What does our view of God as Judge say about our attitude towards the Ten Commandments?
    2. Read Exodus 20:8-11. What impact does Sabbath observance have on our attitude toward God as our Creator? (It is a weekly reminder that God is our Creator. It weekly informs our attitude.)
    3. Read Matthew 12:40. Most Christians believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday, rested in the grave on Saturday, and rose to eternal life on Sunday. Why did Jesus observe the Sabbath in death? (The Sabbath is not simply a memorial to Creation, it is now also a memorial to our salvation by grace alone. Jesus defeated sin on our behalf. He gave us the gift of eternal life. We should remember that on Sabbath. This is an important part of “setting the mind.”)
    4. Friend, the law is central to the conflict between good and evil. Jesus died to preserve the law and Satan targets those who keep the law. Whose side will you choose? If you choose to delight in the law the Holy Spirit will help you to do just that. Choose today!
  5. Next week: Spiritualism Exposed.