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The Rule of Law
Lucy, in Peanuts, talking to her younger brother Linus, draws a heart on the fence and blackens one half. “This, Linus, is a picture of the human heart!” she says, “One side is filled with hate and the other side is filled with love. These are the two forces which are constantly at war with each other.” 

A sick look comes over Linus’s face as he clutches his chest. “I think I know just what you mean . . . I can feel them fighting!” 

1. How does Paul describe this conflict for believers? Romans 7:22, 23  

“For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” 

2. What is Paul’s view of God’s law? Romans 7:12, 14  

“So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. . . . We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” 

3. What do God’s commandments do for sinners? Romans 7:7  

“I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’ ” 

4. Can we be saved by obeying the commandments? Romans 3:20  

“No one will be declared righteous . . . by observing the law.” 

5. How are we saved? Romans 3:24, 25  

“[We] are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.” Paul says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). 

6. Do we do away with the law because we are saved by faith alone, in Jesus alone? Romans 3:31  

“Do we, then, nullify [abolish] the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” 

7. Does wholehearted obedience to the Ten Commandments lead to bondage or liberty? James 2:12 

“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.” 

Written by God 

The Ten Commandments are the only part of the Bible written by God Himself (see Exodus 31:18). 

8. Which are the two positive commandments? Exodus 20:8, 11, 12 

“‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . . For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.’” 

“ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” 

The first four commandments summarize our duty to God, based on the fourth—God is Creator. The last six tell us how to relate to others, based on the fifth—family relationships that form the basis of society. These are the principles of life and are the way human beings would naturally act if it were not for sin. 

9. How did Jesus summarize the two sections of the Ten Commandments? Matthew 22:37–39  

“ ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ’ ”

Paul says, “Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10), and Jesus said, “ ‘A new command I give you: . . . As I have loved you, so you must love one another’ ” (John 13:34). When we accept the gift of salvation, God promises to write His laws in our hearts (see Hebrews 10:11–17). 

John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, said, “The moral law, contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the Prophets, He [Jesus] did not take away. . . . This is a law which never can be broken, which ‘stands fast as the faithful witness in heaven.’ . . . Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages.” 

Bible Discovery by Errol Webster. Reprinted with permission by SIGNS. Biblebay © 2001-2014, Westlake Village, CA.