The title alone gives us pause this week: “The Law of God and the Law of Christ”. Aren’t they one and the same? Or is there a real difference we should know about? Other questions might involve what was new about Jesus’ “new commandment” (John 13:34) and what was different about Jesus’ kind of love.

If you haven’t seen enough love brought out in the lessons so far on the law, this week should be particularly exciting to you. What kind of love is required in order to keep God’s law? And how do we get that kind of love?

Key Text: “‘If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.'” John 15:10 NKJV

We have used this text many times to verify that Jesus did indeed keep the Ten Commandments, but have you ever pondered the total meaning of these words. Is it saying that if we don’t keep His commandments, God doesn’t love us? Believe it or not, some have come to this conclusion. We’ll also look at this issue further in our study this week.

Sunday: The Law and the Prophets

Just as secular laws are found in a hierarchy, with local laws under the umbrella of a set of laws for the whole country, so God’s Ten Commandment law is the umbrella under which other laws and requirements which aid in applying it must be taken into account. The rabbis counted 613 such laws in Scripture, which had been handed down through God’s prophets. These “sub-laws”, you might call them, were important for God’s people at some time in their history, but obviously not all would be beneficial to us today.

The rabbis went even further in exacting their own rigid requirements and it was only these petty enactments of the rabbis that Jesus opposed while on earth.

You will recall that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that He came not to “abolish the law or the prophets”. And later when Jesus summarized the Law in Matthew 22:40, He concluded by saying “‘On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets'” NKJV.

So we must not restrict the law to just the Ten Commandments. This is where His law is summarized, but the law of God might well contain every divine command spoken to and through the prophets.

God’s law is summarized in a similar fashion in both the Old and New Testament:

  • Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” KJV
  • Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” KJV
  • Leviticus 19:18 “…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.” KJV

Discussion Questions: What does the reference to “heart, soul, and mind” tell us about human nature? How would you reclassify these areas in today’s language and what impact do they have on our keeping the law? What kind of obedience and relationship with God does keeping it just on an emotional level have for us? The spiritual? The mental?

Monday: The “Rules” of Love

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 KJV

Loving one another sounds very similar to the Old Testament verses we just looked at. As we’ve determined, Jesus did indeed keep His Father’s commandments, the “rules” of love:

  • He humbly and obediently accompanied His earthly parents home after spending time in the temple, when He was only 12 (Luke 2:51)
  • He refused to bow down to Satan in the wilderness (Luke 4:8)
  • He was in the synagogue every Sabbath (Luke 4:16).

And all of it out of love, because love is the force, the power behind the Ten Commandments. They represent God’s will for our life. They show us how to express our love for God and for others.

So what was new about Jesus’ keeping of the Law–except that He did it perfectly throughout His entire life? How indeed was Jesus’ love different from ours?

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I John 3:16 KJV

Discussion Questions: The Sermon on the Mount gave many fresh explanations on keeping the commandments of God. In Matthew 5:43 and 44, Jesus uses the expression “hate thine enemy”. This concept was not found in Scripture, however. So, why do you think Jesus mentioned it? How did such a theology evolve? Do we see it in today’s world? Here is Jesus’ antidote for hatred:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44.

Jesus really illustrated this concept at the cross. Is loving our enemies fulfilling the admonition to “lay down our lives for the brethren”? Who then are “the brethren”?

Tuesday: All Things to All Men

Paul made some rather confusing remarks in I Corinthians 9. It almost makes Paul sound like a chameleon: compromising right and left, just depending on the people he was working with. What is he really trying to convey in these verses, including his statements about those “under the law”? Here are the verses in question:

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” I Corinthians 9:19-23 NKJV

His mention of “the weak” reminds us of the verse Romans 15:1: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” KJV Isn’t this statement just another way to say what he did in I Corinthians?

Discussion Questions: What do you think Paul means by “those who are under the law”? Is it those who know the law, or perhaps legalists who are trying to keep the law to gain salvation?

How far do we become like those we are trying to win to Christ? Could this have been hard for Paul at first? Why?

Wednesday: Fulfilling the Law of Christ

Most everyone has experienced grace to some extent. Whenever we “mess up” and are forgiven, we enjoy the grace and mercy of Jesus. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” KJV

It is by grace we are saved, and it’s totally free for the asking. But God has another kind of grace available to us–the kind we extend to others:

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be temped. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 KJV


The assistance we provide our brethren (which may even include our enemies, as we discovered earlier) is for the purpose of restoration. This law of Christ then is driven by merciful grace, and helps bring repentant sinners back to God’s law of love.

Don’t forget the spirit of meekness in these verses. No one was more humble than our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is this same humility that must be present if we are to help lead someone to God.

“Let poor, weak mortals consider how great is their own need of pity and forbearance from God and from their brethren. Let them beware how they judge and condemn others.” ~Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, January 25, 1883.

Discussion Questions: Nothing is more dreaded than church discipline, when flagrantly erring church members need to be addressed by the church, and decisions made about what, if any, correction might need to be applied. Is it possible to show grace and discipline in these troubling cases? And why is it important to do so?

What Bible characters can you think of who fell into sin, but God was able to forgive and continue to use them to glorify Him and bless others? What kind of repentance was necessary for this to happen? [David, Jonah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, Jacob, Paul]

Thursday: Law and Judgment

What does the law have to do with our judgment? We know the law can’t save us. But can it condemn us? Perhaps this thought is why so many are troubled over the concept of law.

First of all, we know that Jesus is the one who judges us, but what is it that condemns us?

  • John 5:22 “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” KJV
  • II Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” KJV
  • II Timothy 4:1 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” KJV
  • John 12:48 “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” KJV
  • James 2:12 “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

Notice in John 12:48 above that rejecting Christ and His words what condemns us in the last day.

So Jesus does judge us, providing us with ample grace and understanding of our human frailties. Likewise, the law is the standard that is used in the judgment, which brings justice into the picture. This brings to mind the beautiful picture of God in Psalm 85:10: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” KJV

Discussion Question: How do we see the law differently after considering the verses in this study? Is it a checklist to see how close we are to getting to heaven? Or is it merely the expression of God’s will for our lives? How should we view the law?


Obeying the law of Christ is to share His love with others–to bear each others’ burdens (Galatians 6:2). Only the sweet, loving compassion of Jesus can do this. We must refuse to judge or condemn others, but instead offer them forgiveness and understanding, striving with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to bring them to God.

Jesus is our loving Judge, and the Law of God is the perfect standard of judgment. Both mercy and justice are provided us on Judgment Day.


Compare Exodus 20, which contains the Ten Commandments, with Leviticus 19. See if you can find all the commandments tucked away in this chapter in Leviticus, which shows how the different types of laws are integrated and how they emphasize holy living.

Here is a guide to help you (found in The Teachers Comments of the quarterly):

  1. “I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19: 3, 4, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 25, 28, 30-32, 34, 37
  2. Graven images (Lev. 19:4)
  3. God’s name in vain (Lev. 19:12)
  4. Sabbath (Lev. 19:3, 30)
  5. Honor parents (Lev. 19:3)
  6. Murder (Lev. 19:16)
  7. Adultery (Lev. 19: 29)
  8. Stealing (Lev. 19:11, 13, 35, 36)
  9. False witness (Lev. 19: 11, 16)
  10. Coveting (Lev. 19:18)

Even though recognizing God as who He is seems to be central in these verses, why didn’t Jesus chose just one of the commandments when He was asked to do so? Meditate on why each one is so important and why breaking one of them is the same as breaking them all. (Matthew 5:19)