Lesson 2 The Law God’s Extremely Hard News For Us
A. The Great Truth Of The Law And Its Primary Meaning 律法的伟大真理与基本意义
In His Word, God has revealed the two great truths of His Law and Gospel. The law is a truth that contains very hard news for us to receive. God’s law sends an exceedingly strong, stern, demanding and difficult message to us.
The two primary words that are translated “law” in the Bible are the Old Testament Hebrew word, “torah”, and the New Testament Greek word, “nomos.”
Most of the time, God uses the word “law” in the Bible in a specific, primary sense to refer to “God’s holy, moral demands of all people that they be perfect and God’s condemnation and punishments for those who disobey Him.”
“Be holy because I am the Lord your God. Keep My decrees and follow them.” （Leviticus 20:7b-8a）
“The soul who sins is the one who will die.” （Ezekiel 18:4b）
When we speak about God’s teachings of the law and gospel, we are using this specific, primary definition/sense of the law.
B. The Revelation Of The Law 律法的启示
God has revealed His law to people in two places: 神在两个地方向人类启示他的律法：
God has written His holy, moral demands on the minds and souls of people at the time of their creation.
“They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” （Romans 2:15）
The entrance of sin into people’s lives has blurred this once perfect knowledge of the law. So now, when people are created, they have a limited and flawed understanding of God’s requirements of them.
In order to help people know His moral demands of them clearly and fully, God lovingly revealed His law in a second way. He had it written and recorded in various places in the Bible.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of His law.” （Deuteronomy 29:29）
C. The Messages Of The Law 律法的信息
In the law, God makes great and important demands of people: 神在律法中向人类提出重大要求：
God commands people to love Him and all other people with their whole being at all times.
”Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … and love your neighbor as yourself.‘“ （Matthew 22:37, 39b）
耶稣对他说：”你要尽心、尽性、尽意，爱主你的 神… 要爱人如己。“（马太福音22:37, 39b）
God instructs people to carry out this command to love in many different ways:
”You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol. You shall not bow down to worship them. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife … or anything that belongs to your neighbor.“ （Exodus 20:3-17） （See also Leviticus 19 and Romans 12:9-13:1）
除了我以外，你不可有别的神。不可为自己雕刻偶像；不可跪拜那些像；不可妄称耶和华你 神的名；当记念安息日，守为圣日。当孝敬父母。不可杀人。不可奸淫。不可偷盗。不可作假见证陷害人。不可贪恋人的妻子。 . . 并他一切所有的。（出埃及记20:3-17）（另见利未记 19及罗马书 12:9-13:1）
God requires that people keep his law perfectly （100%） in all that they are and think and say and do.
”Be holy, because I the Lord your God, am holy.“ （Leviticus 19:2）
”你们要圣洁，因为我耶和华你们的 神是圣洁的。“（利未记 19:2）
”Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.“ （Matthew 5:48）
God will not change or alter any part of His law’s demands and punishments.
”I the Lord do not change.“ （Malachi 3:6）
In the law, God promises blessing for those who perfectly obey it and curses for those who disobey it.
”He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied, ‘Do this and you will live.’“ （Luke 10:27-28）
”All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.“ （Galatians 3:10）
In the law, God declares the just and convicting truth that all people have failed to keep His law and have sinned.
”There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one … All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.“ （Romans 3:10-12, 23）
就如经上所记：”没有义人，连一个也没有！没有明白的，没有寻求 神的。 . . 都是偏离正路，一同变为无用。没有行善的，连一个也没有！“…因为世人都犯了罪，亏缺了 神的荣耀。（罗马书3:10-12, 23）
In the law, God delivers the just and terrifying truth that all sinners are under His just condemnation and must suffer His earthly and eternal wrath and punishment.
”But your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins have hidden His face from you. （Isaiah 59:2）
“The wages of sin is death.” （Romans 6:23）
“Then Jesus said to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” （Matthew 25:41）
D. The Forms Of The Law 律法的形式
God uses a variety of forms to deliver the true, powerful messages of His law: 神以多种方式传达真实、权威的律法信息。
God gives commands or orders. 神发布命令。
“The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. （Deuteronomy 26:16）
God makes demands or authoritative claims. 神提出要求。
”He said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.“ （Matthew 22:21）
God issues warnings. 神发出警告。
”Know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.“ （Ecclesiastes 11:9）
”Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.“ （Ezekiel 18:30b）
God makes threats. 神发出威吓
”Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.“ （Deuteronomy 27:26）
God makes valid accusations of sin and wrongdoing. 神指控罪与恶行。
”Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.“ （Hosea 4:1-2）
God makes just condemnations of sin and unbelief. 神对罪与悖逆发出公义的责难。
”Their sin engulfs them; they are always before Me … He does not return to the Lord his God or search for Him… Woe to them, because they have strayed from Me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against Me! （Hosea 7:2b, 10b, 13a）
他们所行的现在缠绕他们，都在我面前…他们仍不归向耶和华他们的神，也不寻求他…他们因离弃我，必定有祸，因违背我，必被毁灭。（何西阿书7:2b, 10b, 13a）
God pronounces punishments for sin. 神宣告罪得惩罚。
“On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide My face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?’ And I will certainly hide My face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.” （Deuteronomy 31:17-18）
God promises rewards for complete obedience. 神应许完全的顺服得奖赏。
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.” （Deuteronomy 28:1-2）
E. The Purposes Of The Law 神律法的目的
Out of His great love, God has given people His law for a number of important reasons:
Originally, God gave the law as a means by which people could gain salvation for themselves. They could earn salvation by perfectly obeying the law. （The Law as a Stairway to heaven）
Keep My decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.“ （Leviticus 18:5）
Since the Fall into sin and the spiritual corruption of the human race, all people are sinful and fail to keep the law perfectly. Now no one is able to save himself/herself by obeying the law. （The Law is a Dead End as a means of salvation）
”All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.“ （Psalm 14:3）
”Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law.“ （Romans 3:20a）
God now uses the law for the primary purpose of causing people to realize and be genuinely sorry for their sins and to be afraid of God and His judgment on their sins. The name we give to this spiritual condition is contrition. （The Law as a Photograph that reveals our sin and punishment）
a. The law makes people aware of their sin and guilt.
”I would not have known what sin was except through the law.“ （Romans 7:7b）
”Through the law we come conscious of sin.“ （Romans 3:20b）
b. The law works in people a spirit of sincere regret for their sins.
”I confess my iniquity. I am troubled by me sin.“ （Psalm 38:18）
”Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.“ （Luke 15:21）
c. The law crushes the sinful pride of people and kills their false hopes of avoiding or escaping God’s condemnation of their sins.
”My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear…I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.“ （Psalm 38:4, 8）
”Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandments come, sin sprang to life and I died.“ （Romans 7:9）
d. The law leads people to despair of saving themselves and to be prepared to look to God to save them.
”Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.“ （Psalm 130:1-2）
”What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?“ （Romans 7:24）
”I said, ‘O Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against You.“ （Psalm 41:4）
By giving people the law to work contrition in their hearts, God uses the law in the service of the Gospel. People who are properly alarmed by their sin and afraid of God’s judgment are prepared to receive and appreciate the saving comfort God gives in the Gospel. People who are secure in their sin and not afraid of God’s judgment feel no need and have no interest in the Gospel.
”Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For, if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.“ （Galatians 3:21-24）
God also uses the law to restrict the sinful behavior of people so that there is relative peace and order in the world. （The law as a Fence to restrain sin）
”We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and the sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.“ （1 Timothy 1:9-10）
”For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong… He is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.“ （Romans 13:3a, 4）
God also uses the law to give Christians guidance for living a God-pleasing, obedient life of good works. （The law as a Guide to show the way to live）
”How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.“ （Psalm 119:9）
”Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.“ （John 14:21）
F. Sinful Efforts To Interfere With God’s Purposes In The Law 人类的罪恶努力抵挡神实现律法的目的
All people, by nature, know God’s law and have consciences that witness to their keeping or breaking of the law （Romans 2:14-15）。 However, their sinful natures hate the powerful, strict and difficult message of the law, refuse to accept it, and fight against the law accomplishing God’s good purposes in their lives.
”The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.“ （Romans 8:7）
”The law brings wrath.“ （Romans 4:15a）
In their opposition to God and His law, the sinful natures of people lead them to rebel against the law in such ways as:
a. Refusing and ignoring the law’s authority over them.
”In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God… . He is haughty and Your laws are far from him … He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble“ （Psalm 10:4, 5b, 6）
恶人面带骄傲，说，耶和华必不追究。他一切所想的，都以为没有神…凡他所作的，时常稳固。你的审判超过他的眼界。他心里说，我必不动摇，世世代代不遭灾难。（诗篇10:4, 5b, 6）
b. Declaring the law to be evil and sins against it to be good things.
”Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.“ （Isaiah 5:20-21）
祸哉，那些称恶为善，称善为恶，以暗为光，以光为暗，以苦为甜，以甜为苦的人。祸哉，那些自以为有智慧，自看为通达的人。 （以赛亚书 5:20-21）
c. Insisting that the law is for other people, but not for them.
”They do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.“ （Matthew 23:3b-4）
d. Accepting some parts of the law and neglecting others
”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.“ （Matthew 23:23-24）
e. Insisting that the law only needs to be kept in outward actions and not also in the inner attitudes of the heart.
”You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.“ （Matthew 23:27b-28）
你们好像粉饰的坟墓，外面好看，里面却装满了死人的骨头，和一切的污秽。 你们也是如此，在人前，外面显出公义来，里面却装满了假善和不法的事。 （马太福音23:27b-28）
f. Assuming that God is not really serious about the law and is either unwilling and/or unable to enforce it.
”He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; He covers His face and never sees.“ …… ”Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does his say to himself, ‘He won’t call me to account?‘“ （Psalm 10:11, 13）
他心里说，神竟忘记了。他掩面，永不观看……恶人为何轻慢神，心里说，你必不追究。 （诗篇 10:11, 13）
All these and other forms of rebellion against the law reveal the foolish, sinful stubbornness of the human heart. People who persist in this unbelieving rebellion against God only succeed in incurring more sin and punishment for themselves.
”But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed.“ （Romans 2:5）
G. Reviewing The Lesson 本课回顾
1. Fill in the blanks to correctly complete the following sentences. 填空，正确完成下列句子。
We call the law, God’s extremely hard news for us because its message is strong, stern, demanding and ————– for us to receive and follow.
The specific, primary meaning of God’s law is God’s ———, moral demands of all people that they be perfect along with God’s condemnations and punishments for those who ——— Him.
One reason God lovingly chose to reveal His law by writing it in the ——— was that God’s original writing of the law in human hearts had become ———— after sin entered people’s lives.
The primary requirements God has for us in the law is that we ———- both God and all other people without failing even ———–.
The law also announces to us that tragic news that we have ————— against God and that we must suffer His earthly and eternal ——————-.
God delivers the messages of the law to us in the forms of —————–, demands, warnings and ——————. He also makes valid ————– and condemnations and pronounces ———————– for our sins.
Because of our sinfulness, the law is no longer a ”——————“ we can climb to reach heaven. Attempting to gain salvation by our own ——- is now a useless and frustrating ”dead end.“
God’s primary purpose in giving us the law is to work ———— in our hearts, that is, a genuine sorrow for our sins and a ———— of God and His judgment on our sins. In this way, the law serves as a spiritual ”photograph“ to reveal our sin and punishment.
God also uses the law as a spiritual ”fence“ to restrain the sinful ———– of people and as a spiritual ”guide“ for the Christian to show him/her how to live a God- —————– life.
God seeks to accomplish His good purposes of His law in our lives against the wicked, rebellious efforts of our sinful ————–.
2. Analyze These Scripture Verses 经文分析
The house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are My ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel! For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord, Repent and live! （Ezekiel 18:29-32）
以色列家还说，主的道不公平。以色列家阿，我的道岂不公平么。你们的道岂不是不公平么。所以主耶和华说，以色列家阿，我必按你们各人所行的审判你们。你们当回头离开所犯的一切罪过。这样，罪孽必不使你们败亡。你们要将所犯的一切罪过尽行抛弃，自作一个新心和新灵。以色列家阿，你们何必死亡呢。主耶和华说，我不喜悦那死人之死，所以你们当回头而存活。 （以西结书 18:29-32）
What forms does God uses to present the law in these verses?
What purpose（s） does God want to accomplish through the law in these verses?