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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 6: God the Lawgiver *
Introduction: Our previous study was the book of Galatians, and that
gave us an attitude of "law versus grace." Such an attitude will
lead us astray unless we open our eyes to the bigger picture. Look
around the world at the countries governed by law and compare them
with countries governed by whatever the ruler decides at the moment.
Countries subject to "the rule of law" are more prosperous and more
free. Religious freedom, our most important freedom, only exists in
those countries which operate under the rule of law. If your idea
of "grace" is that you do whatever you think best at the moment,
then you have badly missed the point of God's law. Let's dive into
our study of the Bible to learn more about God's law.
- The Offer
- Read Exodus 19:3-6. What is God offering? (He is
offering a contract. That if the people "keep my
covenant" they will be special to God.)
- What do you think God had in mind when He said that
the people would be a "kingdom of priests?" (What do
priests do? They are representatives of their god.
Our God offers us a special relationship if we obey
- Why would the people want to accept this offer? (As
God pointed out to them, He was fully capable of
taking care of all of the problems that they faced.)
- Read Exodus 19:7-8. Did the people accept God's offer?
- The Executive Summary
- Read Matthew 22:37-40. When Jesus said that the "Law and
Prophets" "hang" on these two commandments, what did He
mean? (They are the foundation and the essence of the
- Notice our obligation to God. What part of us does
God demand? (All.)
- When Jesus refers to "heart," "soul" and "mind,"
what do you think that He means? Are these three
- How does the second command (love neighbor) differ
in terms of devotion from the first (love God)? (We
are not told to love our neighbors completely, just
love them as we love our self.)
- How much do you love yourself?
- Is it okay to love yourself? (Apparently!)
- Do you think that Jesus is introducing a new way to look
at the law? (Read Deuteronomy 10:12. Jesus is not
introducing something new.)
- Ten Commandments - Love to God
- Read Exodus 19:16-19. Notice that this is much different
than the way Jesus announced the foundation of the law in
Matthew 22. Why did God scare the people? (He wanted to
underscore the importance of the law. He also wanted (if
you read the next verses) to keep the people away, so
they would not try to see Him and die.)
- Read Exodus 20:1-2. What would God add to His resume
today? (I am the Lord your God who saved you from eternal
- Is this a stronger claim than the original?
- Read Exodus 20:3. What does this suggest about our
Lawgiver? (That He requires our first allegiance.)
- Read Exodus 20:4-6. Why is this second commandment
necessary given the first commandment? (This is about the
dignity of God. God does not want to be reduced to a
"thing" - especially, not something that He has created,
or something created by one of His creations.)
- Am I twisting God's words? He says he is "jealous"
and I suggested it was His dignity. Are the two
different? (God is jealous over His position - His
- What results from giving God what He is due?
(Blessings! Blessings even upon our children.)
- How would you summarize these first two commandments?
(They reflect our study last week - they show that God is
holy, set apart, unique.)
- Read Exodus 20:7. What is the first thing that comes to
mind when you read this commandment? (Swearing.)
- What do you think is the underlying problem which
God is addressing? How serious a problem is swearing
to that underlying problem? (Again, it is the
dignity, the glory of God, which is the underlying
- Would it violate this command for you to claim to be
a Christian and do things that would give God a bad
reputation? (This, I think, is a much more
significant problem then swearing. People think
little about swearing, because those who swear are
generally not people who claim to be God's
representatives. It is those who claim to be His
representatives, and who do evil, who misuse His
- Ten Commandments - The Transition
- Read Exodus 20:8-11. Is this fourth commandment about
loving God or about loving our fellow humans? (It honors
God for being our Creator, but all humans (including our
employees) enjoy this weekly rest.)
- Ten Commandments - Love To Neighbor
- Read Exodus 20:12. Why does honoring our parents have
something to do with the length of our lives? Is God
telling us that He will "zap" us for dishonoring parents?
(Parents generally have wisdom. If we learn from them our
lives will be better and longer. Loving our parents, like
loving our spouse, is a way to love ourselves.)
- Read Exodus 20:13-16. What is the common thread running
through all of these commandments? (Read Romans 13:8-10.
Love of others. When we take from others what is
rightfully theirs, we show selfishness and lack of love.)
- What is it that Jesus did for us? (He died in our
place. He gave up His life for us.)
- How do these commandments reflect upon what
Jesus has done for us? (The essence of the
gospel is to give up our self for another. The
actions described in these commandments take
from others for our benefit. They are the
opposite of the gospel.)
- Read Exodus 20:17. How is this related to the four
commandments that we just studied? (This is the attitude
part of the previous commandments. If you avoid wanting
your neighbor's stuff, if you are content with your
stuff, then you won't be taking any of your neighbor's
- How does love for your neighbor fit into this last
- Should these Biblical principles have anything to do
with national tax policies?
- If you say yes, as the United States enters the
final months of its presidential election, there is
a great deal of talk about placing extra taxes on
the rich. Is this a violation of the tenth
commandment? Is this envy and covetousness?
- The Ten Commandments of Grace
- Read Isaiah 48:17. Is this a description of the Ten
Commandments? (They are part of God's direction "in the
way you should go.")
- Read Isaiah 48:18-19. What is the result of obeying God's
law? (Peace. Righteousness. Reputation. Family. These
are all things that we want. God teaches us that His law
is not given to trip us up. It is not given to condemn
us. God gave us His law because He loves us and knows
best what kind of attitude and actions will be a blessing
in our life.)
- Next week: Lord of the Sabbath
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.