Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr Masimba Mavaza
Law and Grace
Memory Text: “ ‘I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain’ ” (Galatians 2:21, NKJV).
Christians of most denominations talk about law and grace and understand the relationship between the two. The law is God’s standard of holiness and righteousness, and violation of that law is sin. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4, NKJV). And because we all have violated that law—“but the Scripture has confined all under sin” (Gal. 3:22, NKJV)—it’s only God’s grace that can save us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8, NKJV).
(Of course, there is the “slight detail” of the seventh-day Sabbath as part of the law. Yet, for various reasons, many Christians are determined, at least for now, to reject the seventh-day Sabbath, coming up with all sorts of weak excuses to justify their rejection. But that’s all another topic.)
Even if expressed in different ways and in various scenarios, the theme of law and grace certainly is found all through the Bible, including the book of Deuteronomy. Yes, Deuteronomy, too, presents the relationship between law and grace but in a unique context.
SABBATH: The law of God & His grace coexist. It’s the sophistry of Satan that God’s law no longer abounds because of His grace. God’s grace does not replace His law or make it of none effect. We all have sinned & is need of God’s grace (1 John 3:4, Gal. 3:22). It’s only His grace that can save us (Eph. 2:8). Many Christians reject God’s law. Deuteronomy shows us that law & grace are in harmony.
SUNDAY: “We should never have learned the meaning of this word ‘grace’ had we not fallen.” God’s law is a law of love. In heaven, love is what encircles the government of God & His character. As moral beings with the moral freedom to love, God gave us His moral law. Atoms, waves, & mute animals are subject to natural laws, angels & men have the moral law (Ezek. 28:15, 16, Rom. 7:7, MB, p. 109).
MONDAY: Deuteronomy is God’s final words to Israel. Before the Israelites possessed Canaan, they were to remember the God who saved them from slavery, clothe & fed them in the wilderness to obey Him. In their covenant with God, it was their duty to obey Him (Deut. 4:44, 17:19, 28:58, 30:10, 31:12, 32:46, 33:2). Grace saved us to obey (Rom. 3:20, 28, John 14:15, Rev. 14:12). Exalt the law in grace!
TUESDAY: Israel did not seek after God’s grace, it was sent in search for them. While they were still a small nation & in slavery, the grace of God located them. The love of God pervaded in ancient Israel & throughout the OT. Today, Satan inspires men to defame the God of the OT as wicked, harsh, & mean. All the laws given to Israel was for their good. Obedience to the law attract blessings (Deut. 10:1-15).
WEDNESDAY: The amazing grace of God redeems. This theme of redeeming grace can be found in Deuteronomy. Again & again, Israel was reminded about God’s love shown to them while in slavery (Deut. 26:8, Micah 6:4). It points to the deliverance in Christ (Heb. 11:29, 1 Cor. 10:1-4). Moses spoke of the need for Israel to keep the law (the Sabbath) for being saved (Heb. 4:1-5, Matt. 18:21-35).
THURSDAY: Man, coated in dust, in his own strength & might can’t earn salvation. We’re only justified by faith in Christ (Rom. 4:3). We can only be saved by putting on the righteous garment of Christ. We’re prepared to put on Christ when we see our nothingness (FLB, p. 109). Only the grace of Christ, manifested at the Cross, can save man (Deut. 9:1-6, see Rev. 14:6, 2 Tim. 1:9, Titus 1:2).
FRIDAY: The Archenemy of God, Satan, work with all his might, as a skilled & trained general to make of none effect the holy law of God. God designed the world out of nothing. He formed the galaxies. A creator is bigger than what he created. Thus, Christ transcends His creation (John 1:1-3). Yet, He humbled Himself to live with men & die for men for them to earn salvation. Love Him! (Eccl. 12:13).
—Ellen G. White, “A Peculiar People,” Review and Herald, November 18, 1890.
OT- Old Testament
MB- Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing
FLB- The Faith I Live By
Letov Lak- It means “for your good”. The last words of Deut. 10:13
SUNDAY- Law In Heaven
MONDAY- Law In Deuteronomy
TUESDAY- Letov Lak
WEDNESDAY- A Slave In Egypt
THURSDAY- Not For Your Righteousness
📌 In class, go over the question at the end of Monday’s study, about how people who believe in keeping God’s law, the Ten Commandments (including the fourth), can avoid the subtle traps of legalism. How does obedience, even strict and unwavering obedience, differ from legalism, and how can we know the difference between the two?
📌 What are some stories you have heard (or known firsthand) about how those who have violated the Ten Commandments suffered terrible consequences from that violation? What should this teach us about how the law reflects the reality of God’s love for us?
📌 Why should the cross show us the futility of trying to earn our way to heaven?