The Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2-5)
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 13 Wednesday
Read first paragraph,
“Paul’s use of the phrase “the law of Christ” (ton nomon tou Christou) occurs nowhere else in the Bible, though he uses a similar expression in 1 Corinthians 9:21 (ennomos Christou). The uniqueness of this phrase has resulted in a number of different interpretations. Some mistakenly argue that this is evidence that the law of God given at Sinai has been replaced by a different law, the law of Christ. Others claim the word law simply means a general “principle” (see Rom. 7:21), meaning that in bearing the burdens of others, we are following the example of Jesus. While the latter interpretation has some merit, the context and similar terminology with Galatians 5:14 suggest that “fulfilling the law of Christ” is another reference to fulfilling the moral law through love. Paul showed earlier in his letter that the moral law was not annulled with the coming of Christ. Instead, the moral law interpreted by love continues to play an important role in the Christian life. This is the epitome of what Jesus taught during His earthly ministry and also practiced throughout His life and even in His death. In bearing the burdens of others, we are not only following in the footsteps of Jesus, we are also fulfilling the law.”
What is your understanding of what the lesson means by the term, “moral law”? Is it the 10 commandments?
What do you think of the logic and explanation of the “law of Christ” and the “moral law”?
So, what is the law of Christ? Is it the law of love?
And the 10 Commandments are an expression of the law of love, specifically adapted for humans in sin – for loving purposes. Can the law of love be annulled? Why or why not?
How would you describe the law of love?
How would you apply the law of love in relationship to others and their burdens?
Why is it okay for a mother to brush the teeth of their 18 month old, but not okay for the same mother to brush the teeth of her 18 year old?
Love seeks to build up and bless others, to help others develop their full potential, which means we don’t habitually do for others that which they are capable of doing for themselves.
In the physical world strength increases as we exercise or stress our muscles against burdens or weights. No other person can exercise our muscles for us, if someone else lifts the weight they get the strength. Likewise, when it comes to character no one else can lift life’s individual responsibilities for you and you get the strengthening of character. No, if someone else lifts your burdens, that you are responsible for and capable of fulfilling, they get stronger and you get weaker.
Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Our quarterly pointed out that Paul’s use of the phrase “the law of Christ” is unique – it is used nowhere else in the entire Bible, which of course has led to a number of different interpretations of what he meant. What do you think he means? I don’t remember a commandment about bearing each other’s burdens, so I don’t think he’s talking about that law. Do we think it’s related to Galatians 5:14, which says, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” What about Romans 13:10, which says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” In Matthew 5:17, Christ even says He has not come to abolish the Law (capital L) or the prophets, but to fulfill them. This law of Christ is the law of Love.
The second part of Wednesday’s lesson makes an interesting point about the two different terms Paul uses for the word “burden” in verses 2 and 5 of chapter 6. The first context refers to a heavy load carried for a long distance, the other is interpreted as a ship’s cargo, a soldier’s backpack, or even a child in the womb. So, the first type of burden can be laid aside or shared, but the second type cannot. A pregnant mother must carry her own child, she can’t hire that out. So, some burdens others can help us bear, but for others – a guilty conscience, illness, death – we must rely on God’s help alone. Agree?
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