1. The Law Our School Master

By John Thiel, Walking in the Light of 1888 Conference, Study 1, mp3

We are to walk in the light that came down from heaven in 1888. To walk in the light of something that was addressed 120 years ago, it is a subject 120 years old. Why address the matter such a long time after? We have been made aware that the light of the Revelation 18 angel came back then and that was the beginning of the fourth angel and the beginning of the light that would swell into a loud cry. As we contemplate that reality, why has it taken 120 years?  To all human observation we have seen such little impact of that message in the ranks of the majority of Adventism. The Lord in his mercy according to TM 91-92 gave a most precious message to do what? To bring more prominently the Lord Jesus to us. This was written in 1895. Why was that written? Because we heard that in 1892 that the mark of the beast was established.

The perils of the last days are upon us. Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God. Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could. . . . {TM 79.3}

Here we have the understanding as to why so long since 1888. History has repeated itself. Jesus was repulsed by the Pharisees and the same Jesus held up by the people in 1888 was repelled by those in leading positions and they were doing a satanic work in Minneapolis and they continued it thereafter.

By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world. {1SM 234.6}

If they would have received it they would have carried the truth to the world. I ask the question, why has it not been such an impact when this was being presented? Because by the brethren it was kept away from the world. It was tossed around in Adventism and it lost its power in the discussion of the subject as a theological argumentation. The reason why we are still on this planet now is that there has been no manifest awareness on the part of Adventists in general and that we are on the very last experience. We want to be people who are aware and alert to where we stand right now. We want to understand now the reason for the opposition. The Spirit of Prophecy identifies the main reason for the opposition.

The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). In this scripture, the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking especially of the moral law. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. {1SM 234.5}

An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren [E.J.] Waggoner and [A.T.] Jones. {1SM 234.6}

What was the foundation?  They had some preconceived opinions about the school master.  When Sr White wrote that the school master is the law, especially the Ten Commandments, the spirit of God was giving these leaders a good wallop because they were arguing in defense of their belief that the school master was the Mosaic Law, the law of symbols that led us to Christ but Sr White under inspiration says no the apostle was specifically speaking about the moral law. There was the opposition. If this was the root of the opposition, if this was the reason why this beautiful message was slowed down to this point in time 120 years after, it does us well to take a full look at this and pick up enthusiastically where they had left off to come to the 1888 fruition as it was intended or be it 120 years after. 120 years after? Does that ring a bell? How long did God have to wait for the antediluvians? He has had to wait for the Seventh Day Adventist people the same amount of time. Let us examine where the hitch was on this subject.

The Law in Galatians

Galatians 3:21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Can you see the hitch? How can the Ten Commandments be the Ten Commandments if when you have faith you are no longer under the Ten Commandments?  That was their problem.  Explore the experience of what apostle Paul addressed. Walk with me in the light of what was rejected back there. When you read the Ten Commandments in their spiritual application and in the heart you want to keep them, how well do you succeed? Be honest with yourself. You read their impact and you think yes I want o keep them. What did the children of Israel say? They shook in their boots and said everything the Lord has said we will do and be obedient.

Galatians 3:21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Here is the powerful suggestion that although the Ten Commandments were given, they were not given that the sinner would have life originally intended by that law.  The sinner should have righteous by the law but the scripture has concluded all under sin. The only way we can come to righteousness is the faith of Jesus Christ given to them that believe.

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? [is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

He is talking about the Ten Commandments. What did the law do?

Romans 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead.

You tell a child don’t touch that and what does a child do? It will touch it. That’s exactly what the law does to us because it rouses in you all manner of concupiscence. Get the picture? If the law wouldn’t have told me I wouldn’t have done it but I have a condition that when the law tells me something I am going to do it.

Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

What happened? The discovery of my sinfulness.

Romans 7:10 And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].

Sin taking occasion by the commandment. Don’t touch! I will touch. Do this, I won’t do it!. Because a sinner has got a repulsiveness against Gods commandments.

Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

You are convicted, you are a sinner. The law of God tells you what a sinner you really are because it brings out the worst in you. If the law wouldn’t be there I wouldn’t know I’m a sinner. I wouldn’t know what I’m really made of. Then I will do the opposite to what I should be doing. The law being the law of Gods justice, what does it demand? As it identifies the sin in me, what does it demand?

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Do you like the Ten Commandments? The Ten Commandments condemn me to death. They don’t give life or righteousness, they give justice. That’s what they do. How does this unfold in living experience?

We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings punishment upon himself. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death. {6BC 1085.6}

That’s how this condemning law actually brings the point that the sinner that sins shall die. It is not that God is there as an arbitrator saying you will die for this. It is because as we break the law, something inside of me starts to react and works in me more and more a character of defiance and causes me to transgress easier again. By doing this in reaction, we cut ourselves off from God and the sure result is ruin and death. What a horrific discovery. As the law came what happened? The horror of it.

The Horror of the Law

Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

Horrors of horrors, I thought the Ten Commandments would be for my benefit. They are going to kill me. My reactions will take me to death. Apostle Paul vivifies this. He explains it in his own experience as he came face to face with this.

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

He had to discover that and we have to discover it.

Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good.

I know the Ten Commandments are right but there is this thing inside of me.

Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.

I’m helpless. God wants to come for helpless souls.

Romans 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

How did apostle Paul discover that he was a wretched man? By trying to keep the commandments. Should he have tried to never keep them? No Gods church is told to uphold the law and we should all try to keep them to see how sinful we are. It is a school master to lead us to ask the question, I am so wretched, who can help me? Do you know this kind of experience? If you don’t you still have to go through more hell yet.

Galatians 3:21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

It can’t give me life. I can’t get righteousness from the law. As many people come up to the moral standards of life, people despair entirely.

The Three Reactions to the Law of God

  1. They declare – are you trying to get to heaven by keeping the law? It’s been nailed to the cross. You don’t have to worry about the Sabbath, thou shalt not kill, go to war, don’t worry about the marriage bond if it doesn’t work out you can go marry again when it says that’s adultery. All these different laws are being thrown out the door because it’s a despairing message.  That is the first reaction.
  2. There is another reaction.  Oh well, I give up. I give up my faith, I can never reach it, I give up and I am going to plunge myself into self indulgence around me.
  3. I will keep the law like Saul of Tarsus.

Some people nail the law to the cross, some give up faith entirely because the law really condemns them and I’m never going to make it anyway so throw it out the door for good. Here is the one who really believes he can do it.

Saul of Tarsus

Philippians 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

I’ve been born a Seventh Day Adventist reformer, I’m of the stock of Adventism, I’m an Adventist of the Adventists, according to the law, I’m a real fighter for it and concerning the righteousness in the law, I’m blameless. That is how you get out of the condemnation of the law. You weave your own idea about yourself. All those three positions exist in the world around us today.

The Law Won’t Leave You Alone!

The Pharisee felt no conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit could not work with him. His soul was encased in a self-righteous armor which the arrows of God, barbed and true-aimed by angel hands, failed to penetrate. {COL 158.1}

This is what Gods law is trying to do with the angels. Trying to break this impenetrable wall of self righteousness. All three of those cases, the one who says the law is nailed to the cross I believe in Jesus and everything is fine, and the one who says it’s too hard I give up, and the Pharisaical approach are addressed. While they are all doing this the law won’t leave them alone.

Against every evildoer God’s law utters condemnation. He may disregard that voice, he may seek to drown its warning, but in vain. It follows him. It makes itself heard. It destroys his peace. If unheeded, it pursues him to the grave. It bears witness against him at the judgment. A quenchless fire, it consumes at last soul and body. {Ed 144.5}

We have a good understanding of this already because this kind of conscious smiting behaviour makes people antagonistic against each other. It will eventually destroy them because of the fire they kindle against each other. That is the impact of the horror of the Ten Commandments. Of these three options there is a fourth one;

The Fourth Option

Between the lines is an answer. If the law keeps hounding me like this and destroying my peace and my happiness inside myself, won’t I heed it? What is it trying to do?

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Here the meaning is self evident. What is the law doing? If it keeps pestering me and annoying my peace. That is what the school master does. If someone keeps reminding you what you are meant to be doing, it takes away my happiness and ruins my peace because it is the school master that takes away my happiness to lead me to the righteousness of Christ.

Psalm 38:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 3 [There is] no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither [is there any] rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink [and] are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome [disease]: and [there is] no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire [is] before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

You go to a counsellor with those words and what do they say to you? Stop putting yourself down, come on be cheerful it’s alright become a Pharisee, become someone who says the law is nailed to the cross but don’t give up. Become a somebody but don’t throw yourself in the pit. They try to boost your ego. This is the purpose of the law to make me think and feel like that. Is this what you have done underneath? You’ve put up a good front and you don’t know the true servant of God knows what is going on underneath.  You know when someone is all cheerful in front of you I know there is lots of ugliness underneath as the Lord has shown me. It’s here in the Word of God. A good strong front doesn’t pass with the Lord, you are hiding behind bamboo curtains.

Psalms 38:15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

Here is the answer, not to try to get out from this terrible burden, just come to the Lord saying I’m hoping you will help me. Remember the words of Romans 7:24?  As we read it, I am so wretched, who shall save me out of this terrible state? The law will keep pestering me until I will hang like a wet rag over a bar.  That is where he wants me instead of nailing the Lord to the cross. Apostle Paul did what he cried out for. Who can help me? I need help. I need some way out of this.

Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Saul did not commence a raid against the law in order to justify a life of sin; but when his mind was enlightened in regard to the claims of the law of God, he saw himself a sinner, a transgressor of the law. His sins were brought before him, and what was the result? Did he commence a tirade against the law which showed him that he was a transgressor? Is it in his heart to crucify that law? Oh no! he crucified the carnal mind which rises in enmity against the law of God. “Sin revived,” says Paul, “and I,” not the law, “died.” Oh! when will professed Christians awake to see the brink of the precipice they are standing upon in refusing to acknowledge the claims of the law of God? {RH, March 8, 1870 par. 11}

See what those have done who have crucified the law? They are on the brink and precipice of destruction. When we see the law doing this to us, don’t crucify the law, don’t give up, don’t become a Pharisee, flee into the arms of Jesus Christ.  The schoolmaster brings condemnation, warning and follows me with a nagging conscious. Why is the school master doing it? Because it wants to lead me to the release mechanism – Jesus Christ.  What death did the apostle die instead of crucifying the law? The death of the carnal mind. What did he crucify?

Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

What must I do? I must be crucified with Christ. That is the thought in which I will be released form this wretched condition. He found the faith.  The law is our school master that leads us to Christ. Before this Christ experience could take place, the school master had to pester me, he had to nag me and he had to take away my peace so that I might find the faith.

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

How to Find Faith

While I’m still in this state of trying to meet up with the moral expectations as I am, I do not have faith. I might believe that the Ten Commandments are right, but I don’t have faith because the law is the school master that takes me to faith. After the law has come we are no longer under the school master as I’ve reached what the school master wants me to gain as I’ve discovered that Jesus is the school master. How did Paul find faith? The school master. It was attempting to bring him to live by the faith of Jesus Christ. Not faith in but of.

When the mind is drawn to the cross of Calvary, Christ by imperfect sight is discerned on the shameful cross. Why did He die? In consequence of sin. What is sin? The transgression of the law. Then the eyes are open to see the character of sin. (MS 50, 1900). {6BC 1110.8}

The Law, the Law, the Law

The mind looks to the cross after its been bombarded with the law, the law, the law, and with imperfect sight is discerned Christ on the cross. What is happening there? He died because of sin? What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law. What? Isn’t Jesus sinless? And he died because of transgression of the law? Then the eyes are opened.

The law is broken but cannot pardon the transgressor. It is our schoolmaster, condemning to punishment. Where is the remedy? The law drives us to Christ, who was hanged upon the cross that He might be able to impart His righteousness to fallen, sinful man and thus present men to His Father in His righteous character (MS 50, 1900). {6BC 1110.8}

Here is something to enter into. This is not just a theory this is an experience which I know you are able to identify with. How many of us are struggling through these horrifying experiences? The atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross, what is he hanging there for? Because he actually experienced not only the consequence of transgression, he experienced you and me and now it strikes, what have I done to him? And why has he done that? So that now through him I might have his faith that I might come to faith. This is the light of 1888. This is what was rejected. Can you see why? Because proud leaders of Adventism are no different than Pharisees and the Pharisees rejected Christ as it unveiled to them their true decrepit condition.

They said I am not as bad as that. That is what every counsellor of today will say, you are not as bad as that, you are a good little girl or boy. We need to understand that we are all bad boys and girls. We need to understand that the only way we can find true happiness and goodness is by accepting that fact and coming to Jesus and letting him press it into my understanding that he is there with me bad boy. Dying because of me, with me. That is what Apostle Paul discovered. I thank God through Jesus Christ. That is the 18888 message we will continue to uplift so we may be able to embrace and walk in it. Let us follow carefully as we continue to explore the ongoing discovery of the faith of Jesus Christ. When I am in this deplorable law condemned condition which Jesus shared with me, how did he get out of it?



Posted on April 7, 2010, in The 1888 Message, Walking in the Light of 1888 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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