For he that said - That is, the authority that gave one commandment gave also the rest; and he who breaks one resists this authority; so that the breach of any one commandment may be justly considered a breach of the whole law. It was a maxim also among the Jewish doctors that, if a man kept any one commandment carefully, though he broke all the rest, he might assure himself of the favor of God; for while they taught that "He who transgresses all the precepts of the law has broken the yoke, dissolved the covenant, and exposed the law to contempt, and so has he done who has broken even one precept," (Mechilta, fol. 5, Yalcut Simeoni, part 1, fol. 59), they also taught, "that he who observed any principal command was equal to him who kept the whole law;" (Kiddushin, fol. 39); and they give for example, "If a man abandon idolatry, it is the same as if he had fulfilled the whole law," (Ibid., fol. 40.) To correct this false doctrine James lays down that in the 11th verse. Thus they did and undid.
For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill - That is, these are parts of the same law of God, and one is as obligatory as the other. If, therefore, you violate either of these precepts, you transgress the law of God as such, and must be held to be guilty of violating it as a whole. The penalty of the law will be incurred, whatever precept you violate.
“This do, and thou shalt live,” Jesus said. He presented the law as a divine unity, and in this lesson taught that it is not possible to keep one precept, and break another; for the same principle runs through them all. Man's destiny will be determined by his obedience to the whole law. Supreme love to God and impartial love to man are the principles to be wrought out in the life. DA 498.1
The lawyer found himself a lawbreaker. He was convicted under Christ's searching words. The righteousness of the law, which he claimed to understand, he had not practiced. He had not manifested love toward his fellow man. Repentance was demanded; but instead of repenting, he tried to justify himself. Rather than acknowledge the truth, he sought to show how difficult of fulfillment the commandment is. Thus he hoped both to parry conviction and to vindicate himself in the eyes of the people. The Saviour's words had shown that his question was needless, since he had been able to answer it himself. Yet he put another question, saying, “Who is my neighbor?” DA 498.2
Among the Jews this question caused endless dispute. They had no doubt as to the heathen and the Samaritans; these were strangers and enemies. But where should the distinction be made among the people of their own nation, and among the different classes of society? Whom should the priest, the rabbi, the elder, regard as neighbor? They spent their lives in a round of ceremonies to make themselves pure. Contact with the ignorant and careless multitude, they taught, would cause defilement that would require wearisome effort to remove. Were they to regard the “unclean” as neighbors? DA 498.3Read in context »
“Fools make a mock at sin.” Proverbs 14:9. We should beware of treating sin as a light thing. Terrible is its power over the wrongdoer. “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” Proverbs 5:22. The greatest wrong done to a child or youth is to allow him to become fastened in the bondage of evil habit. Ed 291.1
The youth have an inborn love of liberty; they desire freedom; and they need to understand that these inestimable blessings are to be enjoyed only in obedience to the law of God. This law is the preserver of true freedom and liberty. It points out and prohibits those things that degrade and enslave, and thus to the obedient it affords protection from the power of evil. Ed 291.2
The psalmist says: “I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts.” “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” Psalm 119:45, 24. Ed 291.3Read in context »
The Lord Jesus is dishonored by low ideas or designs on our part. He who does not feel the binding claims of God's law, and neglects to keep every requirement, violates the whole law. He who is content to partially meet the standard of righteousness, and who does not triumph over every spiritual foe, will not meet the designs of Christ. He cheapens the whole plan of his religious life, and weakens his religious character, and under the force of temptation his defects of character gain the supremacy, and evil triumphs. We need to be persevering and determined, to meet the highest standard possible. Pre-established habits and ideas must be overcome in many cases, before we can make advancement in religious life. The faithful Christian will bear much fruit; he is a worker; he will not lazily drift, but will put on the whole armor to fight the battles of the Lord. The essential work is to conform the tastes, the appetite, the passions, the motives, the desires, to the great moral standard of righteousness. The work must begin at the heart. That must be pure, wholly conformed to Christ's will, else some master passion, or some habit or defect, will become a power to destroy. God will accept of nothing short of the whole heart. FE 118.1
God wants the teachers in our schools to be efficient. If they are advanced in spiritual understanding, they will feel that it is important that they should not be deficient in the knowledge of the sciences. Piety and a religious experience lie at the very foundation of true education. But let none feel that having an earnestness in religious matters is all that is essential in order to become educators. While they need no less of piety, they also need a thorough knowledge of the sciences. This will make them not only good, practical Christians, but will enable them to educate the youth, and at the same time they will have heavenly wisdom to lead them to the fountain of living waters. He is a Christian who aims to reach the highest attainments for the purpose of doing others good. Knowledge harmoniously blended with a Christlike character will make a person truly a light to the world. God works with human efforts. All those who give all diligence to make their calling and election sure, will feel that a superficial knowledge will not fit them for positions of usefulness. Education balanced by a solid religious experience, fits the child of God to do his appointed work steadily, firmly, understandingly. If one is learning of Jesus, the greatest educator the world ever knew, he will not only have a symmetrical Christian character, but a mind trained to effectual labor. Minds that are quick to discern will go deep beneath the surface. FE 119.1
God does not want us to be content with lazy, undisciplined minds, dull thoughts, and loose memories. He wants every teacher to be efficient, not to feel satisfied with some measure of success, but to feel his need of perpetual diligence in acquiring knowledge. Our bodies and souls belong to God, for He has bought them. He has given us talents, and has made it possible for us to acquire more, in order that we may be able to help ourselves and others onward in the way to life. It is the work of each individual to develop and strengthen the gifts which God has lent him, with which to do most earnest, practical work, both in temporal and religious things. If all realized this, what a vast difference we should see in our schools, in our churches, and in our missions! But the larger number are content with a meager knowledge, a few attainments, just to be passable; and the necessity of being men like Daniel and Moses, men of influence, men whose characters have become harmonious by their working to bless humanity and glorify God,—such an experience but few have had, and the result is, there are but few now fitted for the great want of the times. FE 119.2Read in context »
The divine law requires us to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Without the exercise of this love, the highest profession of faith is mere hypocrisy. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments,” says Christ, “hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). 1SM 218.1
The law demands perfect obedience. “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Not one of those ten precepts can be broken without disloyalty to the God of heaven. The least deviation from its requirements, by neglect or willful transgression, is sin, and every sin exposes the sinner to the wrath of God. Obedience was the only condition upon which ancient Israel was to receive the fulfillment of the promises which made them the highly favored people of God; and obedience to that law will bring as great blessings to individuals and nations now as it would have brought to the Hebrews. 1SM 218.2
Obedience to the law is essential, not only to our salvation, but to our own happiness and the happiness of all with whom we are connected. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165), says the Inspired Word. Yet finite man will present to the people this holy, just, and good law, this law of liberty, which the Creator Himself has adapted to the wants of man, as a yoke of bondage, a yoke which no man can bear. But it is the sinner who regards the law as a grievous yoke; it is the transgressor that can see no beauty in its precepts. For the carnal mind “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). 1SM 218.3Read in context »