Introduction: In our study two weeks ago, the Apostle Paul taught us
in Galatians 3 that nothing has changed in the contract between God
and Abraham. This agreement, that Abraham believed and it was
credited to him as righteousness ( Genesis 15:6), is available for
every one of us because of what Jesus has done on our behalf. Is it
really true that nothing has changed? Let’s dive into our study of
the Bible and look at the relationship between God’s people and the
law throughout the ages!

  1. Adam, Eve and the Law

    1. Read Genesis 2:15-17. Has God created a law for humans at
      this point?

      1. If you say, “yes,” how many laws has He created? (I
        consider it a “law” that I need to show up for work
        so that I can fulfill my obligations to others and
        get paid. Adam had a work assignment. That might be
        one law. The other law had to do with not eating the
        fruit from one tree.)

    2. Read Genesis 2:2-3. Is there another law about work that
      constrained Adam?

    3. Read Genesis 3:1-3. How did Eve understand the fruit
      eating law? (She has it right, except that she adds that
      she cannot touch the fruit. That was not part of the
      original recorded restriction.)

    4. Read Genesis 3:4-6. The law was not to eat this particular
      fruit. What is the temptation before Eve? (Not to believe
      God. Not to trust God.)

      1. How does this differ from the obligation of Abraham?
        (It is precisely the same – the issue is whether we
        will believe and trust God. Eve did not sufficiently
        trust God.)

  2. Noah and the Law

    1. Read Genesis 6:11-14. Put yourself in Noah’s place. What
      is the challenge for you? (God makes an astonishing
      statement about His plans for the future. The question is
      whether you believe God.)

    2. Read Genesis 6:15-17. Is this only a matter of belief?
      (No. This belief clearly requires action.)

    3. Read Genesis 6:18-22. What is the contract that Noah has
      with God? What is God promising? What is Noah promising?
      (Read Hebrews 11:7. The foundation of this agreement was
      Noah believing that God would destroy the earth and that
      God would save him and his family.)

      1. This account provides a very interesting context for
        examining the relationship between faith and works.
        Would Noah have built the ark if he had not believed

      2. If Noah had not built the ark, what would that say
        about Noah’s faith in God? (His hard work on the ark
        demonstrated his faith in God.)

  3. Abraham and the Law

    1. Read Genesis 12:1-3. How is God’s approach to Abraham
      similar to His approach to Noah? (God has a plan of action
      which involves a completely new experience.)

      1. In the three cases (Adam, Noah and Abraham), what is
        the basic challenge? (To believe and trust God.)

        1. What common thread do we see in all three
          cases? (Obedience to God’s commands reflects
          the individual’s trust in God. Disobedience
          reflects a lack of trust in God.)

    2. Read Genesis 12:4-5. What objections to obedience might
      you raise if you were Abraham? (I’m too old. I’ve never
      been there before. This seems risky.)

    3. Read Genesis 15:1-3 and compare Genesis 12:2. What is the
      problem with the contract? (God is not holding up His end
      of the deal.)

      1. What do you think about the way Abraham raised the
        issue with God? (Abraham is direct, but he is not
        charging God with a breach of the agreement.)

    4. Read Genesis 15:4-5. Put yourself in Abraham’s place. How
      would you view this promise? (God has not performed so far
      with regard to the promise of children, and now God makes
      the promise even bigger.)

      1. Would it be hard to believe God?

        1. If you say, “yes,” why? (Because it is contrary
          to what I see. It is contrary to the trend of
          things. God has had an opportunity to work on
          His end of the contract, but nothing has
          happened so far.)

    5. Read Genesis 15:6. What does this teach us about the
      nature of the belief at issue? Is this a casual belief?
      Is this a belief that results in showing up at church only
      on Christmas and Easter? (This is a belief that endures
      despite evidence to the contrary. This is belief that is
      not automatic. This is a belief that charts the course of
      your life.)

  4. Moses and the Law

    1. We pick up the story just after God spoke the Ten
      Commandments to Moses. Read Exodus 20:18-20. What kind of
      relationship did God initiate with His people? (Fear would
      keep them from sinning.)

    2. Read Exodus 32:15-17 and Exodus 32:21-24. How effective a
      tool is fear?

    3. Read Deuteronomy 7:7-11. Moses told the people that fear
      was God’s motivating factor to keep the people from
      sinning. Does that seem correct to you based on this text?
      (God’s original motive was love for His people. But, we so
      see a hard edge to this.)

    4. Read Deuteronomy 7:12-15. What is the appeal here? (Health
      and prosperity.)

      1. Would it be fair to say that God is appealing to the
        people’s greed?

    5. Read Deuteronomy 7:16. What would you call this?

      1. Contemplate all this for a minute. We have three
        motives swirling around: fear, love and greed. Does
        this cause you to trust God less?

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 9:20-23. How would you describe
        Paul’s method of evangelizing? (He uses what works to
        advance the Kingdom of God.)

      3. Is Paul taking his lead from Deuteronomy 7? (God
        loves us. He is willing to use the most relevant tool
        to bring us to Him. If you are one who responds to
        fear, God has that in his toolkit. If you respond to
        greed, God has that. If you respond to love, God uses
        that. Whatever approach God takes, the question for
        us is will we trust Him?)

  5. Jesus and the Law

    1. Read Matthew 22:36-40. What does Jesus say is the
      foundation for the law? (Love!)

      1. Does Jesus suggest that this changed over time? (No.)

      2. I thought we decided that trusting God was the
        foundation. How does that fit here? (The foundation
        for God’s attitude towards us is love. The
        foundation for our response is trusting a God we know
        loves us and has our best interest in mind. Eve
        missed the part about God having her best interest in

    2. Read Revelation 12:13-16. What is being symbolized here?
      (The conflict between Satan, Jesus and Jesus’ Church.)

    3. Read Revelation 12:17. What is the focus of Satan’s
      attack, and why? (Those who lift up Jesus and obey His law
      are under attack because they are the problem. If
      believing in Jesus makes no difference in your life, you
      are not a problem for Satan.)

    4. Read Revelation 14:6-7. I thought our conclusion was that
      the most important part of the contract between humans and
      God was that we should trust Him and obey Him. Why is
      “fear,” “glory” and “worship” mentioned as the “eternal
      gospel?” (This is the essence of trust: our Creator God is
      coming to judge the world. If you trust His love, if you
      trust what He did on the cross for you, then you will
      fear, glorify and worship Him!)

    5. Friend, we have seen a consistent theme throughout the
      ages. Those who follow God believe and trust Him. That
      belief and trust translates into concrete actions to
      advance God’s mission on earth. Is your belief in Jesus
      reflected in the way you live? Why not ask the Holy Spirit
      to help make that goal a reality in your life?

  6. Next week: Christ’s Kingdom and the Law.