Moral and Spiritual Law

The greatest upholder of moral law who ever lived on earth was Christ Jesus; and he was so because he knew more about spiritual law, and demonstrated its power better, than anyone else. Not for a moment during his ministry did Jesus think that obedience to moral law should not remain incumbent upon all men. No one was ever more certain than he that without this obedience men and nations must perish. Moreover, every seer, every prophet of the Hebrew race who preceded the Master, upheld moral law as they understood it, even the law of God received by Moses upon Sinai; and frequent were the warnings they gave to those who despised that law, seeking to save them from destruction.

Jesus, faithful to the moral law in his own life, upheld it for the good of others. In his Sermon on the Mount he said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." And not only did he uphold what might be termed the letter of the law, but he insisted upon faithfulness to its spirit. This is clearly brought out in his reference to the sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." Men, he declared, must not only obey this commandment in its literal sense, they must fulfill it even in so far as to eschew anger, the passion which would deprive them of reason and hurl them to deeds of criminal violence.

But while Jesus taught the value of moral law and insisted on obedience to it, he was also the chief advocate of spiritual law. No one can study his words contained in the Gospels of the New Testament without being convinced that he intended to convey to mankind the truth that an understanding of spiritual law, and obedience thereto, included conformity with moral law. Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments when he answered the scribe that "the first of all the commandments" demanded the fullest measure of consecrated love to God, and the second, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Can there be the slightest doubt that if one were faithful to these commandments of the Master, he would be faithful to the entire moral law? Christianity, as Christ Jesus taught it and lived it, is based on the spiritual law of Love, spiritual law which supersedes but never annuls moral law.

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August 17, 1929

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