Lesson Six – Jesus the Law of Life

Jesus, the Law of Life

Lesson Aim:  To show how Jesus Christ’s life reveals the law of the new covenant.


Can you imagine living in the city of Nazareth and “rubbing shoulders” with the Son of God for thirty years?  This is how long the Divine One was flesh before He began to let Israel know who was among them (Luke 3:23).  Of course, Mary, His mother, and a few other people knew the truth (Luke 1:35).  Jesus found favor with those whom He associated during those early years – but, why not?  He never did anything evil (Luke 2:52; Heb. 4:15).  He was wise and He was obedient to His parents (Luke 2:40, 51).  His temperament was such that He wouldn’t break a bruised reed (Isa. 42:3).

Jesus understood the following:  God was ready to make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Heb. 8:8).  Israel was God’s tool to evangelize the mass of the world population.  The Gentiles would be offered this new covenant as well as Israel.  As Isaiah had predicted, justice would be proclaimed to the Gentile (Isa. 42:1;   Matt. 12:17-21).


The new covenant has three main parts; however, the larger portion of this lesson will be dedicated to the part about the law of the new covenant.  First let us consider the portion of the covenant that gives Christians a clean conscience.  “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”  Heb. 8:12

This part of the covenant required the blood of Jesus, and His blood only, be offered to God.  On the first day of each week Christians remember the cost of the new covenant as we partake of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7).  The following statement was made by Jesus the night before He died on the cross.

For this is My blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.  Matt. 26:28

The blood of Jesus plus our faith gives us the grace doctrines of the new birth, sanctification and justification (I Cor. 1:30; 6:11).  We will study these doctrines in detail in Part Five.  Now let us consider the laws God desires to press on Christians’ hearts and minds, as it is stated in the following scripture.

I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts.  Heb. 8:10

The laws God wants to write on our hearts and minds are found in the divine scriptures (Gal. 1:11, 12; John 6:63).  The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  II Tim. 3:16, 17.  John said, “We beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life.”  And then he said: “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also.”  I John 1:1-4.

The life of Jesus is the light of men (John 1:4).  When we get to know the Son of God, as He is revealed in the scriptures, we get understanding about the nature of God and eternal life (I John 5:20).  Please review Part One, Lesson Three.  The new covenant offers eternal life in God’s eternal kingdom for His children.  The Hebrew writer said, “For all shall know Me.”  Heb. 8:11.  And Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”  John 17:3.

Life, as in eternal life, means we know God.  We don’t just know about Him.  We must be able to know how He thinks and feels about people and situations.  We must think and feel the same way; otherwise, on Judgment Day Jesus will tell us He does not know us (Matt. 7:23).  Those of us who know God and Christ at judgment will inherit both the kingdom of God and eternal life (Matt. 19:28, 29; 25:34).  A study of our inheritance will be made in Part Six of this study of God’s kingdom.

Christians are to conform to the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29).  The result of God writing His laws on our hearts and minds will accomplish this goal of God’s new covenant.  If these laws we let God write on our hearts and minds conform our “self” to Christ’s image, then what He revealed to us in His life and what He taught us about life are the laws conforming us as we open our hearts and minds.  The conclusion is this; Jesus, Himself, is the law of our life.  He is the description of our highest potential and God’s purpose for our creation.  He is the prince and author of Christians’ lives (Acts 3:15).  The Holy Spirit’s ministry for God and us is to get those “laws of the Spirit of life” off the pages of the word of God and onto our hearts and minds (Rom. 8:2; II Cor. 3:3-8, 17, 18).  When Peter was released from prison, He was told by an angel to preach this life.  The angel said, “Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”  Acts 5:20.

Surely, it was necessary to have Jesus come into the world and show us the Father who has life (John 1:18).  What is Jesus Christ really like?  Remember, when we have found the answer to this question, we have found the law of life.  What are the emotional attitudes and character traits of this Divine Person to which Christians can learn and conform?  The only way we can determine the character and personality of others is by observing their behavior and listening to their conversation (Matt. 23:25-28).  Our behavior often tells more truth about ourselves than our language, even though our language sometimes reveals much more than we desire to reveal about ourselves.  Remember, attitudes are learned and not inherited, so we can re-learn our undesirable attitudes.

Jesus encourages us to hear His teachings and act upon them; that is, we should behave accordingly (Matt. 7:26).  His behavior was consistent with His nature; therefore, as we observe His activity we will have a correct understanding of His nature.  We can develop the healthy attitudes that made up His nature.  This is one way God writes His laws on our hearts and minds.

Let us consider a few episodes from Jesus’ life on earth and thereby understand some of the laws for our life.  We must believe the quality of His person is equal to the magnificence of His behavior.  Unless mankind can perceive of the love that compelled Jesus to go to the cross for us, then much of His suffering is lost for us personally; that is, we have not come to know Him.  If we cannot “know Him” we cannot have the life for which His incarnate life and death were purposed to give us.  Remember, the law of life describes the only kind of life that will be found in God’s eternal kingdom in heaven.  Also, it describes the way we were designed to mature.

The death of Jesus on the cross never has been equalled by mankind.  It was a volunteer act on His part of giving up His life, (Greek, psuche), for His friends and enemies.  The manner and injustice of the cross revealed the wickedness of mankind but it revealed Jesus’ love (Rom. 5:6-11).  God’s demonstration of His love toward us while we were enemies tells us about the nature of our God.  Many people applaud His great life but they are not willing to accept it as a law of our life.  The following scriptures illustrate the use of the law of life.

We know love by this that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  I John 3:16

But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.  I Pet. 2:20

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.  I Pet. 4:1

Jesus laid down His life, (psuche), that we might have life, (zoe), and have it more abundantly (John 10:10, 11).  However, to have this life we must apply the law of life to ourselves.  Jesus’ death on the cross is more than our sacrifice.  The love that compelled His behavior was also a demonstration of the law of life, a law violated by those who killed Him.  Just as Jesus’ lovable personality was revealed by His behavior, their hateful nature was revealed by what they did to Him.  Jesus demonstrated life principles.  His adversaries’ behavior came from death principles in their lives.  The following is what the world calls life.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  Eph. 2:1-3 NIV

Paul describes the result of dealing with others in love in I Cor. 13:3-8.  He said love is the perfect bond of unity (Col. 3:14).  Love is more than a way of dealing with other people; it is a quality of ourselves when we use this principle with spontaneity.  Love as the word is translated from the Greek word, agape, is used to symbolize an inner strength within us that functions on life principles.  It does not require an external response.  God and Jesus are love.  We walk as Jesus walked.  We keep His commandments (I John 2:3).  We keep His Word and then the love of God is perfected in us (I John 2:5).

When we follow the law of life found in Jesus’ walk, God’s new covenant is working for us.  The truth is in us and we abide in the light of life (I John 2:4, 10).  We have life and we know it because we love the brethren (I John 3:14).  We have eternal life abiding in us because we know Jesus and God (I John 2:4).  When we have love as a part of our inner strength, we have a “never failing” way of dealing with other human beings, even though they might be our enemies (Matt. 5:44-48).

Another outstanding quality Jesus Christ demonstrated while on earth was His compassion.  Compassion is a feeling of inward distress that moves us toward those who need help and it motivates action when possible.  We know Jesus had this quality because of His behavior.  His compassion moved Him to action when a leper sought His help (Mark 1:41).  He felt compassion for the multitude who were without spiritual leadership (Mark 6:34).  His compassion moved Him to feed those who had followed Him without taking food for three days (Mark 8:2).  Is compassion a law of life?  Yes, because Jesus had it.  Our “self” is renewed by putting on a heart of compassion (Col. 3:10-13).  The law of our lives cannot be broken without adversely affecting our well being.  Furthermore, John said, “sin is lawlessness.”  I John 3:4.

Also, Jesus maintained the attitude of a servant while here on earth.  He asked us to assume this role as well (Mark 10:43-45).  He blessed the little children because they best represent those of us who will inherit God’s eternal kingdom (Mark 10:13-16).  The hardness of heart in people grieved Jesus (Mark 3:1-6; 8:11, 12).  Although, He grieved for the hardhearted, He was angry with them for behaving in this fashion.

Anger is one quality of Jesus’ personality we are commanded not to harbor (Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8).  The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (Jas. 1:20).  God has promised to deal with those who justly deserve our wrath (Rom. 12:19).  We can conclude that anger is a death principle except when exercised with absolute love, agape.  Jesus has life without justification; therefore, anger is a life principle for Him, but death for us.  Jesus has life without human limitations.  We have life, (zoe), as faithful Christians, but it is a justified life (Rom. 5:18).  This means we still have weaknesses; that is, death principles in our self.  Consequently, we are not in a position to exercise righteous anger.  The doctrine of justification by faith gives us a gift of righteousness while we overcome unhealthy emotions such as anger.

There appears to be only one thing about man that impressed Jesus while on earth.  He always reacted excitedly when He found faith and He always wondered at peoples’ unbelief (Mark 6:6).  He healed a paralytic because of his faith (Mark 2:5).  He said all things were possible for those who believe (Mark 9:23).  The Gentile centurion’s faith impressed Jesus so much that He exclaimed, “Truly I say to you I have not found such great faith with any one in Israel.”  Matt. 8:10.  It does not surprise us that Jesus was joyful when He found faith; we remember this is the only non-offensive quality within mankind to God after Adam and Eve fell into sin.  Oh, that we may have enough faith in Jesus Christ to see our laws of life in Him.  These are the laws God desires to write on our hearts and minds when we accept His new covenant.

By Jesus revealing life to us, we are enlightened about our life.  The law of Christ, the royal law, and the law of God may very well include both the law of life and the commandments of Jesus (I Cor. 9:21; Jas. 2:8).  The commandments of Jesus are also life (John 12:50).  However, it is not stated in the scriptures the commandments are written on our hearts and minds.  There may be some difference in the laws God wants to write on our hearts and minds and His commandments.

The commandments of Jesus instruct us on how to find satisfaction for our inherited drives.  Please see Part One, Lesson Two.  They also instruct us about how to enter God’s kingdom, worship, and function as the Lord’s church.  They may include the law of life in some texts.  We must follow the commandments of God in order to have good satisfaction for our drives.  If our drives have no hope of satisfaction, then we will not be able to let God write His conforming laws of life on our hearts and minds.  We will not develop personality and character like Jesus.  We will not be able to walk as He walked (I John 2:6).  It was very necessary for God to reveal these laws and commandments to us because Jesus’ definition of eternal life is to know God and Christ (John 17:3).

When scientists find and understand a law of nature they are no longer in the dark about that truth.  When we find Jesus we are no longer in the dark about why God created us; how He created us; how to find satisfaction for the drives He put in us and the traits of personality we must possess.  Christians discover the laws of life and apply them to our individual “self.” We are developing our potential as a human being and a child of God.  This is the third point about God’s new covenant we want to establish.

Our potential as a human being is to be a son of God but first we must accept another part of God’s arrangement, or covenant.  This because all people with mature minds, hearts and consciences have a problem with sin.  Mature people in the world accept His covenant in our repentance and then we are baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38).  After people have become “obedient from the heart to that form of teaching,” God will offer them sonship (Rom. 6:17, 18).  It is clearly stated by the Hebrew writer for Christians.  He said, “And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  Heb. 8:10.  God’s new covenant offers Himself as Father to all people of the world who will accept the new covenant by faith (II Cor. 6:16-18).  

Questions for Discussion

  1. List what we can know about Jesus of Nazareth before He was thirty years old.
  2. What did God offer mankind as a result of Jesus’ mission in the world?
  3. From Hebrews 8:10-12, how many parts are there in the new covenant?
  4. Give the part of the new covenant that requires the blood of Christ.
  5. Give the part of the new covenant requires Christians to know Christ.
  6. How do we know Jesus Christ personally represents the laws God wants to write on Christians’ hearts and minds?
  7. What might be the difference between the commandments of God and the laws of the new covenant?
  8. What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit today on earth?
  9. List some terms used in the Bible that identify the law of life for the church.
  10. What does our subjection to the commandments of God help us satisfy?
  11. What will a study of the behavior of Christ reveal?
  12. Give the law of life Jesus revealed as He was crucified on the cross.
  13. What quality of life were the people revealing who killed Jesus?
  14. What did Peter tell the people who killed Jesus to do on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension?
  15. Define love as the word is translated from the Greek word agape.
  16. Name an attribute Jesus often manifested by His behavior, other than love.
  17. What role did Jesus assume upon earth in relation to mankind?
  18. Which attribute of Jesus are we not to practice?
  19. What quality within people always impressed Jesus?
  20. What is the third point of the new covenant in this lesson? How does it affect Christians’ relationship with God?

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