Section 0
Principles of Health

Part 4c
Third Law of Health - Abstemiousness


To be "abstemious" is to be moderate or sparing in the use of certain things, including an excess of even good food. Temperance has a similar meaning: It means to have moderation or self-restraint.

Temperance can also mean to totally avoid certain substances or activities, and so does abstinence.

We are here speaking of self-control. In order to succeed physically, mentally, and morally in life, we must have temperance in regard to things good and abstinence in regard to things harmful.

"In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary,—temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking."—How to Live, p. 57.

"True temperance teaches us to abstain entirely from that which is injurious, and to use judiciously only healthful and nutritious articles of food."—Health Reformer, April 1, 1877.

The evangelist, Paul, counsels us to be "temperate in all things" (1 Corinthians 9:25). This means that we should shun that which is harmful, avoid unneeded extremes, and be moderate in the enjoyment of those things which are lawful. Health of body, mind, and soul is impossible without careful, temperate living.

Even when eating the most careful diet, you can get too much of a good thing. Too much, even of the best food, is harmful. Too much sunshine can result in severe sunburn; too much exercise can cause excessive exhaustion. The Apostle Paul said, "Let your moderation be known unto all men" (Philippians 4:5). Seneca said, "Man does not die; he kills himself!" Much of the tragic shortening of men's lives—that we so often see around us—is unnecessary. Men and women violate the laws of health, and the law of abstemiousness is one of the most important of these laws.

The well-known American writer, William Cullen Bryant, lived to a very old age. When asked the reason for his excellent health at such an advanced age, he replied, "It is all summed up in one word: moderation." If we would be temperate in all things, self-control must be exercised in our conversation, in our daily diet, in our work habits, in our recreation, in our travels, in our time for sleep, and in our study. Throughout life, we must ever be on guard lest we fall into intemperance. The strains and injuries of earlier years add up and reveal themselves in the later years. Live carefully, and if you are not doing so,—then immediately turn about and determine that, by the help of God, you will live a better life. Fortunately, whenever we begin living more healthfully, our future happiness immediately begins improving.

The will power to make the needed changes can be found only in Christ, humble submission to Him, and careful obedience to His Inspired Word. It is the will of our heavenly Father that we not only learn and obey His Moral Law, the Ten Commandments, but that we also learn and obey the physical laws that govern our being.

A little later in this chapter will be found a number of very helpful quotations that will explain the importance of studying and living by the laws of health. Moderation is something that but few value as they should. Yet it is the cord that binds together many other health principles.

The Bible says, "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." (1 Corinthians 9:25). As we have mentioned earlier, true temperance includes moderation in things good as well as abstinence in things harmful.

Here are some of the harmful things that should be avoided: Do not use tobacco in any form, for it is a slow but powerful poison. Totally avoid alcoholic drinks. Stay away from poisonous substances and toxic drugs. This includes not only liquids and solids, but also vapors and fumes. Beware of addicting substances and never indulge in them. Included under this category would be not only alcoholic beverages, but also caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, and cola drinks. Caffeine products injure your organs and; in addition, cola drinks gradually melt your teeth.

The heavily sugared foods, such as candy, ice cream, cake, and chewing gum are better left alone.

The Bible says not to eat the blood or the fat, yet it is practically impossible to prepare meat dishes with any taste—after all the blood, fat, and uric acid (urine in the tissues) has been first soaked and boiled out of the raw meat.

Do not use greasy foods. This includes butter, margarine, and animal fat. Any oil that is solid or semi-solid at room temperature should never be put into the body. Beware of trans-fats. These are the partially hydrogenated oils that have been put into margarine and many other foods. An example of this is the peanut butter sold in regular grocery stores. You will notice that it contains no free-flowing ("runny") oil. All of the oil has been solidified by hydrogenation into a grease form.

Chemically, such grease has the same effect in the body that animal fat has. (In addition, some manufacturers remove the expensive peanut oil from the crushed peanuts, and then add to the peanut pulp a cheap oil that has been hydrogenated into grease. This cheap oil additive is sometimes an animal fat, although marked on the label as "vegetable oil.") Meat in the diet has a tendency to rot in the system. This is due to the fact that our digestive tracts are much longer than those of dogs, tigers, and other flesh-eating animals.

Do not cook or eat food in aluminum. Aluminum salts are poisonous to the body. Avoid foods that have been taken apart, such as white flour, white rice, white sugar, white bread, etc. Instead eat the whole foods: whole-grain bread and cereal, brown rice, honey, etc.

Baking powder and soda should not be used in food preparation, for they damage the delicate lining of the stomach. Vinegar is a powerful acid and should never be in any food that you eat.

The use of spices and condiments disturbs the stomach, creates a thirst that is difficult to satisfy with food, can lead to addictive habits, and has been known to cause disease. For example, white and black pepper can lead to intestinal cancer.

Avoid automobile and tobacco fumes. Car exhaust contains lead, and cigarette smoke has many dangerous chemicals, in addition to nicotine. Stay away from spray painters. Metal lacquer (such as is used by auto body refinishers) is especially harmful to the lungs.

Chlorinated water leads to atherosclerosis, and fluoridated water injures your bones, teeth, and nerves.

Do not eat or drink things that are too hot or too cold. Both upset the stomach and weaken the digestive system.

Food preservatives and insecticide residues are both dangerous in food. It is best to wash fresh fruit and vegetables before eating them, in order to eliminate as much of the insecticide as possible. Try to avoid using processed foods that list preservatives on the label.

Both chocolate and cocoa contain harmful substances.

That which is harmful should be avoided, and many of those things which are good should be used in moderation: Maintain a balance of rest and exercise; not too much work or too little. Regularity in scheduling and the daily routines of life will greatly aid in keeping you in the best health. Try to have a set time for rising, morning worship, prayer, drinking your water, mealtime, quitting time in the afternoon, family worship, evening walk time, bedtime, etc. Maintaining simple routines simplifies life, relaxes the mind, and helps us work more efficiently.

Personal cleanliness is actually another type of moderation.

Cleanliness of body, clothing, bedding, and house are important to good health. Open the windows and let in the purifying sunlight and fresh air. Water is the best cleansing agent known to mankind. It is a gift of God. Keep your environment clean and your life will be a happier one.

Closely related to cleanliness is neatness and tidiness. Keeping things neat and in order is both encouraging to the spirits and helpful to mental efficiency.

Tight compressions about the waist, such as belts, corset, etc., can induce later pelvic organ disease. Suspend the clothing from the shoulders. Wear clothing that will avoid chilling of the arms and legs.

Refuse to live a life of anxious concern. Worry wears out the life forces. If you cannot solve it in five minutes, give it to God in prayer—and then forget it. Later the solutions will come to mind. That simple habit has been a help to this writer.

Have certain times to work and certain times not to; do the same with your mind. Turn it off at times and just relax. Above all things, keep cheerful, and keep close to God and His Written Word. Permit nothing to keep you continually depressed or anxious. People that are cheerful and relaxed always are healthier and have longer, happier lives than they otherwise would—without exception.

A cheerful, relaxed, unworried attitude; trust in God; prayerful and obedient study of His Scriptures; moderation in living habits; the use of the eight natural remedies; the avoidance of addictive and poisonous substances; trying to be a blessing and a help to those around you (regardless of whether they seem to appreciate your efforts);—this is the seven-fold formula for a happy, satisfying, worthwhile, and long life.


"God is the owner of the whole man. Soul, body, and spirit are His. God gave His only begotten Son for the body as well as the soul, and our entire life belongs to God, to be consecrated to His service, that through the exercise of every faculty He has given, we may glorify Him."—Healthful Living, p. 9.

"The living organism is God's property. It belongs to Him by creation and by redemption; and by a misuse of any of our powers we rob God of the honor due Him."—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 16.

"The wonderful mechanism of the human body does not receive half the care that is often given to a mere lifeless machine."—Gospel Workers, p. 175.

"The health should be as sacredly guarded as the character."—Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, p. 84.

"Our very bodies are not our own, to treat as we please, to cripple by habits that lead to decay, making it impossible to render to God perfect service. Our lives and all our faculties belong to Him. He is caring for us every moment; He keeps the living machinery in action; if we were left to run it for one moment, we should die. We are absolutely dependent upon God."—Medical Ministry, p. 13.

"It is our duty to study the laws that govern our being, and conform to them. Ignorance in these things is sin."—Healthful Living, p. 13.

"From the first dawn of reason, the human mind should become intelligent in regard to the physical structure. We may behold and admire the work of God in the natural world, but the human habitation is the most wonderful."—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 125.

"Ignorance of physiology and neglect to observe the laws of health have brought many to the grave who might have lived to labor and study intelligently."—Special Testimonies on Education, p. 98.

"To become acquainted with the wonderful human organism,—the bones, muscles, stomach, liver, bowels, heart, and pores of the skin,—and to understand the dependence of one organ upon another for the healthful action of all, is a study in which most mothers take no interest."—3 Testimonies, p. 136.

"Study that marvelous organism, the human system, and the laws by which it is governed."—Christian Temperance, p. 120.

"If people would reason from cause to effect, and would follow the light which shines upon them, they would pursue a course which would insure health, and the mortality would be far less . . All who possess common capabilities should understand the wants of their own system."—How to Live, p. 51.

"He who hungers and thirsts after God will seek for an understanding of the laws which the God of wisdom has impressed upon creation. These laws are a transcript of His character. They must control all who enter the heavenly and better country."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"God's law is written by His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every faculty which has been entrusted to man."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"The transgression of physical law is transgression of God's law.

"Our Creator is Jesus Christ. He is the author of our being. He is the author of the physical law as He is the author of the Moral Law. And the human being who is careless and reckless of the habits and practices that concern his physical life and health, sins against God. God is not reverenced, respected or recognized.

"This is shown by the injury done to the body in violation of physical law."—Unpublished Testimonies, May 19, 1897.

"God loves His creatures with a love that is both tender and strong. He has established the laws of nature; but His laws are not arbitrary exactions. Every `Thou shalt not,' whether in physical or Moral Law, contains or implies a promise. If it is obeyed, blessings will attend your steps; if it is disobeyed, the result is danger and unhappiness."—5 Testimonies, p. 545.

"Health, strength, and happiness depend upon immutable laws; but these laws cannot be obeyed where there is no anxiety to become acquainted with them."—Health Reformer, September 1, 1881, p.11.

"God is greatly dishonored by the way in which man treats his organism, and He will not work a miracle to counteract perverse violations of the laws of life and health."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"The Lord has made it a part of His plan that man's reaping shall be according to his sowing."—Unpublished Testimonies, May 19, 1897.

"God calls for reformers to stand in defense of the laws He has established to govern the human system, and to maintain an elevated standard in the training of the mind and culture of the heart."—Testimonies to Ministers and Workers, p. 195.

"It is the duty of every human being, for his own sake and for the sake of humanity, to inform himself or herself in regard to the laws of organic life, and conscientiously to obey them . . It is the duty of every person to become intelligent in regard to disease and its causes. You must study your Bible, in order to understand the value that the Lord places on the men whom Christ has purchased at such an infinite price. Then we should become acquainted with the laws of life, that every action of the human agent may be in perfect harmony with the laws of God. When there is so great peril in ignorance, is it not best to be wise in regard to the human habitation fitted up by our Creator, and over which He desires that we shall be faithful stewards?"—Unpublished Testimonies, December 4, 1896.

"The transgression of the physical law is transgression of God's law. Our Creator is Jesus Christ."—Unpublished Testimonies, May 19, 1897.

"Every law governing the human machinery is to be considered just as truly divine in origin, in character, and in importance as the Word of God. Every careless action, any abuse put upon the wonderful mechanism, by disregarding His specified laws of the human habitation, is a violation of God's law. This law embraces the treatment of the entire being."—Unpublished Testimonies, January 11, 1897.

"God has formed laws to govern every part of our constitutions, and these laws which He has placed in our being are divine, and for every transgression there is a fixed penalty, which sooner or later must be realized."—Healthful Living, p. 20.

"Our first duty, one which we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow men, is to obey the laws of God, which include the laws of health."—3 Testimonies, p. 164.

"The laws governing the physical nature are as truly divine in their origin and character as the law of the Ten Commandments.

"Man is fearfully and wonderfully made; for Jehovah has inscribed His law by His own mighty hand on every part of the human body."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 5, 1896.

"It is just as much sin to violate the laws of our being as to break one of the Ten Commandments, for we cannot do either without breaking God's law."—2 Testimonies, p. 70.

"A violation of these laws is a violation of the immutable law of God, and the penalty will surely follow."—Review and Herald, October 16, 1883.

"All our enjoyment or suffering may be traced to obedience or transgression of natural law."—3 Testimonies, p. 161.

"God, the Creator of our bodies, has arranged every fiber and nerve and sinew and muscle, and has pledged Himself to keep the machinery in order if the human agent will co-operate with Him and refuse to work contrary to the laws which govern the human system."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"Every misuse of any part of our organism is a violation of the law which God designs shall govern us in these matters; and by violating this law, human beings corrupt themselves. Sickness, disease of every kind, ruined constitutions, premature decay, untimely deaths,—these are the result of a violation of nature's laws."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"Sickness is caused by violating the laws of health; it is the result of violating nature's laws."—3 Testimonies, p. 164.

"Everything that conflicts with natural law creates a diseased condition of the soul."—Review and Herald, January 25, 1881.

"The moral powers are weakened because men and women will not live in obedience to the laws of health, and make this great subject a personal duty."—3 Testimonies, p. 140.

"Satan knows that he cannot overcome man unless he can control his will. He can do this by deceiving men so they will cooperate with him in transgressing the laws of nature, which is transgression of the law of God."—Temperance, p. 16.

"If we unnecessarily injure our constitutions, we dishonor God, for we transgress the laws of our being."—Healthful Living, p. 27.

"If appetite, which should be strictly guarded and controlled, is indulged to the injury of the body, the penalty of transgression will surely result."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"Intemperance of any kind is a violation of the laws of our being."—Review and Herald, September 8, 1874.

"Eating merely to please the appetite is a transgression of nature's laws."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"Health is a great treasure. It is the richest possession that mortals can have. Wealth, honor, or learning is dearly purchased, if is be at the loss of the vigor of health. None of these attainments can secure happiness if health is wanting."—Christian Education, p. 16.

"The health should be as sacredly guarded as the character."—Christian Temperance, p. 83.

"Our physical, mental, and moral powers are not our own, but lent us of God to be used in His service." —Healthful Living, p. 29.

"The importance of the health of the body is to be taught as a Bible requirement."—Unpublished Testimonies, August 30, 1896.

"All who profess to be followers of Jesus should feel that a duty rests upon them to preserve their bodies in the best condition of health, that their minds may be clear to comprehend heavenly things."—2 Testimonies, pp. 522-523.

"That time is well spent which is directed to the establishment and preservation of sound physical and mental health . . It is easy to lose health, but it is difficult to regain it."—Review and Herald, September 23, 1884.

"God has not changed, neither does He propose to change our physical organism, in order that we may violate a single law without feeling the effects of its violation . . By indulging their inclinations and appetites, men violate the laws of life and health; and if they obey conscience, they must be controlled by principle in their eating and dressing, rather than be led by inclination, fashion, and appetite."—Counsels on Diet and Foods, 161.

"Neglecting to exercise the entire body, or a portion of it, will bring on morbid conditions. Inaction of any of the organs of the body will be followed by a decrease in size and strength of the muscles, and will cause the blood to flow sluggishly through the blood vessels."—3 Testimonies, p. 176.

"Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation."—2 Testimonies, p. 531.

"The health of the entire system depends upon the healthy action of the respiratory organs."—How to Live, p. 57.

"If we would have health, we must live for it."—Health Reformer, December 1, 1870.

"We can ill afford to dwarf or cripple a single function of mind or body by overwork, or by abuse of any part of the living machinery."—Review and Herald, September 23, 1884.

"A sound body is required for a sound intellect."—Christian Education, p. 17.

"A careful conformity to the laws God has implanted in our being will insure health, and there will not be a breaking down of the constitution."—Health Reformer, August 1, 1866.

"Blindness mingles with the want of moral courage to deny your appetite, to lift the cross, which means to take up the very duties that cut across the natural appetites and passions."—Unpublished Testimonies, November 5, 1896.

"Nature's path is the road He [God] marks out, and it is broad enough for any Christian."—3 Testimonies, p. 63.

"Overeating prevents the free flow of thought and words, and that intensity of feeling which is so necessary in order to impress the truth upon the heart of the hearer."—3 Testimonies, p. 310.

"Excessive eating of even the best of food will produce a morbid condition of the moral feelings . . Wrong habits of eating and drinking lead to errors in thought and action. Indulgence of appetite strengthens the animal propensities, giving them the ascendancy over the mental and spiritual powers . . Everything that conflicts with natural law creates a diseased condition of the soul."—Review and Herald, January 25, 1881.

"The foundation of all enduring reform is the law of God. We are to present in clear, distinct lines the need of obeying this law.

"Its principles must be kept before the people. They are as everlasting and inexorable as God Himself.

"One of the most deplorable effects of the original apostasy was the loss of man's power of self-control. Only as this power is regained, can there be real progress."—Ministry of Healing, p. 129.

"The less feverish the diet, the more easily can the passions be controlled."—2 Testimonies, p. 352.

"A failure to care for the living machinery is an insult to the Creator. There are divinely appointed rules which if observed, will keep human beings from disease and premature death."—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 16.

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."—1 Peter 2:11.

"Parents often make a mistake by giving their children too much food. Children treated in this way will grow up dyspeptics.

"Moderation in the use of even good food is essential."—Child Guidance, p. 391.

"Irregularity in eating and drinking, and improper dressing, deprave the mind and corrupt the heart, and bring noble attributes to the soul in slavery to the animal passions."—Health Reformer, October 1, 1871.

"A diseased body causes a disordered brain, and hinders the work of sanctifying grace upon the mind and heart."—Health Reformer, September 1, 1871.

"If man will cherish the light that God in mercy gives him upon health reform, he may be sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality."—3 Testimonies, p. 162.

"Every organ of the body is made to be servant of the mind."—3 Testimonies, p. 136.

"The brain is the capital of the body, the seat of all the nervous forces and of mental action. The nerves proceeding from the brain control the body. By the brain nerves, mental impressions are conveyed to all the nerves of the body as by telegraph wires; and they control the vital action of every part of the system. All the organs of motion are governed by the communications they receive from the brain."—3 Testimonies, p. 69.

"The brain nerves which communicate with the entire system are the only medium through which Heaven can communicate to man and affect his inmost life. Whatever disturbs the circulation of the electric currents in the nervous system, lessens the strength of the vital powers, and the result is a deadening of the sensibilities of the mind."—2 Testimonies, p. 347.

"A calm, clear brain and steady nerves are dependent upon a well-balanced circulation of the blood."—Healthful Living, p. 194.

"Immediately after eating there is a strong draught upon the nervous energy . . Therefore, when the mind or body is taxed heavily after eating, the process of digestion is hindered. The vitality of the system, which is needed to carry on the work in one direction, is called away and set to work in another."—2 Testimonies, p. 413.

"Every wrong habit which injures the health of the body, reacts in effect upon the mind."—Health Reformer, February 1, 1871.

"The brain is the citadel of the whole man, and wrong habits of eating, dressing, or sleeping affect the brain, and prevent the attaining of that which the student desires,—a good mental discipline. Any part of the body that is not treated with consideration will telegraph its injury to the brain."—Christian Education, p. 125.

"It is impossible for the brain to do its best work when the digestive powers are abused. Many eat hurriedly of various kinds of food, which set up a war in the stomach, and thus confuse the brain . . At mealtime cast off care and taxing thought. Do not be hurried, but eat slowly and with cheerfulness, your heart filled with gratitude to God for all His blessings. And do not engage in brain labor immediately after a meal. Exercise moderately, and give a little time for the stomach to begin its work."—Gospel Workers, pp. 241-242.

"The tempted one needs to understand the true force of the will.

"This is the governing power in the nature of man,—the power of decision, of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. Desires for goodness and purity are right, so far as they go; but if we stop here, they avail nothing. Many will go down to ruin while hoping and desiring to overcome their evil propensities. They do not yield the will to God. They do not choose to serve Him.

"God has given us the power of choice; it is ours to exercise. We can not change our hearts, we can not control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections. We can not make ourselves pure, fit for God's service. But we can choose to serve and do according to His good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be brought under the control of Christ . . A pure and noble life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to every one who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God."—Ministry of Healing, p. 176.


Abstemiousness, or temperance, is simple self-control. Only through the continual aid of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ can we be empowered, by His grace, to control ourselves, resist temptation, and obey God's will.

The will of God is revealed throughout the Inspired Writings of Scripture, and especially in the Ten Commandments which summarize many basic principles of godliness.

If you would be like Jesus, then, by His enabling grace, obey the Ten Commandments which He gave on Mount Sinai over 3,400 years ago.

Obedience to God is the basis of all true temperance, the foundation of successful, happy living in this life, and the assurance of life on through eternity with God.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." (Psalm 19:7-8).

It is in the law that we learn God's pattern for our conduct and His will for our lives. "And knowest His will . . being instructed out of the law." (Romans 2:18). "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Intemperance in life is sin, and sin is the breaking of God's law. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4). "For by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20).

Obedience to God is the passport to heaven. Jesus said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17). "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." (Psalm 119:1). "Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." (Psalm 19:11).

The rewards of obedience are abundant: "Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them." (Psalm 119:165). "O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." (Isaiah 48:18). "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments." (Psalm 111:10). "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." (Isaiah 1:19).

Yet it is only through the enabling strength of Christ's grace that we can keep God's law. Apart from Christ, we are helpless to resist sin.

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (Romans 1:16). Jesus came to earth and died so we might be delivered from falling into sin. "Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21). "We preach . . Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29).

By believing in Christ as our Saviour, and acting in accordance with our faith, we are enabled to obey all that God asks of us. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Romans 3:31).

This is the basis of the new covenant: God enables us to obey His commandments as we accept and cling to Jesus, His Son. Christ is our Mediator in Heaven, and He strengthens us to resist temptation and obey God's law. (Hebrews 8:6, 10).

Law and grace are closely associated in the plan of redemption. To understand grace, we need to understand the law.

In the beginning, God created man and placed him under law. Man was not just to be a wild man, a law unto himself. He was to obey God. The Moral Law of the Ten Commandments were later written down (Exodus 20). Other laws were also given at that time.

There were civil laws which regulated many matters of the nation of Israel. They applied to the governing of the nation.

Then there were the ceremonial, or sanctuary, laws. These governed the religious services of the nation, and were written in a book which was placed beside the Ark of the Covenant. These ceremonial laws were abolished at the cross, for at that time Christ, the great antitypical Lamb of God died for mankind. No longer need lambs be brought to the earthly sanctuary to be sacrificed. In Christ at Calvary, shadow met substance and type met antitype—and the ceremonial laws were abolished.

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross." (Colossians 2:14). "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Colossians 2:17).

Then, third, there was the Ten Commandments. It is the Moral Law of God, given by Him to all humanity. It is the universal law of mankind. No one is to commit adultery, or the other sins listed in this holy code.

This was the only law written by the finger of God. It was the only law placed inside the Ark of the Covenant. "He wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the Ten Commandants, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly" (Deuteronomy 10:4). "And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made." (Deuteronomy 10:5).

The moral Ten Commandment law is eternal. It is God's own covenant, and it is as everlasting as God Himself. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." (Psalm 19:7). "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Romans 7:12). "Thy law is the truth." (Psalm 119:142). "Concerning Thy testimonies, I have known of old that Thou hast founded them forever." (Psalm 119:152).

What does the law do for the sinner?

First, it gives a knowledge of sin. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20).

Second, it brings guilt and condemnation. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." (Romans 3:19).

Third, it acts as a spiritual mirror. "If any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:23-25).

Without the law the sinner is like a man afflicted with a deadly disease, who does not know he has it. Paul said, "I had not known sin, but by the law." (Romans 7:7).

What is the law unable to do for the sinner?

The law of God cannot forgive or justify him; only Jesus can. He died to redeem us. "By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight." (Romans 3:20).

The law of God cannot keep from sin or sanctify us. "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." (Galatians 3:21).

The law of God cannot cleanse or keep the heart clean. Only Jesus can cast out the evil, and enable man to obey Him.

What does the grace of Christ do for the sinner?

When the law of God and the Spirit of God have made the sinner conscious of his sin, he will feel his need of Jesus Christ. Going to the Saviour, he can receive help. If we come to Him and confess and put away our sin, He forgives us. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9).

Through grace, we can receive forgiveness and justification. "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:38-39).

Through grace, we can be saved from sin, or sanctified. "Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21). "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Grace inspires faith, and encourages us to come to Christ and remain with Him. "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Grace brings us God's power. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16).

What is the relationship of a sinner, who is being saved by grace, to the law of God?

The law becomes the standard of his life "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." (1 John 5:3).

He permits Christ to fulfill in Him the righteousness of the law. (Romans 8:3). Christ writes the law on the heart. "This is the covenant that I will make . . I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people." (Hebrews 8:10).

What is the relationship of grace, faith, love and the law?

Grace is unmerited favor, but grace does not sanction continued transgression. "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." (Romans 6:15).

Faith does not make void, but establishes, the law. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Romans 3:31).

Faith brings overcoming power. "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:4).

Love is the fulfilling of the law. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:10).

True love keeps the commandments. "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." (1 John 5:3).

Back to Section 0 - Principles of Health - Part 4bTopForward to Section 0 - Principles of Health - Part 4d

Encyclopedia Index