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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and
Others

Discern Fact from Fiction


Salvation, Grace, and Obedience

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#154: "In fact being under the law leads to sin. 1 Corinthians 15:56 says, 'The strength of sin is the law.' "—Mark Martin.

#154: Being under the law leads to sin. Mr. Martin appears to be saying that obeying the law leads to sin. This is a rather strange conclusion, for how can obeying the law lead to breaking the law?

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Rom. 7:7)

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom. 3:20)

According to the New Testament, while the law cannot save us, it does define what sin is. As we saw under #152, "under the law" means "under the condemnation of the law." These simple Bible facts make it clear that, rather than being under the law leading to sin, sin is what puts us under the law.

The text cited, 1 Corinthians 15:56, is an interesting one. What does it mean? Consider the thoughts on this very verse found in these well-known commentaries written by scholars who were not Seventh-day Adventists:

[N]ot that the law of God is sinful, or encourages sin: it forbids it under the severest penalty; but was there no law there would be no sin, nor imputation of it; sin is a transgression of the law: moreover, the strength of sin, its evil nature, and all the dreadful aggravations of it, and sad consequences upon it, are discovered and made known by the law; and also the strength of it is drawn out by it, through the corruption of human nature; which is irritated and provoked the more to sin, through the law's prohibition of it; and this is not the fault of the law, but is owing to the vitiosity of nature; which the more it is forbidden anything, the more desirous it is of it; to which may be added, that sin is the more exceeding sinful, being committed against a known law, and that of the great lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; whose legislative power and authority are [p. 103] slighted and trampled upon by it, which makes the transgression the more heinous; it is the law which binds sin upon a man's conscience, accuses him of it, pronounces him guilty, curses, condemns, and adjudges him to death for it.—Gill's Expositor and the Body of Divinity.

The strength of sin. Its power over the mind; its terrific and dreadful energy; and especially its power to produce alarm in the hour of death.

Is the law. The pure and holy law of God. This idea Paul has illustrated at length in Rom. 7:9-13, and he probably made the statement here in order to meet the Jews, and to show that the law of God had no power to take away the fear of death; and that, therefore, there was need of the gospel, and that this alone could do it. The Jews maintained that a man might be justified and saved by obedience to the law. Paul here shows that it is the law which gives its chief rigour to sin, and that it does not tend to subdue or destroy it; and that power is seen most strikingly in the pangs and horrors of a guilty conscience on the bed of death. There was need, therefore, of the gospel, which alone could remove the cause of these horrors, by taking away sin, and thus leaving the pardoned man to die in peace.—Barnes' New Testament Notes.

Without the law sin is not perceived or imputed (Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 5:13). The law makes sin the more grievous by making God's will the clearer. (Rom. 7:8-10).—Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown.

The law, broken, is sin, and when this law is consciously broken the conscience is wounded. When a moral law is broken, moral death follows. If there was no law of any kind, there would be no sin, no wounded consciences, no moral death. See Rom. 7:7.—Peoples New Testament Notes.

A Response to the Video

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