THERE is a world-wide difference, and much more than that, between man’s law and the law of God.
This difference may not be apparent in the wording of the laws, as they are compared one with the other; but it is none the less real.
For example, the law of God says, “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Thou shalt not steal.” Man’s law also specifically forbids killing and stealing. But man’s law against murder, even though expressed in the exact language of the sixth commandment, is not God’s law. It is not a reënactment of God’s law. It falls as far short of that law, in its breadth and depth and purpose, as man falls short of God.
God’s laws are not only prohibitions, but they are promises. With the command, God also gives power to perform it. Man could not possibly keep God’s law by his own power; his very nature is contrary to it. “The carnal mind is emnity [sic.] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be.” God must supply the power necessary for the fulfillment of his law in man, if ever any man is to keep it. And he does this by the power of the life of Christ.
That plan and that power are set forth by the apostle Paul in the words, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. Christ lives in the believer; his life is the life of Christ; and that life is now, as it ever has been, in perfect harmony with God’s law.
Thus the law of God is not a measure of man’s power towards God, but of God’s power toward man. It is a promise of what God will do for every individual who will come unto him by faith. That law operates by God’s own power, and not by the power of man.
In brief, the law of God commands love to God, and love to man. It requires us to love God with all the mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourself. But who can love by his own will? “God is love,” and “love is of God.” God must supply the power by putting love—which is putting himself—into man’s heart.
God’s law deals with the heart. An evil thought is a violation of his law. “The word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, an is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
Man’s word—man’s law—on the other hand, cannot rise above the level of man’s own human power and wisdom.
Man can neither reënact nor enforce the law of God. God’s law says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Man also has  made a sabbath “law,” which commands the observance of the first day of the week. But it is with this law as with his laws against murder, theft, or adultery,—it is not the law of God. Yet in making it, man assumes to reënact and enforce the Sabbath law of God, since the Sabbath is an institution pertaining solely to man’s relation to God.
It is proper that human laws should forbid murder, theft, adultery, etc., in order that men may live in the enjoyment of their natural rights. But of the Sabbath God says, “And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 20:20. The Sabbath being a sign between God and his people, it cannot properly pertain to any other relation than that between God and his people. It cannot pertain to the relations between human beings.
Since therefore man’s word is infinitely below God’s word, in power and wisdom and truth, and it is infinitely beyond man’s power either to make a sabbath as God did or to reenact or enforce the law of God, and since the Sabbath is God’s distinctive sign between himself and his people (because it points him out as the Creator and therefore the true God) man’s sabbath law is nothing else than a most daring piece of presumption. And quite in keeping with its character as such is the fact that it contradicts the law of God by setting up the first day of the week instead of the seventh, as the Sabbath.
It ought therefore to be speedily removed from every civil code in which it has found a place.