THE 10 COMMANDMENTS – GIVEN OUT OF GOD’S LOVE FOR US – AN INTRODUCTION
SURELY THEY ARE NO LONGER RELEVANT…ARE THEY?
I recently heard a sermon in which the well-known speaker declared that the 10 Commandments were totally irrelevant for today – they were no longer needed and could be ignored.
And why would he say this? Because with the New Covenant we no longer live under the Law but under Grace (Romans 6: 14) – and the 10 Commandments are the Law. The Law is now written on our hearts (Hebrews 10: 16) – we have the freedom to live as our heart and the Spirit leads us
I most strongly disagree!
Not with the truth that the Law is written on our hearts but with the assertion that this makes it no longer relevant.
ALL Scripture is profitable for doctrine (etc – 2 Timothy 3: 16-17) and none is therefore to be discarded – we do it at our peril.
Yes…the Law is written on OUR hearts but not on the hearts of the vast majority of people who do not know the LORD – so how are they to know what is right or wrong?
And it is POST-MODERNISM that says that our feelings are our true guide – “if it feels good do it” is one of the most dangerous mantras of present-day mankind. Yes, the Spirit is within us but we are constantly in the “Battle of the mind” with our enemy, the devil, who will seek to deceive us and lead us astray.
The checks and balances that we have is to weigh up what our heart tells us with what Scripture tells us. If our heart tells us that something is right when the 10 Commandments says it is wrong then it is our heart that is mistaken.
We need the 10 Commandments.
And also, there are many who do not want to hear the 10 Commandments because they smack of control, of rules, of something restrictive, something negative – “I don’t want to be told what to do!” And to them they smack of God being a “party pooper” – someone like a nagging parent who wants to stop you having fun.
This is NOT so. The 10 Commandments were given to us by a loving, caring, Father God who wants the very best for us, who wants to do His very best to make sure that we don’t hurt ourselves – physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually; and wants to ensure that we don’t hurt others – which will likewise rebound on us with hurt. A Father God who knows that if we follow these guidelines then we will be happy and content and at peace with Him, with ourselves and with the world.
And the evidence of this care is seen in the very first instance of when He gave mankind an instruction on what they must not do – in the Garden of Eden.
THAT FIRST INSTRUCION WAS GIVEN TO US FOR OUR GOOD!
When God created the universe and the world and all the animals and plants and trees, He made it “good” – and He made it to give pleasure to Himself and to us – the greatest of His creations.
And His desire was to live literally with us, walk with us, talk with us, care for us, share with us, give us work and a purpose that would fulfil us. He gave us a Paradise to live in, and an eternity of life to enjoy it in. Adam and Eve were perfectly happy in it. There was just one rule – not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – with the warning that if they did so, then they would die.
Here is what the Scripture says (Genesis 2: 8-18):
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil……
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’
18 The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’
It actually doesn’t really matter WHY God gave this command. The fact, the truth, that this rule was given as a sign of love and care for us is seen in the two things that happened as a result of it’s being given:
- Our enemy, the devil, the deceiver, the one who wants to destroy us, WANTED us to break this rule. He enticed us, he tempted us, he gave devious arguments as to why Adam and Eve should not abide by it. And he won them over. His aim was simple – to destroy us. This alone proves that the rule was the care and love of God for us.
- When Adam and Eve ate the fruit it DID DO THEM HARM! Out of His love for them, He did warn them. And when they ate it, various things happened – the most important of which were:
- They lost their literal walk with God – the relationship was harmed
- They lost their place with God – they were forced to leave Paradise
- They lost their lives – they died – not immediately, but their natural life was now limited.
All this is PROOF that the rule – the command – had been given to them out of love, out of care, out a desire for them to have the very best.
And they NEEDED the stated command – it was declared by God in words; it was written down in years to come. It was not enough to say “it was written on their hearts” – they NEEDED to be TOLD it.
And we NEED to have the 10 Commandments as a bedrock of what we know to be right and wrong. And we understand that they too have been given to us by God for our good, for our benefit, out of His love and out of His care.
Far from restricting our freedom, they GIVE us our freedom – freedom to be everything that we were meant to be; freedom to be happy; freedom to be fulfilled.
Thank God for the 10 Commandments!
FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION – AT HOME OR IN HOUSEGROUP
Let everything that we think of from this point on be based on the truth of 1 John 4: 16
- Under the “New Covenant” (and what is this???) is it true that “The Law” is written on our hearts? Have a real good study of Hebrews 10: 15-18 and compare it with Romans 2: 12-15. Does this have something to do with “conscience”? And how is the Holy Spirit involved in all this?
- Do people like or hate “rules”? I have suggested here that God’s rules come out of His love for us. What do YOU think about all the rules that are found in the Bible? Think of rules in this world that are there to control people – to keep them in subjection – can you think of any? Can you think of countries, maybe, where rules are often a bad (controlling) thing? Maybe God IS a controlling, “bah humbug, party-pooper” God. Can you be sure that He is not?
- Let’s turn our attention now to the first “rule” mentioned in the Bible – have a look at Genesis 2: 8-18….
- Maybe you would like to watch an arty interpretation of this on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POpB_s9V8Ak
- OK – we avoided the question in our service…but why, oh why, did Father God give them this rule?
- Do you think that what happened in Genesis 3 showed the love of God or the punishment of a God who was not going to accept mere man going against His Laws?