Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Ten Commandments - God's Revelation in the Old Testament

The Ten Commandments are found in the Bible's Old Testament at Exodus, Chapter 20. They were given directly by God to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai after He had delivered them from slavery in Egypt:

"And God spoke all these words, saying: 'I am the LORD your God…

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'

TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'

THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'

FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'

FIVE: 'Honour your father and your mother.'

SIX: 'You shall not murder.'

SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'

EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'

NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.'

TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour's.'
The Ten Commandments - Christ's Summation in the New Testament
About 1,400 years later, the ten Commandments were summed up in the New Testament at Matthew 22, when Jesus was confronted by the religious "experts" of the day:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:36-40).

A reflective reading of Christ's teaching reveals that the first four commandments given to the children of Israel are contained in the statement: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." It continues that the last six commandments are enclosed in the statement: "Love your neighbour as yourself."
Ten Commandments: The Origin of God's Law
The Ten Commandments are first recorded in the book of Exodus. They were given by God at Mt. Sinai following the Israelites escape from slavery in Egypt. The Ten Commandments were moral statutes given by God, through Moses, so that the Israelites could enjoy fruitful and holy lives. The Commandments were significant in that they formed the basis of Jewish life, law and faith. Inscribed on stone tablets, the ten Commandments were initially broken by Moses in anger over the flagrant sins of the Israelites. They were then re-inscribed and kept in the Ark of the Covenant at the command of God. Four of the Commandments deal primarily with man's relationship with God and the other six deal primarily with man's relationship with one another.
Ten Commandments: God's Standard of Holiness
The Ten Commandments were also known as the Law. For ancient Israel, breaking the Law was a serious offense. To deviate by any degree from the ten Commandments was to sin and fall short of God's standard of holiness. Knowing that it was impossible for any human being to perfectly follow the Law, a sacrificial system mediated by the Levitical priesthood was established. Through this system, God permitted ancient Israel to make reparations for the sins they committed. As an example, an appropriate sacrifice would involve the slaughtering of a young lamb that is found to be without any blemish. The sacrifices continued endlessly, as did the sins. This system of blood sacrifice was not meant to be barbaric, but rather, symbolic of the gravity of sin.
The annual Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur is a day of atonement that is set aside for the reparation of sins.
Although God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, they do not apply to Jews alone. The Ten Commandments reflect God's standard of holiness for everyone. Since God is the universal authority of moral conduct, all of humanity is subject to His standards. According to the Bible, no one is exempt from God's Law. Some say that the Ten Commandments do not apply to them, since they did not grow up with "religion." However, the scriptures reveal that the requirements of the Law are written on our hearts (Romans 2:25), and thus, our conscience ultimately confirms our guilt. Wait a minute. Since most of us, to some degree, have tried to live good lives, contributing positive things to our families and communities, how can God fault us if we have tried our best? Based on God's standard of holiness, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). In addition, God is not only concerned with our actions, but also the condition of our hearts. In the New Testament, Jesus referred to the Law when He emphasized that hatred amounts to murder and lust amounts to adultery. We have all had these thoughts. Indeed, we have all sinned according to God's standard.
Ten Commandments: Revealing Our Need for a Saviour
After reviewing the ten Commandments, some argue that God is unjust for imposing a standard upon humanity that He knows we can't fulfil. Doesn't it seem awfully cruel for a loving God to condemn man for the evil that is inherently part of the human condition? The response to this perplexing question lies in Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus came to earth in order to reconcile this dilemma. Like the perfect lambs that were constantly sacrificed for the sins of Israel, Jesus was perfect and without blemish, because he was sinless. Like the lambs, He was sacrificed for the reparation of sins. Unlike the lambs, however, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ redeemed the sins of all humanity for all time. Unlike the lambs, Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead and conquered the power of sin for all humanity for all time. The Bible tells us why Christ had to become a sacrifice: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Ten Commandments: Love Without Condemnation
For many, the Ten Commandments are symbols of condemnation that point to our faults and mistakes. Some feel so guilty that they believe God will never accept them. Others simply choose to reject God because His Law is impossible to obey. Ironically, the Ten Commandments were never given by God to condemn humanity, but rather, they were given to convict humanity. The Ten Commandments act as a mirror to "reflect" the condition of our souls. When we examine our life in light of the Ten Commandments, we realize our shortcomings and our need for redemption. Jesus Christ is our redeemer. Therefore, God gave the ten Commandments not to condemn humanity, but to show us His love for us. For, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

The Ten Commandments and Jesus - What did Jesus think of the Ten Commandments?

Ever wonder what Jesus thought of the Ten Commandments? The answer can be found in John 8:36 where it says, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

The Ten Commandments represent the law given by God to his people by way of Moses. In addition to defining God's idea of perfection, they provide a moral code for governing our lives. Most of us believe we are able to keep these commandments, but the truth is-none of us can. God's standards are so high, they are impossible to perfectly meet.

                                                        What did Jesus think of the Ten Commandments? He agreed that they are impossible for you and me to keep. That's why He came.

As a man, Jesus understood our limitations. But because He was also fully God, He was able to become the perfect, sinless man on our behalf. God's law demands a sacrifice for breaking His law. Jesus became that sacrifice.

If the Ten Commandments are impossible for us to keep, why did God give them? If we look closely, we'll see that the commandments are based on a simple, positive foundation of love. All of us would rather hear about what we can do rather than what we are forbidden to do. But an honest examination of the Ten Commandments reveals that God's message contains more what "to do" than "not to do" items.

The Ten Commandments teach us how to first love God, and then love our neighbour. When God is first in our lives, the rest comes naturally. Let's take a walk together through the ten Commandments. . .where we'll discover they lead to Jesus.

The first commandment says, "You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3). In other words, love God above everything. It's all too easy for us to push God aside in favour of the latest fad, fashion trend, or superstar. We can become easily obsessed with wrong ideas about success. If God is truly first in our lives, we'll find balance and grow to godly maturity. In time, we'll also discover we can be satisfied with what we have.
God wants us to use his name positively, not in vain. He wants us to concentrate on his word and his ways, on remembering the Sabbath day by honouring God with our choices. It is good to honour our father and mother; we should always treat family members with respect.

Do not kill, do not commit adultery, and do not steal. Those three commandments value life and relationship and respecting others.

Not bearing false witness against your neighbour, and not coveting what belongs to your neighbour applies to men and women, young and old -- everyone. Consider how much more peaceful our world would be if everyone kept these commandments.

Each commandment is a separate rule but together they offer directions on how to live without sin. As long as we are in this world, we will find it difficult not to sin. The good news is, Jesus came to rescue us from the penalty of sin. This does not mean we should wilfully sin; as we've discussed, the Ten Commandments are given for our personal and mutual benefit. But if we accept the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, we can escape the judgment for sin -- which is eternal life, separated from God.

So, do you wonder what Jesus says about the Ten Commandments?

His answer lies at the foot of a cross, but started a long time ago, when God used His Almighty finger to write some commandments to live by. And the one time He did, they were meant for all time.

Jesus did not do away with the moral law at the cross, but his sacrifice for mankind revealed the grace and forgiveness available to us.

If we live by these laws on our own, we would know heaven on earth. Because we are unable to, we live in a sinful world. That's why we need a Saviour, and His name is Jesus.

What does Jesus say about the Ten Commandments? He asks us to look at the Cross of Calvary where he died to set us free.
We have all sinned and deserve God's judgement. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgement for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Saviour, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgement and spend eternity with God in Heaven.