10 Commandments

When God gave the Hebrew people the famed “Ten Commandments” it was a really big deal. When we read
them from a “civilized mindset” it seems like such a no-brainer. Love God, don’t kill or steal…what’s so great
about that? Isn’t that just common sense? Well…no. Not then.
We forget that the world at that time was anything but civilized. Gods were numerous and popular. So when
God told His people how to live it was a drastic and noticeable change. Every culture had their own ideas of
gods and, because these gods were from the imagination of human minds, they simply reflected how humans
wanted to live; they approved some mighty uncivilized actions.
So God told them He, and He alone, was the one true God. The first four commandments told them how to
worship him and revealed the unwavering allegiance they were to make to Him. That was unheard of and
drastically changed their worship and understanding of who He was.
The next six commandments dealt with their relationship with people. And, boy howdy, was it drastic. It was a
totally different way to live. The people of that day were everything but civilized. There was no real order to
society. If you wanted it and were strong enough to take it, you took it. Human life had no real worth. Murder,
robbery, greed, and debauchery were the norm and family meant little or nothing. Women and children had no
more value than animals. It was truly a difficult time to live. Then God said to do these six simple things and it
sowed the fruit of a new way of life.
The Pharisees, Priests, and Scribes, the “holy people” of the nation, began (in response to people’s questions,
I’m sure) to write down ways to keep those commandments. It wasn’t long before the prescribed ways of
keeping the Ten Commandments became a rote obedience and a burden. They were impossible to keep, at
least with any consistency. That’s why the lawyer in Matthew 22 tried to trick Jesus into proclaiming just one
commandment as the best one to focus on keeping.
Jesus’ reply, instead of adding burden to the keeping of the law or designating some as less than others,
actually streamlined the way to a fulfilling relationship to God. The first four commandments summed up:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart. The next six? Love your neighbor as you love yourself. What
freedom that bestowed!
Humans, though, did what humans do. They began abusing their newfound freedom and falling away from
God’s nature and purpose. He had to remind them in Galatians and Jude not to use their freedom in ways that
glorified their carnal nature over the nature of the new creature in God.
I feel that we are finding ourselves in much the same place as the New Covenant church. We have been set
free from slavish obedience to man-made ways to keep ourselves in a right relationship with God. We can
have playing cards in the home, watch TV on Sundays, play a guitar in church, and so on. Yet some
Christians celebrate homosexually, abortion, and transgender life styles. All of which are clearly…yes
clearly…forbidden in God’s Word.
It’s tough to set down a written list of dos and don’ts when it comes to living a lifestyle of loving God because
sometimes it’s an exercise in judgement rather than a labor of love. But remember that we are not set free to
sin against the nature and purpose of God. Many things are, indeed, set in stone and tossing them aside is in
no way “progress”.
Bro. Tony