And God spoke all these words:

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

In the culture of 1960’s England – the era in which I grew up – I think many people were familiar with what we call ‘the ten commandments’, even if only in a vague way. I believe this was true of a number of the children I rubbed shoulders with at school. I also think there was a widely held opinion that this was Christianity: i.e keeping the Ten Commandments (otherwise known as doing good).

But it’s important to notice the order in Exodus 20. The people are first saved ‘by grace, through faith’ and then called to the obedience of faith. They are not told to obey so that they may be liberated. No, it is the freed slaves who are given these instructions.

‘…the grace that saves preceded the law that demands. The people were given the law not in order that they might become the redeemed, rather it was because they were already redeemed that they were given the law. The law of God is the way of life he sets before those whom he has saved, and they engage in that way of life as a response of love and gratitude to God their Redeemer. Grace and law belong together, for grace leads to law; saving love leads to and excites grateful love expressed in obedience.’ Alec Motyer: ‘The message of Exodus’, p.213.

Considering this, I was reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Cor.6:19,20:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”