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.
‘For best results follow the Maker’s Instructions.’
I saw these words on a poster years ago. Of course, it’s true. How many times have I wanted to assemble some flat-packed product without taking too much notice of the instructions? That route doesn’t lead anywhere good.
As we noted yesterday, the Lord had brought His people out of slavery. We must not think of His instructions as another form of bondage. Consider these verses:
“…the perfect law of freedom…” James 1:25;
“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” Psalm 119:45.
The greatest freedom is to be set free to obey God’s law, and also the freedom we enjoy in the doing of it. We go ‘with the grain of the universe’ when we live as God intended. We get the best results when we follow the Maker’s instructions. We find ourselves in a spacious (rather than a cramped and confined) place when we go His way.
One scholar has pointed out that the word ‘law’, as a translation of ‘Torah’, may be misleading. The idea behind it is rather the instruction of a loving parent who wants the best for His children.
As we prepare to look at these ten words, here are some helpful comments from Tom Hale regarding their continuing relevance:
‘The Ten Commandments are part of God’s ‘moral law.” Those laws dealing with our moral behaviour – such as the Ten Commandments – are binding on Christians today. Those laws dealing with ceremonial behaviour – the manner of worship, the sacrificial system, purification rituals, and dietary restrictions – are not binding on Christians today. These ceremonial laws have been rendered unnecessary because Jesus Christ has provided a new and better way to approach God and find acceptance from Him (Hebrews 9:15; 10:19-22)…
…All of the Ten Commandments are mentioned in the New Testament, as well as many other Old Testament moral laws that Christians are expected to obey today. The moral laws are “binding” on Christians in the sense that they define behaviour that is acceptable to God. They are God’s laws, after all; He commands us to obey them and there will be consequences if we don’t. But our reason for obeying them is not simply to avoid punishment, and it is certainly not to try and “earn” salvation; rather, we obey in order to show God that we love Him and are grateful to Him for what He has done for us.’ ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.241.
I would want to add also, though, that we obey because we can; because under the New Covenant the law is now written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. As a former thief put it, before his conversion what struck him was” “You shall not steal” (Ex.20:15). But afterwards what he was aware of was: “You shall not steal.”
In Christ, the command had also become a promise. It is “the perfect law of freedom.”
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