We may wonder why we need the Ten Commandments especially being that we are living in a dispensation of grace; but they were given to us so that we would live with integrity. We require structural wholeness to stand against forces that come against us so that what we say, think and do are one and the same thing; this way there will be no cracks in our lives. Without integrity, we collapse sooner or later. We therefore require a structural system to refer to and this is found in the Ten Commandments. It must however be remembered that integrity, is a matter of personal choice, it is something we each decide in our being to be and no one else can do that for us.
The first to the fourth Commandment are basically about relationship with God while the rest are about relating with one another. The Ten Commandments did not expire with the Israelites in the wilderness; as a matter of fact Jesus Christ Himself authenticated their use now as before in Mathew 5:17-19," Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus Christ came to fulfill and not do away with the commandments and He points out that they are part of our journey to eternity, not whole but part because keeping them alone will not get us to heaven. In Mark 10:21 we see Him telling a man who had diligently observed the Law since childhood to now follow Him, "One thing you lack", He said, "Go sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Somebody said that the Law is like a mirror which reveals to us what is wrong so that once we know what is wrong with us, we go to Jesus to clean us with His blood.
In Exodus 20: 1-17 we see God giving His Commandments. The preamble is in His reminding the Egyptians that He is the LORD, their God who brought them out of Egypt. In saying that He is the LORD, He first identifies Himself by indicating His covenant relationship with them. In earlier on entering a covenant with Abraham, the expectation would be that He expected something from them just as they too could anticipate something from Him. The LORD severally refers to Himself as 'the LORD your God' in Exodus 20 verses 5,7,10 and12. In the second part of the preamble He places emphasis on the fact that He brought them out of Egypt thus delivering them from the yoke of slavery. Having delivered them then it follows that He too expects something form them. The Ten Commandments are thus born of grace and mercy; if we are to experience these, then we too must embrace and accept His Commandments, which are themselves imperatives and which begin with the words: 'You shall..'.
Unfortunately the spirit of relativism has permeated our society and 'you shall' has now become 'you will' or 'you may'. But God does not accept this because His command is very clear. In Exodus 20:3 He says, 'You shall have no other gods before me.' This has to do with the knowledge of God- that we should know who He is so that we may not put other gods before Him. Israel was given this command at a time when they lived in polytheism because their neighbors had many gods whom they also adopted. But Jehovah required that they, being the chosen of God, could only worship Him-their one true God. In our time we too must remember that Christianity is for the chosen people of God- those that have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And we worship the one God who is revealed by the Son Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, 'Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.'
Yet this very confession makes people call us Christians intolerant, bigoted, selfish, and fundamentalist. But although a mountain may be climbed at from any direction as argued by the New Age followers, there is even Chrislam, a synctretic mixture of Christianity and Islam which has been created to reduce the tension between the two. While being careful to unconditionally love people, we must distinguish between loving people and worshipping their gods. Christianity must remain exclusive as there is no other god ahead of Jehovah; it cannot be mixed with other religions, it is exclusive. It cannot be mixed with other cultures because its basis is Scripture which is Supra culture. We cannot sometimes rush back to our cultures for answers because Scripture has all the answers in the way that God intends for us. We cannot put other gods ahead or alongside God because He is a jealous and has declared that none other shall be before Him.
God tells us clearly in the Ten Commandments: "You shall have no other gods before me."
(Word count 927)
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.