In spite of the fact that these laws for living came about in such a powerful way on Sinai (read Exodus 19:16-25), it’s obvious that many fail to grasp the significance of the Ten Commandments. Many see them as options, not obligations. Others see them as a source of inspiration, kind of like the singing of the National Anthem before a ball game. Still others view them as archaic; irrelevant to modern society.
While there are those who would strip the Ten Commandments from our public institutions, they cannot be extricated from the fabric of society or the DNA of the human race. The Ten Commandments define how life was designed to be lived. Break them and they will break you. Keep them and they will bless you (Psalm 119:1).
I believe God had a twofold purpose in giving the Ten Commandments. First, they reveal God’s standard. In Leviticus 19:2 God said, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” The Ten Commandments reveal the holiness of God in practical terms. Because God is holy we must not take His name in vain. Because God is holy we must not commit idolatry or adultery. Because God is holy we must not lie or steal. Humanity needs a standard by which to live. The Ten Commandments provide that standard.
Secondly, they reveal our sin. In setting the standard of holiness very high, the law (another name for the Ten Commandments) reveals our human inability to measure up to the standard. The flaw in the law is that while it reveals human sin, it is powerless to remove it.
This is why Paul said in Galatians 3:24 that the law was like a guardian that pointed us to Christ. What the law could not do, God did! He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and the Holy Spirit to live within us. With our sins forgiven, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to obey. By the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we can keep the commandments and live holy lives.
As we conclude our series on the first four commandments this Sunday, remember that while God’s standard of righteousness is very high, we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit who enables us to do all that God has commanded.
Depend completely on the Holy Spirit. Keep the Ten Commandments and be blessed!
Pastor Todd Weston