The Ten Commandments

April 23, 2017

Why does God give us commands? What does he get out of it? Why does he care what you do? He doesn’t need anything from us. So why does he give us his law and demand our obedience? God's law is for us because God himself is for us.

God’s law is for us because it’s how life works best.

The Lord begins the Ten Commandments by introducing himself: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." Here we see more than the law, we see the Lawgiver. He's shown, before he ever gave the law, that he's in our corner. And so God's law is designed to give us the blueprint for how life works best. For example:

"You shall not commit adultery." Men and women thrive in a world where they aren’t betrayed by those they love.
"You shall not steal." Who wants to live in a world where this isn’t the law?
"You shall not murder." No one prospers when they fear for their safety.

So people everywhere agree that God's law is a good thing. We want to live in a world like this – where we aren’t unsafe, where we aren’t betrayed, where we have the stability that comes from strong families, and people don’t deceive us. But if we're really honest about our own hearts, we want everyone else to play by those rules – and we want them held accountable when they don't. While we want that, we don’t really want those rules to always apply to us.

God’s law is for us because it shows us our sin and drives us to call out for a Savior.

If God’s law is so good for the world, why don’t people like it? Simple: We feel judged by it. It’s a mirror, and we don’t like what we see. The law doesn’t just reflect what we do. It goes deeper than that, doesn’t it? It shows us who we are. Murder comes from a heart of anger, and we all do that. Adultery comes from a heart of lust, and we all do that.

So God’s law is good. It’s good for the world. It’s good for us. But it also condemns us. All of us. We're all murderers, and adulterers, and liars, and cheats before the righteous God. We are his creations. We owe him obedience. And he has the right, the authority to judge us. So where is the good news here? How is the law for us? You won’t cry out for a Savior if you don’t think you need saving. And God’s law shows us we need saving. We are sinners, condemned to die. And the problem is our very hearts. So the solution can't come from us. The only thing we can do is cry out for mercy. Cry out for help.

And that’s exactly what God wants. The law drives non-Christians to repentance and faith in Jesus. And it prompts Christians to a renewed sense of worship when they see again the incredible salvation Jesus wrought for them on his cross.

God’s law is for us because it shows us how to walk with our God.

God's law isn't just a list of rules to follow. It's a path to walk alongside him.

Sin breaks our fellowship with God. When we choose to sin, we are choosing to suppress our relationship with him, to ignore him. Unrighteous living, while it doesn’t undo Jesus’ work at the cross that saved us, is choosing to live apart from the fellowship he desires for us.

On the other hand, the law provides us the righteous path to walk with our righteous God. We walk in holiness where he is found. We cry out to him for help to actually walk that path - and find fellowship in the strengthening he provides through prayer. When we ask the Lord for help to love someone we find unlovable, it's right there that God begins working the love of his gospel through us. That’s fellowship with God. When we seek the Lord in his word and learn to lay down our own desires, that's when we learn to lay down our lives like our King did for us. That’s getting to know Jesus.