The Law of God
The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, and its fruit is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow human beings. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.
(Exod. 20:1-17; Deut. 28:1-14; Ps. 19:7-14; 40:7, 8; Matt. 5:17-20; 22:36-40; John 14:15; 15:7-10; Rom. 8:3, 4; Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 8:8-10; 1 John 2:3; 5:3; Rev. 12:17; 14:12.)
1. WHERE DID THE LAW OF GOD COME FROM?
The story of Moses journeying up Mt. Sinai and receiving the Ten Commandments from God is found in the Bible in the book Exodus, and reiterated in the book of Deuteronomy. At this time the Israelite people were in the desert after being enslaved in Egypt.
This large group of men, women, and children needed order and leadership after enduring hundreds of years in slavery. Many of them were born and raised as slaves to Egypt, knowing no other life.
While in the desert seeking the promised land, the Israelites leaned into their sinful nature. So when Moses met with God on Mt. Sinai, it was time to put God’s law in writing.
After God inscribed His commandments on two stone tablets, Moses brought them down to the Israelites
Exodus 20 explains the Ten Commandments, clearly written out so God’s followers could have a clear picture of His will and expectations for His people.
A. THE FIRST 4 COMMANDMENTS HAVE TO DO WITH OUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
1. Do not have other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).
This means nothing and no one should be worshipped above God.
Worshiping anything or anyone other than the one true God is a violation of this commandment. Idolizing celebrities, preachers, politicians, religious leaders, or any other human or god is putting other gods before the Almighty God.
2. Do not make idols, bow down to them, or serve them (Exodus 20:4).
This means we shouldn’t create gods or idols to worship or serve.
Many addictions we experience on earth can become a god to us. Today Christians may struggle with putting electronics, work, money, and even relationships above God. We can keep things of importance to us, while also keeping God and our relationship with Him at the top of our priorities.
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain (Exodus 20:7).
This means we shouldn’t use the Lord’s name unless we are genuinely speaking to Him or about Him.
Swearing or cursing with God’s name, or claiming to do something in God’s name that in reality is self-serving, are ways of using His name in vain. His name should be used reverently and with honor. If you speak to or about God, it should be to honor Him or teach about Him.
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).
This means we should observe the Sabbath day, remember why God made it, and teach the Sabbath to our children so they also remember it.
Today, many choose one day of the week to attend church and have family activities. It’s important to note the word remember in the fourth commandment. The Sabbath day is to be remembered as the seventh-day of the week. On this day we should not only attend church, but worship God throughout the day, commune with Him, fellowship with other Christians, and do God’s good work. It is something to be treasured and enjoyed!
B. THE LAST SIX COMMANDMENTS HAVE TO DO WITH OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
5. Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12).
This means we should respect our father and our mother.
Keeping the fifth commandment is about preserving your relationship with your earthly parents. This looks like obedience and respect, but can look different when they are unjust, abusive, or un-Christian. You can still honor and respect your parents in words and in communication as well as heeding their advice while choosing another path.
6. Do not murder (Exodus 20:13).
This means we should protect and preserve human life, never taking the life of another.
Deliberately killing another human being is a violation of the sixth commandment. As God is the giver of life, killing another is a perversion of His creation. While causing any death may not be a violation of the commandment, the intention behind the death most definitely matters. An accidental death, for instance, versus a premeditated crime that resulted in death–both ended human life, but only one intended harm.
7. Do not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14).
This means we should respect marriage, keeping our marriage vows, and not interfere in the marriage of another.
The seventh commandment is about showing respect for your relationship and marriage vows, your body, and the body of your spouse. Sexual relations with someone other than the person you’re married to is adultery, but it goes beyond that. Adultery can include any non-platonic behavior with another person who is not your spouse, as well as emotional attachment.
8. Do not steal (Exodus 20:15).
This means we should respect the property of others. We will not take it for ourselves or keep it without permission.
Taking something that doesn’t belong to you, regardless of your personal situation, is a violation of the eighth commandment. If you take or use something that belongs to anyone else, you should first ask permission. If they don’t grant permission, it is stealing.
9. Do not bear false witness against your neighbor (Exodus 20:16).
We should never make false accusations or dishonestly mar the reputation of another.
Acting dishonestly, trying to make another person look bad, or even misrepresenting yourself, violates the ninth commandment. This could include making an accusation for which you have no evidence.
10. Do not covet (Exodus 20:17).
We should appreciate the things we have and avoid longing for the things other people have, or feeling that we are entitled to what others have.
Comparing yourself with others to the point that you feel you need to have what they have is a violation of the tenth commandment. This is about avoiding greed, and about putting trust in God to meet your needs. Letting feelings of jealousy grow within you often leads to ingratitude and eventually covetousness. Fixating on what others have can cause us to miss blessings, hurt others, or value things more than our relationship with God.