The Law and Us

We continue our study on governmentalism focusing on the legislative dimension of the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. The title “Ten Commandments” is actually a misnomer. We inherited that title from Hollywood. The Ten Commandments were the FIRST Ten Commandments. They were not the totality of the commandments.

There are in fact 613 commandments! The commandments covered manslaughter, legal consequences of cursing one’s parents, law of tort and civil liabilities, Laws governing various types of economic transaction including loan transactions; seduction of virgins, bestiality, prohibition of sorcery, legal framework for social justice, bribery, court testimonials and perjury, religious obligations and festivities, prohibition of spiritual negotiation with foreign gods – so many regulations…

After the first Ten Commandments were read out, there was a break because of the terror of the legislative process. Hollywood mistook this break after the first Ten Commandments for the end of the delivery, hence “the Ten Commandments.” God himself came to proclaim the laws. He descended on Mount Sinai in a thick cloud. The people were warned not to touch even the edge of the mountain. It carried a death penalty. They were to prepare for two days, consecrating themselves to attend the legislative session. They were required to wear clean clothes, symbolically scrubbed to signify God’s holiness. And then God descended, on the third day, just like Jesus ascended on the third day to free us from these same laws.

God descended in celestial paraphernalia of power, in a convoy of natural phenomena. This is the account: “There were loud claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, a thick cloud covering the mountain and an ear-piercing trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp shuddered in fear. Mount Sinai was all smoke because God had come down on it as fire. Smoke poured from it like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain shuddered in huge spasms.

The trumpet blasts grew louder and louder. Moses spoke and God answered in thunder. All the people, experiencing the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the smoking mountain, were afraid. They pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.” It was at this point the legislative session was interrupted. This was after the first Ten Commandments had been given. Moses thereafter became the transmitting channel and the commandments continued.

If you predicated your salvation on obedience to the “Ten Commandments” you are mistaken. You’ve actually been seeking to obey one-sixtieth of the commandments! If you’re not even aware of the existence of the remaining 603 commandments chances are you’re in the breach! And you must obey ALL the 613 commandments. Non obedience to the letter attracts a curse. “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out EVERY detail written in the Book of the law” the scriptures declare. Indeed if you break one commandment you’ve broken ALL. (cf. James 2:10-20).

So if you’ve ever said “Godamnit!” or “Holy mother of God!”, “For God’s sake!”, “Holy Moly”, “Jesus!”, “God punish you!”, know that you’re guilty of breaking the 3rd Commandment: “No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.” Exodus 20:7 MSG. And because you broke this commandment you are guilty of murder, adultery, stealing, idol worship etc. That’s the law. And I hope you’ve never desired your neighbour’s nice car, or your friend’s shoes, or girlfriend or boyfriend. If you did, you broke the 10th commandment against covetousness and therefore broke ALL the commandments. I hope you’ve never imagined sleeping with a married woman or man. (That’s adultery according to God’s standard). If you’ve ever imagined such, you’ve broken the 8th Commandment and therefore broken ALL the commandments.

How are you going to cope at this rate? You’re guilty of bad thoughts and they flood your mind every single minute. NOW YOU SEE THE FUTILITY OF TRYING TO PLEASE GOD BY OBEYING THE “TEN COMMANDMENTS”. YOU CAN’T! And that’s precisely Paul’s point. He spoke about “the OBVIOUS IMPOSSIBILITY of carrying out such a moral programme”. Paul says this “should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way.” Faith is the alternative. As Habakkuk said, “The person who BELIEVES God, is set right by God – and that’s the real life.” Our moral strivings can’t save us. Only faith in the Son of God. Just BELIEVE in him and you will be saved.

What then was the purpose of the “Ten Commandments”? Why did God enact those laws? Paul wrote: “Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God and therefore to show us the FUTILITY of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts…” The Law served [to Jews] as trainer, guardian, and guide to Christ, to lead them until Christ came. The law was for Jews. But what did God say about salvation for non Jews? Must they obey the law to obtain salvation? No, Paul wrote! “It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews by faith.” When the Galatians decided to forsake simple faith in Jesus for observance of the dictates of the law, Paul called them crazy. “For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God.” SALVATION COMES BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS, NOT IN DOING GOOD, BEING MORALLY UPRIGHT OR KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Our guilty conscience seeks to compensate for our sinful nature through morality. God calls that self righteousness. He says the only righteousness that can save us is his own. He gifted us with that righteousness through Christ Jesus. Innocent blood is the antidote for sin not human goodness. That’s why innocent animals were slaughtered under the old covenant. But the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin. It’s a temporary fix, like first aid – mere covering. Jesus bought permanent solution to the sin problem with his blood. He also bought peace, healing, deliverance, prosperity for us He redeemed us from curses by becoming a curse for us. “As it is written, cursed is he that hangeth on a tree (the cross).” Now you know why he had to die on the cross. “He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse” of the Ten Commandments.

We are all able to receive God’s life, his Spirit, just by believing. BELIEVE! If you’re waiting to be perfect you’ll NEVER get to serve God. He wants you as you are. (Leave the rest to him). Please pray this prayer: Father I know I’m a sinner. I BELIEVE Jesus died for me and rose from the dead for me. I accept Jesus this day as my Lord and Saviour. I BELIEVE! Amen!

Scriptures for today’s lesson: Exodus19-24, Deuteronomy 27-28, Galatians 3 MSG

© Leke Alder |