Lord willing, I plan to do a lengthy series on the Ten Commandments, and their practical application for our "age of grace".
I will not deal with Legalism and Christian Liberty, which is covered in Chapters 19 and 21 in the London Baptist Confession. I did an article on these two chapters in the 2/05 issue of the Examiner. I have a few copies with me. Everything we will say in these lessons will be in conformity with that Confession.
I will only do one commandment at a time, and give you a break. We will need to spend several lessons on each. Such a series could take a full lifetime, for the entire word of God is based upon them. I will try to keep this study as condensed as possible. I urge you to take notes, so you can check the Scriptures at a more leisurely time. The best book on the subject in print today is R.J. Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law. It is a massive work, and well worth the time to study it.
Exodus is the central passage of the whole of Scripture. It contains the law without which no man can know the mind nor holiness of God. Without the Commandments, we cannot know the sinfulness of man nor the mercy and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Commandments reveal God's character, and tell us how to please God.
Paul tells us that the law of God is written in the heart of every man, though it is corrupted by sin. He also tells us that it is through the law that every mouth is stopped, and the whole world becomes guilty before God. Romans 3.
It is the law that shows us our need of God's mercy and grace, and of a Mediator.
Israel obviously had a limited knowledge of the law and the sacrifices before Exodus 20, but in Exodus 20, the Lord clearly reveals his holiness and will for man. The 10 commandments are properly called "The Ten Words" of God.
Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,
According to Deuteronomy 5:22, the Lord spoke these words within the hearing of all the assembly, then latter the Lord called Moses up into the mount to receive the written law on the tables of stone. In fact, Moses had to go up the mount twice.
Deuteronomy 4:36 tells us that the Lord caused the words to be formed in a manner that everyone present could hear them. Furthermore, when Moses regave the law in Deuteronomy 5:4, he tells us that the Lord spoke to them face to face out of the midst of the fire at the mount.
Let me make a point that is almost totally ignored by the Gospel Church of our day:
Acts 7:30-38. Christians are tied to the Ten Commandments as much as was Israel of old who heard God's voice. The Angel who met Moses at the bush was Christ. The Angel who spoke the Ten Words was Christ:
37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. 38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
Though spoken to the religious leaders of the temple, Stephen's words of v. 37 is the same message given by Peter in Acts 3:22, which resulted in 5,000 men converted. In Acts 6:14 Stephen said that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. He did not say he would change the law that Moses delivered.
It was the Lord Jesus who met Moses in the wilderness and at the mount. Thus, the Commandments found in Exodus 20 are just as much the words of the Lord Jesus as are the words marked in red in the New Testament. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who spoke to his people then, and it is the Lord Jesus Christ who speaks to his people today.
WE WILL BUILD ON THIS AS WE PROCEED
Several times, we are told that the Lord made His appearance great and terrible at the mount in order to cause the people to fear Him enough to obey His voice. The sight was so terrible that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.
In Hebrews 12, we are shown a contrast between what Moses experienced, and the new City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the city of the living God, more commonly known as the Gospel Church. The city of the living God is presented as more fearful than was seen at Mount Sina, for we are told in Hebrews 12:23-29:
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire. (Not WAS a consuming fire.)
Strange! we don't think of the church and the voice of Jesus as being terrible, yet we are told that we are to fear the second giving of the new covenant under Christ more than Moses and Israel feared at the first giving of the covenant. Where is the fear of the Lord today that is urged under the "New Covenant?"
Hebrews 12 goes on to develop the idea of the shaking of the earth at the first giving of the law by saying that the shaking of the earth under the second covenant, Christ, will be far worse than under the first. I have published a study on this shaking.
The chronology of Deuteronomy 5 corresponds to Exodus 20.
Exodus 20:2, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
The Lord opens His Ten Words with a reminder of what He has done for them. In this, we see that the Lord continually reminds the people of several things (Exodus 19:4, Deuteronomy 5:6):
First, the Lord loves His people: In Exodus 19:4, we are told that the Lord brought them out of Egypt on eagles' wings. This speaks of the loving care with which the Lord delivered them. In other words, their presence here at the foot of the mount where they are about to receive the law is proof of His love for his people. However, the natural man views God's law as something to be hated, for it outlaws his natural desires. Psalms 2.
Second, the Lord presents to His people a constant reminder of His authority to command themExodus 20:2, I am the Lord...
Third, He tells His people the reason for their freedom is so that they can serve Him, Exodus 19:5, 6. Their freedom from bondage was not so they could go their own way, but so they could obey His command-word.
Illustration: Sadly, I know more than a few professed Christians who view their "Christian Liberty" as freedom to be as close to the world as possible. Chapter 21 of the London Baptist Confession of Faith properly addresses Christian Liberty or Freedom.
Forth, the Lord's redemption from Egypt of his people made them a separate nation unto Himself, Exodus 19:5, 6. He is the legitimate "Father" or "Founder" of the nation of both the old Israel, and the new Israel of God. Therefore, He has every right to give these commands to His people, and they have every legal responsibility to obey these commands.
God's redemption of his people today gives Him every right to require obedience on our part, and we have every legal responsibility to obey.
Exodus 20:3-17. He gives His law, the Ten Words, or commandments. These words were initially spoken from the mount in the hearing of all Israel, then Moses went up into the mount, and received the same words written in the tables of stone, Exodus 24:12, 31:18.
First, Exodus 24:12, And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayst teach them.
A) Note that the Lord said, a law. The law is one law. Therefore, whoever offends in one point is guilty of offence in all points:
James 2:10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
There is one law, the Ten Commandments, around which all the rest of the commandments of the Lord are formed.
B) the purpose of God giving his law that thou mayst teach them. Spiritual leaders are to teach the law, and man is to learn from God's law.
Second, Exodus 31:18, two tables of stone. Keil tells us, "But the Bible contains neither distinct statements, nor definite hints, with reference to the numbering and division of the commandments upon the two tables,--a clear proof that these points do not possess the importance which has frequently been attributed to them." (Keil - Delitzsch)
In other words, the clear division between the first 4 and the second 6 commandments has been made by man.
Moses' 5 books are the books of the law they are legal documents containing the law of the covenant between God and His creation. Therefore, the two tables would have been identical. Moses was given two tables of the same lawone table representing each party of the covenant.
ACTS 7:30-38 (v. 38, This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: oracles the contents of the Mosaic law. In Hebrews 5:12, oracles refers to "the substance of the Christian religious teaching) ACTS 7:30-38 TELLS US THAT THIS WAS A COVENANT BETWEEN THE LORD JESUS CURST AND HIS PEOPLE. So one table was man's, one table was the Lord's.
On the division of the Ten Words, much has been written. All we can say is that there were two stones written on both sidesprobably the first 4 commandments pertaining to man's responsibility to God on one side, and on the other, man's responsibility to his fellow man.
In Exodus 19:5, 6, the people were told they were to be priests unto the Lord. In other words, they are given the law here, but they are not to keep the law unto themselves. They were to obey it as individuals and as a nation, and they were to influence the other nations of the world with the law. The ten basic words are given, and then the rest of the writings of Moses are dedicated to placing into practical application the Ten Words, as we see in Exodus 21 following.
Peter applies Exodus 19:5, 6, to the Gospel Church in 1 Peter 2.
1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
There could not be a clearer connection between the Old Testament people of God and the New Testament people of God. We have the same commandments from the same authority, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Keil makes a very important statement here: "Nearly all the commandments are couched in the negative form of prohibition, because they presuppose the existence of sin and evil desires in the human heart."
Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
I love to use an abundance of research and Scriptures in my studies, but we just will not have time to examine them. So, these lectures are being recorded, and I can provide copies of the notes if you so desire. I will urge you to look up the passages at a more convenient time.
I have an original printing in my library of The Law Unsealed; or a practical Exposition on the Ten commandments, by James Durham. Published in 1802. With introductions by John Owen and William Jenkyn. Jenkyn dated his words 1765. In it Mr. Durham complains abut the decay of religion in his day. He points out that genuine religion changes the hearts and lives of men, which he was not seeing around him.
So the decay of religion we see today has been common since Christ himself. You will find that much of the New Testament was written to deal with the decay that crept in as soon as Christ returned to his father.
There is so much just in the introduction, that I must severely restrict our study.
Why should we study the Ten Commandments, or a more proper title for them is the Ten Words of God?
We already saw from Exodus 24:12, that they were given so that thou mayst teach them. Teachers are to teach them, and mankind is to study and learn their proper application. (We will not go into the fact that the whole world is responsible to those commandments, or there would be no necessity of going into all the world and preaching the gospel. I did a book that deals extensively with that issue.)
2 Peter 1:21 The word of God was given by special revelations of many kinds to those whom God chose to write it down. All of God's word was given for doctrine, reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16.)
However, in Exodus 20, we see that a the Lord God himself spoke these words in the hearing of His people. After He spoke them, He called Moses up and wrote them in the stone tables that God had made. After Moses broke the stone tables, Moses had to make new tables, and God wrote them again in that stone.
We have records of God personally writing three times: 1) He wrote his law on the tablets of stone. 2) He wrote his judgment against Belshazzar in Daniel 5. 3) Though we do not know what Christ wrote in John 8, we do know His writing resulted in mercy for the woman caught in adultery.
I find it interesting that the first writing was in stone, and it was the law of mercy and justice. It was written in stone twice, and it changes not. The second writing was on the wall, and it was judgment upon sin according to the law. Then the third writing was of grace, mercy and truth by Jesus Christ. Proverbs 3:3, John 1:17. The Ten Words show the need a mediator, and that Mediator brings grace, mercy and forgiveness, all according to the TRUTH of God's total word.
Exodus 20:1, 2, And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
The modern church is basically antinomian it believes that faith frees the Christian from the law. That is, the Christian is not outside the law but rather is dead to the law the law has no effect upon him. The dictionary defines antinomianism as holding or relating to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law. There is no Scriptural warrant whatsoever for such thinking.
Galatians 2:16 & Romans 7:14, indeed tells us that the believer is dead to the law, but he is dead to the law as an indictment, or legal sentence of death against him.
Romans 8 tells us that the purpose of Christ's atoning work was to restore man to a position of law-keeping, or covenant-keeping instead of covenant-breaking. His work enables us to keep the law by freeing us from the law of sin and death that seeks to control our members. Romans 13:14.
Deuteronomy 6:20-25, the response to God's saving grace is keeping the law. Grace is defined as the God-given desire and power to know and do what pleases him, in terms of his total word. Philippians 2:13. Thus, to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord is to grow in sanctification; that is, to grow in understanding and grow in doing those things that are pleasing in his sight. 2 Peter 3:18, 1 John 3:22.
The law in the law-breaker works death. The law in the law-keeper works life and peace. The law in society protects the life of the law-keeper by taking the life of the law-breaker, as needed. Romans 8:6, 2 Corinthians 5:10.
Man was created to have dominion under God. Genesis 1:28. The dominion mandate was given to Adam, and renewed with Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, and finally with the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave it to his people. Matthew 28:19, 20.
Sin corrupted that command, and now man desires to take dominion under his own authority and be his own god. Genesis 3:5. Christ came as the new Adam, keeping the law perfectly, and as the elect's sin-bearer, he made atonement for our their sins. 1 Corinthians 15:24. In Christ, the elect have been recalled and restored to the original purpose of manto exercise dominion over God's creation under God in terms of God's total word. Romans 8.
The purpose of God's grace in his elect is to given them the desire and the power to exercise that dominion mandate through the proper application of the law.
We exercise the dominion mandate by putting into practice his word in every area for which we are responsible. We do not have to be a preacher/teacher or missionary to exercise godly dominion. All we are required to do is obey the word of God and enforce God's word in whatever our area of influence we might have, and it may be just in our families. 1 Corinthians 10:31.
We must lay the blame for the exaltation of the wicked at the door of antinomian churches. Ezekiel 9:6, Malachi 3:1-6, 1 Peter 4:17.
Three points concerning the Commandments:
FIRST, the excellency of Exodus 20 the Ten Words: God gave the Ten Words three times, showing us their importance. In them, we find the comprehensive sum of man's duty to God. Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
Deuteronomy 10:3-5, God's copy of the Ten Words were kept in the ark of the covenant, where they were covered by the mercy seat. The Ten Words show man his need of God's mercy and grace. Without the law, we have no need of a Saviour, and his mercy and grace. Romans 7, Galatians 3.
Deuteronomy 5:1, they are to be learned, kept and done. And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.
Deuteronomy 6:7-10, they were to be passed down to the following generations by teaching them to the children, speaking about when sitting in the home, walking in the way, going to bed and when getting up in the morning. They were to be written on the posts of the home and on the gates of the city, so they would be constantly before the people.
Deuteronomy 8:11, we remember the Lord by remembering and keeping his commandments, judgments and statutes. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Matthew 5. Our Lord's sermon on the mount is based upon these Ten Words delivered through Moses.
SECOND, the usefulness of Exodus 20: It shows what pleases and displeases God.
It make us fit for duty to Him it shows us our duty to God and to man.
It shows God's hand man could not sum up the law in so few words which can easily be memorized by every child.
It defines sin it stirs up repentance, and shows how to avoid sin, . Romans 7:7, 1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
THIRD, the great ignorance of Exodus 20. The lack of knowledge leads to unknowingly breaking the commandments, and leads to the God-promised sad consequences of sin. God judges both intentional and unintentional sin. "Ignorance of the law" will not cause a just God to overlook sin.
A. Lack of knowledge leads to few convictions of and repentance over sin. Romans 7:8-13.
B. Lack of knowledge leads to false security, presumption, self-righteousness. It causes even his people to lose proper respect for Christ the Mediator. Romans 7:9.
The Spirit points out that we fear those in authority employers, parents, governments. But where is the fear due to our God and Saviour? Malachi 1:6. IS IT because we no longer realize God's holiness and justice as revealed in his Commandments, and as was emphasized in past generations?
Writing on Proverbs chapter 2 in 1846, Charles Bridges made this statement:
Truth separated from truth becomes error. (Proverbs, p 15. Banner of Truth Trust.)
The truth of the Old Testament Commandments has been separated from the truth of the New Testament Gospel of Grace, and errors have prevailed. As sin runs almost uncontrolled in the church, what can we expect from the world? When the prevailing spirit of the Church is covetousness, evidenced by uncontrolled debt, and antinomianism, what spirit do we expect to prevail in society?
Without instruction in the Ten Words, believers can become at ease and stray from doctrinal truth. When God's law is separated from the doctrine of God's Grace, all kinds of strange teachings will develop. Without instruction in the law, the daily need for fresh application of the blood of Christ is ignored.
It is through instruction in the Ten Words that sinners better see the necessity of a Mediator, who is the end of the law for righteousness to all that believe, Romans 10:4.
Romans 3:31 [Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.] tells us that far from voiding the law through faith, the law is established in His people by the spirit of Christthat is, God's grace given to us through faith will cause us to say with David: Psalms 119:97 MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. We will love to hear it, understand it, and apply it to our thoughts and actions.
Though the Christian is responsible to the law and is bound to obey it, our relationship to the law is not as a covenant of works. (Adam was the only one under the Covenant of Works.) That is, one can not expect to be justified by keeping the law. Obedience to the law does not bring justification; however, justification through Christ brings love for and obedience to the law.
We will not go into the difference between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace, which can be quite lengthy. The covenants are discussed in the London Baptist Confession of Faith.
I ) Law implies direction and command, which is enforced by authority.
Covenant adds to the law implied promises made upon some condition, with threatenings added if the condition is not met. (Your mortgage is a covenant, or contract.) God was free to add or withhold promises and threatenings to the law.
II) the administration of the law. How is the law put into action? With the law, Moses describes the perfect righteousness required by the covenant of works, but he DID NOT OFFER righteousness by those works of the law. Rather, the law revealed sin, showing the people their need of a Mediator. Exodus 20:18, 19.
In Philippians 3:4-6, Paul was confident in his good works. As a typical Jew, he was probably deceived into depending on Old Testament passages as Leviticus 18:5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.
But in Romans 1:7-14, he tells us that sin had him deceived, and the Spirit opened his eyes to understanding the truth that dependance upon the law only leads to death; he saw his sinfulness and need of the true Mediator, Christ Jesus.
I was saved Oct 29, 1977. I had made a profession as a 9 year
old. After I got out of the service, I attended some night Bible
Institute courses, and made another profession then in 1967, though
my college professor was telling me that if anyone was saved,
By 1975, Divine Providence had placed me as an associate pastor of a good size dispensational, arminian church east of Shreveport, LA. I was spending 6 hours a day 4 days a week going door to door "soul-willing". I was doing all the baptizing, teaching the young adult SS class with 50-75 people in it, and was scheduled to be ordained in a few weeks. I had as much confidence in the flesh as any man could have. Paul's words in Philippians 3:4-6 fit my situation perfectly. Every doubt I had had concerning my salvation was met with "I would not be doing all of these good things if I were not saved.
Through a series of amazing circumstances, the Lord worked in my heart, and showed me that I was trying to climb into heaven by a means other than through the work of Christ. (The little salvation booklet is an outgrowth of the Lord dealing with me.) When I told my pastor I was not saved, he said, "I know." I asked him how he knew, and he said, "Because every time I ask you how you know you are saved, you say Because I asked Jesus into my heart'"
After I trusted Christ that day, Philippians 3:7-14 became extra precious to me.
At 11:30 AM that morning, the Lord showed me that my good works according to the standard established by my training up in the fundamental churches where I had been were replacing Christ.
This is exactly what Paul says in Philippians 3. All of our good works combined are less than nothing toward Godly peace here, and eternal peace hereafter.
In Exodus 21, God began to give the mediation laws, which the people saw no need of until the Ten Words were given. All of the mediation laws pointed to the Mediator, Christ. Christ fulfilled all that those mediation laws looked forward to; he put an end to them. Colossians 2:14.
The mediation laws did not produce justification; rather, justification was produced by the faith exhibited by doing the mediation laws.
Before Christ, worship was through the mediation laws. Now worship is through Christ, and Old Testament Israel's method of worship through the mediation laws is a sin.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
III) God's intention in giving the law and Israel's use of the law. It was given as a covenant of grace, but the people turned it into a covenant of works.
GRACE God was not required to give the law to show men how to live. He could have let man go his own way, and reap the natural results of sin. However, His love and grace caused him to give man his laws of life.
Israel relied on the mediation laws to make them right with God at the expense of faith and obedience to the commandments, thereby turning their sacrifices and services into a stinking mess before God. Isaiah 1:13, 66:2, 3, Jeremiah 7:22, 23.
IV) moral, ceremonial and judicial law. This distinction is made clear in chapter 21 of the London Baptist Confession, which I covered in the February 05 issue of the Examiner.
IV) the two divisions of the moral law. The first contains our immediate worship, service and obedience to God Himself, and is seen in the first four commandments. The second contains our obedience to God in all the duties we owe to others, making 10 in all. Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
As we saw in Acts 7:38 & Exodus 20:1, all the commandments are alike the words of Christ. However, sins against the first table are greater than those against the second, for Christ called the first table the first and great commandment:
Matthew 22:37-40: 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
VI) negative and positive.
All the commandments on the first table are negative, forbidding sin directly. However, the forth, Remember the sabbath day is both positive and negative, and the fifth is positive, Honour they father and thy mother.
We are not only forbidden great sins, such as murder and adultery, but we are also forbidden lesser sins such as wrath, revenge, unclean thoughts, idolatry, covetousness, envy, worldly affections, &c. We are not only to avoid evil, but we are to abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
Not only are we required to avoid such sins, but we are to avoid delighting in them and avoid lightly regarding them in ourselves and in others. In addition, we are commanded to and should mourn for those who are entangled in sin.
The Lord strengthened the law, making it a sin to even consider violating the Ten Words. Matthew 5:28, adultery in the heart.
Moreover, we see from the forth commandment, Exodus 20:8-11 (10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:), that we are to help others obey God's law. Husbands are to help their wives, neighbour their neighbours, servants their masters. We are to set an example, advise, encourage and pray for those with whom we have contact. We are to exercise godly dominion in every area of our influence.
Romans 7:12. Paul tells us that the law is holy, just and good. Thus, any discontentment against the law is sin.
There must be no thought of delight in its violation, nor any discontent in refraining from a forbidden act. We must view every Word as right and good, and hate every way contrary to that Word. Psalms 119:127-129, Romans 7:12.
There is not an area of life and thought that is not covered by God's law-word, for his commandment [NO "S"] is exceedingly broad. Psalms 119:96.
We are to avoid situations where we are tempted to violate the Ten Words. 2 Samuel 11:2. Job made a covenant with his eyes. Job 31:1-4. We are to pray that the Lord keeps us from tempting situations. Matthew 6:13.
Even the involuntary motions of the mind which never get our assent, nor produce any delight are prohibited by God. They flow from a corrupt fountain. Even the great apostle Paul complained of lust, though he resisted that lust, and found no pleasure at all in it. Romans 7. That corruption shows us the continuing need for the Blood of Sprinkling, which we take so lightly, if we do not ignore it completely. Hebrews 12:24. 1 Peter 1:2.
The purpose of the law as given through Moses is clearly spelled out by Paul:
1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
The only way that faith, charity and purity can be accomplished is through the grace of God as found in Jesus Christ. Thus, the purpose of the law is to form Christ in his people, for the image of Christ in us is the Biblical reason for the law. 1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
The law is used UNlawfully when it is used to seek righteousness,
justification or salvation. It is used UNlawfully when it is turned
from practice to vain speculations and questions, which changes
it from reality and action to theory. It is used UNlawfully when
it is used to discourage others, &c.
First, Proverbs 28:4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
David asked a question in Psalms 37, and Asaph asked it again in Psalms 73; that is, Why do the wicked prosper. The answer is here in v. 4. Because the Church has turned its back on the law and has become overwhelmingly antinomian over the past 125 years. V. 4 tells us that the result forsaking the law is that the wicked are praisedthe wicked prosper.
Second, Proverbs 28:7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
Here keeping the law is contrasted with being a companion of riotous men who bring shame to their fathers. There is no doubt that the fathers of this country who signed the Mayflower Compact would not recognize what they started a nation now at war with the very thing they desired, which was a nation to glorify God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Why have shameful, riotous men taken over the country?
Third, Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
The antinomian churches and Christians are praying to the ceiling, not to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The big ruckus over Muslim law we see controlling the news today shows us some things:
Law and Religion
FIRST, the Source of law is the god of that society. Though in the past, God's law was the source of law. Today, the source of law is man's imagination, so we have humanistic law made up by the lawmakers in DC. Muslim countries have Muslim law.
SECOND, any change of law is a change in religion. In Western culture, law has steadily moved away from God to the people. Thus, our religion has changed from Christianity to Humanism. You can find the "doctrinal statement" of humanism, the Humanist Manifesto" at http://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto1.html
(I can also provide a copy of it for those who do not have a computer.)
Though the Humanists claim their stand is a religious stand [they call themselves, "RELIGIOUS HUMANISTS], the courts refuse to agree that humanism is a religion. If they agreed, then Christians might wake up, and demand equal time in the "public" square.
Antinomian Christians have allowed our nation to be changed from a Christian nation to an anti-Christ, Humanist nation.
You can recognize humanism by its attempt to produce a moral people without the Christian religion. But morality cannot be taught without religion, no matter what Bill Gothard teaches. In Rushdoony's words:
[T]he laws of a society cannot raise a people above the level of the faith and morality of the people and of the society. A people cannot legislate itself above its level. If it holds to Christian faith in truth and in deed, it can establish and maintain godly law and order. If its faith be humanistic, the people will be traitors to any law-order which does not condone their self-assertion and their irresponsibility.(Institutes, v. 1, p. 68.)
THIRD, there can be no toleration in a law-system for another religion.
We see this fact played out daily in the news. Our current public policy, law-system and religion is Humanism, or man-centered. Thus, the courts and government education systems must refuse to allow any God-centered, Christian influence in the courts or in the "public" realm.
SADLY, Christians, churches and "Christian Schools" want so badly to have public acceptance, that they have adapted the humanistic standard. Dabney said: "Conservativeism is only the shadow of Liberalism."
Patrick Henry College has sold out to the humanist lie in order to gain students.
Dabney points out that as there cannot be in any soul a non-Christian state which is not anit-Christian, it follows that any training which attempts to be non-Christian is therefore anti-Christian. (Discussions, p. 221.) Which means that non-Christian education, such as found in the government education system, is a violation of the total of the Commandments, and is anti-Christian.
As long as Christians allow the pagan state to train their children, this nation will continue to sink into paganism. (I have an article along this line in the next Examiner.)
Follow the events in places such as the Sudan, Saudi Arabia or even Iraq. Converting to Christianity is close to a death sentence, and Christian preachers and teachers are jailed if they try to convert a Muhammadan. However, under Sadam Husain, Christianity was permitted, but not since Bush's war of liberation.
THERE MUST BE A RELIGIOUS BASIS FOR LAW EITHER SOME KIND OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGION OR CHRISTIANITY.
FOURTH, law and society. No society can exists without a law-system that codifies the morality of its religion; that is, No society can exists without a religious foundation.
There is no contradiction between law and grace. As the pastor says, the opposite of law is lawlessness. The opposite of grace is works. The conflict is not between law and grace; rather, it is between law and lawlessness.
The situation addressed in the book of James is faith and works, not faith and law. Judaism made law the mediator between God and man. Christ re-established the law as God meant it to be the way of holiness, and pleasing God.
Though the role of the Pharisees as interpreters ended with Christ, the authority of the Commandments did not end.
FIFTH, law and dominion. Biblical law is God's plan for dominion under himself.
As we operate in our sphere of influence according to what is required of us in God's word, we exercise Godly dominion in that area.
Apart from God's revealed law, we cannot claim to be under God but only in rebellion against God.
The Commandments cannot be seen as laws among laws, but they must be seen as the basic laws upon which all other laws are built. (We will see this explained as we get into the various commandments.)
A major portion of Biblical law is case law. That is, various laws are simply the worked out implications of a basic commandment.
Thou shalt not steal, Exodus 20:15.
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox, Deuteronomy 25:24.
Those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel, 1 Corinthians 9:9-14, and the labourer is worthy of his reward, 1 Timothy 5:18.
SIXTH, the purpose of the law is to restore God's glorious and good purpose in creation.
Biblical law requires restitution. That restitution is to be paid to the ones sinned against, not to the state. Restitution is the basis of the gospel.
The creation mandate required that man subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it. There is not even a hint in Scripture that implies the mandate was ever revoked.
I will mention this point often as we go through these commandments, we will see how far short we are of what is required of us in the command to be ye holy even as He is holy. Leviticus 20:7, 1 Peter 1:15, 16. The purpose of pointing out these hundreds of sins a day, in almost every thing we do, is not to discourage us. Rather, it is that we might better see the need of our Mediator, and better understand what he has done for his people:
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1 Peter 3:18 ¶ For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Our conscience is clear in all our sin only because of the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, and purged our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:14. Also, Hebrews 9:9, 10:2, 22.
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