The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant? – Part 8
This series ended with 1 John 5:3 in Part 7c in which the Apostle John writes to the church:
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.
As we examine this Scriptural verse, we should note first that the Apostle John equates loving God with keeping His commandments and then he assures the church that God’s commandments indeed are not grievous. Exactly then what are God’s commandments? Are they the Ten Commandments that God handed down from Mt. Sinai to Moses? Yes, they are. Do God’s commandments comprise anything else? Yes, they do. Earlier in this series, this writer mentioned that during this New Testament administration, it is now the Holy Spirit’s job to administer God’s laws.
If we remember also that in Jeremiah 31:33 that God foretold that He would make a new covenant and He said, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts…” Furthermore, if you are born again, then this means that the Holy Spirit has come to reside in your spirit and has made you alive again to be able to communicate with God Himself, even as Adam and Eve originally were able to do before they sinned. The Holy Spirit had only resided ‘upon’ them and this is what ‘died’ the day that they sinned. It then took the sacrificial death of the Messiah and through His resurrection and ascension along with the fullness of time to come on the day of Pentecost, before the Holy Spirit could once again be made available to those who believe. But this time, God enabled His Holy Spirit to reside ‘inside’ a person’s spirit instead of just being allowed to be ‘on’ the believer. With this in mind then, if the Holy Spirit commands you to ‘get on your knees and pray’ at 3 a.m., thus when you do His bidding, you are keeping the commandments of God in that instance.
So what is the New Testament believer to do? Do we continue to believe that the Laws of God somehow do not apply to us? Have we not seen written in the Scriptures that God has now written His laws on our hearts? So what are we going to do with this apparent conundrum? Shall we negate the Scriptures and proclaim that we know better than the Holy Father…perhaps even the Lord Jesus Christ….and yes, we then have to also proclaim that we know more than the Holy Spirit! Is it getting a little warm in here yet? Yikes….people surely know how to get themselves in continual jams don’t they? Of course, this would be the opportune moment to usher in the old joke, “What did one strawberry say to the other strawberry?” “Look at the jam you got us into now!” Okay, okay…stand-up comedienne I am not.
On a more serious note, exactly how do we handle this? The Apostle Paul and the other Apostles had what we now call the Old Testament as their only Bible. Are we to really believe that they went around preaching that the Laws of God were over? Martin Luther did not rail against the laws of God, but confronted the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church in his day. This writer also puts forward the name of Jonathan Edwards, whose famous sermon, ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God’ propelled people to their knees in repentance. The notion that somehow ‘grace’ hides you from the eyes of God is a totally new-fangled idea and we need to seriously ask ourselves as students of the Bible why ancient believers didn’t seem to understand these so-called truths? Let us look at:
Jeremiah 23:23-24 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
So, let us look at the concept of Grace…what is it? The simple definition of it resides in the truth that God possesses grace and He decided to shower it upon mankind. He knew that sinful human beings were never going to be able to perfectly keep His laws by their own strengths and abilities. So when the fullness of time came He sent His very own Son to be our Messiah and to bear the full weight of God’s wrath and so he bore our transgressions and iniquities for us. We totally deserved the full wrath of God to be poured out upon us without restrictions, yet God kept His wrath at bay knowing also that we would never be able to bear that either. So what is this thing called grace? Is it some nebulous covering that hides us from the eyes of God? I think not!
We will continue in Part 9.