The Ten Commandments

1. Did God write the Ten Commandments with his own finger?

Yes (Exodus 31:18; 32:16).

2. Why did God give us the Ten Commandments?

As a guide for happy, abundant living (Proverbs 3:1-2; 29:18), to show the difference between right and wrong. God's law is like a mirror (James 1:23-25). It points out wrongdoing in one's life as a mirror points out dirt on one's face (Rom.7:7). The only possible way for a person to know if he is sinning is for him to carefully check his life by the mirror of God's law (Rom.3:20). The fact that the Ten Commandments give a knowledge of sin (Rom.3:20) is proof that the Law is still binding on Christians.

3. Will the Ten Commandments be the standard that will be used to judge people on Judgment day?

Yes (James 2:12, John 12:48). This Law has been called "the royal law" (James 2:8) and "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25). The Ten Commandments, also known as the "ark of the testament", that was used in the Old Testament (Exo.25:22; 26:33; 40:3, Josh.4:16,18), is in heaven now (Rev.11:19).

4. What is God's definition of sin?

Sin is the breaking of God's Law (1 John 3:4). There is no other sin but this. "All unrighteousness is sin" (1 John 5:17). For example, he that knows to do good, but doesn't do it, is a sin (James 4:17). If you respect persons, you commit sin (Lev. 19:15, James 2:9), because it is discrimination. Basically, "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom.14:23). To not keep God's commandments is defined as to "go and serve other gods, and worship them" (1 Kings 9:6, 2 Kings 17:37-38, 2 Chron.7:19,22, Jer.16:11; 22:9, Deut.7:4; 8:18; 11:28; 28:14; 30:17; 31:16,20, Josh.22:22).

5. Will people who knowingly continue to break even one of God's commandments be saved?

No! They will be lost (James 2:10, Rom.6:23, Isa.13:9). The Ten Commandment law is the guide we must use in finding our way to God and holy living. If I ignore even one of the commandments, I am neglecting part of the divine pattern, or blueprint. If only one link of a chain is broken, its entire purpose is undone. The Bible says when we knowingly break any command of God, we are sinning (James 4:17), because we have refused His will for us. Only those who do His will can have eternal life (Mat.19:17).

6. Can anyone be saved by keeping the law?

No! No one can be saved by keeping the law. Salvation comes only through grace, as a free gift from Jesus Christ, and we receive this gift by faith, not by works (Rom.3:20, Eph.2:8-9). The law serves only as a mirror to point out sin in our lives. Cleansing and forgiveness from that sin comes only through Jesus Christ.

7. Why, then, is the law an absolute essential for perfecting Christian character?

Because the "whole duty" for Christian living is contained in God's law (Ecc.12:13). One cannot know whether one is a sinner unless one looks carefully into the perfect standard - God's law-mirror. Millions who have cast out devils, prophesied, and done many wonderful works in Jesus' name will be lost (Matthew 7:21-23) because they did not bother to check their lives with His great law-pattern. Hence, they think they are righteous and saved when, instead, they are sinful and lost. "Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3; 3:24).

8. What enables a truly converted Christian to follow the pattern of God's law?

Christ not only pardons repentant sinners, but He restores in them the image of God. He brings them into harmony with His law through the power of His indwelling presence. "Thou shalt not" then becomes a promise that the Christian will not steal, lie, murder, etc., because Jesus lives inside and is in control (Mat.19:26, 2 Cor.2:14). God could not change His law, but He made a blessed provision through Jesus to change the sinner so he can measure up to that law (Rom.8:3-4).

9. How does the devil feel about the people who pattern their lives after God's Ten Commandments?

The devil hates the people who uphold God's law because the law is the pattern of right living (Rev.14:12). And if you decide to follow the pattern outlined in God's law, you will feel the devil's wrath upon you at once and with all fury (Rev.12:17). It is not surprising that the devil hates and bitterly opposes all who uphold God's law, but it is shocking and astounding to hear religious leaders denying the binding claims of the Ten Commandments while at the same time upholding the traditions of men (Matthew 15:3,9. Psalm 119:126). Christians must wake up and restore God's law to its rightful, exalted position. It is folly for this undisciplined generation to presume it can break the laws of God with impunity. After all, it is because of man's disobedience that it became man's portion to die (1 Cor.15:21-22, Rom.5:12,14). How unreasonable to believe that all that was lost may be regained while still disobeying God (Isaiah 24:5). The adversary says we can have eternal life by disobeying God (Gen.3:1-5), not God.

Follow in Jesus' Steps

Jesus lived a life of no sin, perfect righteousness and obedience. To what, though? The Will of God. And what is the Will of God? His Will is his Law written in our hearts (Psalm 40:8), the Ten Commandments. To Truth. And what is God's definition of Truth? God's Law, and all God's commandments are Truth (Psalm 119:142,151, John 17:17). In contrast to the never-ending cycle of sinning and confessing, Jesus came to do away with sin. In His body of flesh, He rendered perfect obedience to His Father, opening a way, through the veil of His flesh, for us to obtain total victory over sin also.

We are to follow in Jesus' steps and commit no sin (John 13:15, Phil.2:5, 1 Peter 2:21-22; 4:1, 1 John 2:6), and keep the commandments like Jesus did (John 15:9-10, Rom.7:25). For anyone to say that the Ten Commandments are abolished is to deny that we are to follow in his steps (Mat.10:24-25). If obedience to God's moral Law has nothing to do with our eternal destiny, then how do we harmonize the teachings of Jesus and his apostles in Matthew 24:11-13; 7:21-23; Mark 7:6-9; Romans 2:7-9, and I John 3:7-10 Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 4:17,18?

When men believe they are no longer under the restraints of God's Law, they no longer have a standard of right and wrong. They set aside the divine standard for one of their own choosing. In essence, they have proclaimed that they are as gods (Gen.3:5), able to determine good and evil. If the Law of God is something we are to recognize as merely good advice while retaining an inability to follow its precepts, we might more appropriately title that Law, "The Ten Suggestions".

We cannot expect to follow the dictates of our natural hearts (Ecc.8:11; 9:3, Jer.17:1,9, Mark 7:21-23), living a lifetime of disobedience and rebellion against God's expressed Will, and still have him recognize us as belonging to him (Mat.7:21-23). We do not obey the Law in order to be saved, but because we are saved.

The God of heaven has placed a benediction upon those who keep the commandments of God. Shall we stand as a peculiar people of God, or shall we trample upon the law of God and say it is not binding? God's ten precepts present to fallen humanity the character of God, and state plainly the whole duty of man. The first four commandments (Ex. 20:3-11), tells us specifically how to love God, and the last six commandments (Exo.20:12-17) tells us specifically how to love others.

The law was not spoken at this time exclusively for the benefit of the Hebrews. God honored them by making them the guardians and keepers of His law, but it was to be held as a sacred trust for the whole world. The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow man; and all based upon the great fundamental principle of love. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." Luke 10:27 (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Leviticus 19:18). In the Ten Commandments, these principles are carried out in detail, and made applicable to the condition and circumstances of man.

God, by requiring obedience, is not trying to force his will upon us, but rather is trying to keep us from hurting and destroying ourselves. One cannot live any way he wishes and still become godlike, any more than a builder can ignore the blueprints for a house without trouble. This is why God asks us to follow the blueprints of the Holy Scriptures. There is no other way to become like him and thus be fitted for a place in His Kingdom.

Our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus, lays no obligation upon us that is not first found in Himself. There is nothing He tells us either to do or to be that is not already found in God.

The Character of God

The Ten Commandments are the revealed principles of God's holy character that will always be true as long as God exists.

CharacteristicGod IsThe Law Is
GoodLuke 18:191 Timothy 1:18
HolyIsaiah 5:16Romans 7:12
PerfectMatthew 5:48Psalm 19:7
Pure1 John 3:2,3Psalm 19:8
JustDeuteronomy 32:4Romans 7:12
TrueJohn 3:33Psalm 19:9
Spiritual1 Corinthians 10:4Romans 7:14
RighteousnessJeremiah 23:6Psalm 119:172
Faithful1 Corinthians 1:9Psalm 119:86
Love1 John 4:8Romans 13:10
UnchangeableJames 1:17Matthew 5:18
EternalGenesis 21:33Psalm 111:7,8

Notice on the chart above that God and His law have the same characteristics. Do you see what this means? The Ten Commandment Law is God's character in written form - written so we can comprehend it. It is no more possible to change God's law than to pull God out of heaven and change Him. Jesus came to show us what the law (which is the pattern for holy living) looked like when made up in the form of man. God's character can never change. Neither can His law, for it is His character in man's language. God has magnified his Word above his Name (Psalm 138:2).

Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever"

Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change not"

James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

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