Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

Will the Real Ten Commandments Please Stand Up?

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 3, 2009


I can respect the heart of Christians that want to post the Ten Commandments on state lawns, post offices and court rooms. However, the problem, as I see it, is that the Ten Commandments aren’t Christian rules.

Don’t stop reading just yet; let me give you some evidence that might sway you to think differently.

First, let me be specific, we Christians must uphold God’s law (Romans 3:31) The law was given to show sin (Romans 5:20), so it has its place. The question you need to ask is – what laws are Christian and what laws were specifically given to the Jews?

You can break the Jewish old covenant law up into three basic categories: Moral, Civil and Ceremonial, but they all make up the law God gave to Moses to give to Israel.  To take one part – specifically the moral law (a.k.a the Ten Commandments) and transferit to Christianity leaving the rest of the law behind is not the appropriate way of dealing with the law. 

The biggest problem with trying to take it and apply it to Christian believers is that 99% of Christian believers don’t keep at least 10% of the law, and if you don’t keep one part, you are guilty of breaking it all (James 2:10)

Specifically, the 4thcommandment (keep the Sabbath day holy) is violated every week in millions of Christian homes around the world.  You can’t keep that law and move the Sabbath to Reeshon (Hebrew for Sunday).  God did not say Sunday, he said Saturday.  So if you are going to apply the law, you have to apply all of it, not just the parts you think sound good.

So what to do about the law of Moses in the Christian world.

The Principle of the Law

The Law Reveals a Sinful Heart

The role of the law is laid out very well in the book of Romans and Galatians. The law reveals sin, for without a rule saying that something is wrong, how is it wrong and more important, how would you know it’s wrong. 

Sin existed in the heart of man even before a law was ever given by God.  That was proved when Adam couldn’t keep one simple rule.  The heart of Adam wanted more than God was willing to give, when the rule, “Don’t eat from this tree” was given, it revealed the sin that was in the heart of Adam.

And look at the sin Satan committed.  He tried to take over heaven.  Do you think God set up a rule that said, “Thou shalt not attempt to take over heaven.” Probably not.  Satan violated God through a fundamental principle of sin – pride.  Pride doesn’t require a law. It is you placing yourself above God or others. 

Keeping the Law Does Not Make One Righteous

This is one of the greatest faults in the argument by some Christians about following rules to become more righteous.  In fact, we tend to create additional rules to help us keep the “real” rules.  I call this “Bumper Bowling Syndrome”.

You know, bumpers are those mechanisms that bowling alleys use for children to keep their ball from rolling into the gutter.  The protective bumper works well in keeping the ball on the straight and narrow path to the pins, but the bumpers do nothing to teach the bowler how to actually bowl. 

The bumpers become a crutch and teach a new skill – how to use the bumpers to knock down the most pins.

The problem with this syndrome is that when the bumpers are removed, the gutter balls resume and the frustration level is worse than it would be if there were never any bumpers.

When I took my children bowling the first time, I tried to have them bowl without bumpers, they were frustrated, so I introduced the bumpers.  They imediately ran up the score.

The next time out, I did not let them use the bumper so that they could actually learn to bowl a straight ball.  They threw many gutter balls and were extremely frustrated, but once they understood the prinicple of throwing a straight ball, they didn’t have to worry anymore about the gutters.

The secret to successful Christian living is not concentrating on what you shouldn’t do, but what you should be doing.  If you spend your time doing the do’s, you wont have time to do the don’ts. In other words, throw a straight ball and you don’t have to worry about falling in the gutter.

If righteousness could be achieved by following rules (the law), then Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21, see also Galatians 3).

Those Under the Law will be Judged By It

When you add a bunch of rules, you become subject to those rules.  (Romans 2:12)

You would think that the last thing you would want to do is add rules to your life.  Stangely enough, people add rules all the time, many times without really intending on it.

God had a rule for the Hebrews, “Don’t plow your field on the Sabbath” (Exodus 34:21).  That wasn’t enough though.  They came up with definition rules.  One really floored me – literally.  They made up a rule that you could not drag your chair across the floor on the Sabbath because you might disturb the dirt on the floor, thus be guilty of plowing.

We do these same things in Christianity – Cut your hair, wear church closes to church (whatever that means), don’t swear, don’t pierce your nose, and the list goes on.  I don’t want to make a big fuss here about what Christians should or should not be doing, but a general rule, if God would not be pleased, it is probably something you shouldn’t be doing. (Refer to 1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23)

If You Break One Law, You Break Them All

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)

The big problem again is that if you start following all the laws, where do you stop?  Because if you start, you can’t stop until you follow them all. (Galatians 5:3)

If you start with the Nine Commandments, you have to add the Tenth, then the other 39 categories that the Jews follow. It is either Faith of Law.

The Law Leads us to Faith

So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)

The law’s primary purpose is to get us to Christ.  It is incapable of actually saving us, but it does effectively lead us to the one who can.  Once there, you are set free by the spirit of life and you die to the the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2)

Faith Trumps the Law

Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (Galatians 3:25)

Nuf Said.

Now if you want to really follow some laws, Jesus had a few that I know that you’re probably not following, but you need to add to your rulebook.

Jesus’ Version of the Ten Commandments

Ok, so you still want to post the Ten Commandments on a wall.  At least post the ones Jesus posed (Matthew 5:17):

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37)
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39)
  3. Thou shalt not look upon a woman with lust, this is adultery (Matthew 5:28)
  4. Thou shalt not be angry with your brother, this will bring judgement (Matthew 5:21)
  5. Thou shalt not say, “You fool” to your brother, this will endanger you of Hell (Matthew 5:22)
  6. Thou shalt not divorce, except for marital unfaithfulness, lest you commit adultery (Matthew 5:32)
  7. Thou shalt not fight back (Matthew 5:38-42)
  8. Thou shalt love your enemy (Matthew 5:43-47)
  9. Thou shalt be perfect like God (Matthew 5:48)
  10. Thou shalt give your money secretly (Matthew 6:1-4)
  11. Thou shalt pray secretly (Matthew 6:5-8)
  12. Thou shalt not store up for yourself treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19-24)
  13. Thou shalt not worry (Matthew 6:25-34)
  14. Thou shalt not judge, lest you be judged (Matthew 7:1)
  15. Thou shalt forgive or you will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:12, Luke 6:37, Mark 11:25)

So, will the real Ten Commandments please stand up?

 

 

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