By Sandy Shaw
Turn in your Bible to Exodus Chapter 20, we read of these ten words - the Ten Commandments - which Almighty God gives to the people. God wants to control His people, and He wants them to be in control of themselves.
We are not set free from sin in order to be free to sin.
These are God's laws - written into human nature - written on men's consciences.
Those who have never heard of the Ten Commandments have some of them if not all of them written on their consciences.
This is how we are built - this is how God created us. We read of this also in Romans Chapters 1 and 2. Certain things are written on men's consciences.
The Ten Commandments - these absolute standards - commands - laws - are central to the life of Israel - and if they keep them they will indeed be a kingdom of priests, bringing others to God.
God's law is "Thou shalt not". God speaks absolutely. He is not prepared to argue or discuss these with us. He says - This is the line which I have drawn.
We live in an age of dialogue and discussion. God's law is not up for debate and discussion. God's love is above contradiction.
The problem we have today is that God's law comes to man through a man - and now, of course, through documents which are considered by many to be 'old' and out of date.
The source of the Ten Commandments is Almighty God and a revelation of Almighty God.
I am not going to argue with you 'man' about stealing or pilfering - "Thou shalt not" - that is what I say.
The Ten Commandments were given to people who had been redeemed saved, and rescued. "I have saved you - now walk right - live right."
The parallel in the News Testament is - I have saved you through Jesus Christ, My Son - now show Me that you really love Me, by keeping My commandments.
The Father wants our love first - then obedience.
It is always grace first - then gratitude: Salvation first then Service. I brought you OUT - now KEEP MY LAWS. Love ME and that will fulfil the law.
The Ten Commandments can be summed up in the words - reverence or respect. There is not a lot of either around today and that is why they are so utterly important.
Respect God - respect His Name - His day - your parents - your neighbours.
A man who truly respects is a man of love - respect other people's reputations - say nothing false or wrong.
There is something else here. The effects of punishments may last for four generations - verse 5. That is so true to life - unless we are changed saved transformed by Jesus Christ and His mercy and blood and love.
This is what we are witnessing today. We have lived on the spiritual capital of our fathers of 3 or 4 generations ago, and the last traces are going. Morality is vanishing fast. What is going to happened next? Things are changing so rapidly.
Man has turned away from God and His Word. This is the real crisis.
Duty to God comes before our duty to our neighbours. We have reversed that today.
Our faith does not begin with loving your neighbour, but love for Jesus Christ will enable you and motivate you to love your neighbour.
Another thing is made so clear - if you break one of these commandments you break them all - it has been described as like a string of pearls - and you are struggling to pick them up. It is not like an exam where you have to attempt nine out of ten.
These Ten Commandments tell me something about my own heart, and I need to be told this and taught this. We need to be told to reverence and respect GOD - to respect others - to honour parents - to honour those over us in the Lord.
Even beloved Paul had a real problem with the 10th Commandment - that is the only one about how we feel - and not what we do - coveting. And it is difficult to police. You can look in a shop window and wish you had that and that. Imagine it - and then a policemen comes along and charges you for coveting, which is just strong wishing that you possessed that. But God sees it.
Keeping the Ten Commandments has a reward for this people. You will be kings and priests - and you will be a holy nation - special - a treasure in the eyes of God.
You will have a special function in the world - and to the world - you will be someone of character - character which is different.
When we keep these Commandments, then we become reliable. God is proving us - testing us. He gives us His law, so that we can receive rewards and blessings and be trusted. God wants reliable people who can be trusted.
The law tells us what to do - and what not to do - but we cannot keep it!
Human nature when told what NOT to do, wants to go and do it. Something more was needed than the law.
The answer is Jesus Christ. He kept every single one - a perfect life - in every detail - full of grace and truth - and when we believe in and follow Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord - we are no longer under the curse of the law as mentioned in Galatians.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, and He has brought us into a New Covenant through His Blood - through confessing our sins - and being washed by the blood shed on Mount Calvary - where the earth was shaken and darkened - and when the veil was torn in two - and eternal light began to shine.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.