Monday, October 30, 2006

The Foundation of the Law

Have you ever noticed that the Ten Commandments start in verse 3 of Exodus 20? Any view that we take of the Law and its application to the modern church has to take into account the foundation of the Law found in Exodus 20:1-2. I see three points here.

God Spoke
One of the fantastic claims of scripture is the hundreds of times that the Bible claims to be the direct revelation of the God of Heaven. We know from Paul that "all the writings are given" by God. But whenever the scripture bothers to point out or set out a specific passage as being from God that it deserves our special attention. So apart from any restatement of these commands in the New Testament there is something of importance here.

I am the Lord, thy God
All the following remarks are predicated on God's identity as the self-existent, immutable, creator God. He identifies this specifically with His personal nature by emphasizing that He is our God. He is not some aloof prime mover. This is a God who loves His people and He is revealing Himself to them so that they might love Him.

I have brought you out
His interest in the well-being of His people is reiterated by His deliverance from slavery. God could have very well given the law while the people were in Egypt. He could have used that to determine who really had a heart for Him and delivered only them. But He delivered all the people and even a significant number of Egyptians that followed them out and then He revealed Himself in His law.

No wonder David exclaims:
O that my ways were directed to keep your statutes! Then I will not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise you with uprightness of heart, when I have learned your righteous judgments.

The Law shows our need of the Grace of God and God's Grace empowers us to keep His Law out of love for Him.

1 comment:

bellnouvelles said...

It is interesting to remember that the Jewish numbering of the ten words begins with these verses as commandment number one (and then joins what we count as the first two, which the RC also join, as the second commandment). I say all that to point to the importance of this opening material, the foundation, as you put it, of the rest of the decalogue.