The Ten Commandments

What do you think about when you hear “Ten Commandments”?  Moses?  Maybe Charlton Heston and Yul Brynnar?  For me, I think about my Lutheran schooling, memorizing the Ten Commandments from Luther’s Small Catechism.  I think many of us may look at the Ten Commandments as antiquated rules that might have been relevant in Biblical times, but not today.  After all, who today is going to covet his neighbor’s manservant, maidservant, ox or donkey
?I think that the Ten Commandments are actually a gift from God, giving us, as Christians, a map on how to live our lives.  First, none of us, no matter how hard we try, will succeed in following the commandments 100%.  Do you worship a God other than the One True God?  Perhaps not, but if you place a priority on money in your life, your idol is money.  Who among us has not lied, or showed anger towards our parents?  The Ten Commandments reveal to us our sinful nature.  Through acknowledgment of our sin, the commandments point us to our need of salvation.  We gain this salvation through Christ alone.  Finally, the commandments show us the true holy character and standards of God.  We must be careful to understand that attempting to follow the Ten Commandments will not provide us a path to salvation – only Christ’s sacrifice can do that.  However, the Ten Commandments will provide us with guidelines on how we should live.
The Ten Commandments are actually broken down into two types.  The first four commandments focus on mans relationship to God; the last six focus on mans relationship to man.
1.            You shall have no other gods
2.            You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
3.            Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
4.            Honor your father and your mother.
5.            You shall not murder
6.            You shall not commit adultery
7.            You shall not steal
8.            You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
9.            You shall not covet your neighbor’s house
10.          You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
(From Luther’s Small Catechism, NIV)

All of the commandments must be seen within the context of love.  When asked by the Pharisees what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.  All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
I think we all should take time to study the Ten Commandments.  Although they were given to Moses in the Old Testament, and many of the sacrificial laws and priesthoods were replaced when Christ came, they are still very much relevant today – perhaps more so.  Society is very much moving away from the Ten Commandments, as laws are written that clearly violate God’s law and much entertainment is made that glorifies behaviors in direct conflict with the commandments.  These are God’s word to us, not an opinion.
Over the remaining twelve weeks of Summer Sunday School, children in grades K-5th will be studying the Ten Commandments.   They learned the first week why God had the right and authority to give us these laws.  In the upcoming weeks, the children will be learning how they can take the commandments to heart and apply them within their lives.  As we progress with our study, we will be putting together a Ten Commandments banner – I invite you to check it out in the children’s wing.   My prayer is that the children will come to understand that God will bless them by keeping His laws; perhaps not in this world, but definitely in the next.
Peace to you,