By Tyson Thorne

January 4, 2017

When God created the world, he instilled in it a message to reveal himself and his law to mankind. While creating man and woman, he instilled in them a pure conscience, the second revelation of divine law. As our conscience became corrupted by sin, God issued a third edition. We fast forward through history all the way From Genesis chapter one to Exodus chapter 24. Whereas the second edition was written on our hearts, the third edition was written on a less corruptible media, stone tablets. God invited Moses up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, written by God’s own hand. 

It is a mistake many make, to think that the Old Testament isn’t relevant any longer. Some dismiss it as an ancient religion, others as laws God overwrote through the person of Jesus Christ. Both points of view are wrong. Jesus taught that not the smallest part of the smallest letter of the law will pass away (Matthew 5.18), meaning that the Ten Commandments will outlast even this world. In theological terms, they are immutable (ageless and unchangeable). You see, these laws are based in God’s character, and God doesn’t change (Numbers 23.19 and Hebrews 13.8).Perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at 10 Commandments (paraphrased in modern English):

  1. Do not worship anything or anyone other than God. Worship doesn't require bowing down before or even praying to, it can be anything you value more highly than your relationship with God. A house, a car, a pet, a loved one – all can be gods (Matthew 10.37-38).
  2. Do not curse God or use his name in a baseless or useless manner, or as a curse. Our relationship with God is personal, but do not lose perspective – God is your Creator, not your buddy.
  3. Do not make any images of God, angels, other deities or even other people and animals to worship. Some have taken this as a prohibition from creating statues, dolls, or even paintings that depicts living things, which would remove most of the arts – including photography and video. If this were so, then God would not have instructed the builders of the Ark of the Covenant to cast angelic hosts to adorn each side of the lid. There must be something more, and in this the "more" is connected to idolatry. 
  4. Set apart the seventh day as holy. God worked six days and rested on the seventh, and you should follow his example. But the emphasis isn’t on the work week, it’s on the day of rest we spend with God, relating with and worshiping him. All relationships take time and effort, and a relationship with God is no different.
  5. Be a blessing to your parents, and not a curse. Obeying your parents as a child is the best way to honor them, but as an adult -- especially when you have a family of your own – obedience isn't always required (or even wise) to be a blessing to them. 
  6. Do not murder. Because every person is created in God's image, murder is an act not only against your victim but against God as well. 
  7. Do not be sexually immoral. Adultery is the chief sexual sin because it breaks the bond between husband and wife, but Jesus expanded this command to include even lusting after another person is sin (Matthew 5.27-28).
  8. Do not steal. This is a basic law of mankind, and one that I am especially fond of having had my car stolen once and attempted to be stolen again If it's not yours, keep your hands off. But stealing encompasses more than physical property. Fudging on your time card is a form of theft. By stealing you are confessing that you love yourself more than others, rather than loving others as yourself. 
  9. Do not give false testimony. The language always makes me think of a court room, but false testimony includes so much more. This can also include gossip, and even fake news. Every lie is the equivalent of false testimony.
  10. Do not desire anything that another owns. Rather than being jealous of another’s success and coveting what they have we are to celebrate the other persons success and congratulate them.

The Ten Commandments were given to the nation of Israel all at once, yet the language used is first person. Certainly these laws are for all people of all time as they reflect God's own character, ut they are stated in a personal way. God wants each and every one of us to feel the weight of these commandments, to the peace that comes from keeping them, and to be lifted by the love for God and others that allows us to keep them. Even though no one can keep them perfectly, we know that we can be forgiven because God models the very love he asks us give.

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