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Most of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments the Lord gave to the Israelites in Exodus, chapter 20.  This is sometimes referred to as God’s ‘moral law’.  Although these precepts certainly weren’t new at the time the Lord gave them, they were given to guide His people to show them His expectations of them.  But, who could keep all of these commandments?  No one!  Who has never lied?  Who has never stolen?  Who has never put anything before the Lord?  These commandments were given to show the people the truth that they were sinners. 

We then read in Exodus 20:24, “An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.”  The Lord, in His remarkable grace, after giving the Ten Commandments, gives instructions to His people about how to build an altar.  This shows that the Lord has provided access to Himself by a sinful people, and that is through the blood of a sacrifice on the altar.  Both the altar and the sacrifice are types, or pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the One who gives access to the Father.  The Lord Jesus said of Himself in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  It is a wonderful God we serve who shows us our sinfulness and then gives us a way to come to Him and find forgiveness. 

But what about these Ten Commandments, are Christians today required to keep them?  I encourage you to read over each commandment slowly.  Can you find any commandment that is not morally right for us to obey?  Is it okay to have other God’s before our God?  Is it okay to worship graven images?  Is it okay to take the name of the Lord in vain?  Is murder acceptable?  What about adultery, stealing, or lying?  Does the Lord approve of any of these things today?  I’m sure we all realize that all these things are sins and are condemned by the Lord. 

Let me be absolutely clear about one thing here; keeping the Ten Commandments is not the way to salvation.  As I said before, the commandments were given to show us that we are sinners.  It is not a list of behaviors that we are required to do in order to be saved.  If it was, no one could be saved.  We read in Romans 3:19-20, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  The Ten Commandments only convict us and show us our guilt that we might come to the Lord Jesus for salvation.

The Lord Jesus spoke of the Ten Commandments and condensed them down to two commandments.  He said in Mark 12:30-31, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”  Indeed, if we look at the commandments, we see that the first five commandments concern our relationship with the Lord.  Each one of these commandment include the phrase, “the Lord thy God”.  The final five commandments concern our relationship with others.  Almost all the commandments are given to us in a negative context: “thou shalt not”.  The Lord Jesus points out that the teaching behind these commandments is positive; that we should love the Lord with all that we have; putting Him first and giving Him the preeminence in our lives.  We should love the Lord more than we love anything or anyone.  After that we are to love others just as much as we love ourselves.  These are very important principles that the believer today should follow after to please the One who has saved them.  (135.5)