The Lord’s desire for His people, having just delivered them from Egypt was simple and clear.  We read in Exodus 19:5-6, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”  Upon hearing these words from Moses, we read in Exodus 19:8, “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.”  Perhaps it was because of their own pride that the Israelites replied that they would do everything the Lord asked, or perhaps it was their appreciation of their deliverance that they made that remark.  It soon became very evident that their ability and desire to obey the Lord came far, far short.

In Exodus 20:1-17, we have the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses from Mount Sinai.  Although these commandments were only part of the giving of the complete law to Israel, they are what many call God’s moral law.  If you read these commandments, and I suggest you do, you will see that the first four commandments deal with the peoples’ relationship with the Lord, while the last ones deal with their relationship with each other.  The Lord Jesus encapsulated the commandments into two commandments 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.”  Perhaps your question can be answered by considering these words in Mark.

Does the Lord still want us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength?  Certainly He does!

Does the Lord still want us to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves?  Certainly He does!

What we need to understand is that obeying (or trying to obey) these commandments DOES NOT give us eternal life!  They were never intended to do that.  We read in Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”  The law was given to show us our utter helplessness to live up to the Holy standards of the Lord.  Upon hearing the Ten Commandments, the Israelites said to Moses in Exodus 20:19, “…let not God speak with us, lest we die.”  They realized they could not keep these commandments!

If these Ten Commandments are the Lord’s standards, and the Israelites realized their inability to keep these commandments, how could man possibly be saved?  The Lord, in His infinite mercy, provided a way!  In Exodus 20:24 the Lord said, “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 provided a way for guilty man to approach Him with sacrifices that would atone for their sins.

It is especially glorious for us to realize that, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, our sins ARE NOT atoned.  Atone, or atonement, was a Hebrew word expressing that the sins of the Israelites were ‘covered’.  Our sins are not covered…they are done away with!  The word ‘atonement’ is used only one time in the New Testament in Romans 5:11, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”  The Greek word here is far different that the Hebrew word in the Old Testament.  Here, it means ‘restoration’.  We have been restored to God through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the altar of Calvary.

The law was never intended to save us.  It was given so that we would realize WE NEED to be saved.  WE NEED a savior.  WE NEED Jesus Christ to save us.  Hebrews 9:26 tells us that, “…now once in the end of the world hath he (Christ) appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”  Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our sins are not ‘atoned’, they are ‘put away’.  (190.10)