The ten commandments are an essential part of our Christian understanding. They, (along with much of God’s old Testament law) do a number of things in our lives as Christians:
- They show God’s righteousness, and so they reveal his will and character. We see the same kind of thing within a national set of laws – such laws reveal the character of the country in which they apply.
- Yet more than this, they inform and convict us of where we sit in relation to God’s will and law. As we quickly find out, we fail to keep God’s laws more often than we like to think!
- They stop us from wrongdoing, simply by helping us to recognise that we break God’s law if we do X or Y.
- They therefore draw us to Christ, because we know that we cannot keep God’s law perfectly by ourselves, and wonderfully he reminds us that he was able to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17).
- In light of God’s extraordinary grace shown to his people (Exodus 19:5-6, 20:2, and repeated in 1 Peter 2:9) we should see them as helping us toward a loving response to our saviour God.
- They then provide an encouragement and help shape our ethical lives; now that we see God’s as a reflection of his good character, through Christ we aspire to holding to them (and the principles behind them) ever more closely.
Here’s a few things that should help us work through them and apply them today:
(1) Listen again to the sermon series on the ten commandments. There’s a handout here, and the sermon series can be found here.
(2) Use the checklist provided by Tim Chester in his excellent book “Exodus for You”. You can download that here. This will help you to work through the commandments in such a way as to draw you to Christ. You can do this as a group or by yourself.
(3) As we noted in the sermon yesterday (27 June) looking at the ten commandments within a catechism is a wonderful thing to do. You could do this as a family or by yourself, as a little project or as part of daily quiet times.
Two I highly recommend are “The Good News We Almost Forgot” by Kevin DeYoung, and is based on the Heidelberg catechism. It’s a warm and encouraging book which takes you to the heart of Christ.
Another is the New City Catechism. This is super for families because it is adaptable, but also deep enough to engage the most intellectual of minds. Free resources are here. and there’s a book available too.