On Being The Ten Commandments

speeding TicketDan was driving peacefully along a quiet road when suddenly he noticed bright colorful lights from a police cruiser following him.

After pulling over to the side, Dan’s heart sank as the police car also pulled over behind him. Dan soon learned from police officer, Guido, that he was driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. He was given a speeding ticket and fined two hundred dollars.

A little while later, Steve, a retired businessman, was stopped and fined by the same officer for traveling one mile over the speed limit. No matter how Steve pleaded and begged for mercy, he still had to pay two hundred dollars for violating the law.

The next day, teenager, Sally, was excitedly whipping down the same road not noticing the speed limit sign. Officer Guido chased her down and got out of the car. He then began talking to her:

teen driving

Officer Guido: “Do you know why I stopped you, miss?”

Sally: “Yes, I do, officer. I should have known better. I just got my driver’s license and was given this car as a gift. I am so sorry. I have no excuse.”

Officer Guido: “I can give you a speeding ticket but I will not. Do you know why?”

Sally: “No, sir.”

Police officer Guido looked sternly at the Sally’s eyes.

Officer Guido: “I have always handed out speeding tickets on this road when there is a speeding violation, but today the mayor of this town has just decreed that from now on he will pay the fines for all the traffic violations out of his salary. You may go.”

The teen was bewildered seeing officer Guido get back into his cruiser and leave the scene. Then a sense of gratitude came over her at what the mayor had done. She learned a lesson but ever since then felt she had an invisible speed detector added to her brain which, from then on, reminded her whenever she started driving over the speed limit.

– – – – – – – – –

The Law In Our Hearts And Grace
You may surmise that the story above is about the difference between living under the law and being under grace. Yes, BUT, it is also about how we Christians, walking in God’s grace, have become the Ten Commandments and much more.

No, I am not introducing new doctrine. My thoughts on this is that in the New Testament we Christians are not to be keeping the Ten Commandments but being the Ten Commandments! The Commandments of God for us Christians are not on an external list of do’s and don’ts but is an internal way of influence for your life.

heart As many of you already know, at conversion a Christian becomes a new creature before God. We have become something new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Also, the law of God has been internalized. How? God made a promise when He said:

This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

Grace, however, is defined as unmerited favor, approval, or blessings from God; whereas living under the law means keeping the Ten Commandments in order to get favor, approval or blessings from God. Did you notice the difference?

What does walking under grace mean? Does it mean that Christians can deliberately break what the Old Testament calls the Ten Commandments and get away with it? No, it means that God wants a mature relationship with Him – not an infantile relationship where we are always being told what to do. It is not a “you-must-do-this-or-I-will-not-love-you” relationship from God to us. It is about us having the initiative in loving God – not about God commanding us to love Him. And it comes out of our hearts; from our innermost being.

What did Jesus Christ say about the natural heart?

But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man …  (Matthew 15:18-20)

The Bible Is Mostly About Grace
Grace is one of the most important concepts in the Bible. Interestingly, grace has always been around! From Genesis to our day in time, we see God’s grace fully evident. The whole Bible is mostly about God’s grace!

The fact that Adam and Eve did not die instantly or on the same day they partook of the forbidden fruit shows grace. Why is this so? Well, why did not God right away just start over with a new Adam and Eve?

I know you pastors and Bible teachers can elaborate more on this.

The fact that Cain was not arrested by God and killed immediately to repay for murdering his brother Abel is an indicator that something was going on there (Genesis 4:3-15). Why was Cain banished from where he was instead of being avenged or facing God’s justice for killing Abel? Does not the law in the Old Testament demand an immediate death for this crime?

I know you pastors and Bible teachers can elaborate more on this.

The heinous, adulterous act against Noah after the flood by one of his children was also not dealt with immediately after it occurred (Genesis 9:20-25). Why?

I know you pastors and Bible teachers can elaborate more on this.

Preordained To Receive Grace
Wait a minute! God knew us Christians from before the foundation of the world, right? Yes (Romans 8:29-30). OK, and He gave us the Holy Spirit to be our helper, right? Yes, (John 14:26). OK, then how in the world could God expect the children of Israel as a whole to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly before Christ was born? God did not. Because He is gracious, God gave them the law with its sacrificial system for them to observe. AND He gave no other peoples, no other communities, and no other nations that privilege to receive His grace under the law. No other community received the law during Old Testament times – except Israel.

Then came Jesus Christ onto the scene. He came as the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world (John 14:26). When He died on the cross, He became our mercy seat, our High Priest and the embodiment of the law. He is risen. And He is in us – in those who have accepted Him and received the Holy Spirit.

Hello?

Also, please note this. Christ commanded something before He died. He said:

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Huh???? If the nation of Israel was never to be perfect then, how the heck can we be perfect? Answer: Again, because He, Jesus Christ, is in us. We are justified to the Father as being righteous.

Hello?

But, wait a minute. We still sin. Yep. And there is this awful Satan who is much smarter and crafty. But as we confess our sins God is right there still loving us.

Prodigal Son

The Return of the Prodigal Son  (1773) painting by Pompeo Batoni

Did not the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), show that the father never stopped loving his son after he ran away to live a riotous lifestyle? Yep. Did this father now hate his son? Nope. The father waited for his son to return. And before the son even had a chance to voice his remorse to his dad, he was already forgiven. This father in the parable symbolizes what God has done for mankind because of Jesus Christ.

Hello?

Ah, but some of you are saying, “This parable only applies to Christians and does not apply to the world.”

God’s grace was offered to the world when Jesus Christ died on the cross. Many of us who have accepted that sacrifice know this. But the world has yet to know. Yes, we are spiritual Israelites (Galatians 3:27-29) because we accepted a relationship with God now. But, unlike the Old Testament, the world, not just Israel, has also been offered grace.

There is so much to say about grace. And there so much I have yet to understand about it. But I know that many of you pastors and Bible teachers can elaborate more on this.

A Prayer
Oh Father in heaven.
You are the great God
You are merciful
And you are gracious toward us.
Help me now to understand this subject more
So that I may relay it to others according to Your will.
To You I pray this
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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