Many outsiders see the Church as being an institution that promotes a whole list of regulations, rules and laws, starting with the most famous, the Ten Commandments. They see most of the Ten Commandments as “Thou shalt not…” instructions and come to the conclusion that being a Christian means that life is filled with restrictions and therefore totally miserable.
So how should members of the Church behave with regard to the Ten Commandments? Are the still valid in the 21st century?
Jesus said that the two most important commandments were to love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. These are surely what all Christians would want to do. Jesus himself said that He and The Father are One. If we love Jesus and want to please Him, then we will honour His, and Our, Father in everything that we think, say or do. I do not want anyone to think of this in terms of “Jesus is my best mate/boyfriend/big brother or in similar terms, but rather he is the commander in chief of the force in which we serve in a battle for the life and death of many people. We believe in the cause for which we are fighting and continuing to fight. We want our Commander in Chief to be proud of us. We want to be one with those who are fighting with us. As the old hymn says, “We are on the LORD’s side” and we need to obey His orders if we are to be effective. So we want to honour the LORD at all times and in all places. Because, if we own Him as our LORD, He will own us as His own.
This commandment of Jesus sums up the first four commandments of the Ten, to have no other gods before Yahweh, to worship no idols, to always treat God’s name with reverence and to have a Sabbath one day each week when we remember that God created Heaven and Earth in six days.
Idols are not just statues or golden calves, but can include wealth, power, sex, career, or any other relationship that comes between God and ourselves. Can we honestly examine ourselves and be certain that we have no other gods before Yahweh?
On view that I have recently encountered claims that any time anyone who identifies as Christian should aim to act in accordance with God’s Will at all times and that actions contrary to God’s Will are in fact blasphemy, just as much as any spoken word which dishonours God’s name.
The command to have a Sabbath each week does give us a benefit, as well as a time to offer our worship to our Creator. Both the rest and the worship helps a person to recharge our internal batteries.
I hope that I have convinced at least some of my readers that following God’s Way is liberating rather than constricting.
The other six of the Ten commandments are summed up in the command to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. and I hope to look at these in a future post.