Exodus 20

The Ten Commandments might be the most misunderstood and abused text in all of Scripture. In the protestant tradition there has been two dominant views: The covenantal view and the dispensational view.

Covenantal theologians partisan the law into moral, ceremonial and civil law. The covenantal theologian puts the ten commandments into the section of moral law. The covenantal theologian believes that there is one overarching covenant that God is acting on; the covenant that he made with Abraham. The gentiles are included as the people of God because God told Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Gn 22:18) The covenantal theologian believes that the Christian has the duty to keep the moral law (The Ten Commandments) but does not have the duty to keep the cerimonial law or the civil laws of Israel because these were abolished at the cross. However, Jesus said: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. (Mt 5:17) 

The dispensational theologian does not believe that the Christian is bound to the law of Moses because God deals with man differently at different times in history. The dispensational theologian believes that we are in the dispensation of the gentile, in which God is saving gentiles in Jesus Christ. After this, he will save all of the Jews. The dispensational believes that the law was given to the Jew and not the gentile.

I do not believe that either of these views are correct. Let us not forget what the elders of Israel agreed too: God told Moses to tell the people, “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Ex 19:5, 6) It is after they agreed to these covenantal terms that the Lord descended on Mount Sinai and spoke the Ten Commandments to the people. These were not spoken to the gentile but to the sons of Israel, by God from heaven, at Mount Sinai, in the wilderness. This is how the sons of Israel replied: Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” (Ex 20:19) 

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome, after showing that both Jew and gentile are under sin asked a rhetorical question: “Then what advantage has the Jew?” (Rom 3:1) The answer: “First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Rom 3:2) No one who hears the law can boast because the law brings the hearer the knowledge that he/she is a sinner. (Rom 3:19, 20) This is the advantage that the Jew had, for the law is the tutor to lead us to Christ. (Gal 3:24) The law can be used to show someone there need for a Savior, if it is used lawfully. So, let us take a look at the Ten Commandments.

You shall have no other Gods before me.
You shall not make any idols.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
You shall remember the Sabbath.
You shall honor your mother and Father.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not lie against your neighbor.
You shall not covet what belongs to your neighbor.

The apostle James wrote: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (Jam 2:10) You have to face a holy God on judgment day. Jesus explained in the sermon on the mount (cf. Mt 5:17-48) that God sees lust as adultery and hatred as murder. When you hear the Ten Commandments, can you honestly believe that on the day of judgment God will look at you and say: “Not guilty?” However, there is good news: Jesus took your penalty on the cross and rose again, defeating death to save you from hell. So, repent and follow Jesus today! He is the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through him. (Jn 14:7)

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William George Davis, RN