Written in Stone
Centuries ago, God wrote His law in stone, and you're still supposed to keep it today! It's absolutely true that violating any part of God's law always brings negative consequences. As crime overruns our cities, doesn't it make sense that for peace and safety we need to obey the laws of the land? Well, this same principle applies with God's law - the Ten Commandments - in our own lives too! They aren't called the ten suggestions, ten recommendations, or the ten greatest ideas. Since so much is at stake, you should take a few minutes to seriously consider your responsibility.
And the tables were the work of God.
1. Did God Himself really write the Ten Commandments?
"And he gave unto Moses ... two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." "And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables." Exodus 31:18; 32:16.
Answer: Yes, the great God of heaven wrote the Ten Commandments on tables of stone with His own finger.
God says that sin is breaking His law.
2. What is God's definition of sin?
"Sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4.
Answer: Sin is breaking God's Ten Commandment law. And since the law of God is perfect (Psalms 19:7), it covers every conceivable sin. It is impossible to commit a sin that is not condemned by at least one of God's Ten Commandments. The commandments cover "the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13. Nothing is left out.
Happiness follows those who keep His commandments.
3. Why did God give us the Ten Commandments?
"He that keepeth the law, happy is he." Proverbs 29:18. "Keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." Proverbs 3:1, 2.
Answer: A. As a guide for happy, abundant living.
The law protects us from the devil as a cage protects us from the lion at the zoo.
4. Why is God's law exceedingly important to me personally?
"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12.
Answer: Because the Ten Commandment law is the standard by which God examines people in the heavenly judgment. How are you measuring up? It is a life-or-death matter!
The cross is positive proof that the law is unchangeable.
5. Can God's law (the Ten Commandments) ever be changed or abolished?
"It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." Luke 16:17. "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." Psalms 89:34. "All his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever." Psalms 111:7, 8.
Answer: Absolutely not! The Bible is very clear on this point. If the law could have been changed, God would have immediately made that change when Adam and Eve sinned instead of sending His Son to die in the sinner's behalf to pay the penalty of the broken law. But this was impossible, because the commandments are not laws in the sense of rules or regulations that have been enacted. They are revealed principles of God's holy character that will always be true as long as God exists.
Jesus is the law in human form. When He is in the heart, keeping the law becomes a pleasure.
6. Did Jesus abolish God's law while He was here on earth?
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law. ... I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. ... Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17, 18.
Answer: No, indeed! Jesus specifically asserted that He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill (or keep) it. Instead of doing away with the law, Jesus magnified it (Isaiah 42:21) as the perfect guide for right living. For example, Jesus pointed out that "thou shalt not kill" condemns anger "without a cause" (Matthew 5:21, 22) and hatred (1 John 3:15), and that lust is adultery (Matthew 5:27, 28). He says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15.
The law is like a length of chain. If only one link is broken, its entire purpose is undone.
7. Will people who knowingly continue to break even one of God's commandments be saved?
"The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. "He shall destroy the sinners." Isaiah 13:9. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10.
Answer: No! They will be lost. The Ten Commandment law is the guide we must use in finding our way to God and holy living. If I ignore even one of the commandments, I am neglecting part of the divine pattern, or blueprint. If only one link of a chain is broken, its entire purpose is undone. The Bible says that when we knowingly break any command of God, we are sinning (James 4:17), because we have refused His will for us. Only those who do His will can enter the kingdom of heaven. Sinners will be lost.
Salvation from Jesus is just as real as a gift received on a special holiday or birthday. It's free, specially prepared for us from Jesus!
8. Can anyone be saved by keeping the law?
"By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight." Romans 3:20. "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8, 9.
Answer: No! The answer is too plain to miss. No one can be saved by keeping the law. Salvation comes only through grace, as a free gift from Jesus Christ, and we receive this gift by faith, not by works. The law serves only as a mirror to point out sin in our lives. Cleansing and forgiveness from that sin come only through Christ.
Our own standards are never safe. I cannot know whether I am a sinner unless I look carefully into the perfect standard, God's law-mirror.
9. Why, then, is the law an absolute essential for perfecting Christian character?
"Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiates 12:13. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20.
Answer: Because the full pattern, or "whole duty," for Christian living is contained in God's law. Like a 6-year-old boy who made his own ruler, measured himself, and told his mother that he was 12 feet tall, our own standards are never safe. I cannot know whether I am a sinner unless I look carefully into the perfect standard, God's law-mirror. Millions who have cast out devils, prophesied, and done many wonderful works in Jesus' name will be lost (Matthew 7:21-23) because they did not bother to check their lives with His great law-pattern. Hence, they think they are righteous and saved when, instead, they are sinful and lost. "Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." 1 John 2:3.
With Jesus living in the heart, the dark, ugly past is replaced by His triumphant indwelling.
10. What enables a truly converted Christian to follow the pattern of God's law?
"I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." Hebrews 8:10. "I can do all things through Christ." Philippians 4:13. "God sending his own Son ... That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." Romans 8:3, 4.
Answer: Christ not only pardons repentant sinners, but He restores in them the image of God. He brings them into harmony with His law through the power of His indwelling presence. "Thou shalt not" then becomes a promise that the Christian will not steal, lie, murder, etc., because Jesus lives inside and is in control. God could not change His law, but He made a blessed provision through Jesus to change the sinner so he can measure up to that law.
A governor's pardon forgives a prisoner, but does not give him freedom to break one single law.
11. But isn't a Christian who has faith and is living under grace freed from keeping the law?
"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin [break the law], because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." Romans 6:14, 15. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31.
Answer: No! The Scriptures teach the very opposite. Grace is like the governor's pardon to a prisoner. It forgives him, but it does not give him freedom to break one single law on the statute books. The forgiven person, living under grace, is under double obligation to keep the law. A person who refuses to keep God's law, saying that he is living under grace, is mistaken. He is living under disgrace.
12. Are the Ten Commandments of God reaffirmed in the New Testament?
Answer: Yes, and very clearly so. Look the following over very carefully.
Ceremonial sacrifices and rituals pointed forward to Jesus' sacrifice.
13. Are God's law and Moses' law the same?
Answer: No, they are not the same. Study the following notes and comparison carefully.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman [true church].
14. How does the devil feel about the people who pattern their lives after God's Ten Commandments?
"And the dragon [the devil] was wroth with the woman [true church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God." Revelation 12:17. "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God." Revelation 14:12.
Answer: The devil hates the people who uphold God's law because the law is the pattern of right living. And if you decide to follow the pattern outlined in God's law, you will feel the devil's wrath upon you at once and with all fury. It is not surprising that the devil hates and bitterly opposes all who uphold God's law. But it is shocking and astounding to hear religious leaders denying the binding claims of the Ten Commandments while at the same time upholding the traditions of men. No wonder Jesus said, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:3, 9. And David said, "It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law." Psalms 119:126. Christians must wake up and restore God's law to its rightful, exalted position. It is folly for this undisciplined generation to presume that it can break the laws of the living God with impunity.
15. I believe a Christian must obey God's Ten Commandments, and I am asking Jesus to help me bring my life into harmony with them.
1. Doesn't the Bible say the law was (or is) faulty?
No. The Bible says the people were faulty. God found "fault with them." Hebrews 8:8. And in Romans 8:3 the Bible says that the law "was weak through the flesh." It is always the same story. The law is perfect, but the people are faulty, or weak. So God would have His Son live within His people "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Romans 8:4) through the indwelling Christ.
2. Galatians 3:13 says we are redeemed from the curse of the law. Can you explain this?
The curse of the law is death (Romans 6:23). Christ tasted "death for every man." Hebrews 2:9. Thus He redeemed all from the curse of the law (death) and in its place provided eternal life.
3. Don't Colossians 2:14-17 and Ephesians 2:15 teach that God's law ended at the cross?
No, these passages both refer to the law containing "ordinances," or Moses' law, which was a ceremonial law governing the sacrificial system and the priesthood. All of this ceremony and ritual foreshadowed the cross and ended at Christ's death, as God had intended. Moses' law was added till the "seed should come," and that "seed ... is Christ." Galatians 3:19, 16. God's law could not be involved here, for Paul spoke of it as holy, just, and good many years after the cross (Romans 7:7, 12).
4. The Bible says, "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:10. The Bible also, in Matthew 22:37-40, commands us to love God and to love our neighbors, and ends with the words, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Do these commands replace the Ten Commandments?
No, the Ten Commandments hang from these two commands like our 10 fingers hang from our two hands. They are inseparable. Love to God makes keeping the first four commandments (which concern God) a pleasure, and love toward our neighbor makes keeping the last six (which concern our neighbor) a joy. Love fulfills the law by taking away the drudgery and by making law keeping a delight (Psalms 40:8). When we truly love a person, honoring his or her requests becomes a joy. Jesus said," If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15. It is impossible to love the Lord and not keep His commandments, because the Bible says, "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." 1 John 5:3. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 1 John 2:4.
5. Doesn't 2 Corinthians 3:7 teach that the law written and engraved in stone "was to be done away"?
No. The passage says that the "glory" of Moses' ministration of the law was to be done away, but not the law. Read the whole passage of 2 Corinthians 3:3-9 again, carefully. The subject is not the doing away with the law or its establishment, but rather, the change of the location of the law from "tables of stone" to the "tables of the heart." Under Moses' ministration the law was on stones. Under the Holy Spirit's ministration, through Christ, the law is written upon the heart (Hebrews 8:10). A rule posted on a school bulletin board becomes effective only when it enters a student's heart. Christ's ministration of the law is effective because He transfers the law to the heart of the Christian. Then keeping the law becomes a delight and a joyful way of living because the Christian has true love for both God and man.
6. Romans 10:4 says that "Christ is the end of the law." So it has ended, hasn't it?
"End" in this verse means purpose or object, as it does in James 5:11. The meaning is clear. To lead men to Christ--where they find righteousness--is the goal, purpose, or end of the law.
7. Why do so many people deny the binding claims of God's law?
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." Romans 8:7-9.
8. Were the righteous people of the Old Testament saved by the law?
No one has ever been saved by the law. All who have been saved in all ages have been saved by grace. This "grace ... was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." 2 Timothy 1:9. The law only points out sin. Christ alone can save. Noah "found grace" (Genesis 6:8); Moses found grace (Exodus 33:17); the Israelites in the wilderness found grace (Jeremiah 31:2); and Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and many other Old Testament worthies were saved "by faith" according to Hebrews 11. They were saved by looking forward to the cross; we, by looking back to it. The law is necessary because, like a mirror, it reveals the "dirt" in our lives. Without it, people are sinners but are not aware of it. However, the law has no saving power. It can only point out sin. Jesus, and He alone, can save a person from sin. This has always been true, even in Old Testament times. (Acts 4:10, 12; 2 Timothy 1:9).
9. Why worry about the law? Isn't conscience a safe guide?
No! A thousand times, no! The Bible speaks of an evil conscience, a defiled conscience, and a seared conscience--none of which is safe. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12. God says, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool." Proverbs 28:26.
1. The Ten Commandments were written by (1)
_____ An unknown person.
2. According to the Bible, sin is (1)
_____ A personality deficiency.
_____ Breaking God's law.
_____ Whatever seems wrong.
3. Check the statements that tell the truth about God's law: (4)
_____ It is a perfect guide for happy living.
_____ Like a mirror, it points out sin.
_____ It is burdensome and oppressive.
_____ It can protect me from evil.
_____ It has the same characteristics as God.
_____ It was canceled in the New Testament.
_____ It is a curse.
4. God's Ten Commandment law (1)
_____ Was for Old Testament times only.
_____ Was abolished by Jesus at the cross.
_____ Is absolutely unchangeable.
5. In the judgment day I will be saved if (1)
_____ I maintain an excellent record of good works.
_____ I love the Lord, regardless of whether or not I obey the Ten Commandments.
_____ My personal love relationship with Jesus leads me to obey all His commandments.
6. People are saved by (1)
_____ Keeping the law.
_____ Breaking the law.
_____ Jesus Christ alone.
7. Truly converted Christians (1)
_____ Keep God's law through the power of Christ.
_____ Ignore the law because it is done away.
_____ Consider commandment-keeping unnecessary.
8. A person living under grace (1)
_____ Can break the Ten Commandments without sinning.
_____ Is freed from keeping the law.
_____ Will gladly keep God's commandments.
9. Love fulfills the law because (1)
_____ Love does away with the law.
_____ True love toward God and man makes keeping the law a pleasure.
_____ Love is more important than obedience.
10. Moses' law is (1)
_____ The same thing as God's law.
_____ The law of ceremonies and sacrifices, which pointed forward to Christ and ended at His cross.
_____ Still binding today.
11. People who obey the Ten Commandments (1)
_____ Are all legalists.
_____ Will be bitterly opposed by the devil, who hates God and His law.
_____ Are saved by keeping the law.
12. Check the statements that are true regarding Christ and the law: (4)
_____ Jesus broke the law.
_____ Jesus is the perfect human example of keeping the law.
_____ Jesus abolished the law.
_____ Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
_____ Jesus magnified the law and showed that it covers all sin.
_____ Jesus said that the law cannot be changed.