September 30, 2016
Exodus 19:1, 2, 20, 20:1
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We will continue for one more blog on the Ten Commandments. Here is the introduction before the Commandments were revealed – Exodus 19:1, 2, 20, and 20:1
…after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt…they
came to the Wilderness of Sinai….and…camped there before the moun-
tian….Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai…and Moses went
up….And God spoke all these words, saying…
I listed the Ten Commandments in abbreviated form in the last blog. And I would encourage you to read the first 17 verses of Exodus 20 to get the whole content.
As mentioned two days ago in Blog XV of this series, the Ten Commandments were not given for God’s children to keep (obey) and to earn His favor! We cannot keep God’s law perfectly! Only Jesus did that! And He did it in preparation for His sacrifice on our behalf – offering His perfect self on the cross as a substitute for us! (See I Peter 2:21-24). He took God’s judgment of condemnation in our place, so we could go free! (See II Corinthians 5:21). Now whosoever receives Him – trusting in His sacrifice for me personally (you personally) – that one “…will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life.” (John 5:24 – Contemporary English Version).
So why then did God give the Ten Commandments if it was not for us to obey them? He gave them to show us how sinful we are! (See Romans 3:20). God wants us to know we cannot live by keeping His laws. Those laws only serve to condemn us! And if we cannot be saved by keeping the law, we will be led to the Savior as the only alternative! (See John 14:6; Galatians 3:24, 25).
But the Ten Commandments – and the whole of the Jewish law served the Old Testament believer in another way also. The law revealed the mind of God! How was the ancient Hebrew supposed to know Jehovah God – His mind, His will, the expectations He had for His children? By practicing what it says in Psalm 1:2: “…his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (See also Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
In New Testament times – today included also – believers know God by looking at Jesus! He tells us in John 14:9, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father….” John, in the introduction to his gospel, wrote in John 1:18 (Contemporary English Version): “No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.” Why has no one seen God? In Numbers 33:18, Moses requested of the LORD, “Please, show me Your glory.” God replied in verse 20, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” His unveiled glory is just too much for mortal man to behold! It would destroy him! So God veiled His glory in the person of Jesus Christ (see Philippians 2:5-8). But still, it says of Jesus even in this veiled condition, He is “…the brightness of His [God’s] glory, and the express image of His person…” (Hebrews 1:3). “For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9). So, to see what God is like, take a good look at Jesus!
But how do we take a good look at Jesus? We behold Him through faith – faith made strong through the Word of God, the Bible! (See Romans 10:17). God’s basic methods don’t change. Just as the ancient Jew became more and more acquainted with Jehovah God through the Scriptures, so we get to intimately know our Savior the same way – through the Bible! No wonder Paul writes in Colossians 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly….”
Another amazing thing happens when we “Let the Word of Christ dwell in…[us] richly….” By our strengthened faith, we behold the Lord ever more clearly as that faith increases! And as we behold Him…
All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that
same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into His
likeness in an ever greater degree of glory. (II Corinthians 3:15 – Good
One day, that transformation will be complete! It will happen upon Jesus’ return at His Second Coming! “…we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2). Until then, the change is gradual. But it is God’s declared purpose for His children, “…to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29). We are being made like unto Jesus!
So, get in the Word of God, and stay in the Word of God! This is the key to the Christian life!