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Faith: God’s Statements on Life



(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Augusta Press.) 

Why were the Ten Commandments given? What was the purpose in God giving us those ten rules for a Godly life? Did God give us those commandments in order to limit our lives and keep us “under His thumb?” Or, did He issue His Ten Commandments in order for us to live a more complete and happy life? First of all, God knows His creation even better than the creation (man) knows himself. He knows what we are like. He put us together and prepared us for an eternity of fellowship with Him. Man was perfect in the beginning but when sin came into the world and man fell into sin it became obvious that he would have to be regulated because of his propensity to fall into sin so easily. So, God gave us the Ten Commandments to tell man how to live a life pleasing to God. He could have given us many more commandments if He so desired but we have only the ten.  

When one thinks about it rightly, he will discover that God mentions the things told to us in the Ten Commandments because He knows exactly what we are like and He also knows of the power of sin over mankind to lead us to do badly. He knew what we are like and the Ten Commandments were given because God wanted to protect us from His judgment which comes when He is offended by our sin. So, He told us what offends Him and warned us not to do those things. He defined sin for us otherwise, having no definition of sin, man would not have known when he was offending God. Mankind now has no excuse. He knows what God said not to do.

MORE: Faith: Thinking Biblically

God knows man, being born a sinner, would not honor Him and would use His Holy Name in wrong ways. So, He told us not to take His name in vain. “Thou Shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” That’s pretty clear won’t you agree? But yet, how often does one hear that very thing happening into today’s world? People think nothing of speaking God’s name in the most profane and careless of ways. His name is not to be taken so lightly as to use it in casual conversation and especially in a profane way. God will never honor a person who speaks of Him in such a way. To protect us from this careless and grievous sin, God told us that it offends Him and gave us the commandment not to do it. And, by the way, the Ten Commandments are not just ten suggestions to a better life. They are the Ten Commandments of life telling us not to be guilty of doing certain things. They are not just rules. Man can make rules. They are Commandments and only God can give those commandments. He did not say: “It might be a good idea if you didn’t take my name in vain.” He said, “Don’t do it.” That’s pretty clear I would say.

I’m not going to give a treatment of every commandment (not enough room in this article to do so) but you must remember these: Thou shall not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, thou shalt not covet, remember the Sabbath to keep it holy, thou shalt have no other Gods before me, thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, honor thy father and mother, thou shalt not steal. All of these are given so life can be what God wants it to be for us. They are for our protection, not our punishment.  

But, if man breaks the commandments, God is bound to punish us. He is HOLY and cannot abide even one microbe of unforgiven sin in His Holy presence.

Scripture tells us that no one can live a perfect life and obey all the commandments during their life.  So, are we stuck? Rules are given but no one can keep them perfectly? Judgment is coming because we can’t do what God says to do? Who can help us? Who can save us? Don’t panic just yet! God has given us a way of forgiveness and righteousness before Him. With man’s inability to live a perfect life by obeying all the commandments all of his life, God provided a way and that way is through His Son, Jesus.  

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Man could not life perfectly, but Jesus did. Man cannot obey all the commandments but Jesus did. Man cannot live without sinning, but Jesus did. Man cannot defeat death, but Jesus did. Man will be resurrected and rise to meet Jesus because Jesus was resurrected and rose into heaven from which He will come again and gather all of His People together for that great journey into God’s presence. Will this happen because we lived a perfect life obeying the Ten Commandments to the “T”? No, it will happen to all who put their trust in the One Person who was equipped to live a perfect life and to die in our place so that we can be with Him forever. Being an imperfect and sinful being, what merit can you appeal to in order to get to heaven? You have no merit on your own to accomplish such a task so you have to trust in someone else to equip you with His merit and that someone is Jesus Christ.

God gave us the rules for life called The Ten Commandments in order to guide us and define what sin is. Scripture says we cannot, by our nature, obey all of them. So, Jesus was given to forgive your failures and take you to where you cannot go by yourself: Heaven, and fellowship with Him. We should strive to obey God’s commandments, (remember, God Himself gave them) but when we fail, Jesus provides forgiveness, cleansing and acceptance before God. So, obey the rules and depend on Jesus.   

Reverend William (Bill) Harrell has been in ministry 49 years. He served as the pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, GA for over 31 of those years. He can be reached at wfh@williamfharrell.com. You can also check out his blog at www.williamfharrell.com 

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