Moses at Mount Sinai
Open Your Bible
Exodus 19:1-25, Exodus 20:1-21, John 1:14-18
Text: Exodus 19:1-25, Exodus 20:1-21, John 1:14-18
Pass with care.
No shirt, no shoes, no service.
If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
From the moment we were old enough to scoot across the floor, a list of rules has governed our lives. We have dress codes and curfews and traffic laws. We wait our turn in line at the coffee shop and always wear our seat belts.
If we sat down and started talking, I bet we could go on for hours listing rules that guide every bit of how we go about our days.
But when God gave the Law, He didn’t give 10,000 commandments. He gave only ten.
Why only ten? Why these ten? In light of grace and freedom in the New Testament, what place does the Old Testament law have in our lives today?
Almost as if he knew we would be asking these questions, John Calvin wrote what would later be known as the “Threefold Use of the Law,” in order to show the importance of the Ten Commandments in the Christian life.
#1: The Law acts as a mirror, reflecting the perfect righteousness of God and in contrast, the reality of human sinfulness.
If we are honest, it doesn’t take 1,000 laws to reveal our sin nature. We may be able to keep a commandment or two for the span of the day, but none of us can keep them all. Even stopping at ten, the Law effectively illuminates my utter sinfulness.
#2: The Law’s second job is to restrain evil. The Law can’t change our hearts (which is why we are willing to speed until we see red and blue lights in the rearview mirror). Even so, the law can inhibit lawlessness and protect the righteous from the unjust.
#3: The Law gives us a revelation of what is pleasing to God. The Law serves as a guide to good works for believers.
When we look at the ten specific commandments God handed down to Moses, we see that He covered all of the bases. Laws 1 through 4 address the relationship between God and man. Laws 5 through 10 address how people relate to each other. When you get down to it, every nook and cranny of our sin can fall into one of these ten categories. Willing to compromise for your dream job? Check out commandment number two. Jealous of your neighbor’s house? That violates number ten. See what I mean?
The purpose of the Law is not to create an impossible checklist, but rather to show us what matters to God while also making our need for Him clear.
Friends, the Law is good news because it undergirds the message of justice and extravagant mercy Christ came to give. Thanks be to Him.