From the Word: 21 Is the law then, against the promises of God? Not at all. For if a law had been given that was able to make alive, then indeed, righteousness would have been of the law. 22 But the Scripture locked up everything under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:21–22)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface
The Ten Commandments of God
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).
3. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
4. Honor your father and mother (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
Pulling It Together: I don’t have to keep the law. I’m a Christian and we don’t have to do that anymore. I have heard plenty of people, even pastors, say similar words. Vehemently.
Of course we have to keep the law. But we are not saved by doing so; we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, this does not give us license to forget the commandments. Were it not for the Ten Commandments, we would not recognize God’s grace or our need of it. The commandments drive us to God. They can and should therefore, help us remember the context of the First Commandment. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exod 20:2). When we put something or someone before God, when we take his name in vain, dishonor the Lord’s Day, disgrace our parents, murder (Matt 5:21–22), commit adultery (Matt 5:27–28), steal, lie, and covet, we had better keep the First Commandment. When, after disobeying the other nine commandments, we then, keep the first, putting him before such things by asking his forgiveness, we are even then keeping the law.
In the end, we discover that we can only keep the commandments for Christ’s sake, through faith.
Prayer: Give me the courageous humility, Lord, to fear, love, and trust you enough to ask for your forgiveness. Amen.
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You Can Understand the Old Testament: Its Message and Its Meaning is an introduction to, and overview of, the Old Testament, exploring its meaning and its message for readers of today. Individual overviews and discussions of each book of the Old Testament are provided along with helpful maps, tables and charts as well as complete indexes of subject matter, biblical texts cited, and Hebrew words noted in the discussion. The book is aimed at students of the Bible, whether members of church congregations, pastors, or students in college or seminary.