- I am the Lord, your God.
- Thou shall bring no false idols before me.
- Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
- Honor thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shall not murder.
- Thou shall not commit adultery.
- Thou shall not steal.
- Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
- Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife (or anything that belongs to your neighbor).
This list of Christian “do’s and don’ts” was given as a measuring stick, not as an obtainable goal.
For whosoever keeps the Law [as a] whole but stumbles and offends in one [single instance] has become guilty of [breaking] all of it. (James 2:10)
Why would God give us 10 commandments and then state that it is impossible to keep them all?
Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction, Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. (Romans 3:22-23 AMP)
The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who understood, dealt wisely, and sought after God, inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him [of vital necessity]. They are all gone aside, they have all together become filthy; there is none that does good or right, no, not one. (Psalm 14:2-3)
All of these verses point to the fact that no one “seeks God” but instead they seek to measure themselves against a seemingly tangible standard.
After rejecting the face of God (Adam and Eve) and then rejecting the voice of God (Israel), the 10 commandments were written down so that Moses could pass along the laws to the people and speak for God. Israel asked for these laws in place of hearing the [scary/fearsome] voice of the Lord. So the Lord honored that with 10 perfect laws that no human could possibly keep for their entire lives.
God was pointing out that sin was not something that man could defeat on their own. A savior had to be sent to pay the ransom of our collective debt.
Christians tend to reflect back to these 10 laws as standards that we must keep in order to be “good Christians.” The world can then see how no Christian measures up, thus causing them to question the validity of Christian truth claims.
Another way to put it is like this:
Pharisees/Legalistic people/people bound by the law say that if you change for the better…you can follow Christ.
Christ says, follow me…and you will be able to change for the better.
The 10 commandments and later the 2 (love the lord and love your neighbor as your self) are standards by which Christians set their life goals, realizing that they will never fully be accomplished until Christ returns.
No human can measure up to God’s greatness. So our message should not be… “follow the Law and then know Jesus” but “follow Jesus, for He fulfilled the debt to the Law…allowing us to have the ability to keep His commandments.”
Paul met others where they were at, whether they were a follower of Christ or not. He shared what God taught HIM and then allowed others to learn. He knew that just because we all struggle with sin…doesn’t mean that we all struggle with the same things at the same time. God may prioritize sin according to which one is causing the most death in an individual.
Person one needs to remove lust first…and often time tells person 2 to do the same, getting frustrated when they don’t “move at the same pace” to do so. What God sees…is that person two…needs to work on removing distrust first…so that then lust can be tackled next.
All this to say, when we look at the world or ourselves, we cannot do so through judgmental eyes. All have fallen short, none seek Christ, and no one is righteous of their own accord. Christ sought us, made us righteous by paying our debt, and never fell short of anything. He sees potential in all of His created image-bearers and their chance to come to the saving knowledge of recognizing the face of their creator.
Jesus calls us to love one another and in that love, is where others will recognize our “family trait.” They will know we belong to Jesus.
Love and grace are what allow us to use the law as a measuring tool, but not as a tool of condemnation or justification.
The law isn’t a list of do’s and don’ts. The law is a picture of how much grace and mercy were offered by Christ, when He paid for every sin-debt owed to it.
When we look through God’s eyes, we see lost children, waiting to be found and loved, and given the option of eternal life. God see’s what Christ has done, not what we have done.