Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 24 Number 1 January 2022
Page 11

God’s Laws

Royce Pendergrass

Royce PendergrassMoses was given God’s law on Mount Sinai, and that law included what we commonly refer to as the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20:1-17, we read, “And God spoke all these words, saying:”

  1. I am the Lord your God… you shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make unto you any graven image… and bow down to them nor serve them.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not kill.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

Thousands of years ago, God gave these commandments to Moses. The wondrous thing is that, even though we are no longer under the Law, all but one of these commandments is still given for God’s people today! Let’s examine that thought.

  1. God’s chosen people were commanded to serve God only and not put others before Him. Our Lord Himself taught the people, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matthew 4:10 NKJV).
  2. God’s people were not to worship idols. Paul praised the Thessalonians who had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). The dictionary defines an idol as “an image or object worshiped as a god.” From history, we know that idols have been widespread, especially among superstitious people. God demands that His people worship Him and not a false god!
  3. God’s people were not to use His name in vain. This one has always been a problem for people. Folks want to swear by God’s name and take God’s name in vain in cursing, and what about the ever-present OMG of today? We read in Hebrews 12:28, “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” We don’t revere God and stand in godly awe of Him when we belittle His name!
  4. People under the Old Law were commanded to “remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” The Sabbath was the 7th day of the week and the day set aside for God. With the advent of Christ, this law changed as “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). Also, New Testament Christians were told to give of their means on the first day. “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper…” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Scriptures give every reason to believe that the day of worship changed.
  5. Under the Old Law, folks were told to honor one’s father and mother. Jesus Himself taught that we are to “Honor your father and mother” (Matthew 19:19).
  6. The Old Law said, “You shall not murder.” Under the New Law, the outcome of a murderer is made clear in 1 John 3:15, “You know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
  7. The Old Law said, “You shall not commit adultery.” Under the New Law, adultery is the first sin mentioned in works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19, and Paul ended by saying that “those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
  8. The Old Law said, “You shall not steal.” Paul told the Ephesians, “Let him who stole, steal no longer” (Ephesians 4:28).
  9. The Old Law said, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Paul taught, “You shall not bear false witness” (Romans 13:9).
  10. The Old Law said, “You shall not covet.” Paul taught, “Nor covetous will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:10).

Sometimes we say that the Old Law was given to those folks a long time ago. True, it was but the teachings of the Old Law still apply in almost everything that we do today. Thank God for His continuing laws of goodness!

[Editorial Note: The New Testament replaced all of the Old Testament, including the original Ten Commandments (2 Corinthians 7:7-13; Romans 7:6; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:8-13). However, essentially, nine of the Ten Commandments have been given again in the New Testament; we follow them, not because they were in the Old Testament – which is no longer authoritative – but because they are in the New Testament. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

Kingdom and Empire

George McNulty

George McNultyAt the time of the coming of God’s kingdom on earth, an empire spread across three continents. It had been rising in power for almost 800 years before the incarnation of our Lord. Indeed, the wealthiest part of it would survive another 1,500 years, with many attempting to restore the unity Rome had brought Europe and its overseas possessions during that time.

There is a difference between a kingdom and an empire. The latter is made from many nations, and the former is one nation. Both have a sovereign, and, in the first century, both rulers of Rome and God’s kingdom shared common titles. Both were addressed as “Lord,” with all the religious applications applied. However, the moral decency of the Lord Jesus far exceeded Caesar on every level.

One message of the New Testament is that Christ is Lord and Caesar was not! This clash of kingdom and empire was amplified when you consider that Caesar claimed the title, “son of God.” Of course, in his case, it was false, but his worshipers did not take lightly to the Christian proclamation that not only was Jesus the Son of God but that He was the only begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 3:16), thus denying Caesar’s claim of divine origin and authority over the Empire. There was certainly a clash of world views and religions.

As faith in Christ grew, so did His kingdom. In Philippians 4:22, Paul wrote, “All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.” Take note that these Christians remained working for Caesar, the cruel and twisted Nero who ruled at this time. These early Christians knew what it was to be faithful servants of their King behind enemy lines. They realized the true enemy was not Nero, but he was but a sinner in need of Christ, as well. They understood the war in which they found themselves was the war between light and darkness for the souls of human beings. Where they served, right at the very heart of government, was the ideal place for sharing the Good News. They knew their Lord and strove to overcome the temptation that so easily overcomes us and realized that Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). They saw how Nero glorified in sin while Christ came to save and lay down His life for the love of His people (Matthew 18:12).

We have no idea how many died to please Nero’s wickedness. The Roman Empire crushed its victims and enslaved well over a third of its inhabitants. Christ’s kingdom offers a much lighter burden. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The kingdom of our Lord would outlast the Roman Empire and surpass all of its glory. The Caesars died, their empires crumbled and the gods they worshipped turned to dust in the ground. In the arenas of Rome, men would say to the emperor, “Those who are about to die salute you,” and die they did – an estimated 250,000 for the pleasure of their god-emperor. Their cries are gone, just like their empire, but Christ’s kingdom grows still. It grows in the hearts and minds of those who love their King who died for them – Who rose from the dead, now reigns at the right hand of God and is exalted above all others.

We, the blessed citizens of the kingdom of God, must live for our King! We must proclaim the Gospel and ever forward march in His name. His church proclaims Jesus is Lord! To the powers of darkness in this present age, we have only two words: No surrender!

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