The Ten Commandments, Pt. 1

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Judges 21:25, Ephesians 2:8-9
Does God have a remedy for today's lawless society? What does the Bible say about this lawlessness? Should we seek to keep God's commandments? How can we do that? Some people in the church say we don't need to keep God's law. What is the purpose of the law?
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Woman: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts, Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry, as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned, because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hello, friends, and welcome to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw, with me is Gary Gibbs. On Bible Talk, we talk about the Bible subjects that affect us today. Gary, I think, everybody can readily admit that today, we are living in a very lawless society.

Gary Gibbs: Definitely, John. People have bars today on the windows of their homes, and they don't drive without locking their car doors.

John: When I was young, I remember, whenever we went away as a family, we would leave the back door of our house unlocked, just in case anybody wanted to get in.

Gary: Not today.

John: A few years later, we locked it for the very same reason.

Gary: That's right.

John: This is a very lawless society - school shootings, abortion, national problems on a tremendous scale. I wonder if today, we can look at whether or not God has a solution to all of this lawlessness.

Gary: I think He does, John. In fact, God's not caught by surprise with this lawlessness at all. In fact, it's predicted in the Bible. Back in two Timothy 3:1, it says, "This know, in the last days, perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful. I guess, this whole list, it sounds like the daily news, doesn't it?

John: It sounds just like the world in which we live today.

Gary: It really does. In fact, I just got back from Africa recently. In this particular country, the lead article on the front page of the newspaper said that they were having such a problem with lawlessness. They were actually calling for a national code to stem lawlessness.

John: They're looking for laws to prevent lawlessness, is that right?

Gary: That's right. That's right.

John: Does God have anything like that for us today?

Gary: I believe He does.

John: Where do we find that? How do we relate to that?

Gary: I believe it's God's Ten Commandments, that's God's national, international, universal code for lawlessness. It gives us guidance on how to structure our lives and how to live in harmony with one another, and in harmony with God Himself.

John: So you're recommending, you're promoting the idea that people ought to keep the Ten Commandments.

Gary: They really should, but there's only one problem with that. We're naturally sinful, and we don't want to keep God's commandments. So just saying we need to keep God's commandments is not enough, we really need a change of heart. If we're going to be able to obey the laws that are out there that are righteous, true, and good.

John: In fact, doesn't it say in the Bible that the new covenant is all about God working that heart change in us and writing the principles of His word and of His law in our hearts.

Gary: It really does, and that's the only way for it to happen. God's laws has been around since the foundation of this earth. Yet, we see, even way back in the very beginning, in a perfect world, when Adam and Eve were in the garden, they didn't even obey, they chose to disobey. So, we have to have a heart changed, we have to have God change us from the inside out.

John: Now, heart change or otherwise, I'm interested in what many people today are saying. I'm going to say this is one of the strangest things I've ever heard. But, so many people believe this that we're going to investigate whether there's any basis to it. A lot of people are saying, you don't need to keep God's law.

Gary: You know, John, what makes us so strange is that's coming from the Christian church as well as from secular society.

John: Now, secular society, for a long time, has been shrugging off the notion really of any obligation to God and His requirements.

Gary: That is so true. The secular society believes that whatever you think is right, then that's right for you. They don't think about consequences, my actions and how it affects someone else.

John: Doesn't that take us all the way back to the fall of Satan in the beginning? Somewhere near the beginning, before the foundation of this earth, when he said, "I will be like the most high." What was he doing there? He was saying, "I'll do things my way." That's what we find today with secular humanism.

Gary: It also takes you back to the time at the judges in the Old Testament. In Judges 21:25, we read that, "In those days, there was no king in Israel, there was no authority who is setting the laws." So, every man did that which was right in his own eyes. When you have that, you have anarchy, you have chaos.

John: You can understand that, when you say secular humanism, you expect humanists to want to do things their way without considering God, without obeying God. But you mentioned before that this backlash against obedience and against God's laws found even within the ranks of Christianity. Now, that sounds almost unbelievable.

Gary: But it's' really true. In fact, that's probably the most troubling aspect of this, and that also is predicted in the scriptures. In two Timothy 3, where we were just reading, it says that those who are doing all these lawless deeds have a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof." So these, actually, are Christians that God is focusing on in the last days. It's astounding but it's true that the rate of abortions among Christians is about equal to what it is in just secular society. Then, most recently, a study was done in the Bible belt of the United States. It revealed that divorce rate among Christians was higher than those compared to non-Christians.

John: Do you think this is a consequence of Christians subscribing or ascribing to the idea that God's law isn't the moral absolute?

Gary: Not only do I believe that, a lot of Christians from different persuasions are looking at this and they're saying, "This is the result of us teaching, that we don't have to obey God's law." They're teaching God's grace cancels God's law. That's why 27% of born again Christians are being divorced compared to 24% of the general population in the Bible belt of the United States.

John: So we ought to keep the law of God. Let's come back and look at that from a biblical point of view. Let's get chapter and verse here show us - or can you show us - where the Bible says we ought to keep the law of God. Here is something I think we need to consider. Haven't we already said on Bible Talk, in a previous program, that a person isn't saved by keeping God's Ten Commandments. So let's look at that, firstly, how we're saved.

Gary: Ephesians 2:8-9 tells that we're saved by grace and not of works, lest we should boast in ourselves.

John: Well, there you go then! Surely is that the proof, some will say that's the proof. We're saved by grace, so we don't need to keep the Ten Commandments of God.

Gary: Well, we're never saved by our own works but that doesn't mean that we don't obey once we're saved. God changes our hearts and He wants us to obey Him after we've given our lives to Him. Let me just continue reading, John. There in Ephesians 2: eight and 9, it says "We're saved by grace through faith, it's not of yourselves it's a gift of God." So, there's nothing we can do to save ourselves. "Not of works lest any man should boast."

Then verse 10, I think kind of brings in the balance here. It says "For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works." So you see, once we're born again we want to obey God's Law. If Jesus said in John 14:15 "If you love Me, what will you do?"

John: He said "You will keep My Commandments."

Gary: That's right. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? Now be honest!

John: Well, the honest truth said honest?

Gary: Yes, be honest! You won't be anything but honest, I know.

John: There was one occasion, and the truth of the matter is, officer...

Gary: You weren't even guilty, were you?

John: Well, no, I was as guilty as sin! But the fact was I was late for a funeral! I thought the officer might have some mercy on me.

Gary: Have you ever had an officer have mercy on you?

John: Well, yes, I have.

Gary: OK. So when he just gave you a warning and let you off, did you go tearing off again down the road as fast as you could?

John: I was in a 35 mile an hour area, I didn't get above 33 and a half.

Gary: Yeah, so you were guilty when the officer pulled you over, weren't you?

John: I was guilty, all right.

Gary: So you were under the law, you were condemned, you deserved a ticket. But the officer had mercy on you and he let you go. Now you were under grace. Were you more obedient under or less obedient under grace?

John: I was more obedient and I had more incentive to be more obedient under grace because this man had, out of the goodness of his heart, had compassion and mercy. So, surely I was minding as I took off down the road.

Gary: So under God's grace we should even be more obedient. Because of His love, He's shown us His great mercy, paying the penalty for our sins but also because His grace actually has transforming power that changes us, it makes us want to obey Him. We don't delight in sin like we did before. So yes, God has a Law and God's Law becomes written on our hearts when we're converted. We're not saved by our own works but once we're saved, we will keep God's Law.

John: So then the purpose of God's Law, according to the Bible, how do you define that then? We're not saved by it, you are saying that when we come to know Jesus it will be natural when He gets hold of our hearts to want to do His will.

Gary: Well, here's why it's so important that we recognize that God's Law is still valid, that grace doesn't cancel God's Law. one John 3:4, the little book of John right before the book of Revelation, says "Whoever commits sins transgresses the Law. Sin is the transgression of the Law." So the Bible says the Law of God actually defines what is sin. You see, it's not up to you or to me to say what is sin.

For you to say "Well, it's OK if I lie a little bit." The Bible says "No, lying is detrimental to the safety of the whole universe. Lying is sin." So you have to surrender your view of what sin is and submit it to what God says sin is. The Law defines what is sin.

John: Sin being a transgression of the Law, I think everybody would agree that there's sin in the world today. So if there's sin the world today, by this Biblical definition, that means the Law of God must still be valid, must still exist.

Gary: That's right. Some people would say "What is that Law? What type of Law are we talking about?"

John: That would be a good question, I hope you're going to answer that for us from the Bible.

Gary: Yeah, the Bible makes it very clear in the book of Romans. Romans talks about the Law of God quite a bit. In Romans 3:20 it says "By the Law is the knowledge of sin." And then over in Romans 7, John...

John: Well...

Gary: Yeah, go ahead!

John: "By the Law is the knowledge of sin." That sounds to me like it's a very important verse. Can you elaborate on that before you go to Romans 7?

Gary: Well, I think it's saying the same thing that we've said earlier. Is that the Law defines what is sin. So the Law tells us what is sin and gives us a knowledge of whether we're sinning or not and that brings us to Romans 7:7. The apostle Paul says "I had not known sin except by the Law." He says "I wouldn't know I was even sinning except the Law was out there telling me that I was sinning."

Now this brings us to the answer to the question you posed a moment ago "Which law are we talking about?" Is it just the law of love or is it man's law? What law defines sin? And Paul continues here in verse 7, "I had not known lust except the Law had said thou shalt not covet." Now which Law, John, says thou shalt not covet?

John: Well, I think everybody ought to know that's only talking about the Ten Commandment Law of God.

Gary: So, it the Ten Commandment Law that enlightened Paul's conscience to the fact that he was sinning whenever he lusted. That he was breaking the Commandment of "Thou shalt not covet."

John: So God's Law, if I'm understanding you correctly, is given to us, among other reasons, to basically help us know right from wrong because God wants us to walk in the path of righteousness.

Gary: Without that knowledge we can not be convicted by the Holy Spirit of whether we're doing right or wrong. So it's very important that the Law be upheld by God's people, that we understand what the Law is so we can know whether we're sinning or not.

John: If God doesn't tell us what is right and wrong that leaves it up to us to decide and then what have you got?

Gary: You are going to have moral chaos.

John: People deciding which way they'll go based on what pleases them. Again, if you look at what the Bible says, that was Lucifer's problem way back, way back in the beginning that started this whole sin problem off. What a great subject! We've got more to come on this. We're so glad you've joined us. Please, join us again next time here on Bible Talk.

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