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The Ten Commandments, Pt. 2

Scripture: 1 John 3:4, Romans 6:23, Matthew 22:34-40
What is the purpose of God's law? Should we obey God's law? Isn't this legalism? Are we under the law or under grace? What does the Bible mean by this phrase? How is it that we are to be dead to sin?
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Announcer: 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, friend and welcome again to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw and with me is Gary Gibbs. On Bible Talk, we talk about what the Bible has to say to us today. Gary, last time we were here, we found out that God's 10 Commandments still matter to us today.

Gary Gibbs: John, they really do. We have a problem all around the world today with lawlessness, and leaders of governments are realizing that we have to have laws again that people respect. They're even turning back to God, looking for that moral law, that will have an influence on people's lives.

John: Now, although the 10 Commandments really do matter today and we believe according to the Bible that God wants us to keep them, let's not get the cart before the horse. Last time we studied on Bible Talk, you made very clear that although God wants us to obey him, we are not saved by God's 10 Commandments.

Gary: John, that's so important to point out because you know we have a tendency today to, whenever we talk about the law of God, people automatically think legalism. You're trying to earn your salvation by your works, but that's really not what the Bible is saying at all over and over again, the scripture talks about the important role of the law of God. Yet it's also counter balanced by the fact that we're saved totally by God's grace and not of our own works.

John: So if we're saved by grace, what's the purpose of the 10 Commandments? We talked about this last time, quickly review.

Gary: Well number one is Romans 3:20 says, "The law brings the knowledge of sin." In Romans 7:7 the apostle Paul says, "I would not of known sin, expect the law said, 'Though shall not covet,'" when he was having temptations with lust so the law brings us a knowledge of sin, but the law also does something else it convicts us as sinners. It makes us realize, that we are powerless to obey God. That we are naturally sinners. So it points us to Jesus Christ, for salvation and power to overcome temptation.

John: Reminds me of a verse, that you used last time: one John 3:4. I want you to repeat that verse.

Gary: That says, "Whoever commits sin, also breaks the law, for sin is the breaking of God's law."

John: So without the law, there would be no sin. If the law wasn't there, we couldn't be convicted as to our sinfulness.

Gary: Exactly, we have to have the law there. That's what the Holy Spirit uses to point out the sin in our lives. Then once we feel that we're sinners, and we realize that we're condemned... That's an important point John, that we have to point out. The Bible says in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death." We've all earned the wages of sin. A wage is something you work for. Have you sinned John?

John: The Bible says we've all sinned.

Gary: All sinned. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, so we all deserve death. When we realize we're all sinners, we all deserve death, then we realize we need a savior. That's where the law points us to Jesus Christ. As the book of Galatians says, "It's our schoolmaster to bring us to Jesus to find salvation."

John: Now you've talked before about salvation being by grace through faith let's pick up on that because it's so commonly said today, and I want to challenge you on this, because so many people do challenge on this point: we're not under the law, we're under grace. Now the Bible clearly says that, so does that mean then, that we're not under the law, we don't have to keep the law, grace dispenses with that...? Let's study that a bit.

Gary: What's happening there is a fallacy of logic; we're making one exclusive of the other. The real question is, can you be under grace and yet still obey God's law? You know this is not a new question. There have been Christians, going back to all the way back to the beginning of the Christian church, who argued the same thing: we don't need to keep the law, since Jesus died on the cross to save us.

John: Because we're under grace, we're not under the law. Grace provides absolution from any sort of obligation to the law.

Gary: I would imagine, John, that our listeners have heard this preached from the pulpits of their churches, they've read it in books and tracts. It's a common teaching out there, isn't it?

John: There are going to many people listening today who believe this, or people who even preach this will be listening today.

Gary: It has a subtle negative influence. What it does is, it causes us to start to excusing sin in our lives. I pointed out in our last program that recent surveys revealed that the divorce statistics among Christians in the Bible belt is higher than the divorce among non-Christians. That shouldn't be that way, considering the Bible's teachings on the sanctity of marriage.

John: So we're under grace, we're not under the law. Does this mean we're free to do it our way and we don't need to obey God if we're planning on being saved? Because it's true many people say that straight out. If you're planning on going to heaven, if you're saved, you don't have to worry about obeying God's law, because you're not under it; you're under grace. Now we need to make this clear. What's that about?

Gary: Well let's let the Bible talk to us. This is a Bible talk program, let's let the Bible talk to us. Romans 6:1... It asks the same question that you've just posed: "What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" In other words, since we're under grace, shall we just continue sinning and not really be concerned that we're breaking God's law?

John: A lot of people say yes, the answer to that question is yes.

Gary: Well, the Bible's answer is quite different. In verse two it says, "God Forbid," the strongest words that the Bible-writer could find. He put here, "God forbid." No, don't let that happen. Continuing to read here it says, "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" So, now that we've come to Christ, Christ put to death on the cross the power of sin in our lives so now that we're dead to sin, how shall we who live by the power of God continue sinning?

John: Now a lot of people are still going to come back to this verse, later in the same chapter. It says you're not under the law, you're under grace. Now, Gary, it sounds awfully like God is saying you don't have to obey the law because grace has come along.

Gary: So let's read that verse. It's Romans 6:14. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: For you are not under the law, but you are under grace." That's the text, right?

John: There it is. I'm not under the law, why do I need to keep the law if I'm not under it? I'm under grace now.

Gary: Well, you'll read the next text. Why don't you read that, John?

John: Well the next verse is verse 15. It says, "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace?" Then Paul says, "God Forbid."

Gary: So God says in His word, being under grace does not cancel the law. What it's talking about there is the power of the law or the power of grace in your life when you are under the law, you're under its condemnation means you're powerless to keep it. You're continually breaking the law. That's why verse 14 starts with, "Sins shall not have dominion over you." You are no longer a master to sin when you come to Jesus Christ. Instead, you're a master of Christ and God's Grace gives you power.

John: You made a point before that I know we could come back to, but let's look at it now. It was in an earlier verse, verse two. It said we're "dead to sin." I don't want to wrap this up too soon, but I want to look at this, and then I've another question to ask you. So, what's this "dead to sin," because this appears, from what Paul is saying, to be what Christians ought to be, dead to sin?

Gary: I like verse six. I think it explains this quite adequately. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is

freed from sin."

John: Literally dead, buried in the ground?

Gary: Well, the word there that says sin is destroyed means sin has become ineffective. It's become powerless over us. And by faith, when Jesus hung on the cross, he took to the cross the power of sin in our own bodies, because he was tempted like as we are. Hebrews four tells us that, and Hebrews chapter two. And yet He overcame the same temptations that we face, and by His power and His grace we can also overcome the power of sin our lives.

That doesn't mean we're perfect. We'll constantly, throughout out entire lives, have to fight against temptation. There will be times we stumble and fall. Only in Christ are we really perfect. But sin is not the ruling power in our lives, God's Grace is.

John: So being under grace means accepting that ruling power of Jesus Christ in the heart, and that power is able to keep you upright and keep you walking in His way.

Gary: It is, and it's important that when we're born again that we also have the conscious understanding that God's law has not been done away with by His Grace. Because if we think grace cancels law, then we're not going to be looking for God's will, we're not going to be searching for how we can better fulfill His will, how we can better obey Him so, it's very important that while we're under grace and we realize that we can only obey by His power, we also recognize in God's word He gives us moral absolutes and guidelines by which to order our lives.

John: It seems like this argument about being under grace is really, if I can be blunt about it, an excuse that some people use to carry on living the old life instead of taking hold of Jesus and living their new life in Jesus Christ but I want to ask you something. What about where people might say, "I've come to Jesus and now all I am concerned about is the law of love?"

Gary: Yeah, they say we need to keep God's law, but it's just the law of love but you know that when people ask me that, John, I ask them, "Well, how do you define love?" And they'll normally say, "Well, you love who? God? And you love your fellow man."

John: Sure. In fact, didn't Jesus give us two laws and say that very thing?

Gary: Well, in Mathew 22:35, we read about a young man, a lawyer, who came to Jesus and he said, "What's the great commandment, the law? Out of all the laws, what are the most important ones? What is the most important one?" And Jesus answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." This is the first and great commandment. Then Jesus followed it with the second one. He said, "The second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Then he says on these two commandments hang all the laws of the prophets some people think these two commandments are new commandments, but they're really not. The Bible quotes these in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. So Jesus was actually quoting Old Testament text here and these two commandments summarize the Law of God.

John: Now some will say that the Ten Commandments are gone now, and all I need to do is love God and love my neighbor.

Gary: Well, the first four of the Ten Commandments tell us how to love God, and if God doesn't define how to love him, then it's left to each of us to decide how we love him. You know, I met a guy one time who thought he was serving God. He thought God was pleased when he got high on psychedelic mushrooms and smoking marijuana. He was loving God. Well, what do you think God's words says about that?

John: I can't imagine that anywhere in the Bible says that 'thou shalt do drugs.'

Gary: No, it doesn't. In fact, it tells us our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You wouldn't go smoking marijuana or doing drugs in a church sanctuary, snd we shouldn't do it in our own bodies. So, if it's left to us to define how we love God, then we're not going to have any consistency and we're going to actually end up worshiping God in the flesh.

John: And what about loving your neighbor, because you've said that the first one, loving God, summarizes the first four commandments? Jesus said love yournNeighbor as yourself.

Gary: And the last six commandments tell us how to love our neighbor. If we love our neighbor, we'll not lie, we'll not steal, we'll honor our father and mother. You could just walk though the last six commandments. They tell us how to love our fellow man.

John: Something I like that I just want you to recap... You've talked today about how in Jesus there is power over sin.

Gary: Exactly. That's the only place we can find the power. Jesus broke the chains of sin over mankind because he lived a perfect, righteous life. He never sinned even once. He gives that to us by his gift, and we can now be righteous in Jesus Christ.

John: We know we are saved by grace through faith, and when we accept Jesus Christ, we recognize His law shows us our sin. But there's hope, because in Jesus, there is power over that sin Join us again for more next time, here on Bible Talk.

John: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed, and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free, informative Bible study guide, simply call, write, or email and ask for BT 106 You are responsible. The toll free number is 866-Bible Says. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk PO Box #1058 Roseville, California 95678. Or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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