How do the “People of God” live, as opposed to the way they lived before coming to know Him? As God called His ancient people (Israel) to Himself, He required that they submit to His moral standard in response to His mercy shown in redeeming them. He entered into a Covenant with them on Mt. Sinai where He reiterated the standard of moral behavior, which He expected of them as His own people.
Living as the Redeemed (Pt 1) – SERMON AUDIO
Living as the Redeemed (Pt 2) – SERMON AUDIO
Exodus 20:1-17 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
There are many opinions and misconceptions about the nature and use of the Old Testament Moral Law or “10 Commandments.” Some imagine that it was nothing more than a requirement laid on ancient Israel as they entered into their covenant with God. Others, that they are generally acceptable parameters for the behavior of both Christians and non-Christians and belong on display in court houses and other public buildings, but have no binding relationship to us.
On the contrary, they are a reflection of the Nature and Character of the God who gave them and established them as the norm for mankind who is created in His image.
Romans 2:14-16 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
The work of the law is written on the hearts of all men, though, as a rule, men suppress the truth of God in our unrighteousness and obscure what is revealed to us in nature (Romans 1:18-20). Nonetheless, the standard is universal! Adam had the same standard, though it had not yet been written down (all men do). As God begins to restore man to Himself, He redeems His people, then brings them to Himself and sets this standard before them to give evidence that they have embraced Him by faith.
Exodus 20:20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.”
These moral commands are not just for Ancient Israel. They are of more importance to the Christian than just a nice set of moral guidelines.
Matthew 22:35-40 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Certainly, He taught these things to Israel. But what about the Christian Church?
Romans 13:7-14 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. 8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” “YOU SHALL NOT MURDER,” “YOU SHALL NOT STEAL,” “YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS,” “YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Love is also the fulfillment of the Law for those Christians in Rome. Not only that. Love, as it fulfills the Law, is also a part of putting on the Lord Jesus Christ (the fruit of it) and making no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts (repentance). As the “Redeemed of God” we are now under a greater obligation to honor God through our obedience than was Ancient Israel. They were God’s redeemed people, redeemed from Egypt and slavery as a type of Christ’s Church. We who have trusted Christ are the anti-type. We are redeemed from sin and Satan and the wrath of God. We are restored to a perfect fellowship with God through Jesus Christ who has lived in perfect obedience on our behalf and granted His obedience to us by faith!
Ephesians 2:11-19 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands– 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…
God has redeemed us and brought us to Himself. We are people made in His image who rebelled and whom He has restored to Himself through the death of His Only Son. Jesus did not die, merely to keep us out of Hell, but to make us into who we were meant to be! To make us holy. To re-establish us to a right relationship to His Father. And so, Paul also writes to the Romans;
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Christ’s obedience was perfect.
1 John 2:3-6 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
His obedience was rooted in love, love for the Father and for men. The promise of the New Covenant has always been for a “new heart” that desires to be obedient to God.
Jeremiah 31:31-33 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Hebrews 8:6-13 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “BEHOLD, THE DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH– 9 NOT ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS IN THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; BECAUSE THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DISREGARDED THEM, SAYS THE LORD. 10 FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS IN THEIR MIND AND WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 11 NONE OF THEM SHALL TEACH HIS NEIGHBOR, AND NONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST OF THEM TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. 12 FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” 13 In that He says, “A NEW COVENANT,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The Gospel is about a new heart of obedience as much as it is about forgiveness of sins. That is why repentance is one of its defining marks!
Christian, what is your attitude toward the Law of God? Do you think it is irrelevant? Do you despise it? Examine your heart! Has it been renewed? Can you say with the Psalmist, “O, how I love your law?” (Psalm 119:97) With the forgiveness of sins must come the desire to conform ourselves to the standard of God. We are being made into what we should be. The covenant that was made with Israel has been extended to people from every nation, tribe and tongue and, as we saw in Ephesians 2. We have become the people of God. If we are in a relationship, a covenant, with Him, we must demonstrate it by our love for the One who has redeemed us. That love will be demonstrated in our obedience. This is what it means to be a Christian!
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
I encourage you to listen to the audio of these two messages on the Moral Law and its place in the life of the Christian. This is what a relationship with God looks like.
Living as the Redeemed (Pt 1) – SERMON AUDIO
Living as the Redeemed (Pt 2) – SERMON AUDIO