A Response To Andy Stanley's Article,

January 23, 2019

"Why Do Christians Want to Post the 10 Commandments and Not the Sermon on the Mount?"

This response written by B. Michael Bigg.

You can find the article by Andy Stanley via the following link:

https://relevantmagazine.com/…/why-do-christians-want-to-p…/

The Law:-

Israel’s Old Covenant Law can be divided into three main groups:

- Moral

- Ceremonial

- Civil/National

The Civil/National Law:-

Applied specifically to general life for Israelites (and sometimes visitors/immigrants), and some applied specifically within the Land of Israel. Such civil laws include:

 the buying and selling of land (in Israel) and its reversion back to the original family at the year of Jubilee. (Lev 25:13)

 a bull that gores a person to death is to be killed (Exo 21:28)

 kosher/dietary regulations (Deut 14:8; Lev 11:4)

Do Christians entertain the idea of imposing such Civil Laws upon the peoples or nations they live in? Or even just amongst Christians? No!

That being said, some of these Old Testament Civil Laws may well exist in some modern countries ... does that mean such laws should automatically be thrown out? No, they should be evaluated upon their merit within the society in which they are legislated.

Ceremonial Laws:-

Those which applied within the scope of the Old Testament tabernacle/temple, sacrificial, and priestly system obviously don't apply to Christians (let alone the World). There is no tabernacle or temple AND more importantly, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the PERFECT AND COMPLETE sacrifice AND also being the PERFECT HIGH PRIEST.

That leaves the Moral Law.

What are morals? It's all about right and wrong. God's right and wrongs. Doing what is right to do, and not doing what is wrong to do.

The Moral Law:-

Applies at all times, irrespective of whether or not a person (i.e. a member of God’s Covenant People) was living within the borders of Old Testament Israel or not. (That being said, the consequences for breaking such Law MAY NOT necessarily be applied within the borders of a non-Jewish/Israelite nation. Consider Naomi and her family living in the land of Moab in the book of Ruth; or the exiles living in Assyria or Babylon, or first century Jews living in Rome or elsewhere in the Roman Empire).

When we look at the Old Covenant's Ten Commandments, is there any in it that we would disagree with being applied to New Testament Christians?

Exodus 20

v3 You shall have no other gods before Me.

v4-6 You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens above, on the earth beneath, or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on their children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving devotion to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

v7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave anyone unpunished who takes His name in vain.

v8-11 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God, on which you must not do any work—neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant or livestock, nor the foreigner within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, but on the seventh day He rested. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

v12 Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

v13 You shall not murder.

v14 You shall not commit adultery.

v15 You shall not steal.

v16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

v17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, or his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor...

In one way or another, Jesus addressed EVERY one of the Ten Commandments and reaffirmed them ... except for keeping the LORD's Sabbath - which the New Testament writers affirm Jesus IS OUR REST, OUR SABBATH, and we REST IN HIM.

Furthermore, isn't the LAW our schoolmaster which leads us to Christ? Isn't it knowledge of the Law, specifically and especially the Moral Law, which makes us aware of our sinfulness and need for a saviour?

When asked what was the greatest commandment ...

Mat 22:37-40

Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Then, at the Passover, Jesus said to His apostles...

John 13:34

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

---

By keeping this "new command" one keeps that part of the moral law as far as it applies to our interactions with other people and our Christian brethren specifically.

It goes without saying (though I will say it anyway) that this "new command" is one we should definitely keep ... but please note who this new commandment was addressed to: grab your Bible and look at the surrounding verses.

It was at the Last Supper, and Jesus made the statement AFTER Judas had left. Jesus was addressing his true apostles and subsequently to all (including future) Christians (as affirmed in James' epistle). The World doesn't even truly appreciate or understand HOW Jesus loved his disciples, AND Jesus' NEW commandment was NOT directed to the world, and indeed the world cannot keep it. The world (and not just Old Testament Israel) struggles with the Old Testament Moral Law which is summarised by the Ten Commandments and by Jesus' statement of loving one's neighbours. CAN ANYONE SAY THE LAW IS OUR SCHOOLMASTER?

As such, I think it disingenuous or dishonest when some preachers talk about "The Law" and suggest that The Law is somehow OLD and irrelevant or somehow doesn't apply to us. What do they do to make their point? Quote something from the Civil or Ceremonial Law, something about keeping kosher or animal sacrifices, never the Moral Law!!!

Anyone want to suggest that DO NOT Kill, Steal, or Commit Adultery no longer applies? Where's their "we're no longer under the Law"?

Yes, we are NOT under the law in the sense that we are NOT saved by keeping it. BUT that does not invalidate God's Moral Law.

AND the world NEEDS to know God's Moral Law ... it needs a schoolmaster ... they need to be TOLD so that they:

 KNOW God's Right and Wrong,

 SO that they KNOW what sin is,

 SO that they can recognise AND realise that they are sinners in need of a Saviour.

One can call them monuments, but placing God's Moral Laws, God's Ten Commandments, where the public can see them is NOT really a monument in a humanistic sense.

It's not a monument to have God's Ten Commandments in front of a Court House (or in a court room) which is SUPPOSED TO BE an institution of justice - for God is the true judge who will judge every one of us.

It's not a monument to have God's Ten Commandments publicly displayed at a school - for what higher learning is there than that which God's schoolmaster would teach.

It's not a monument to have God's Word or God's Ten Commandments at a hospital - since it is God who is THE Great Physician and a healed soul is better than a healed body.

A monument in and of itself is useless, but a monument which is God's Word is NOT wrong or useless. A "monument" with God's schoolmaster, God's Ten Commandments, on display is not a bad thing, indeed it is a good thing. We have no idea who may read it, nor if the Living Word of God may reach them. We have no idea who God's Word may reach, whose eyes might be opened, or ears unclogged. We have no idea whose soul God and His Word might quicken (i.e. make alive) such that they FINALLY realise they are vile, wretched sinners in need of a saviour.

Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

---

To go along with the World and advocate the removal of God's Word from public places is to agree with the World that they don't need God or His Word! As if human courts and institutions can override God's Word and change the definition of what is right and wrong. As if humans can truly create life or stop death. As if humans can teach morals and ethics that are superior to God's Law. Now, who's taking the World's side?

Furthermore, monuments with quotes from the New Testament, such as Jesus' "new commandment" or the Beatitudes are easily misunderstood or misconstrued without context and an understanding of who Jesus is and the reason for His incarnation. A lack of understanding of God and His Law can easily turn the "new commandment" and Beatitudes into nothing but trite sayings ... indeed that is how the World sees them.

People need the Law so that they know and can understand God's Love, Mercy and Grace!

There is nothing wrong with the Word of God being public! There is nothing wrong with the Ten Commandments being public! There's is nothing wrong with telling the World the truth of who and what they are! The SCHOOLMASTER is NOT the pupil!

AFTER-THOUGHT

Just as an after-thought, if one wants to suggest a monument with the Words of Jesus, rather than the Ten Commandments, how about:

Matt 5:27-28

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

And...

Matt 5:21-22

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

Jesus didn't make the Law easier but more stringent, concentrating on the heart and intent of the Law rather than just the letter?

It is only by the Grace of God and His Wisdom in allowing us to recognise, first the truth of the Law, that we can truly understand, appreciate, and see the necessity and reality of Jesus' sacrifice and the Gospel of Grace.

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