New City Question 8: What is the law stated in the Ten Commandments
Topic: God's Law Passage: Exodus 20:3–20:3
Question 8: What is the law of God stated in the Ten Commandments?
Answer 8: You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below—you shall not bow down to them or worship them. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. You shall not covet.
There you go, that is the ten commandments - or the decalogue. And historically, it has been seen as having two parts, or two tables of the law. The first table is the first four commandments which deal with how we relate to God and love God. And the second table is commands five through ten, which have to do with how we relate with other people and love our neighbor. Now it would be easy to focus merely on the externals of these commands and think, “I’m doing pretty good”. But there are two problems with this view. First, Jesus ups the ante when he gets to the heart of the law, which is not about external obedience merely, but internal, heart obedience… Sermon on the Mount… - You have heard that it was said… “murder, commit adultery, etc.” And so obedience to the law cannot be just external conformity, but internal transformation.
The second problem is that we are born in bondage to sin… slaves to sin. It is not that we are sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are born sinners. We are born in sin and so we sin because we want to. Jesus says in John 3 that men love the darkness because their deeds are evil. And so we need something to happen to us in order to wrench us free from the prison cell of sin. Well, for all who are born again, that is exactly what happens. Ephesians 2 says that when we were dead in our sins, God made us alive together with Christ, for by grace you have been saved. And when by the grace of God, one is born again, the powerful pull of sin is broken and we are enabled by the Spirit to obey from the heart out of love for God. This leads to the scripture for question and answer 8.
Exodus 20:3 - You shall have no other gods before me.