Question 8: "What is the Law of God Stated in the Ten Commandments?" - Exodus 20:1-17

QUESTION: What is the law of God stated in the Ten Commandments?

ANSWER: 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.

Reflect on growing up with your family. What were the major priorities or rules that existed in your family system?  How did it affect the way that the people around or your family behaved?
Did you experience these as beneficial or restrictive?

  • God gave us the ten commandments because He loves us and knows what is best for us as our creator. 
  • The following of God’s law is a source of joy and blessing in our lives. 
  • Jesus, while teaching in Matthew 5 gives us clarifying information about these commandments. He explains that there is a deeper meaning to all of these, and we are guilty of breaking them just because we have the thoughts in our hearts not only if we have committed the action. 
  • Because of the work of Jesus, the law no longer governs our relationship with God. 
  • Because the work of Jesus supersedes the law as the deciding factor of our standing with God, this does not mean that we become lawless. Instead, we become loving because of the work done for us. 
Exodus 20:1-17
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before1 me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or 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. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“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.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep 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 it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

The law, while serving many purposes, does two interesting things: (1) It shows how we have fallen short of living in the way that God has intended, and (2) Explains that we have a broken relationship with God because of our failure to follow God’s law.

Note: It might be helpful to read Jesus teaching on the law (Matthew 5: 21-30), where Jesus explains that even if we haven’t broken a specific law, just because the issue resides in one’s heart means that we have not followed that commandment.

  • Either viewing introspectively or culturally, which of the commandments seem to get the least amount of attention?  Why do you think this is so?
  • The sermon mentioned an interesting question. When you stand before God, and at the end of your life give an account, and God asks “Why should I admit you into my kingdom?” 
  • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you answer that question?  Do you lean on your own work or on the work of Jesus?

While the above is true, and the law has exposed the way that we have fallen short in following God’s law, the work of Jesus has changed the way that we relate to the law and how God views us.  This is because Jesus will be the one to give an account for us.  He will use His own work instead of ours.

  • What might the world look like if everyone followed these laws perfectly? 
  • Consider this question.  Because of the work of Jesus, it doesn’t matter any longer if we kept or keep the law perfectly.  So, what is the purpose of law? 
    • Does your answer change the way you view the 10 commandments?
    • Does this change the way that you view the law as a list of rules? 

  • The law is given to us because God loved us. By following the law, we are actually setting ourselves up for joy as we live the way that God made us for.  Try reflecting on these two questions:
    • Do you notice any ways that you want God’s law to change you?
    • Do you notice any ways that you desire to see God’s law change the world?
Holy God, you showed your love to your people by giving them your commands. May we always give thanks for your law. You have not left us ignorant of how to walk in the way of righteousness. Help us to glorify you by obeying your Ten Commandments. Amen.