Jen Wilkin: Perhaps you have heard the statement “Christianity isn’t about rules, it’s about relationship.” It is an idea that has enjoyed popularity in recent decades, as evangelistic messages increasingly emphasized a personal relationship with God, one made possible through the grace that forgives our sins against God’s law. In many ways, this evangelistic approach seeks to solve the PR problem I have noted. It trades the grumpy Old Testament God of the law for the compassionate New Testament God of grace. Thus, law and grace have come to be pitted against one another as enemies, when in fact, they are friends. The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New have been placed in opposition, when in fact, they are one and the same. God does not change. His justice and compassion have always coexisted, and so have his law and his grace. Herein lies our forgetfulness. Rather than seeing the sin of lawlessness as the
Whose Commandments Are These? – The Ten Words and the New Covenant
Tom Schreiner: If most Christians were asked if they should keep the Ten Commandments, they would answer, “Of course!” Fundamentally, that answer is correct and reflects the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom that has been passed on from the early church to our own day. And yet the question is more complex than it appears at first glance. As the subtitle of this article implies, the Ten Commandments (literally the “Ten Words” in Hebrew) must be understood in light of the covenant in which they were given. The Ten Commandments must be read in context, and that means they must be read in a covenantal context. God’s Covenants with His People The Ten Commandments were given to Israel on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1–17), when Yahweh instituted a covenant with the people of Israel after delivering them from Egypt. These commands were repeated again in Deuteronomy 5 before they were about to enter the Promised Land. The Ten Words were given
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What Does It Really Mean to Take the Lord’s Name in Vain?
Kevin DeYoung: The What So what exactly is forbidden by the third commandment? The word vain (as it’s rendered in the ESV) can mean “empty,” “nothing,” “worthless,” or “to no good purpose.” We are forbidden, therefore, from taking the name of God (or taking up the name or bearing the name, as the phrase could be translated) in a manner that is wicked, worthless, or for wrong purposes. This doesn’t mean that we have to avoid the divine name altogether. The name YHWH (or Yahweh)—“the Lord,” in most translations—appears some seven thousand times in the Old Testament. We don’t need to be superstitious about saying his name. But we must not misuse it. The Old Testament identifies several ways in which the third commandment can be violated. Most obvious is to blaspheme or curse the name of God, which we saw already in Leviticus 24:16. But there’s more to the commandment than that. The third commandment also forbids empty or false oaths: “You shall not swear by
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10 Questions for Examining Your Life
Colin Smith: Examining your life is essential to your growth as a Christian believer. Seeing your own sins and failings will make it possible for you to confess, repent, find forgiveness, and grow in grace. These are the steps by which we move forward in the Christian life. If you can’t see your own failings, you can’t make progress. Self-examination is also a dangerous business. Satan will try to subvert your self-examination by pulling you down into self-condemnation and despair. So be careful. While you have one eye focused on your sin and failure, keep the other eye focused on God’s grace given to you in Jesus Christ. God has given two gifts to help you examine yourself successfully. These are his Word and his Spirit. The Word will show you sins and failings. The Spirit will open your eyes to see them. Self-examination, rightly pursued, will bring great benefits to your Christian life. Three Guidelines for Self-Examination 1. Be intentional.
Preaching the Ten Commandments
Ray Ortlund: When I preach through the Ten Commandments, each sermon has four points, because each commandment does four things at once. First, each of the Ten Commandments is revelation. Each one gives us an insight into the character of God. For example, what kind of amazing Person would say to us, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15)? Only a just and generous Person who can be fully trusted, who would never rob us or defraud us, who would never lie or cheat, who would never hold out on us wrongly, who is not out for himself, who feels no need but only overflowing kindness. This is Jesus. Secondly, each of the Ten Commandments is confrontation. Each one gives us an insight into our own character. What kind of people need to be told, “You shall not steal”? People who will be unfair to one another without even realizing it. We need to be alerted to our own unjust and