T h e K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s
Outline and Exposition This section of the Ten Commandments contains that which was inscribed upon the second table o f the law, embodying man’s relation to man. It covers the va rious ways in which man comes into con tact with his fellows. There are six com mandments here, divided into two sections, o f one and five, respectively. The first is that commandment which alone carries a promise o f good for its ob servance. “Honor thy father and mother: that thy days may be long . . .” This is the only positive commandment; the others are all negative—“thou shalt not.” This commandment is quoted in Ephesians 6:1, 2 where it is addressed to Christian children. It is the first commandment for children, because the children stand in their parents before God. The parents are to be obeyed by their children as the Lord is to be obeyed by the parents. I. T he P rohibitions of the C ommandments (13-17). 1. “ Thou shalt not kill” (13). It should be noted that these command ments are all aimed at that which man is by nature. They are not given to keep man from doing and being what they prohibit, but they are given because he has already done and has become what they prohibit. By nature, man has a desire to kill, and whenever anger arises, that desire is al ways present. In the Gospels, our Lord clearly showed that this is, essentially, murder. The very nature which man pos sesses instinctively turns to murder. This commandment, therefore, reveals what man really is. >t 2. “ Thou shalt not commit adultery (14). By nature, man is unclean. Perhaps this has never been so clearly seen as in the past few years when Behaviorism, and like erroneous teachings, have had such wide acceptance. Many of the young peo ple' in our colleges are ready to openly de clare that they see no great evil in adul tery. Professors do not hesitate to instill uncleanness into the minds of their stu dents, on the ground that these things are a part o f nature and therefore are not sin ful. The Bible is nowhere more diametric ally opposed to modern teaching than at this point. 3. “ Thou shalt not steal” (15). This commandment reveals the natural propensity to take what does not belong to one. The evil of stealing is inwrought in human nature, received from fallen Adam. The get-rich-quick schemes all re veal this. Something for nothing is de sired. An illustration of the breaking of this commandment may be seen in the So viet States of Russia. And when we com plain about Russia, let us remeember that the same nature is in each o f us that is in every Russian, and we would do, under similar conditions, exactly as they have done. “ Thou shalt not steal” tells us that man is a thief by nature. Even to born- again ones this word had to be written: “ Let him that stole steal no more” (Eph. 4:28). 4. "Thou shalt not bear false witness” (16). Here again we are brought face to face with what man is by nature. It is natural to lie to avoid embarrassing situations, and there must be a real'effort made to be en tirely truthful in our speech. Even the church is exhorted to put away lying and to “ speak every man truth with his neigh bor” (Eph. 4:25).
BLACKBOARD LESSON ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. , - c , AS THYSEiLF_GAi..5=a* . JP& & WIT 4% BURDENS GRIEFILLNESS AGE j POVERTY] Y our , N eighbor .-^-—O T H E R S * I 1 1 1 Tb.ft-tb 'xV3i 5. “ Thou shalt not covet” (17). This sin is so woven into the warp and w oof o f man’s fallen nature that the Apostle Paul declared that he would not even have known it was sin, if the law had not condemned it (Rom. 7 :7). He did not say that he did not have it (it would be there whether he knew it or not), but it was revealed as sin only by the law. From all o f this, it is clearly seen that the commandments were not given as a means o f salvation. The teacher should grasp this opportun ity to bring before the class the scriptural teaching concerning the law, its perfection, its purpose, its nature, and its results, and so set the student free from legalism. The Epistle to the Galatians was written as a protest against legalism, but in spite o f this, legalism continues to hinder the progress o f Christians and to unfit them for real service for the Lord. The law brings separation from God, danger o f judgment, fear o f God, and the hiding of God’s face (Ex. 19:9-25). It never did, and never can, lead to Israel’s realization o f her place of blessing, much less lead the church to occupy the place for which she has been chosen in Christ. It is a prohibition o f man’s will and a revelation of man’s fallen nature, and it shows him to be a natural and not a culti vated sinner. That is, it does not make a man a sinner, but it shows him that he is one. It shuts every man’s mouth and brings him before God, already guilty of the very things the law condemns. The law brings only a curse, leads to condem nation, and ends with the sentence o f death upon those who break it. The law offers no reward to those who keep it; it merely tells what man ought to be and do to escape its condemnation. As no man is what he ought to be, or does what he ought to do, there is nothing in the law for any man except death and separation from God. W e must not think there is anything wrong with the law. The law is holy, just, and good (Rom. 7:12). It is holy, because it reveals the mind of God. It is just, because it shows the condemnation following every act of disobedience. And it is good, because it shows the vanity of any one who tries to be justified by it; it therefore compels one to look elsewhere for justification. Here the gospel comes in and reveals that the only way for man to find justification is by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, the law be comes “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Gal. 3:24). And when we are brought to Christ, we “are no longer un der the schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:25). The law does not create the evil it con demns ; it merely reveals it. It shows the evil character of fallen human na ture, and it reveals the evil conduct of that nature. Because the law is holy and just, it cannot show mercy, for that would
deny its perfection. It cannot forgive, for that would override its character. It can not justify, for that would silence its own demands. It cannot give power, for that would defeat its purpose. It cannot give rest, because it can only condemn and there is no rest in condemnation. It cannot give life, because it pronounces death on all who break it (cf. Heb. 10:28; 2 :2 ; Rom. 3:20; 5 :6 ; 8 :3 ; 4:14; Gal. 3:21). II. T he E ffect of the C ommandments (18, 19). The commandments caused trembling and fear to come upon all the people o f Israel. The mountain upon which Moses received the law was filled with thunder- ings, lightnings, and the voice of a trum pet, and the mountain smoked as though on fire. Seeing this, the people trembled. Thus every sinner, when brought face to face with God on the ground o f law, must tremble as he considers his own fallen nature which has given rise to the deeds that are contrary to God’s holy will. The commandments created fear, be cause the people dared not face God. They called upon Moses to stand between them selves and God who, they instinctively felt, had been outraged. Thus e v e r y sin ner, whether he has ever heard o f the Ten Commandments or not, intuitively feels that he is unworthy to stand in the pres ence o f the holy God, and he desires to have another come between himself and the Holy One. It is graven on the deepest part o f man’s being that what man needs is a mediator. And this need God has sup plied in the person o f His Son who is “the mediator o f the new testament [cov enant], that by means o f death, for the re demption o f the transgressions that were under the first testament [covenant], they which are called might receive the prom ise o f the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9 :15). III. T he P urpose of the C ommandments ( 20 , 21 ). The purpose wap to “prove” Israel; that is, to test them by the law. The law was given to reveal to them their own sinful ness and, because of that, their need for something aside from law. The law, there fore, was not given either as a method o f salvation or as a rule of conduct. It was given to drive them to their God for sal vation by grace, and to turn them to the faith of their father Abraham who was justified by faith alone, apart altogether from law. When James, in his epistle, speaks . o f Abraham being justified by works, he refers to faith works, not law works. The law tells what a man ought to be and do, and it pronounces a curse upon him if he does not measure up to its stan dard. It reveals the need o f Christ, be cause there is no one who reaches the standard o f the law except Christ (Gal. 3:10-13; Rom. 3:23-26). It is Christ who justifies, not the keeping o f the law. Lesson Questions V. 12. How does the second table o f the law differ from the first? In today’s les son, how many positive commandments are given, and how many negative ? What is the difference between honoring and loving ? Vs. 13-17. What would you say about man’s natural disposition to kill? to steal? to covet? What is the modern atti-
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