The Ten Commandments and Christian Living
Why don’t people live by the Ten Commandments, what is our responsibility to them and how can anyone keep them? –Joe
At the core of a life surrendered to Jesus are the commands of God, the way in which we are to walk and live. There are 613 commandment listed in the Torah (the first five books) with the Ten Commandments being a summary of the 613. Jesus summarized the Ten with two, to love the Lord and your neighbor and scripture encapsulating it all with the just shall live by faith.
The Sages of Israel taught that the Torah contains 613 commandments. Yet, according to the Talmud, all 613 can be reduced to one, simple summary. “Habakkuk came and based all 613 on one principle, as it is written, ‘But the righteous shall live by faith.'” (b.Makkot 24a quoting Habakkuk 2:4)
The Ten Commandments of the Lord can be found in Deuteronomy 5. The word commandment, although rightly translated in English, can be misleading. The word used in Hebrew is devarim – דברים : “words”, and is more completely understood as words of order. The root word of which is debar and is used in the name for the honey bee.
The Ten Commandments can be better understood to mean the words of God that bring order, or the Ten Realities. This is important to grasp as we tend to believe we can break commandments. Realities, however, will break you.
You might compare this to driving. We might compare the commandments to breaking the speed limit. We know that humans that drive will tend to exceed the speed limit by 5 or 10 miles an hour until they see a police officer. Then you see them go under the speed limit by 5 or 10 miles an hour. It would be better to compare God’s realities to someone who drives a truck that is 16 feet tall and comes upon an over pass that is only 15 feet and some inches tall. Would he look around for a police officer and try to get away with going under that pass? I don’t think he would.
When we look at the Ten Commandments, we must begin with our relationship with Yeshua (Jesus). In Christianity, we start with Deuteronomy 5:7, You shall have no other gods before Me. Really, we start with verse 6, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.
The commandments begin with a relationship. The Lord brings us out of our bondage to sin, our bondage to our flesh. It is impossible to obey the Lord in our flesh. The Apostle Paul makes this clear in the book of Romans. It is not until we enter into fellowship with Him, adopted into His family and have our heart of stone exchanged for a heart of flesh that we are able to live by the Spirit and walk in His ways.
Grace allows us entrance to the path and way of the Lord. It is not until we enter though our Lord Jesus Christ that we are able to keep His reality. It is not possible to keep the Sabbath until we have submitted to the Lord of the Sabbath. It is impossible to be faithful with the Faithful One showing us how.
We are no longer under the law of sin and death, but we are now able to hit the mark by the power of the Living Word of God. The Ten Commandments are meant to teach us how to live, how to rest and how to glorify and worship God. May we always hold them in the highest regard.
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