I just finished reading Exodus 20, the passage in the Bible that contains the 10 Commandments. The thought entered my mind as I read them again, “Who is supposed to keep these commandments and obey them anyway? Do they apply to everyone?”
I guess it could be argued that they do apply to everyone in some sense… But that is to miss the clear point of the passage expressed in the opening verse! Here it what it says, “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… (and then follow the 10 commandments)’” The point is this; these commandments are a code of conduct, NOT primarily for the pagan nations – they are the code of conduct for “THE REDEEMED PEOPLE OF GOD!” They are “counter-cultural!” They are not the standard by which the broader culture lives!
So who should take these commands VERY seriously? Who should be very careful the live by them within the broader culture? The redeemed people of God! (And I’m not at all sure “the redeemed people of God” take them as seriously as they ought to! Consequently they lose their “counter-cultural impact” within the broader culture!)
Oh, I can hear it already… “But we are not under ‘Law” as Christians! We are under ‘grace!’” Better be careful about that one… Apostle Paul warned against using “grace as an excuse for sinning” (read Romans 6!).
And how about these verses that declare we, today, as Christians are “the redeemed people of God?” …
In a passage that clearly addresses the 7th commandment’s claim on Christians, Apostle Paul predicates his argument upon them being “the redeemed people of God” … “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body!” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ESV)
And Apostle Peter argued, “if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile here, knowing that you were redeemed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:17–19 ESV)
As someone who has been “redeemed from the futile ways” of the broader culture … “by the precious blood of Christ” … I’m going to take the 10 commandments very seriously! I believe they are a counter-cultural code of conduct for the “redeemed” within the broader culture! God help us to make a positive impact on our culture by the way we live today!