Why the Ten Commandments

There is some confusion regarding the application of Old Testament law in our day. Within our society is a movement known as the Christian Reconstructionist. Within every group there are extremists. Within this movement is a small minority who want to make the Old Testament laws the law of America today. 

Strewn throughout the Books of Exodus and Leviticus are a total of 613 laws God gave Israel. These can be divided into three groups:  civil law, ceremonial law, and the moral law or Ten Commandments.

Every nation has its civil laws. They are the laws by which  a particular civilization is ruled. Israel’s ancient civil laws don’t apply to us today.

The ceremonial law related to personal and temple worship. They were rights and rituals that symbolized spiritual truths. Christ fulfilled these laws. That is the reason we aren’t sacrificing bulls today.

The third group of laws is the moral law, summarized in the Ten Commandments. They are relevant and applicable.

God gave us the law to give us liberty. The Ten Commandments give us great security. In L.A. there was a school playground bordered on two sides by busy streets. During recess children played right up against the buildings. A fence was built along the street. Thereafter, the children ran and played right up to the edge of the fenced-off street. The fence gave them safe guidelines and protection which gave them freedom. God’s law gives liberty.

With divine daring, God gave us the power of choice. He made us free and then gave us the Ten Commandments to keep us free. That is why He gave them.

“By the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3: 20)

Without the Ten Commandments we wouldn’t know we are sinners. Some critics say we would be better off without them. Not at all. We would still be sinners. We just wouldn’t know it, nor how to escape the horrible consequence of being sinners.

Romans 3: 19 notes one purpose of the law is that “all the world might become guilty.” Sounds depressing doesn’t it? In reality it is liberating.  Even if we don’t know the law, we are guilty of violating it.

Next you were told of the law you violated. You were guilty of driving 75 miles an hour in a speed zone clearly marked for a blind children’s convention. The penalty was clearly noted on the speed zone sign.  You are guilty, but didn’t know it.

Suppose a rich friend offered to pay a $1,000 speeding ticket for you. First, you would be amazed to learn you had such a violation. You had violated the law, you didn’t know it, but you were still responsible for the violation.

Good news! Upon going to court you are amazed to learn someone has already paid your fine.

The purpose in teaching and preaching the law is to tell people they (1) have broken the law, (2) what the penalty is, (3) and that someone, Christ, has paid the penalty for them.