Moral Law

For Christians Only

Could you please keep your Bible open to Galatians 5-6 and Colossians 3:3-18? You might want to reread the last post.

Once you have identified some habitual sins–either things you do, ways you relate to others, or what you think about, you need to counter those with their opposites. This takes some thought. And some humbling admission on your part that these habits are displeasing to God. Paul says some are easy to recognize (Galatians 5:19). But, others may sneak up on us so that we need help in thinking all this through (Galatians 6:1-5). Sexual sin is easy to identify even though our society tries to redefine everything. But, desires, and the strong emotions they generate are much easier to dismiss as okay, or even good. Thinking patterns need to be changed as well. You have to work it out yourself. And keep coming back to it until the habit is replaced with something much better–like forgiveness, thankfulness, kindness, mercy, love. Read Colossians 3:8-18.

Confused? Don’t know what is “right” and which desires are “wrong?” In working things out for yourself, it helps to have a standard of righteousness–a measure of what is right or wrong. If your desires and emotions cause you to act in violation of the Ten Commandments, you know these desires are leading you astray no matter how good they seem. Ask yourself, “Does my habit of thinking, reacting, desiring cause me to dishonor those in authority positions? Or to lie? Or to steal? Or to covet? To hate? Or get involved in sexual sin? Or to love something more than I love God? Or to seek my own pleasure or work above keeping the Lord’s Day?” The Moral Law was given to all people everywhere to use as a measuring stick… to show us what sin is. We don’t have to wonder and search and search for it. They are ten ways telling us that we really need a Savior!

John Owen reminded his readers to watch for and take note when we are given strength or any of the fruit of the Spirit, such as peace, patience, self-control. “He gives gracious assistances against the power of sin” is a vital reminder (John Owen, The Holy Spirit, (Christian Focus Publications, 2004, Scotland), p.259=271.) . He wrote this between 1672-1683, but this biblical principle is still true today. We must expect grace, wait for it, depend on it to destroy sinful habits. Owen also told us to cherish this principle of holiness: that God provides us spiritual strength to think, do, and be what is pleasing to Him. Paul reminded us that there is never a law against acting in kindness, gentleness, humility (Galatians 5).

In addition, there will be no true heart work without fear of the Lord–a deep respect for His majesty and His right to demand our obedience to His word. That is why it is so important to teach our children and grandchildren that God created them and all things and not let the theory of evolution destroy their sense of God’s majesty.

In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.

Fear and respect for God motivate us to kill sinful habits…not to add hoops for us to jump through or make ourselves acceptable to God, but because there is much reward in wise living. “Mortification of the flesh” (as the English Puritans called it) requires careful thought, much repentance, and a reliance on God’s favor toward us. As Paul said, “His grace is sufficient…”

Should We Teach Our Children the Ten Commandments?

Read Galatians 3:19-28

If faith in the finished work of Christ is enough for our salvation, why did God give Moses the law? Paul gives us a short answer “because of transgressions…” (Galatians 3:19) which leaves us hanging. Happily for us, he came back to this subject when he wrote to the Roman Christians six-eight years later.

“For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Romans 5:13).

“Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound” (Romans 5:20).

You can’t charge someone with a crime until there is a law against their action. For instance, possession of marijuana isn’t a crime unless there is a law against having some in your pocket. It seizes to be a crime the minute that law is abolished (as has been done in Colorado recently). Once the law was written by Moses, we had had it. It was clear we were criminals. Our lives teemed with sin. God meant that to happen.

God added the law to make our sins more evident to us. They were charged to our account; we could know what was sin. That way we would see our need for forgiveness and a Savior (or we would be in big trouble on Judgment Day!) In Galatians 3:23-25, he adds that the law serves as our tutor to teach us just how sinful we are and how much we need a Savior. It restricts us;molds us.

This is why children should learn the Ten Commandments and the catechism questions. For instance,
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law.
What is the Sixth Commandment?
What is required in the Sixth Commandment?
What is forbidden in the Sixth Commandment?

In addition, we need to gently and discreetly (and sometimes forcefully) point it out to them when they are lying, stealing, dishonoring their parents or teachers. “That is why you need a Savior. That is why we confess our sins. This is why we all need forgiveness.” Or “I have sinned against you. Please forgive me. That is why Jesus came to suffer and die for me. I’m never good enough to be perfect. I need his righeousness and so do you!”

I have been surveying Vacation Bible School materials. Oh my! Most have no mention of sin or the law. The big theme is that God love us all and we should tell others he loves them too. By itself, this just becomes “another gospel.” It is a false gospel because where there is no sin, there is no need of forgiveness or righteousness. Maybe you should think twice about putting your children in a VBS like that. The gospel is too important for them to hear conflicting messages on what basis they are to approach God. My opinion is that math camp, sports camp, or nature camp might be better for them.

Yes, we need to teach our children and grandchildren the law. And let it point them to their need for forgiveness and a righteousness other than their own. Aren’t you glad the story has such a happy ending? There we are, clothed in perfect righteousness, at a lovely wedding reception–ours! We have married the KING OF KINGS! Doesn’t that make your heart sing?