Who would dare to play around with Bible truth while the lionesses are roaring? Mothers and Grandmothers rise up to protect your children! The right relationship between the law and the gospel is worth protecting.
“THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME” (EXODUS 20:3)
The Hebrew for “You” in this passage is as personal as a name. This command is very individual, personal. Insert your own name. “______, you shall have no other gods before me. You must choose for yourself who you will worship and serve–the God as revealed in the Bible as Creator and Savior–or something you dream up. Who or what will you love and reverence? Will you set apart God based on biblical knowledge of his attributes and make a willful choice to love and follow him? It is a matter of your heart and mind and will. It is all about reverence and worship.
This is an important point to teach your children. This is no place for their imagination! You cannot choose for them. Our children need to be led to an understanding that God is holy, just, merciful and faithful, and powerful enough to keep his promises. He is majestic! He is our King. He is our Savior–pure, perfect, loving.
- We are required to reverence him because he created us and takes care of us. He is our Father, and has provided a way of salvation for us.
- We are to adore him because of his majesty, power, and love.
- We need to fear God. It is not fright. Instead, it is holy awe of his judgment or displeasure.
- We are to rely on his power as Creator and on his love for us as our Father. We are to trust him with our very lives. (Whatever we trust in or love is a god to us. If not God, what? Your retirement account?)
- Our children must be taught that they must love God. We all are to renounce all others ( and things, pleasures, other people) and cleave to God. This is clearly a matter of the heart. It is all about our emotions.
- We are to promise to obey him, to submit ourselves humbly to his leadership and head over us.
- We are in an intimate relationship with him. It is a covenant. We are to renounce all others and cling to him alone. (Sound like marriage to you? That is why the image of a bride is used for the church.)
- We are to serve him. This is to be our priority. (Roaring loudly to protect children is service.)
- This commandment requires us to think about God and delight in him–not as we imagine him to be, but as we learn about him in the Bible. ( We should be roaring at those who paint God as one who will give us whatever we want, never punish or discipline, or require anything from us.)
- It is a sin to be an atheist.
- It is wrong to pray to the dead, or to angels, or to spirits, or Satan (Colossians 2:18; Leviticus 20:6).
- It is a sin to love something else (or someone else!) more than God. ( Do we, who roar, love our children or grandchildren more than we love God?)
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” Jesus said this in John 14:15.
How does this first commandment of the Moral Law relate to the gospel?
Doesn’t thinking about such things make you feel how far short you fall? “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). This awareness sometimes drives us to despair or shock, and hopefully, then to repentance and faith in Christ. That is initially justification (Romans 3:28). But then, as we see that we still miss the mark and fall short, we rejoice in knowing that Jesus’ own perfect obedience covers us. The Father sees his son’s perfect obedience, his righteousness, instead of our sins. “…it (righteousness) shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:24-25).
In addition, under grace, as we strive to keep this commandment, the power and condemnation of the law is broken. ” …present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” ( Romans 6:12-13). There is, therefore, no condemnation on those who fail miserably to keep this commandment if they are continuing to trust in Christ Jesus and striving to do better. Instead, under their sanctification, power and strength are given them to obey. God is our Father; he cares for us. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11). Life includes strength and power to obey.
The law points us to our sin. The gospel points us to Christ. Never take up one without the other. Don’t let others play around with this relationship between the law and the gospel without roaring an objection! See to it that you and your children and grandchildren reverence God, the One revealed in his Word.
(See Thomas Watson, “The Ten Commandments,” p. 49 on the personal aspect of Thou; Ernest Reisinger, “Whatever Happened To the Ten Commandments?” p. 12-21); Henning Mankell, “The White Lioness,” for the African Proverb: Who dares to play while the lion roars?)