The Ten Commandments
By Rev. Tom Tuura
Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church
What are they? Are they relevant to society? Are they relevant to you personally?
I did a quick search of the Ten Commandments and as far as popular news reports, its about whether they should be displayed on public property. Here's a recent example...out of the Santa Fe New Mexican...
Group calls on city to remove Ten Commandments monument
By Tripp Stelnicki “The New Mexican,” Jan 9, 2018 Updated Jan 9, 2018
“A nonprofit organization in Madison, Wis., is calling for removal of a Ten Commandments monument from a Santa Fe city park, saying the 6-foot-tall granite tablet is an “inappropriate and unconstitutional” remnant of the Cold War era.
“The government has no business telling citizens which god they must have, how many gods they must have, or that they must have any god at all,” the Freedom from Religion Foundation said Tuesday in a statement.
The group calls itself the nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics.
The longstanding Ten Commandments monument sits in front of a fire station in Ashbaugh Park on Cerrillos Road.
“Santa Fe’s monument drew some attention for its inconspicuous stature last year after the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district judge’s ruling that the city of Bloomfield, N.M., had to remove a Ten Commandments monument from in front of its City Hall. Pagans in Bloomfield had challenged the legality of a monument on government property promoting a religion, and the case drew national attention, while Santa Fe’s stone tablets sat unnoticed.”
So the Ten Commandments are a subject of controversy on this civic level. This goes back to the Supreme Court's first ruling in 1980 a Kentucky statute which required the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools. In Stone vs Graham SCOTUS ruled 5-2 that it violated the establishment clause in the constitution. Not to be confused with Madalyn Murray O'hare and the SCOTUS ruling in 1963 which ended mandatory prayer and Bible reading in public schools.
By the way, on the subject of religious liberty, and the constitution, do you know what is meant by the establishment clause and the free exercise clause?
So much for the civic controversy. How about the general attitude toward the Ten Commandments by the average person on the street? Some may, like the rich young ruler in Mark 10, and Luke 18, say they try to keep it “from my youth...”. And others may blatantly disregard all aspects of the law.
Most however try to find peace somewhere in the middle where they keep some parts of the commandments but quietly and conveniently ignore others. This is the personal side of the Ten Commandments.
Whether its civic and society in general, Supreme Court rulings about their display in schools and court houses; whether it is people's attitudes about them, or your own personal attempts at keeping some or all, of the Ten Commandments, what is their relevance and place in our world today?
Well they are still in the Bible. They were given to Israel following their slavery in Egypt. They, along with the Mitzvot a group of 613 other commands in the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) given to the nation of Israel and followed by Jews today, seen by some as also binding upon followers of God.
They define right and wrong.
They serve as a basis for our nation's laws.
They form the basis for our morals.
They define what sin is.
They reveal the holiness and righteousness of God.
They reveal the path to holiness and way to please God.
They are holy and righteous and good. (Rom. 7)
There's one problem. We can't keep them. James, the brother of our Lord, states if we break one of them, we have broken all of them. (James 2:10)
They provide no power to the user to aid or assist in righteousness.
They continually accuse us of evil.
They create conditions to which we must live and please God.
They create a stronger desire to sin. (Rom. 7)
They create a hatred toward a holy and righteous God.
The law is still essential, and fully in existence in all its glory and power, unchanged from history past through the end of time.
This brings us to the heart of our theology, grace alone. How are we saved? It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Peter's words in Acts 15:11). God imparts through grace, everything the law demands, all its righteous regulations, everything in it's pristine glory—to the broken penitent sinner in Christ. The sinner is actually dead, and unable to even lift himself up, receives the promise and comes alive. Having died then to the law, it no longer has any jurisdiction over her. No more demands, no more conditions, no more accusations. The reborn revived Christian now welcomes the Law as a guide and a rule for instruction.
The Law is essential for everyone must realize they are a sinner with no hope to attain righteousness to please God alone. And in despair we turn to Calvary, where One who was, and is righteous, who already met those legal requirements, willingly hung on the cross to pay the debt of our sins so we can be free.
That’s my view from the Blackberry Patch Pulpit