How God Gave The Ten Commandments
God first gave the Ten Commandments to Adam and Eve. By
putting them directly in their hearts, the Ten Commandments enable them to
know--and do--what God wanted them to do.
God also gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and the
Children of Israel on Mount Sinai as His covenant with them. Having chosen
them as His most dearly-loved people on earth, He blessed and honored them
by making an agreement--a covenantal promise--that made them His people
God gave the Ten Commandments through Jesus. When asked
which commandment was the most important, Jesus responded,
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as
yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two
commandments." Matthew 22:37-39 NIV
Since God has given His Law so many times and throughout
the Bible, it must be important to Him. As we live in the joy of God's
grace, God's Law is also important for us.
Three Uses Of The Law
God gave us His Law for three purposes. Martin Luther called these
"Three Uses Of The Law."
First, God gave the
commandments as a CURB. This means that the Ten Commandments are
designed to protect us from being hurt or hurting others. As a curb
prevents a car from going off the road, so the Ten Commandments "curb"
our behavior so that we do not curse, swear, steal, disobey parents,
kill, covet, commit sexual sins, etc.
Second, God gave us the
Law as a MIRROR. When we consider the Ten Commandments, the "thou
shalt's" and the "thou shalt not's", we realize that we are sinners. The
Ten Commandments, then, are the mirror by which we recognize our sin.
This recognition, as God intends, leads us to ask for forgiveness in
Jesus Christ. By grace, each time we ask for forgiveness, God forgives
us completely! (I John 1:8-10).
Third, God gave us the
Law and the Ten Commandments as a GUIDE for how to live. Since we cannot
see God, the only way we can truly know what He wants is in His Law.
This use of the law applies only to Christians since unbelievers do not
seek to follow God's Law. Because we are forgiven children of God,
Christians joyfully seek God's guidance in our
lives every day so that they can "take up their cross" and serve God by
obedience to the God's Law.
If we wish for God to guide our lives, it is important for
all Christians to know God's Law. That is why confirmands study the Ten
Commandments as we will in the next lesson.