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Where have the ten commandments gone?

Aug 3, 2011, 2:37 PM | Article By: FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama

In the book of Exodus 20:1-17, it is stated that God gave these Ten Commandments to Moses for the people of Israel. The Commandments were as follows:

“I, the Lord, am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of everything in the sky above or on earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord your God am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation down on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments”.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days you may labour and do all your work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave or your beast or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy”.

“Honour your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God is giving you”. 

“You shall not kill”. “You shall not commit adultery”

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour”

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male and female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that  belongs to him”. 

These Commandments were measures given by God to guide and enable the people of God to have the fear of God in them and to live a life which God wants them to live.  (Ex. 20:20). In this article I have decided to bring forth my reflections on the commandments in relation to our lives as believers today. There are so many people today who because they have involved themselves in lives that are away from the commandments of God seem to think that the commandments are no longer relevant. In fact the topic of the article seem to be insinuating that for people of this kind, the commandments are gone with the people of old and do no longer mean anything today.

For all Christian or Jewish believers, the faith in a monotheistic God means accepting all that God declared. Christianity believes in the Bible as the principal source of faith and God’s true word. As such, the Ten Commandments recorded in Ex. 20:1-17 is part of the Bible and the word of God which Christians uphold. The Old Testament is as relevant to the Christian believer as the New Testament. To raise up a logical argument, the Bible is one and cannot be divided into two separate books.

To the Christian believer or the genuine believer of the one true loving God, the Ten Commandments are relevant today and are measures through which one can live a life that is pleasing to God. What complements it is the commandment of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

In Mark 12:28-34. Jesus was encountered by a teacher of the law who asked him, “Of all the commandments which is the most important? Jesus answered, the most important one is: “Hear Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind and with all your strength.  The second is this; love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these”. In Jesus’ words there is a fulfillment of the law of old in the new. It is that which makes it complete. So Jesus did not do away with the Old Testament commandments because in them God is to be taken as a priority and living a charitable life towards one’s neighbor means not sinning against him.

To conclude many mature Christians may quote Romans 6:14. “….for you do not live under law but under God’s grace”. Yes in the new dispensation we live under the grace of God but God is happy with those who keep his laws and faithful to them because these go without punishment from God. The law or the commandments when followed brings about the fear of God which many people lack today. Again too following God’s commandments means living as God would want us to live.