Introduction to the Ten Commandments
Copied From: Ten to Grow On By Sandra Klaus
· After leaving Egypt, the Israelites camped in the desert near Mount Sinai, waiting to hear God’s plan for them. Suddenly bright lightning flashed through the sky, a rumbling thunder shook the earth, and the sharp blast of a trumpet pierced the air. A thick cloud covered Mount Sinai. The people ran away in fear. They begged Moses to talk to God for them.
· Moses met with God and listened as God spoke the Ten Commandments, the laws he wanted his people to follow. Later, God wrote these laws on two stone tablets and gave them to Moses. He did not want the people to forget these important rules.
· But the people of Israel couldn’t obey God’s laws perfectly. They were born with sin in their hearts, just like we were. Not one of us can keep God’s laws perfectly. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (KJV)
· God knew we could not keep from sinning, but he loved us so much that even before the world began he though up a plan to help the Israelites and us. God sent his only Son, the Lord Jesus, to live a perfect life here on earth. Jesus followed God’s rules perfectly, so he didn’t have to be punished. But, because he loves us, he took the punishment and death that we deserved for breaking God’s laws.
· Before Jesus came to earth, God allowed people to make sacrifices of animals. The blood of the animals could not pay for their sin. But it was a picture of the sacrifice Jesus would someday make on the cross. God accepted these sacrifices for sin until Jesus came.
· Even though the commandments were first given to God’s special people, the Israelites, they are good laws for us today. They are almost all repeated in the New Testament, along with further instruction on how we should live for God.
· God’s laws are not simply a list of do’s and don’ts; they are the keys to our happiness and well-bring. The first four commandments describe our responsibility to God – to have no other gods, to make no idols, to honor God’s name, and to remember his day. The remaining six commandments describe our responsibility to other people – to our parents, to neighbors, and even to our enemies.
· When Jesus came, he condensed the Ten Commandments into two: “’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’” (Matt. 22:37-39).
· God’s laws are good. They help us please him and make us and those around us happy. But remember, not one of us can keep all the commandments. Not one of us can be good enough to get to heaven. The only way to get to heaven is by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, and receiving him as our Savior. Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If you’ve never believed Jesus’ promise and received him as your Savior before, you can do that today.