1

The Human Need to Be In … Bondage?

I just heard an incredibly compelling sermon on the radio on the 10 commandments. It really made me think that I could be a better person. And then I remembered that in me (in my flesh) there is nothing good,(Romans 7:18) then I felt frustration come over me. You ever been there, feeling like you are just never going to measure up? Like you are always chasing that carrot dangling from a stick?

Now don’t get me wrong, I know God gave Moses the 10 commandments and I love reading the account of God’s faithful leadership of the Israelites through the wilderness. I even have a hard time separating in my head Charleston Heston, who I once personally met and corresponded with,  from the real Moses. However, no matter how much I am certain that God gave Moses the 10 commandments engraved on stone and that that event is one of the most dramatic and powerful in the Old Testament, I am equally certain that we have been set free from the burden of those same 10 commandments by Jesus’ fulfilling of them.

In 2Corinthians chapter 3 Paul makes a delineation between the 10 commandments and grace that I believe is worth us looking at in verses 5-9.

2Corinthians 3:5-9
vs. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as [being] from ourselves, but our sufficiency [is] from God,(emphasis mine) (In the New Covenant our sufficiency is not a result of our obedience to the law but the obedience of Jesus who paid the price for sin)

vs. 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.(Emphasis mine)

vs. 7 But if the ministry of death, written [and] engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which [glory] was passing away,(Emphasis mine) (What was written on stones? The 10 commandments)

vs. 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? (Emphasis mine)(Everything the 10 commandments attempted to do paled in comparison to what Jesus accomplished and yet it was glorious so, how much more will Jesus and the New Covenant reality of grace through the work of the Holy Spirit be more glorious)

vs.9 For if the ministry of condemnation [had] glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.(Emphasis mine)

The context of this passage is clear, Paul is specifically contrasting the 10 commandments and grace. “The letter kills”, “the ministry of death” and “the ministry of condemnation” versus “the Spirit gives life”, the ministry of the Spirit … more glorious” and “the ministry of righteousness exceeds more in glory”. Wow! Its pretty clear which one wins!

OK, I get it. The 10 commandments is so attractive to us because we really do want to behave and act like we love God. We also want people who aren’t behaving as good as us to know the difference between us and them. The problem is that the 10 commandments were always out of reach from a behavioral standpoint, thus, the Savior’s sacrifice. If we could have attained righteousness before Jesus came by simply abiding by the 10 commandments Jesus would not have had to come. But we couldn’t and He came and did what we couldn’t do in that our flesh was/is weak.

Its almost as if we have a need to be in bondage. We’re constantly trying to find a new formula, a different process, an exciting new method that is going to get us to where we need to be as good Christians. And when we don’t live up to our own expectations we are saddled afresh with guilt, condemnation and the like.

The bottom line is that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13) so we could be made fully alive by the law of the Spirit of life. (Romans 8:2)

So this holiday season and every season of your life from here on out enjoy your blood bought right to … FREEDOM!

Comment(1)

  1. Reply
    Ginny Roberts says

    I am deeply moved by your insightfulness on the 10 Commandments and how appropriately you describe the bondage I felt every time I messed up. I don’t have enough patients. I eat too much. I talk to the wrong people. The focus is always on me and how much I lack. I am putting on Grace. It feels uncomfortable. Nothing to complain about. I can just relax. Thanks Pastor Ken

Post a comment