Only a fool would say this world is ticking over nicely without any bad things happening. On the international stage we see many atrocities occurring on a daily basis. In our own country, the morning news reports that the NPA working together with Interpol are seeking to bring the Guptas and their associates to South Africa for prosecution; the man who set fire to Parliament was back in court; three people were killed; a 24 year old stabbed his mother to death and drank her blood; three men were sentenced to 30 years for the theft and damage to Vodacom infrastructure; Western Cape train commuters are stranded due to vandalism and cable theft … and the list just never ends! Including the world in general, but in our country in specific there is a horrible trend of blatant lawlessness. Today we come to the next passage in the Sermon on the Mount … Matthew 5:17-20.
1) Who are Christians? Christians are people who have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who paid the supreme sin price for our souls, redeeming us from wicked lost-ness, rebellion and the clutches of His enemy, the devil. The first 12 verses shows us our moral and spiritual fiber. Verses 13-16 informs us that now we need to be salt and light. We are Jesus’ representatives on earth to further His Cause and Kingdom. Now, as His representatives, we need to follow His moral code. We don’t do so for salvation. We are already saved by grace through faith. We follow this code to bring God’s principles, practices and purity into our conduct and relationships. This moral code is better known as the Ten Commandments. These are a summary of all the other laws or commands in the Five Books of Moses.
2) God instituted the Ten Commandments.
Ex 20:1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
God owns these people. He redeemed them from bondage in Egypt. This was a blood redemption through the sacrificial lamb. Because of ownership God has the right to lay before the people His Laws by which He requires His people to live. They are morally bound to their God who owns them. As with today, they needed a moral compass and God being a moral being gives them this in the Ten Commandments.
3) God being moral requires being glorified. Being the only true God He decrees
Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
In Egypt and amongst all the Heathen Nations idols were worshipped. Man was created to worship God and even without knowing God he still needed to worship so he created idol gods to venerate. Israel being God’s people were required to worship God exclusively. In doing so unreservedly, they would bring glory to God. True worship brings God pleasure and true worship needs to be based upon the character of God … who is moral. This means adherence to the moral law (Ten Commandments) gives God glory and pleasure. The exclusion of all other “items” such as manmade idols of wood, clay or metal; trees or mountains or images within the mind are essential because God legitimately deserves to be worshipped. He alone must be worshipped … and never forget, He is jealous by name and character!
Ex 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Rightfully He says He is a jealous God. He has the right to be so because of redeeming Israel from the terrible slavery they were in. As we apply this to the Blood Redemption of the Lord Jesus we realize we are God’s own:
1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
God has a legitimate claim of both ownership and honor. Our lives need therefore to be lived out in such a way that God is pleasured and glorified … and remember that even though we are not saved through works by Law Keeping, God’s Moral Law (Ten Commandments) remain part of God’s required lifestyle and behavior for His redeemed people.
4) Rebellious man excludes God’s Moral Law from his / her way of life. Alternative gods are worshipped; God’s name has become an adjectival phrase and used as a swear word; God’s special day is abused; parents are not honored; children are abused; murder comes in many ways, be it war, killing and abortion; rapid adultery shaped in all form of sexual immorality; (the vice-president of America shouts out … “How dare they! How dare they tell a woman what to do with her body?” In defiance of God’s sexual laws and life right laws she leads people into rejecting God’s morality!); theft is shaped in fancy words such as “State Capture” and Fraud”; and false testimony (gossip) and covetousness abounds. You see, as soon as man rejects God, man automatically rejects God’s moral code which leads to man living a life that does not give glory to God. It is no wonder that God’s wrath is ready to spill over upon the race. Man who rejects the Cross of Jesus is man under condemnation!
5) Apart from glorifying God through obedience to the Moral Code, respect and protection within society ought to be enhanced. Sadly, the rejection of God’s morality required in the Ten Commandments leads to man not respecting man. When one considers Gender Based Violence, rape and murder, not only against women and children, but particularly against women and especially children, the escalation of fraud, looting and damage to property, gang violence and the blatant disregard for the law in general, shows that there is little respect for other people. God requires respect, yet man demonstrates disrespect. Further, God’s Moral Code is there to protect man and property. Rejection of God’s requirements leads to fear and loss. Look at all the money we pay to secure our homes with burglar bars, security doors and gates, alarm systems and security companies. As soon as the true God is rejected as God, His Moral Code is rejected and society falls into anarchy. What we desperately need is a return to Bible based Churches who preach the Gospel fearlessly.
Our Father in Glory, hallowed be Your Name. Help us to live by Your Moral Code to give flavor to both church and society. Amen.