Studying the Commandments

Sin is largely a matter of mistaken priorities.  Any sin in us that is cherished, hidden, and not confessed will cut the nerve center of our faith.

  • Catherine Marshall


Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question.  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Deuteronomy 6:5)  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18)  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

  • Matthew 22:34-40



We had a very odd discussion in Sunday school one day.  One of the people in the class interrupted a discussion on prayer.  We were discussing ACTS, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  Dr. R. C. Sproul had just said on the video that when we do the first three with a proper understanding of who God is, we’ll not have time and less inclination for the Supplication.  He had a point.  We spend too much time in supplication and not enough on the other three.


The interruption was that this person never confessed her sins.  Why do it?  When she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, all of her sins were forgiven, past, present, and future.  Why dig up the dirt?  Since she was washed white as snow, why should they even be addressed?


When I finally scraped my jaw off the floor, we started discussing the issue that she introduced.  We had some really strong Bible readers in the class.  Praise the Lord.


What we finally came up with after many arguments, which she discarded, was this passage from Romans 6:14-20.


“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.   For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”


We all sin.  It is our ‘unspiritual’ side, as the Apostle Paul explains.  Yet, we must constantly take inventory of our lives with God’s guidance.  If we try to do better, we will fail, but the Holy Spirit will reveal things that we are doing wrong or we could do better.  If we don’t understand what sin is, we are doomed to repeat it.  As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Sin is a fundamental relationship – it is not wrong doing, but wrong being – it is deliberate and determined independence from God.”


As we grow in faith and God determines that we are strong enough to handle another revelation, the Holy Spirit reveals another area of our lives that needs a full house cleaning.  Having surrendered our will to God, we will doing the house cleaning with pleasure.  God never gives us more than we can bare.  Dr. R. C. Sproul in a panel discussion said that if God revealed all of the requirements of our sanctification in one moment, we’d surely die from the enormity of the sin with which we would come face to face.


We need to realize, as the person in class stated, that our sins are forgiven.  We should not live in shame and guilt, but neither should we consider ourselves free of the sin.  It is a victory of God in us, and nothing that we have done.


As Oswald Chambers mentioned sin as relationship, I tried to point out relationship concepts with God regarding each commandment.  (The ten previous posts)  Jesus used quotes from Deuteronomy and Leviticus to summarize the Ten Commandments.  In so doing, He totally avoided the “Thou shall nots.”  He simply said to love God, and your neighbors as yourself.  He used the strongest relationship word, “Love.”


So should we.  As we study the Ten Commandments, we should look at our own lives.  From looking at the things not to do, we should look at how we can show love toward others and God in that area.


When we love God more than life itself, we enter into a special relationship.  When they talk about the old is gone and the new has come, we can look at those two relationships in particular.  Our old relationship with sin falls away as God works in our lives to strengthen His relationship with and in us.


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  1. love Catherine Marshall—I actually met her when I was in high school. Her book The Helper had just been released and she was at a bookstore in Atlanta signing copies and I made a bee line to the store to wait my turn to offer her my copy for her to sign—I has read most of her book my senior year and loved everything she had to say.
    Thank you for using her quote Mark—
    and as always, great teaching!

    Liked by 1 person

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