A Voice in the
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Ten Commandments: -Topics - Q/A
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#1 -No Other gods before Jehovah
And God spoke all these words, saying, I am Jehovah your God...you shall not have any other gods before Me. (vs1-3)
Herein is the foundation to 'everything'. The Bible begins with the words, "In the beginning God..." (Gen1:1) When we consider the matter of being with/of God we know that "without faith it is impossible to please God." (Heb11:6a) But we also know that this faith begins with the acknowledgment to "believe that He is". God exists. And furthermore our existence comes from God, "in Him we live and move and exist" (Acts17:28, Col1:17)
Jesus was asked one day, What is the greatest commandment? (Mt22:36) He replied by quoting Deut6:5, "You shall love the Lord your God..." with everything you have. And He went further, quoting from Lev19:18, "..and your neighbor as yourself.." These two 'commands' are the summary of the "Ten Commandments". The Ten Commandments, in turn, are the summary of all the other moral and civil laws that will be contained in subsequent chapters.
If a person loves God; there will not be other gods, idols, taking His name in vain, and one will keep the sabbath to the Lord.
If a person loves his neighbor as himself; he will honor parents, and will not murder, commit adultery, steal, be a false witness, nor covet.
And Jesus said, "And on these two commandments all the Law and the Prophets hang." (Mt22:40) This is the sum-total of Scripture. And thus, also, if we truly understand and obey the Ten Commandments, we can know Life with God. As Paul, who teaches that Jesus was the "end of the Law" (Rom10:4) quotes from the O.T. about the Law that "the man doing these things shall live by them." (Rom10:5, Lev18:5) If a person is truly a Believer "of the heart" (Rom2:29), the outward manifestation of that faith (Jas2:14-26) is the essence of the Ten Commandments.
This first commandment is a "Christian" commandment. Paul likens the Church and Christ to a marriage relationship. (Eph5:32) The traditional marriage vows include the statement "forsaking all others". That is the very gist and core of loving God with -ALL- the heart, with -ALL- the soul and with -ALL- the might. Paul prays that the "spirit and soul and body" be preserved "blameless". (1Th5:23) As we "entreat [God's] face with [our] heart", we "muse" [think] on His ways with our mind, and "turn [our] feet [bodies] to [His] testimonies." (Ps119:58-59)
Now, notice how "negative" these commandments are. You shall not, not, not, not. Only two "positive" ones. But also notice how -short- this 'list' is. And yet mankind breaks every one of them right and left. Modern psychology suggests that all the evil in the earth comes from our 'parents', because they didn't give us "enough love" when we were babies; that, if only we could start from scratch, and put some babies in an idyllic environment without the rest of corrupt society to marr their psyches, that mankind could be good.
God already DID that! He put Adam and Eve in a perfect environment. And there were "no rules". Well... only one! There weren't even "ten" to worry about remembering or forgetting. Just one. It was a "don't" rule. But the law started out positive... "You may freely eat of every tree in the garden.." (Gen2:16) The whole earth is open to you. There are no restrictions. Whatever comes to your mind/heart, you have freedom. Go for it!
Just one 'little' restriction. Out of all the 'thousands' of things you -CAN- do, here is the 'ONLY ONE' you are commanded NOT TO. Just ONE (1) 'measely' tree...out of alllll those thousands. "Don't eat from it". (vs17)
So much for modern man's complaints that God is so harsh, unloving and restrictive!! God gave mankind total freedom in the very beginning. It's -ALL- there for you. Go - ENJOY! Just...beware the one little matter...!
When the serpent enticed Adam and Eve to sin, what was the bait? God is "lying to you". God is keeping secrets from you. He is restricting you from realizing your "full potential". This thing He is restricting you with... if you do it, you will "be as God". (Gen3:5) Don't you want to be just like God? Knowing everything He does, and having all His powers?
When the 1st commandment is broken, the primary "other gods" that people have is "SELF". Yes, surely, there are other demon gods people worship; and there are other 'things' that are worshipped; as well as other people. But the primary god people worship is Self. This was satan's message to Eve, and the same "doctrines of demons" (1Tim4:1) still exist today.
Forget the heathen godless world... Modern "christianity" proclaims that God's power is "released through (our) prayer". That as such, there is "power in prayer". They proclaim that we 'have' God's power "in" us; and so, all we need to do is learn how to "tap into that power". According to these teachings, when we learn "how to do" it, we can essentially snap our fingers, and do all sorts of wonders.
But please notice correctly that God's power is "toward" us. (Eph1:19) God's power -works- "in" us. (Eph3:20) But it is not "our" power; it is not -resident- "in" us (we do not charge up our batteries with God's power); "so that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not from us." (2Cor4:7) Notice the words carefully. The power is "of" God; it is His power. It does not come "from" us; because it is not our power. Yes, the Holy Spirit resides in the Believer, so there is God's power working through us as the Holy Spirit lives through us, but it is not 'our' power. When we have "all things" regarding Godliness it is not from our doing; His power -gives- it to us. (2Pt1:3, Eph2:8)
When He says, "You shall not have any other gods -before- Me" what does "before" mean? Some translations say "besides". Actually both are correct, and are related. Since we know that "no creature is hidden" from God (Heb4:13) we know that everything is "before" Him in His 'view'. So, in other words, we cannot have other gods... only, just keep them hidden away from God, and don't let Him see them... doing it in secret. Rachel did that with her father's family idols. And Israel did that continually, even though they followed Moses and Joshua. After years of conquest of the promised land Joshua would say, "Now, then, fear Jehovah, and serve Him in sincerity and truth, and turn away from the gods which your fathers served Beyond the River, and in Egypt; and you serve Jehovah." (Josh24:14) He wouldn't have said such a thing if they weren't secretly worshiping other gods. And, indeed, Judges has an account of idolatry and its priest. (Judg17)
In God's command, not having other gods includes "And you shall not mention another god by name; it shall not be heard from your mouth." (Ex23:13) And also, "take heed to yourself that you not be snared to follow them after they have been destroyed before you; and that you not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? And I shall do so, even I." (Deu12:30)
The word for this today is... "dialogue" All the various religions and denominations 'dialogue' with each other, to learn from each other. And as they learn, they 'incorporate' things from other belief systems into their own religion. When Believers are invited to join with the one-world religion, it is an invitation to different gods.
When people go on vacations to "exotic" places, they see the cultures and religions of those places. As we considered a couple years ago in a weekly 'Portion', Bali does not have "art". What we would call their art is part of their collective worship. Their artists do their work as an act of worship and offering to their deities. Many other cultures are the same. When a culture has its festive times, that is their -religion- in action. Many Christians go on these trips, and observe, and maybe also participate in the 'ethnic' dances that are -performed- for tourists. They buy the trinkets, and take pictures. Perhaps they record the music and drum beats. They are unwittingly "asking after" these other religions. Even though it is disguised as "culture" and "entertainment", and they learn all about it, it is actually "other gods" they are taking keen interest in. And when they play these 'music' tapes back for all their friends, they perpetuate that worship, and spread the knowledge of those religions.
And finally, what about "Discernment Ministries"? There are many whose sole purpose in existing is to find out all they can about every religion, denomination and cult; and then, to disseminate all that information to others. While it might be beneficial to know a -little- something about the people one witnesses to, it is not our calling as Believers to be "well-versed" in everything that is aberrant. If we spend all our time on what is false, our eyes are off of the Most High. If we are learning all about cults, we are not learning God's Word. Our eyes are not "looking unto Jesus..." (Heb12:2)
Fellows...if you were having an intimate moment with your wife, telling her how beautiful she is...you would not prepare for that moment by going out to the shopping mall or dating services, looking at, and investigating all the other women out there... and then, as you are 'now' with your wife, you would not be sharing with her your 'dialogues' with all these other women, telling your wife all about these 'other' women you had seen, looked at, talked to and had a good time with; and tell her how they compare to her. Not hardly!! You'd be out the front door faster than you could ask "how quickly did you want me to leave???"
God says, "I am Jehovah your God, a jealous God..." (vs5)
#2 -No Graven Images or Likeness
You shall not make a graven image for yourself, or any likeness in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow to them, and you shall not serve them; for I am Jehovah your God, a jealous God... (vs4-5)
I was born and raised in Japan during my childhood. As a child I was used to seeing stone-cut images. They would be in the temples and shrines, on shelves in people's houses, on the tops of new building frames for dedication prior to finishing the building's construction, along mountain paths where a person might go hiking... everywhere. These images' heads/faces were usually 'hideous' in appearance.
As a person views cultures from around the world, practically every society on the face of the earth has some sort of stone-cut images. People, monsters, animals, animal-human hybrids, plants and planets.
Modern TV shows preach to us and tell us 'where' these images came from. Certain frescos in Ireland came from an alien species called "Tailon" (Earth Final Conflict), a humanoid race characterized by a plazma energy essence. The gods of Egypt came from other galaxies, the Jafah/guaould; which are a larva-like creature which inhabits/possesses a human host body. (StarGate) The Roman/Greek gods, like Thor, came from another world, and when you get to know the 'real' Thor behind all the legends, he is a creature who looks like the little gray men with bug-eyes of the UFO alien craze. There are also "the ancient ones" (StarGate) who set mankind on their present path a long time ago, and are waiting for mankind to evolve sufficiently enough to receive higher wisdom. Again, these look a lot like the UFO "gray people". There are others from whom mankind came. They are human, and their space ship navigators are the little gray creatures. (Roswell) They, too, are superior to man, waiting for man to evolve up to their full potential.
Many of these have archaeology and art depicting the origins of their gods, such that when the alien comes, man compares the alien to the art, knowing that the species had visited earth in the past.
Many non-western cultures depict their religion in their art. As we learned over a year ago, Bali has no term to compare with the English word "artist". But their land is full of what we would call "art". They, as a culture, readily recognize their "art" as being integral with their worship. Homage to their deities.
When an American student goes to college/university, they might take a course in "art appreciation" as one of the required courses for graduation. Since I was a music major, instead of taking the Music Appreciation, I took the alternative... Art Appreciation. I don't remember it from the class... but since then in more recent years, I have come to learn that most early western art was predominantly the domain of "the church". Uuuh! That's, the -Roman- church. Think about it. Most of the famous pre-Renaissance art is to be found in cathedrals and chapels. Paintings, frescos, stained glass, statues. They depict Horus and Isis, and what they presume are the "apostles" and other "saints". They have images of the crucifix. Well, we could go on and on. You know what I'm getting at. The 'holy' halos, a tribute to the worship of sun and moon of paganism from which the Roman church came.
When the Renaissance introduced "art" as a non-church concept, it was a novel idea; as nudes and other more erotic subjects become introduced. There, too, however, it is worship. Man worshiping man.
I never really noticed the "idolatry" nature of the Roman church until I was doing professional (choral) music in Montreal, Canada years ago. Most concerts were performed in cathedrals. And Montreal has some rather grand ones. I had been in catholic churches before (playing organ for weddings, and singing for funerals ...being paid as a 'professional' who was hired for the purpose). But while in Montreal cathedrals, as I would walk around and see all the little built-out cubicles with their statues, I was taken back in my mind to Japan. The labels were different, but the concept was identical. It dawned on me...'this is idolatry!!' These 'art' statues are "idols". And this was something with the label of "christian"
Western idolatry of the church of Rome has been culturally called, "art". This is a clever disguise, which attracts the intellectual elite and astute, to come and gaze at, admire, and spend a lot of time with. You see, as I understand it, -that- is part of Catholicism's form of 'worship' ...to "gaze" at all these things. People who think they are merely "appreciating art", are being suckered in to "worship". God warned Israel at Sinai, "warn the people lest they break through to -gaze- at Jehovah, and many of them fall." (19:21) We do -not- do as the swoony song suggests, to "..gaze upon His face..."
Eastern religions are not so subtle. There are no pretenses of it being called "christian". Their images are of dragons and snakes. Who are they worshiping? "And he laid hold of the dragon, the old serpent who is the Devil, and Satan..." (Rev20:2) It was the "serpent" who enticed Eve to the first human sin. (Gen3:1) They are worshiping satan and his demons. That's why their 'gods' are so hideous-looking.
Having lived predominantly in midwestern states and the Pacific Northwest, I hadn't been exposed to American idolatry. But when we lived in Salinas, CA for a half year, I was again reminded of Japan when driving over to the Monterey area. There would be set up what looked like old bath tubs, set up on their ends, to form little shrines. Within these shrines were images of Isis and Horus. You see, with the heavier concentration of Hispanic population, there was that pagan Roman influence from their ancestral central-American heritage. These things were all over the place. In "public" places [Ed: and I didn't know of any government agency complaining, either, like they do about the posting of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms!] as well as private yards. Idolatry.
OK, now, let's get down to Christian christian. Evangelical, conservative, fundamental, independent, Gospel-preaching, immersion baptizing, etc. We don't have idolatry, surely? How many churches do you know of that -don't- have a 'cross' affixed to the wall behind the pulpit? I can't say that I remember -any-. They pretty much 'all' have them. When you partake of the Lord's Supper, if your group is of any size at all, you have the fancy silver plates and cup holders. What is on the top of the cup lid? A cross. And not a plain cross, either. It is a variation of the Celtic cross with its 'spirit-collector'. Your communion table has the inscription "IHS". If there are any vestments your church uses, or Bible Book Store-bought doily covers for the communion elements, they are inscribed or emroidered with "IHS". No, that does not mean "In His Service". It comes from pagan origins which Rome incorporated into the "church". It stands for Isis, Horus and Set; ancient Egyptian deities. (Isis and Horus, the "madonna-queen of heaven and child"; Set, the ancient Baal which Israel was in continual idolatry with)
Many people and churches like to have "pictures of Jesus" on their walls. What did Jesus look like? Since about the 70's and the charismatic-hippy "Jesus people" times, the fish symbol has come back into vogue. Somehow it is a "more spiritual" symbol than the cross, because it supposedly represents a more "New Testament church" type of mentality, instead of the traditions of the parents, from whom they were rebelling. If you want to "let people know you are a Christian" you wear necklaces and earrings with crosses and fish. You might have a fish symbol sticker on the back window of your car. In advertising your business, you want people to know you're a Christian... put a fish symbol in your yellow page ad. (I guess they won't know you are a Christian unless you bedeck yourself with these trinkets..?!)
What did God say? You shall not make a graven image...or any likeness. That expression "any likeness" pretty much takes care of even photographic technology that didn't exist back then. As Moses is reviewing these laws with Israel at the end of 40 years, he reminds them, "Therefore you shall carefully watch over your souls, for you have not seen any likeness in the day Jehovah spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire," (Deu4:15)
What did they see? Thunders, lightnings, heavy cloud, sound of ram's horn, smoke, fire, earthquakes. (Ex19:16-18) Boundaries were set around the mountain so that people could not approach, on the pain of death. But they did not see a "form" to God; because "God is Spirit".(Jn4:24) And a "spirit does not have flesh and bones". (Lk24:39) And so Moses warns them not to make images in human male or female form, or of animals, fish, creepy crawlies, nor of the sun and anything in the heavens. (Deu4:15-19)
Well...what's wrong with having a 'cross'? It helps us "remember" Jesus death when He redeemed us from our sin; we are not bowing to it, nor worshiping it. What did Jesus give us for "remembering" His death by? The Lord's Supper. "..do this in remembrance of Me.." (1Cor11:24-25, Lk22:19) Not a "likeness" of His cross. Rome crucified Jesus on a cross, and the "church" of Rome has perpetuated the symbol of the cross throughout the centuries, both in warfare and in personal religious ritual.
Israel didn't think the cross was so bad either. They had one, you know. The bronze serpent that Moses had erected during one of Israel's rebellions, when God sent snakes in judgment, and people were dying. (Nu21:9) It wasn't until Hezekiah came along that he tore it down. (2Kg18:4) And it says of Hezekiah in that context, "He trusted in Jehovah the God of Israel, and after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him [Ed: including David?]; and he clung to Jehovah; he did not turn aside from following Him, and kept His commands that Jehovah commanded Moses." (2Kg18:5-6)
What is God's attitude toward idolatry? God is "a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of fathers on sons, on the third and on the fourth generation, to those that hate Me.." (vs5) If you cling to these trinkets, God calls that act "hatred" of Him.
Perhaps you have engaged in and entertained these idols? Perhaps you don't think you're worshiping them, but you cling to them. Have you wondered why your life seems to not be very fruitful? Perhaps this contributes to it? Up until now you have likely been in 'ignorance' of this matter. "Then being offspring of God, we ought not to suppose that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone, engraved by art and the imagination of man. Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now strictly commands all men everywhere to repent," (Acts17:29-30)
Notice that when Babylon falls, God is going to make a complete end of all forms of satan-worship. This will include what we often term "the arts". "The sound of harpers, and of musicians, and flutists, and of trumpeters will never more be heard in you." And notice... "And every craftsmen of every craft [the ones who make these objects] will never more be found in you." (Rev18:22) Yes, you were likely deceived, because "by [Babylon's] sorcery all the nations were misled." (vs23)
If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, you can receive forgiveness for your ignorance. I have often wept inwardly, in retrospect, over all the music I have performed in the past...all the Masses and other choral works of the domain of Rome. I did it in ignorance, seeing it as "art", not realizing it was in worship of satan. There were other works of other eastern religions we performed, too. Beautiful music! But, to satan's demons.
If you have your collection of these things, you need to throw them out, confess your error to the Lord, and receive His forgiveness, because He is "faithful and righteous that He may forgive us the sins, and may cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1Jn1:9)
"Turn back to Him against whom you have made a deep revolt, sons of Israel. For in that day each shall despise his silver idols and his golden idols, which your hands have made for you; a sin." (Is31:6-7)
#3 -Do Not Take the Lord's name in Vain
You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain.. (vs7)
"You shall not revile God.." (Ex22:28) And the beast "..opened its name in blaspheme toward God, to blaspheme His name..." (Rev13:6)
What's in a name? In our 'western' (American) culture parents spend a lot of time, often, thinking of what name to give their children. Typically, it would seem, the choice of name is based on what is in vogue at the time, or what 'sounds' cute to the ear. Those who are more "snobby" will name their children after parents or grandparents. And so you will end up with "So-n-so the third or forth". Or if father was "Charles", the son will be "Chuck". Etc.
As English-speaking people we think it unique, the names the Native American people have, "Running Bear", "Eagle's Feather", "Crazy Horse", etc. But as one reads the book of Hosea, his children were given names of meaning related to Israel. Names like "God Will Sow", "No Mercy", "Not-My-People", etc. (Hos ch1)
Indeed, in God's agenda names have great significance. Believers are promised a "new name". (Rev2:17) This is because God has various names. Names label the person as to their character. When Jesus wrenches the kingdoms of the world away from satan, the name on His thigh will be "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev19:16) Before He was born, it was prophesied, "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Is9:6)
So, what does it mean to take His name in "vain" or to "revile" His name? It incorporates several things. First of all, to "curse". Wishing misfortune upon God, taunting Him, discrediting His character. A prime example might be how the Mormons suggest that Jesus and Lucifer were "brothers"; thus, degrading Jesus to the loathesome condition of satan's rebellion and condemnation.
A more commonly recognized form of using God's name inappropriately is in swearing. People will invoke God's name to "damn" people, objects and situations. If they are being 'nicer' because they are more 'refined', they will say "Gosh darn". Or from a more cowboy western mentality, "Dad gummit". But they mean exactly the same thing! And there are so many variations we won't utter here. What we have is quite enough. Anybody who has been in the world at all, has heard them. And, yes, after hearing them so much, have we also uttered them ourselves, or thought them?
And then, there is the one people don't think of much. In fact, when they do it they -think- they are exuding superior "spirituality". The more "spiritual" the prayer, the more "Lord"s they will sprinkle in. If they are making plans or promises, they will sugar-coat their boasts with "Lord willing..." There are some who, for every activity they do, particularly if they are around others they suppose to be Christians, will stop everything and say, "Let's pray about this" and they will lead in "prayer", closing with "In Jesus' name". Now... this activity has been "blessed". Thing is, when somebody's back gets stabbed, the one wielding the dagger is usually this 'spiritual' one. When orders are promised for a certain date, and not delivered for months at a time, somehow as a subscriber suggested about one such person/organization, God's "Lord willing..." must have "changed His plans"!!
And finally, the situation we speak of periodically. There is that which is called "Christian" and invokes "In Jesus' name...." But they engage in all sorts of sorcery; being filled with demons, engaging in demonic manifestations, and false signs and wonders. They call it the "power of God". They attribute to God, the works of satan. They attribute to the Holy Spirit, the works of demonic spirits. They "pervert the Scriptures to their own destruction" (2Pt3:16)
Saying the words, "Lord, Lord" does not make things right. It does not turn evil into good. It does not turn a sinner into a saint.
Jesus said, "And why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?" (Lk6:46) A person who claims to be a Christian, and thus 'loves' God will also "keep [His] commandments". (Jn14:15) But all these today who invoke "Lord, Lord" and "In Jesus' name..." are actually throwing away God's commandments. They claim that Doctrine is a "wall of division" against love and unity. They use "good words and fair speeches [to] deceive the hearts of the simple" as they actually DIVIDE PEOPLE AWAY FROM God's commandments [doctrine]. (Rom16:17-18) They suggest that it is alright to be "united" even though they don't "speak the same thing" and are not of "the same mind and in the same judgment". (1Cor1:10)
There was a situation where some Jewish exorcists used Jesus' name in vain, "..Jesus whom Paul preaches..", and paid the penalty by being attacked and wounded by the demons. (Acts19:13-17)
The second half of this commandment, which people often exclude, "Jehovah will not leave unpunished the one who takes His name in vain." (vs7b)
In our worship and service it is not enough to repeat over and over in song, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there just something about that name..." in "vain repetition as the heathen do." (Mt6:7)
Hear Jesus' verdict: "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name...do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them, I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!" (Mt7:21-23)
#4 -Remember the Sabbath
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy; six days you shall labor and do all your work; and the seventh day is a sabbath to Jehovah your God; you shall not do any work, you, and your son, and your daughter, your male slave and your slave-girl, and your livestock, and your stranger who is in your gates. (vs8-10)
Where did the sabbath come from? Just 'here' at Mt. Sinai? Notice that it is a "sabbath -TO- Jehovah". It commemorates the completion of creation. God created the heavens and the earth, and then "rested the seventh day" in commemoration of the "ending" of his work. (Gen2:2-3)
In other studies regarding God's "Covenants & Dispensations" we have considered the 7000 year program for this earth, how, after evil has been judged, and satan is bound in the pit, Christ will set up a righteous rule over the world from Jerusalem, and all implements of war will be dismantled. "..nor shall they learn war any more." (Is2:4, Mic4:3) It will be the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles where God is "dwelling with them". Where the earth will be "full of the knowledge of Jehovah.." (Is11:9) Where after the Lord has "broken the rod of the wicked" the whole "earth is at rest." (Is14:5,7)
Israel was a unique people. Everything about their laws, rituals and feasts were a symbolic representation of God's historic plan for the world. Passover through Pentecost have already been fulfilled, right on schedule, according to God's foreknowledge and eternal plan. (Acts2:23,etc) And so, Israel, on a regular basis, also kept the sabbath, as a foreshadow of the coming Millennium of peace.
However, notice that this is the first recorded account of God -commanding- its observance. Adam and Eve, certainly were not. Nor was Noah upon disembarking the ark after the flood, when God expanded on humanity's generic covenants, when He added "meat" to man's diet, forbad the eating of blood, and gave a special edict regarding murder. (Gen ch9)
And notice that when Jesus arrives on the scene, the prime accusation against Him is that "He does not keep the Sabbath." (Jn9:16) As He would make claim that "the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (Mt12:8) He would explain, "The sabbath came into being for man's sake, not man for the sabbath's sake." (Mk2:27) When Israel first kept the sabbath on the days when manna didn't fall, "..the people rested on the seventh day." (Ex16:30) The Sabbath is a "sabbath of rest". (Lev23:3, Heb4:9) When Israel had been rebelling and were taken captive, God said that the 'land' would now have its rest. (2Ch36:21)
Even the world understands the concept of "rest". People have "days off" from work. And like Israel had their feasts, people of the world have "vacations", more extended periods 'off' from work. The need for rest was learned during the war years (I forget if it was WW1 or 2). It is told how some factory producing munitions was working 'round the clock, 24/7. I don't remember the full account, and the reasons 'why' they decided to try it, but they decided to shut the factory down on one day of the week. Totally. And the factory's output actually 'increased' from what it had been when they were operating 24/7. All things need "rest".
So... does the Church keep the Sabbath? When the Jerusalem council decided what, of all the Jewish laws, were necessary for Gentiles to observe (Acts15), the Sabbath was not on the list.
The Sabbath was specifically a covenant between God and Israel. " Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations....It is a perpetual sign between Me and the children of Israel" (Ex31:13-17) Israel and the (predominantly gentile) Church are not the same; and many of the covenants are different.
When Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, writes, he says, "One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind. (Rom14:5-6) In chiding the Galations about their legalism he references their observation of "days and months and times and years.." (Gal4:10) In another place, "..let no one judge you in...respect of holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbaths. For these are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ." (Col2:16-17)
Christ was the "end of the Law for righteousness" (Rom10:4) It seems apparent that the Sabbath was one area in which Jesus made some 'adjustments' in terms of its observance. So, while we might not keep the 'letter' of the Jewish law of the Sabbath, where they could barely do little more than get up and eat, and otherwise remain in their dwellings; these foreshadows point to Christ. We worship Christ, who is the "image of God's essence". (Heb1:3) If we observe a special day, we do so to the Lord. If we don't observe a special day, as Believers our whole lives are unto the Lord. No matter what we do, "we are the Lord's". (Rom14:6-8)
So, if a group is observing a special day for worship and exhortation, what day do they meet? Saturday or Sunday? Many who observe Saturday condemn the observance of Sunday as a pagan Roman day, worshiping the Sun deity. If they use that logic, I guess they didn't notice that Saturday was to the Roman deity "Saturn"; from which Saturnalia and X-mass come from. They claim that there is "no N.T. reference to Sunday worship"; that such a thing came about when Rome took over and made the Church "pagan". Well, the "romanizing" of the Church did not begin until the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and the matter became 'official' in the mid 300's AD.
But notice that there are references to the "first of the week". (Jn20:9, Acts20:7, 1Cor16:2) which seems to have come to be known as the "Lord's Day". (Rev1:10) Many have come to suggest that this came about due to the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the "first of the sabbaths" (Mt28:1 -litv) "Sabbath" also means, "seven days" or "week". The primary thrust and motivation of their preaching was "..through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." (Acts4:2) Since Jesus is the "firstfruit" of the resurrection (1Cor15:20-23), and Jesus Himself said that He was "Lord of the Sabbath"; it certainly seems appropriate to observe the "seventh day" (out of the seven) on the "first of the seven", the day Jesus was raised. We serve a "risen" Savior!
Also, please notice that Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came and indwelt the Church, was also on the first day of the week. Pentecost was observed by the Jewish Law throughout the centuries. Notice, "And you shall number to you from the NEXT DAY AFTER THE SABBATH [Ed: the day after 'Saturday' is 'Sunday'], from the day you bring the sheaf of the wave offering; they shall be seven complete sabbaths; the next day after the seventh sabbath, you shall number fifty days; and you shall bring near a new food offering to Jehovah.." (Lev23:15-16) This offering where the bread was baked "WITH leaven". (vs17) Not only did Christ rise from the dead on the first of the week, observed by Jewish Law with that "wave sheaf" the day after the sabbath; the Holy Spirit came on that day, also. The prime characteristic of a Believer into Jesus Christ is the residing Holy Spirit. (Rom8:9,14,16)
Notice; these references are -before- Rome got into the act.
Oh yes... there is one other argument the "7th day..." people use; when the early apostles went about on their missionary journeys, it always says that they went "on the sabbath" to preach and meet. (Acts 13:14,42, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4) But notice that in most of those cases, they were going into the synagogues. When do Jews meet? On the 7th day. Jesus commanded to start preaching to Jews first, and spread out from there. (Acts1:8), which is what Paul proclaimed. (Rom1:16, 2:9-10) If they were to reach Jews as they travelled, they needed to go where the Jews were; the synagogues. And 'when' the Jews met; on the Sabbath. It would do no good to go on Sunday expecting to find Jews; they wouldn't be there.
So, what day should -you- observe? Sunday? OK. Saturday? OK. If you meet on Saturdays, don't condemn others for meeting on Sunday, and not Saturday as you do. If you meet on Sunday, don't despise the 7th day people -for- meeting on Saturday, if they preach the Gospel. There are cults who meet on Saturday, and don't preach the Gospel. We are not talking about them. Remember that Paul exhorts, "Let each one be fully assured in his own mind...why do you judge your brother? Or also why do you despise your brother? For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ...so then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God." (~Rom14:4-12)
However, even though the N.T. doesn't specifically command a "sabbath" observance, God did command it 'here' at Sinai. (Ex20) And it's something God observed in the beginning at creation. So, whether we observe it as Sunday or Saturday (or some other day, or every day), one who loves God I should think would -want- to "keep it holy" as God "sanctified it", observing it as a -rest- "to the Lord".
#5 -Honor Father and Mother
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you. (vs12)
This is another command that has been abused down through history; primarily by parents. If we remember in our studies back to Jacob, perhaps it will be remembered how he had his grown sons tip-toing around him, and afraid to do what needed doing sometimes, so as not to upset his self-centered emotions. Not, of course, that -they- were saintly by any means!
How many parents, who refuse to let their grown children leave the nest, will lay guilt trips on them with this command. If the grown child doesn't cater to the parents, the parents will whine back about "honoring" parents, with, "the Bible says you're supposed to obey us."
Let us look at the child's duties to the parents, and then see how Jesus exemplified what we learn.
First of all, "children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Eph6:1) And, indeed, it is the duty of parents to raise up their children, "..in the nuture and admonition of the Lord." (vs4) "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Pr22:6) Notice that parents train their "children". Training as children is in order to know how to be as adults. And yes, sometimes the matter must be -forced- with the "rod of correction". (Pr13:24, 22:15, 23:13)
But once the child becomes a man, God commanded, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh." (Gen2:24) A lot of people have things twisted around. They think that "family" is the closest bond. The bonds of "blood". The sibling descendents of their parents. But the bond of marriage is stronger. No matter how close brothers and/or sisters were, when they get married, that close bond -MUST- give way to the new one, the marriage. And it is a MOST UNCONSCIONABLE (SELFISH) thing that many families do, when they refuse to let go, and continually meddle in the lives and relationship of the new couple. But God said to, first, "LEAVE" the old family. And then "CLEAVE" to the spouse. "Leave" is easy enough to understand. But "cleave" means to "cling to, stick close, keep close, be joined." After all, they become "one flesh". There is nothing closer than "one". They are no longer answerable to parents or siblings, but to each other, first and foremost.
And then, there is the "honor". Eventually the parents become old and need care. They can no longer work. This is what "honor" is about. Do we know this from Scripture? The Jews, in figuring out a work-around to God's design came up with Corban. A child could dedicate something "to God", and then not be required to provide for their parents. And Jesus denounced this. (Mk7:11-12) This word "honor" is also used in connection with financial support of those who "labor in word and doctrine" and Paul uses the example of the ox treading out the grain, and further, "The laborer is worthy of his reward." (1Tim5:17-18) Honor them by providing for their needs.
This may seem like an extra financial burden. But God exhorts that in so-doing "your days may be long". When a child, obey them. (Eph6:1) When you are older, and so are they, you "honor" them. (Eph6:2-3) You put forth to honor them, "so that..it may go well with you.." (Deu5:16) This is God's way. Obey Him first, putting your money where your mouth is when you say you "love" Him; and then He promises "and test Me now with this, says the Lord of Hosts, to see if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you, and pour out a blessing for you, until you cannot contain it." (Mal3:10)
So... did Jesus follow this? After all, He was God's Son. They went to the feast in Jerusalem, and the rest of the family headed home, and Jesus stayed in Jerusalem, learning from the teachers. When Joseph and Mary finally found Him, He acted surprised that they would be concerned about Him, "Do you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" And then it says, "He went with them..and..was subject to (obeyed) them." (Lk2:49-51)
But when Jesus was a man, his mother came around, trying to "boss" Him regarding the wine that had run out at the wedding, and Jesus responds to her, "Woman (not 'mom' or 'mother'), what is that to Me and to you? My hour has not yet come." (Jn2:4) He is making it known that He is not subject to her, but is on His Father's agenda now.
But then, also note, when Jesus is on the cross, about to give His life, he expresses His "will and testament" and gives John the duties of the son regarding Mary. (Jn19:26-27) Essentially, adopting Mary into John's family. (Apparently Joseph must have been dead at this point?)
Some people teach that Christian 'adult' children should obey their unsaved parents. But this 'honor' doesn't necessarily mean that. To follow Christ often involves -leaving- "..father, or mother, or wife.." (Mt19:29) because being His disciple doesn't necessarily involve "peace" and harmony. Quite often animosities are stirred up as the "sword" cuts into those earthly relationships, and family members become enemies. We sometimes are called upon to "lose" our earthly life, in order to "find" it in Christ. (Mt11:34-39)
A prime example of this in Jesus' life: As Jesus is beginning His ministry, His family and home-town people thought that Jesus had pretty much gone 'off His rocker'. "He is insane" (Mk3:21) and so they were trying to "take hold of Him" and get Him home and "talk some sense" into Him. In the mean time the scribes are harrassing Him, labeling His work as being demonic, and about then, His 'siblings' and Mary come looking for Him, "calling Him". (Mk3:31) And Jesus is informed that His "family" is there, looking for Him. You can be sure He knows 'why' they are there. Notice the "distance" He puts between Himself and them, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" (vs33) And He then tells His mission, His new family of those who are Believers. Jesus never married an earthly woman. His 'marriage' was to His Father's will. When He "left" His 'mother', He "cleaved" to what His mission was.
But even though there were these squabbles, and other arguments with His "siblings" who didn't believe in Him (Jn7:5), He knew that His siblings were -there- to care for His mother. She did not need Him for the daily support. But when it came time for Him to die, as her 'first-born' He made official His "honoring" of Mary. Even in this, He "fulfilled the Law". (Mt5:17)
#6 -Do Not Murder
You shall not murder. (vs13)
"To all there is an appointed time, even a time for every purpose under the heavens...a time to kill.." (Ecc3:1,3)
Some respected translations say "thou shalt not kill". Does the Bible contradict itself? When Israel took possession of the promised land, God would tell them to utterly wipe out its inhabitants, 'killing' them. Back in the era of the US involvement in Vietnam, 'Hanoi Jane' was proclaiming that US soldiers were "murderers". What does this commandment mean?
Jesus explains it. "You have heard that it was said.. "Do not commit murder! ..but I say to you, Everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be liable to the Judgment." (Mt5:21-22)
When Cain killed Abel, it was Cain's anger which led to the deed. (Gen4:5-7) A bit later, Lamech killed someone in self-defense. (Gen4:23) A different deal. As part of the post-flood covenant, God speaks of "avenging" the death of someone who is murdered. (Gen9:5-6) Murder must be avenged.
On the other hand, there are deaths which are not "premeditated". God set up cities of refuge for those who 'accidentally' killed someone. (Nu35:6,etc) For when a person kills "without enmity". (Num35:22-23) Or where he was not "lying in wait" and planning the deed. (Ex21:13) That they could go and be 'safe' from the hand of the avenger of blood.
There are deaths which happen in warfare, as David "explains" to Joab to ease Joab's conscience (as well as his own) regarding David's murdering of Uriah through battle, "For the sword devours one as well as another." (2Sam11:25) While David spoke a truth about warfare, he twisted it to salve his own conscience for the murder he had committed. In that case, a "time to kill" became a "murder" because of David's premeditation, of his heart.
There is a mentality today which would disarm the common citizen. Certain administrations would seek to confiscate all guns, even though statistics show that an armed citizen is a safer one. If a criminal thinks a gun might be facing him when he breaks into someone's home, he will be less-likely to commit the burglary. What does God say about this? "If the thief is found breaking in, and is stricken and dies, no blood shall be shed for him." (Ex22:2) For the most part, private citizens are still allowed to defend themselves, even to the result of the death of the burglar. But there is becoming more and more of a mentality that causes the one defending their home to feel guilty for "murdering" the burglar.
There is a mentality which calls Capital Punishment "murder". And yet, God's Law is quite plain. If someone premeditates, and kills another human being, the murder is to be 'avenged' with the blood of the murderer. "..dying he shall die." (Ex21:12) He took a life. The death MUST be avenged. When societies refuse to obey God's Law, they heap up to themselves God's judgment, just like the blood of Abel was "crying up to [God] from the ground." (Gen4:10)
Furthermore, when Capital Punishment is not meted out justly and quickly, further murders are perpetuated. "Where sentence on an evil work is not executed speedily, on account of this the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." (Ecc8:11) Yes, Capital Punishment -IS- a deterrent. And yes, if the 'justice' system did not take months and years to convict, and prolong the ultimate sentence with multiplied appeals, we would see the murder rate go down quickly, drastically.
But, again, where does murder come from? From the heart. From hatred and anger. Remember how this part of the Commandments illustrates the "Love your neighbor as yourself", "the second is like it"? If a person obeys that -second- "great" command (Mt22:39, Lev19:18), there will not be anger, will there. And if there is not anger, there will not be murder.
#7 -Do Not Commit Adultery
You shall not commit adultery. (vs14)
Adultery == "Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse."
Fornication == "Sexual intercourse between partners who are not married to each other" When reading the history of this word, it comes from the practice of brothels where prostitutes would "ply their trade". This word is closely linked, originally, with "whoredom".
And then, there is the question of "sex before marriage".
Let us consider this last question first. In order to do so, we must consider the definition of "marriage". Once we have done so, we can, in turn, fully understand the first two terms correctly, and thus, God's command.
What is marriage? According to the dictionary, the first definition one finds is of a "legal union" of a man and woman as husband and wife. Marriage is that piece of paper. It has also come to include the whole picture of the man and wife joining each other; and so, by default, marriage has come to include the sexual union. But in the very strictest sense, marriage is what the couple appears to be to others. What others see them to be.
But in the beginning when God brought Eve to Adam, was that a "legal" union? No. It was a "physical" union. "This now at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh..they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife..." (Gen2:23-25) When they sign the marriage certificate, are they "naked"? When they stand before the preacher or justice of the peace (a "legal" position), are they "one"?
Where did the whole concept of 'standing before the preacher' come from? There were many pagan rituals where fertility rites were performed. A couple would be 'blessed' by the priest, and then the couple would engage in sex in the vicinity of, or 'in' the temple. In some cultures, once they had been thus united, they would then be killed and offered in sacrifice to their deities... to insure bountiful crops and perpetuation of the race. Is our concept of the 'traditional' wedding descended from such paganism? So many of the other things certainly are, like throwing the rice, etc. Even in "christian" churches the common expression is that the couple "stands before the -ALTAR-". There is no Scripture where God commands such a thing regarding -His- altar. And yet, so many Christians will feel that they -must- have one of these weddings, to be blessed by God. Otherwise, they feel they will be "committing adultery" if they are together, without having first been "blessed" and "pronounced" by the preacher..."in the church". Also, remember that the preacher is a "legal" representative of the state. He must possess a "license". And he usually says something like, "..by the laws vested in me by the state of [name of state], I pronounce you man and wife.."
When Isaac "married" Rebekah, it says that he "..brought her into the tent...and took her...and she became his wife." (Gen24:67)
In amongst all the laws on immorality, notice one item: "And when a man lures a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay her dowry for a wife to himself." (Ex22:16) All the other laws on immorality carried the death penalty, but where two were together in their "virginity", they were to become considered husband and wife.
Society looks at the piece of paper. But God looks at the physical union. If a couple are together, it is not a question of whether or not they -should- "get" married. They -already- "just -got- married" when they slept together. So, back to our #3 we opened with: there is no such thing as "sex -before- marriage". Sex -IS- marriage... in God's eyes. The world might label them as "not married", but in God's eyes they are "husband and wife". Two became one.
As such, fornication in the sense of "sleeping around" or being promiscuous in prostitution is actually "adultery". The first person you were with, you "married". Anybody after that is "adultery". You might not have signed any papers with the first one, but you married them, in God's sight, nonetheless. So, your 'second' act of "fornication", because of the first "marriage", -IS- adultery.
Thus, we see that there are really only two types of sex. Marriage and Adultery. God says, once you have married someone, and two have "become one", do not be unfaithful to that marriage. Do not pervert that union by being with someone else. When two become one, not only does God's design create the single zygote out of the (two) egg and sperm, there is also emotional and spiritual union. If a person loves his "neighbor as himself", he is not going to do to his spouse what he wouldn't want his spouse doing to him...being unfaithful and breaking that trust.
Adultery... don't do it!
#8 -Do Not Steal
You shall not steal. (vs15)
This commandment is rather simple to understand, isn't it. Don't take something not belonging to you.
One primary fault of our US 'justice' system is that when somebody is caught stealing, they merely serve prison time, and/or pay fines. But rarely are they required to make restitution to the parties they stole from. It is assumed the victims have insurance against theft. But God's Law commanded that "he shall return what he got by robbery" (Lev6:4) Not only was he to return what was stolen, he was to add interest, "and the fifth part he shall add to it" (vs5)
Again, "love your neighbor as yourself". There are some who try to be "communal" regarding -other- people's property. "What's yours is mine." But the Law was specific regarding the rights of private property ownership. Very strict laws about boundary markers of land. (Deu19:14) In fact, that was an item for the curse, "Cursed is he who removes his neighbor's landmark." (Deu27:17) It is good and proper to 'own' property. Even for Christians. (Acts5:4) And it is proper to guard such property from theft. If you would not want your property stolen, as you love your neighbor as yourself, you will not steal his. As Jesus taught, "And according as you desire that men should do to you, you also do the same to them." (Lk6:31)
Most laws on theft (of THINGS) required, only, restitution. But in the case of adultery, one is stealing his neighbor's spouse. Since those "two [became] one", such theft is like stealing that person, himself; his very life. There is -NO- possible 'restitution' to erase the wrong done.
"So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; everyone touching her shall not be innocent. They do not despise a thief, if he steals to fill his appetite when he is hungry. But [if] he is found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the goods of his house. He who commits adultery [with] a woman lacks heart; he [who] does it [is] a destroyer of his own soul. He shall find a wound and dishonor, and his shame shall not be wiped away. For jealousy [is] the rage of a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance, He will not lift up the face of every ransom, nor will he consent if you multiply the bribes." (Pr6:29-35)
#9 -Do Not Bear False Witness
You shall not testify a witness of falsehood against your neighbor. (vs16)
Typically, when this commandment is taught in Sunday school classes to children, the summary is along the lines of, "don't tell a lie". They are exhorted to always "tell the truth".
And, indeed, it is said that "..all the lying ones, their part will be in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone.." (Rev21:8) Because, as Jesus taught, Satan "is a liar, and the father of it" (Jn8:44b)
However, this commandment, more specifically, has to do with "being a witness". When on a witness stand in a trial, tell the truth. "You shall not..turn aside after many in order to pervert justice..you shall not favor the lowly in his lawsuit..you shall keep far away from a false matter..do not kill the innocent and the righteous..you shall not take a bribe..you shall not oppress an alien." (~Ex23:2-9)
The rich and famous, due to their wealth and fancy lawyers, tend to not serve time like poorer people do. People like T.Kennedy or O.J.Simpson can pay the money, in essence 'bribing' the system, and go free for murder. But a poor black or hispanic person from the slums will serve most of a life-time for something far less significant. A president from the (self-proclaimed) "most ethical administration" can lie repeatedly and avoid impeachment with the aid of high-priced attorneys, while righteous underlings are ushered away from their White House jobs, out the back doors, in security vans, in disgrace; merely for having served under the previous administration and being trustworthy and conservative. If the woman is pretty and cries just the right kind of tears, she can finagle her way out of trouble. How many "deals" do the rich engineer in the 'back rooms' by means of intrigue? Intrigue is just another word for dishonesty... often by "manipulating" the truth.
This is what satan did to Eve. "Did God say...?" Well, God -really- knows that if you eat the fruit...you'll know things. You won't really die. And, indeed, when Eve ate the fruit, she was still walking around, very much "alive". Thing is, the "truth" satan told was only -part- of the story. And by leaving out the part about the spiritual death, his partial truth WAS a lie.
In trials, people are asked to "swear" to tell the truth. They swear "on the Bible". In other cases, people swear by their "dead mother, may she rest in peace"..."cross my heart and hope to die". And then they lie anyway. Jesus taught, Don't swear at all. Just be truthful.
"But let your word be Yes, yes; No, no. For whatever is more than these is from evil." (Mt5:37)
#10 -Do Not Covet
You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male slave, or his slave-girl, or his ox, or his ass, or anything which belongs to your neighbor. (vs17)
If "love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev19:18) is the "second great commandment" (Mt22:39) upon which Numbers 5-10 hinge, Number 10 is the foundation and root upon which 5-9 are based.
Coveting is the [SELF]-ish part. Why does a person become angry with another, to in turn murder him? Something about that person got in the way of -ME- and -MY- desires. A person will not commit adultery if he doesn't first covet and desire her, that belongs to someone else. Jesus said that looking with lust was every bit as guilty as the physical act, because the lust motivates the act. (Mt5:28) That is what's in the heart. Why would a person steal something, unless he saw something he wanted, but didn't have? Why would a person lie and give false witness unless he perceived some 'advantage' for himself?
In order to fulfill 5-9 a person might be able to 'do unto others as you would have them do to you'. (Lk6:31) But that is still selfishly motivated. A person can be nice to another, IN ORDER THAT they will be nice back. You know, "A man who has friends must, himself, be friendly" (Pr18:24 nkjv/kjv) A person can help another, in the hopes that that person will remember, and return the favor. Commandmenst 5-9 are all in respect to PHYSICAL acts.
But to COVET is a matter of the mind and heart. It is where the desires are. A little child learns this first thing. Some of his first uttered expressions are, "No! Mine, mine...! Meee, meee!!" If there is no coveting, there is no problem with 5-9. The fact that we have so much trouble with 5-9 is because our -hearts- are evil and desperately wicked. (Jer17:9) We are all going our "OWN way". (Is53:6)
"From where do wars and fightings among you come? Is it not from this, from your lusts which war in your members? You desire [covet], and do not have. You murder, and are jealous, and cannot obtain. You fight and war, yet you have not..and..you receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your lusts." (Jas4:1-3)
Coveting and lust are relatives to each other. Remember how Jesus taught about adultery, that if the looking after a woman is motivated by lust, committing the act in the thoughts, coveting her; even such looking is sinful. (Mt5:28)
Rather than merely being "even", giving what we hope to receive back, and thus being 'equal' with our neighbor, we actually need to have a heart like Christ's...
"..having the same love...doing nothing according to party spirit or self-glory, but in humility, esteeming one another to -SURPASS- themselves; each not looking at their own things, but each also at the things of others." (Phil2:2-4) "Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal6:2)
"..obeying from the heart.." (Rom6:17) "For he is not a Jew that is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that outwardly in flesh; but he is a Jew that is one inwardly, and circumcision is of heart, in spirit, not in letter; of whom the praise is not from men, but from God." (Rom2:28-29)
When Israel heard the Law they replied, "All which Jehovah has spoken, we will do.." (Ex19:8,24:7) However, God knowing their hearts responded, "..they have well said all that they have spoken. Oh that this heart of theirs would be like this always, to fear Me, and to keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them, and with their sons forever." (Deu5:28-29)
"..and you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man do, he shall live by them. I am Jehovah." (Lev18:5)