Summary: The keeping of the Ten Commandments is simply not enough.
Obedience is the very best way to show what you believe.
Action is the key.
Do it immediately.
Joy you will receive.”
While I believe that this song holds a great deal of truth, it simply is not complete. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments for the Israelite community, God knew that obedience to a set of laws would never produce lasting joy. But more importantly, God knew that all human beings would fall short and sin, even those who were most rigorous when it came to following the letter of the law.
Consider the Pharisees. They contended that they not only followed the Ten Commandments but they added further instruction to purify themselves of all unrighteousness. Yet, Jesus did not commend them for their efforts. Rather, he called them hypocrites. In their attempts to obtain righteousness they had clearly deviated from God’s plan and the spirit of the Ten Commandments.
This is the message shared with us by Paul in the letter to the Philippians. He argues that there is not one iota we can do to deem ourselves worthy.
Paul was circumcised, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, and a Pharisee. In the NIV translation it says, “as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” Paul went so far as to persecute the church out of a sense of legalistic righteousness.
What God had created in an effort to bring us closer to Him had, in all actuality, pushed the self-made righteous farther away from God and God’s will for humanity. The Treasure Chest Study Bible puts it in this way: “God wants you to stop sinning. Stop lying. Stop cheating. Stop being rude… God wants you to clean all that out of your life so there is more room for him in it. That’s God’s goal for you.” When we are so caught up in our own behavior we can not be caught up in the richness of God.
Paul was able to come to that all important realization. Unfortunately, it took blindness and a spot light to catch his attention. Friends, if you are waiting for God to beam down a special message to you, wait no longer. It has already been delivered in the form of the Bible. God has spoken that we might all receive a Word that is just right for our hearts.
Stuart Briscoe, in his book entitled The Ten Commandments: Playing by the Rules, writes that God gave the Ten Commandments to show us our sin and lead us, convicted, to Jesus Christ the Savior. For it is by the blood of Jesus Christ that we are set free. It is only when we come to Christ that our life is giving true meaning. Christ alters our perception.
Briscoe shares the following personal story: “Once, on a plane, he had his Bible out, doing some catch-up reading. A stewardess came up and said, ‘Mustn’t spill coffee on the Good Book, must we?’ ‘No, we mustn’t,’ he responded. Awhile later another one had a word with him, then stayed and talked. She said, ‘You know, four years ago the Bible was a dead book to me. Then something happened, and I can’t explain it, but I can’t get enough of it. I devour it.’