Articles

TRANSFORMATION - Through Obedience to God's Law

In every culture Law is religious in origin. Law governs man and society. It establishes and declares the meaning of justice and righteousness. Therefore law is inescapably religious, for it establishes in practical fashion the ultimate concerns of a culture. The source of law is the god of that culture. If the law originates with the reason of man, then Man/Mankind/the State is the god of that society. If the law originates with God, then the LORD God Almighty is the God of that society.

Biblical Law is not so much a code as a Covenant. The purpose of Christ's atoning work was to restore man to a position of covenant-keeping instead of covenant-breaking. It was to enable him to keep the law by freeing him 'from the law of sin and death' (Rom. 8:2), so 'that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us' Rom. 8:4). Through Christ's atoning work Man is restored to a position of law-keeping. Hence the Law is absolutely central to our Christian faith. It is central to

· man's indictment (as a sentence of death against man the sinner), to
· man's redemption (in that Christ died Who, although the perfect law-keeper as the new Adam, died as man's substitute), and to
· man's sanctification (in that man grows in grace as he grows in law-keeping, for the law is the way of sanctification).


Because of the centrality of the Law, the Ten Commandments used to be read in church every Sunday, but in this age the custom is being neglected. May the following RESPONSIVE READINGS OF THE LAW help your congregation to appreciate and obey God's Commandments

WORDS OF JESUS FROM THE GOSPELS

Leader: You shall have no other gods before Me.
People: It is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."

Leader: You shall not make for yourself an idol.
People: God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Leader: You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God.

People: "Do not swear at all; either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool… Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

Leader: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

People: The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of
the Sabbath.


Leader: Honour your father and your mother.
People: For God said, "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death."

Leader: You shall not murder.
People: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father
in heaven.


Leader: You shall not commit adultery.
People: Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Leader: You shall not steal.
People: For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery… theft… These are what make a man
"unclean."


Leader: You shall not give false testimony.
People: For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks… For by your words you will be
acquitted; and by your words you will be condemned.


Leader: You shall not covet.

People: Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the
abundance of his possessions.



AS A RULE OF GRATITUTDE


Leader: Hear, O people of God, the law which the Lord speaks in your hearing this day, that you may
know His statutes and walk according to His ordinances.
People: Teach us, O Lord, the grace of your law, and give us life by Your Word.

Leader: The God who saved us in Jesus Christ gave this law, saying: I am the Lord your God! You
shall have no other gods before Me.
People: We will worship the Lord our God and serve only Him.

Leader: You shall not make yourself an image of anything to worship it.
People: Living no more in bondage to earthly gods, we will worship the Lord our God in spirit and in
truth.

Leader: You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord.
People: We will use the holy Name of God with reverence, praising Him in everything we do and say.

Leader: You shall observe the Sabbath by keeping it holy, for in six days you shall labour and do all
your work.
People: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Leader: The first part of the law is this great commandment:-
People: That we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our strength.

Leader: The second part of the Law is similar to the first: you shall honour your father and mother, that
you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving to you.
People: As children we will be obedient to our parents in the Lord; as parents we will correct our
children and guide them in the training and instruction of the Lord; we will respect the lawful
authorities appointed by God.

Leader: You shall not murder.
People: We will be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God
forgave us.

Leader: You shall not commit adultery.
People: We will use our bodies in ways that are holy and honourable, and abstain from immorality and
impurity.

Leader: You shall not steal.
People: We will do what we can for our neighbour's good, and work faithfully so that we may share
with the poor.

Leader: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
People: We will speak the truth with our neighbour in love, render judgments that are true and make for
peace, and not devise in our hearts any evil against anyone.

Leader: You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.
People: We will be content whatever the circumstances through the strength of Christ within us.

Leader: Thus we must love our neighbour as ourselves.
People: For the Lord requires of us to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.
Amen!


AS SUMMARISED IN MATTHEW 22:37-40

Leader: What is the great and first commandment?
People: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Leader: What is the second commandment like it?
People: Love your neighbour as yourself.
Leader: What does this mean?
People: Love is the fulfilling of the law.
Leader: To what does this call us?
People: To a life of faith working through love


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