Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Commandments Framework

I had the privilege to instruct on the First 3 Commandments recently and my research to outline the discussion revealed a different dimension on them than I had expected. So much so that I am still studying the subject a few weeks later now.

Many seekers struggle with finding a connection to God in their journey to discover Christianity. We (yes I will always be a seeker as well) come under the circumstances of our lives and pray for Guidance, or, in other words, seek "His Will" for us. Our Mass is full of Liturgical prayer seeking Gods Will be done as well. While studying for this presentation, I kept being drawn back to Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 :

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven."

If we seek the Will of God we don't have to look very far. God made a series of communications to us in various styles, physical, verbal and written which is shown throughout the OT to reveal his "Will". He demonstrated his Natural-Moral Law through Abraham's obedient Sacrifice of Isaac, through the passover and many other events which all point toward obedience to His Will. God called upon Moses, made a Covenant with Moses, gave Moses a kingdom and judgement power. When Moses tried to argue and debate Gods intention...with God ....God then set him straight with what exactly he wants his children to obey.

Exodus 19:9 :

"The Lord said to him: Lo, now will I come to thee in the darkness of a cloud, that the people may hear me speaking to thee, and may believe thee for ever."

Here is our Father, once again finding even His chosen not getting it right. So in Exodus 20, God writes the 10 Commandments on tablets, with His finger, so we get it right, and he adds the word(s) for ever. This Law is carried over from the OT into the NT, and forever.

Moses doesn't handle it well, Moses later breaks the tablets in utter confusion and frustration and then is given another set, which may or may not be in the Ark. Here we are in only the second book of 73 books of the Word and it was clearly documented what the Will of God is.

Just to be on the safe side, God made another full revelation of His Will. If we couldn't comprehend his teaching from the physical examples (IE. Abraham) or verbal (IE. Orders to Moses) or written (the Tablets), He would just come down and show us how to find and do His Will. He begot Jesus. And Jesus illuminated what it is to obey the Commandments (God's Will). Jesus Christ is the only living human example of complete obedience to all 10 Commandments. Christ also made clear the Law carry-over from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant in Matthew.

Matthew 5:17:

"Do not think I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, I have come…to fulfil them."

This is the Natural Law and the Moral Law of His teaching, written in our hearts. It is also known as Forming our Conscience.

While we like to think we can simplify a comprehension of the Commandments, boiling the Ten down into two main concepts ( as Love of God [1-3] and Love of Neighbor[4-10] ), and leave it there, we should not. The first 3 are held as Love of God by literal hermeneutics, the first 3 are also 3 functions of that Love.

  • The first Commandment is the Object of our Worship
  • The second Commandment is the Manner of our Worship
  • The third Commandment is Time for our Worship
Christ expands and amplifies the Commandments with excruciating detail and examples of violation, motive and intent in Matthew 7 and His Sermon on the Mount, its so hyperbolic...its almost embarrassing to read. The fact that he had to spell it out with such detail says so much about how repeatedly foolish and weak we are as children.

What I get from this first level of study, and as a product of obedience is stated by Christ in Matthew 6. We don't need to think that Gods Will is something mysterious and out of our mental reach. Be like Christ, behaviorally, in love and motive, and we have nothing to fear about all other concerns. He will take care of the rest.
(continued here)