Pastor Paul’s Blog August 7th, 2017
The 10 Commandments were given as a gift to God’s people as they wandered in the wilderness. The gift was intended to help them live in relationship with God and each other. Well, we all know how that turned out.
Today the 10 Commandments are still a gift and still intended to help us live in relationship with God and our neighbor. However, today, many Christians use it as a club to beat up others who they judge to fall short of following God’s Law.
Jesus puts the 10 Commandments and God’s Law as a whole into two sentences: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself!” Martin Luther understood this to mean that the Law was to help us to see and do that which is right, not just avoiding that which is wrong.
In our world today, there is a whole lot of finger pointing, emphasizing the wrongs of others and how they are not making the grade. This is happening politically, culturally and religiously. The 10 Commandments are used in all three areas as a weapon to put down others, to devalue others, to identify those other people as less worthy than ourselves. What is the saddest part of all? Many people in Christianity are the ones using God’s Law to do this.
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans the 2nd chapter, that when you judge others according to the law, you are breaking the 1st Commandment, for it is only God who can judge perfectly. Can actions or behaviors be judged as wrong or sinful hurting others or the creation that God has made? Yes, actions and behaviors and the folks who do them, that includes us, can be called to be accountable for them.
But the law is not the final word on how God judges us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. Indeed God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16 & 17
Lutherans have a Law and Gospel balancing act in our understanding of God’s Word (Bible) and how God choose to love us. If God knows we all fall short of following the law perfectly, and yet loves us and forgives us, how can we not do the same? Yes I know, God is God and we are mere mortals. But Jesus was human as well and showed us we can love and forgive, seeing the Law is a way of showing our love for God and each other.