Thursday, September 20, 2012

Not 10 Commandments, but 10 Results?

This week I have been listening to Dr. Lane Burgland in a five-part series on biblical interpretation.  Though I have listened to teaching on this subject matter in the past, each instructor gives different insights.  During part 4, he uses an example from the Decalogue (Exod 20:1-17; Deut 5:6-21) pointing out two features I had not seen before.

The lists are the same, but the reasons for Sabbath observation are different.  As the Law was given after the the exodus, God tells the people that the Sabbath was to be remembered because he rested on that day.  Later, as the people are about to go into the Promised Land, the Sabbath was to be set aside as a time to remember what God had accomplished.

These are not contradictory but give two sides of what the Lord was trying to teach his people.  In the former, the people of Israel were to rest from their labors as a good gift to his people.  The latter is a reminder that the people of Israel were no longer in bondage.  There was rest from their labors.  Both of these are types of the spiritual realm wherein we are to set aside time for honoring the Lord and remembering our own deliverance from the bondage of sin through the work of Christ's atoning sacrifice.  We are to live as free men serving God (1 Pet 2:16-17).

No commands are given.  Dr. Burgland states that there are no imperatives (commands) in either list, but all are indicatives (statements of fact).  Everything mentioned is to be typical of the believer and a natural outflow of what God had done and was doing in his people.

I am uncertain about this, not being a Hebrew scholar, but if correct, the implication is clear: no amount of good works will put us in a better position with our Lord and Savior.  We believers are already accepted in the beloved, and no closer position can be earned.  Since this is a New Testament theme, I am inclined to say that there is more grace in the Ten Commandments than we give credit for.

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