1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, ...
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work,...
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
What we have above is commonly refered to as "the Ten Commandments" or if you prefer "the Law of Moses", the later also comprising the many details of health and ceremony found in the early books of the Bible. For the purpose of this study we will limit ourselves to the more popularly accepted "rules". This is not meant as a means to put a stumbling block in front of the brethren or anything of the sort, it is an exercise in expanding faith. If you are easily offended or of such strict denominational convictions that any radical views concerning Scripture will cause you to stumble (spiritually) then it would be adviseable not to continue on with this study as you will undoubtedly be thrown off by it. Enough said, now we can proceed.
"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."(Lev 19:18)
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."(Gal 5:14)
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"(James 2:8)
"For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."(Ro 13:9-10)
The above Scriptures make it clear that the emphasis is on loving your neighbour. Now if you do in fact love your neighbour (neighbour being anyone who needs love), then you are not going to want to hurt him or her or steal from them or kill them ect... so "love is the fullfilling of the law"...when you love you fullfill the law, all of it !
In john chapter 8 a woman was brought to Jesus having been caught in bed with a guy that was not her husband. "The law" said that the punishment should be death by stoning. but what does Jesus do? He, after a moment of prayerful thought, looks up and doesn't dispute what the "law" says, He says that whoever is without sin should be the first to carry out judgement. Of course there isn't a soul on earth that is without sin,(that is the entire purpose of the law, to show God's perfection, which we will never attain to and as such need His Salvation), and so no one amongst the accusers felt justified in punishing this young woman ( a lesson many "Christians" would do well to learn) and so when they all left Jesus also didn't condemn her, not because He also was a sinner like the others but to show that mercy and love were greater than the "law".
" 28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."(Mk 12:28-31)
" 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."(Mt 22:35-40)
Apparently, according to the Son of God, the whole shebang (not meant as a punn) is all wrapped up in loving God and loving your neighbour, right? Ok, hold that thought, you're going to need it.
The popular mindset when thinking of adultery or "fornication" as some pride themselves in saying, is founded on the premise that someone has gone out
and selfishly ran around behind the back of their mate to engage in nothing but purely physical gratification with another or many anothers.
But what about if the situation is such that the "other" is welcomed by both partners as a brother or sister and that physical gratification is offered as an expression of love and caring? Is this therefore a sin? Or does it not fall into the parameters laid out in loving God and your neighbour?
The Bible is full of examples of multiple relationships! When king David had Uriah killed so he could rip off the guy's wife, that was big time wrong, on all fronts, and he later paid dearly for it but he never lost his place as, "a man after mine own heart" as the Lord said. He has other wives at the time also. Was king Solomon an adulterous fornicator because he had 300 wives and 700 girlfriends? (the Bible calls 'em concubines) Was Abraham, the father of grace by faith an adulterer and fornicator when he went in to his wife's maid (with Sarah's consent of course)?
Obviously, all of this was not really such a big deal. It only became a big deal after some folks got to reading the letters from the Apostle Paul where he said that the deacons (elders) should be the husbands of one wife ect...not thinking that perhaps he was admonishing them to have only one so as not to distract from their ministry because the rule of the day was for them to have more than one.
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ"(Ro 7:4)
Is this last verse really saying that the "law", or if you prefer,"the Ten Commandments" no longer applies once you have given your heart to Jesus and are washed from sin by His blood ? Before answering that question, let us look at a couple more so that our answer will be formed from the Word of God and not our own mind or preconditioned responses.
"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;... so making peace"(Eph 2:15)
Why should this give peace ? Could it be that when you think you have to live up to an impossible moral code you find yourself tormented by fear and condemnation, and that when you are freed from that bondage you are at peace ?..."There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."(1Jn 4:18)
How many of our dearly beloved brothers and sisters are walking around in constant "fear" that they are displeasing God and are surely reserved some terrible punishment at the hands of this all-powerful deity ? How many are tormented because they look at a beautiful woman and are excited, then feel condemned because of "impure thoughts" ?
Jesus did say,"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."( Mt 5:28).
There isn't a single solitary male on the face of the earth that is not an adulterer by this criteria, some women too...So what's the point ? To make us feel like crap and that we are in line for the punishments outlined in the "law"? Or was it not rather to show that it was impossible to keep the "law" and that we are all sinners in need of Salvation and eternal Redemption ?..."For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."(Ro 3:23)
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."(Col 2:14)
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ"(Ro 7:4)
If we are therefore "dead to the law", is that an excuse for a free-for-all ? Or are we in reality now held to a higher standard of care ? To be more careful (full of care), more loving, more thoughtful ?
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."(Ro 7:7)
Is "the law" abolished ? For us who have the blood of Christ, who have received eternal redemption from sin by accepting Jesus into our hearts...yes ! What about the rest of the world who don't believe in God ect... They, by their own hand and excercise of their God-given majesty of choice, are still subject to the rules and regulations and retributions outlined in "the law" that they have not been freed from.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."(Jn 8:32)...free from sin, free from bondage of the mind and spirit, free to love God, free to love each other in the love of God. Free !
The above requires an expansion and exercise of faith in order to be appreciated for it's full value. Some of you will be comfortable in doing this and others will not. The one thing here to remember is that just because you don't have the faith for something doesn't automatically make it "wrong", so let's not condemn those who do have the faith to step off the branch and fly with the wings of faith.