Would it be helpful if there was a definite set of guidelines that would guarantee spiritual success — laws, like the law of gravity that would ensure you would thrive spiritually? What would you do with such a ‘list’? Are you willing to commit yourself to spiritual success?
I want to introduce and remind you of the laws God gave us for spiritual success. They are all together and we know them.
The Law of Grace
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Exodus 20:1–2 (ESV)
God took the initiative. All spiritual life and vitality springs from the grace of God.
He redeemed his people from physical slavery in Egypt demonstrating his power with ten miraculous plagues. The Passover was initiated with the final plague which included the penetrating symbol of the slain lamb.
He redeems us from bondage to sin. Jesus lived a life complete with miraculous signs. He became the slain lamb of God upon a cross and was resurrected to demonstrate God’s power over death.
God’s grace is demonstrated by his continual passion to live in relationship with us. He desires that we repent of our sins and follow Jesus. In fact, his willingness to forgive is greater than our desire to be forgiven. Everything that we do in the Kingdom of God starts with God’s grace.
Four Laws of Worship
God gave us these laws so that we might relate to him. He is worthy of worship. Worship is the first reasonable response to his grace. Here are the laws of worship.
The first law of worship: only God
You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3 (ESV)
The original Hebrew texts omits the word before. We are to have no other gods — period.
This was a challenge for the ancient Israelites. They served Jehovah but they wanted to serve other gods as well. Everyone around them served multiple gods and they wanted to be like everyone else.
It’s a challenge for the church today, as well. We serve God but we often serve prosperity, comfort, success, family and our physical appetites. We do it because we want to be like everyone else.
The second law of worship: no images for worship
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4–6 (ESV)
The people were to make no idols — large or small. The Israelites also constantly battled with this. They made the golden calf in the wilderness and then centuries later made calf idols. They also tended to have numerous personal idols in their homes.
Our images tend to be more subtle like the vehicle we drive, the clothes we wear or the places we go.
The third law of worship: how we use his name
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7 (ESV
This means we must use God’s name with the respect and awe that is due. Consistently, we have broken this law in three ways:
- Cursing in the name of God
- Flippantly and carelessly using the name of God
- Calling ourselves Christians and living like the devil
We truly need to renew our sense of fear of the Lord.
The fourth law of worship: honor his day of rest
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8–11 (ESV)
God rested on the seventh day so he asked that we would follow his example and take one day a week to rest and renew. This means we have a day of no work — a break from our working routines. We set this day apart as a day of worship — to honor God by honoring his desire that we rest.
Six Laws of Relationship
The final six laws deal with relationships.
The first law of relationship: honor for parents
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:9 (ESV)
We honor our father and mother primarily in two ways: when we are children at home by obedience and submission to their will and when we are adults by respecting their wisdom, experience and guidance and by caring for them in their later years if it is required.
The second law of relationship: don’t kill anyone
You shall not murder. Exodus 20:10 (ESV)
The second law of relationship sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Jesus expanded the application of this law right down to the heart. Jesus told us to not be angry, insult or belittle. When we keep this law, we do not engage in character assassination. Far too often, we fall short in this!
The third law of relationship: no adultery.
You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14 (ESV)
The third law Jesus likewise expanded to include no lust and no immoral thoughts. This means there is to be absolutely no sexual expression outside of marriage. As followers of Jesus we abstain from this culturally normal activity.
The fourth law of relationship: don’t steal
You shall not steal. Exodus 20:15
The fourth law deals with personal property. Don’t take what’s not yours. In Old Testament times, when there was no public assistance, even the poor were liable for theft, although the penalties were more lenient. The expectation that you can get by on another person’s labor is stealing.
Everything we have must come from our own work or be given as a gift — never taken from anyone or any place without permission.
The fifth law of relationship: let your word be true
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16
The fifth law deals with character. On the surface it deals with lawsuits and criminal trials. In the spirit of the New Testament much else is included, such as gossip, slander and lies. Our words must have integrity. Failure here dooms relationships.
The sixth law of relationships: no coveting
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17 (ESV)
To covet is to deeply desire something that is not yours. This final law of relationships is one of the most challenging. The cornerstone of advertising and consumerism is just this: let me help you covet.
Coveting leads to jealousy, bitterness, theft and murder.
These 11 laws are transformational. Because of the first law — the law of grace — we can live up to them all and enjoy spiritual and healthy worship, perfect peace with God as well as peace and harmony with one another.
If this helped you, please pass it on to someone.
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