"Remember, it's not 10 Suggestions; it's 10 Commandments."
So reads the sign in front of a church close to my house. The way this message is presented makes me feel as if I ought to keep the Ten Commandments... or else. But should I? I do not believe we should follow the Ten Commandments, just because they are the famous and iconic "Ten Comandments." I think we should follow the teachings of Jesus because we love Him and because He loves us.
When Jesus died and rose, God rewrote the rules to life. In the Old Testament, the only way to know God was to follow His rules. Now, however, it is very different. While we still have rules and guidelines that God gives us, we are commanded to win souls for Jesus and make disciples in all nations. The two supreme rules Jesus told us were to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, also that we should love our neighbors as much as ourselves. Basically, Jesus said we should give God everything we have and love Him with everything we are and fight for Him with everything we can. Also, we should love others just as much as we love ourselves.
The rules have changed. For example, one of the Ten Commandments was to not murder. Now, however, commonsence declares that followerse of Jesus should not kill anyone, under any circumstances. Why not kill a non-Christian? Because that's the same as preventing them from having any future opportunities to know Jesus. Why not kill a Christian? Because you'd be slaying the Bride of Jesus.
I think we should follow the rules, as Jesus declares them. Should we murder? No, that's a sin. Adultry? That's definately a sin, too. And you cannot use the excuse that you slept with someone to try to win them for Christ, or that you broke in to someone's house with them to spend quality time with them and to start a relationship where you could eventually tell them about Jesus' love. That doesn't cut it, and also introduces the sin called lying. But what about the gray areas, like keeping the Sabbath or honoring our parents? The problem here is that sometimes God calls us to do things that we may think contradicts something that He told us to do previously. In one incident, God may say, "Listen to your parents; it's what I want you to do right now", but in another situation, He may say, "Listen to me on this one; I've got a special plan that your parents cannot see yet." I think following the direct voice of God, which sometimes comes as a strong desire or gut feeling or maybe even a whisper in the wind.
I am not saying to disregard the Old Testament; not at all. Nor am I saying in any form or fashion to view the New Testament as books that supercede, or override, the Old Testament books. That'd be highly foolish. I love the Old Testament with all my heart and try to read part of it every day, or at least every other day. I think that maybe the New Testament is a fulfilled prophesy as to what the Old Testament foresaw.
Yesterday, I listened to a snip-it of a message by Francis Chan. He taught about how we are not held to a list of rules or regulations about how to do this, or how to do that. He said the grace of God frees us in His name. I think the two ultimate commands Jesus gave us (Love the Lord your God with all your heart... etc, and love your neighbor as yourself) are the code followers of Jesus should live and breathe. Everything we do needs to be first, for God, then second, out of selfless love for others. I believe if we do that, everything else falls into line. Francis talked about how some church-goers in America do not approve of jeans in church because that's "too causual" and "not showing respect" for God. He countered this belief by saying he wanted to be himself every day of the week, and he proved his point by wearing jeans for that message. Why? Because he wears jeans every other day, so why dress differently on that day? He even decided to wear the pair of jeans that had holes in them, and then joked he was preaching with his fly down, just to prove that you won't make it into heaven just for wearing a suit to church. The same principle applies to everything we do.
(P.S., this posted was edited 12:08PM, 11/10/2010)