Skip to comments.The Rev. Charlie Camlin: "The First Commandment"
Posted on 09/08/2006 5:35:44 PM PDT by sionnsar
Perhaps "great minds think alike", because it appears we will have the privilege of reading two sermon series on the Ten Commandments running concurrently--the one by Fr. Daniel McGrath of St. Bartholomew's in Washington state that we previously mentioned, and a new series by the Rev. Charlie Camlin of Holy Trinity REC. Fr. Camlin begins his series with the appropriately titled The First Commandment, and he first gives us a good explanation of the role of the Ten Commandments for us today:
Why should Christians study and seek to obey the Law summarized in the 10 Commandments? When there was a promise in the Old Testament of a coming New Covenant, God promised to write His Law on the hearts of the people. Listen to the prophet Jeremiah: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.I think this is a good explanation of why the Commandments are important to us today; read the rest of the sermon and see what Fr. Camlin has to say about the purpose of the Law and what the First Commandment means to us.
When promising the New Covenant through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Notice that the promise given for those in the New Covenant is that the Law would be written in their hearts and a power would be given to them so that they could obey. The Church is the New Covenant people of God because on the night when Jesus was betrayed, He said this is the cup of the New Covenant which is given for you and for many.
Of course, all of this was perfectly in line with what Jesus taught. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explicitly restates a number of the Commandments and shows their relevance for those who would enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, in chapter 5, He states emphaticallyThink not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Likewise, Jesus summarized the teaching of the Law with His statement to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
He told His disciples, If you love me you will keep my commandments. And He gave as a charter to the Church, Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; teaching them to obey all that I have commanded.
Not only is there a plethora of Scriptural evidence that the 10 Commandments are for Christians, there is also overwhelming historic evidence of the Church preaching and teaching them. From the earliest days of the Church, the catechism of converts has been comprised of the Creed, the Lords Prayer and the 10 Commandments. St. Augustine wrote a treatise on this; Thomas Aquinas discussed them in Summa Theologica; and all of the major catechisms coming out of the Reformation included themLuthers, the one in the Book of Common Prayer, Calvins, the Westminster Confession of Faith, just to name a few. Even the modern Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church has over a hundred pages devoted to the Commandments. Without a doubt, the historic Christian view is that the 10 Commandments are a vital aspect of the Christian life.
I would encourage all Christians to study the full text of the 10 Commandments...not a summary version.
Trouble is with the summaries there are 3 possible enumerations of the same text: Modern Jews name what Christians call introductory "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt..." as the number one command. Roman Catholics and Lutherans call the "no other gods" and "no graven images" command one command, and split the last covet command into 2 parts. Eastern Orthodox and Protestants split "no other gods" and "no images." All 3 traditions have their basis in Jewish tradtion--and there is no number division in the text itself (though the Torah does speak of the 10 commandments...so we do know Moses numbered them into 10, just not exactly how).
So....read the whole text itself, not someone elses division of them. (Exodus 20, Deut. 5)
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