About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Comments On The Ten Commandments
the last section I pointed out that the Law of Moses was nailed to the
cross, cancelled, and taken away from human history for the purpose of
salvation, righteousness and
obedience to it. The Ten
Commandments are found within the Law and so you might ask if they were
nailed to the cross as well. Jesus commented on two the Commandments in
Matt. 5 that sheds light on this question.
Matt. 5:21 Jesus said. “you have heard it said…”.
What people heard said was “do not murder”.
These words were said in the Ten Commandments.
The commandment clearly said, “don’t murder”.
Yet in verse 22 Jesus said, “but I tell you…”. Do
you see what’s happening here? The
Command said one thing but Jesus said another thing, and what Jesus said
wasn’t exactly what the Law said.
What Jesus said was, “anyone who is angry at his brother is
subject to judgment”. Verses
27 to 33 are similar. The
command said “don’t commit adultery”, but Jesus said, “don’t
is Jesus saying about the Ten Commandments?
The answer is simple. The
Ten Commandments addressed external issues such as “don’t murder”.
Jesus addressed internal issues such as “don’t get angry”.
Jesus wasn’t contradicting the Law, which He couldn’t or else
He would not have fulfilled it. He
was shifting the attention from the external behaviour to the internal
matters of the heart, which was really in the heart of God in the first
place. Behind any external action there’s an internal motive, and this
is what Jesus is after. If He can change our hearts, our external
actions will soon follow. The reverse isn’t true. Just
because you don’t murder doesn’t mean you don’t get angry.
matters of the heart are what the New Testament is all about. That is,
we change from within, not from without.
That’s one reason why the Holy Spirit lives within Christians.
He’s come to bring change from within.
This hasn’t always been the thinking in Evangelical circles in
times past. We’ve often majored on the externals, like outward dress,
leaving the matters of the heart on the back burner.
a young Evangelical I heard people say that they obeyed all the Ten
Commandments, suggesting that their obedience made them righteous.
But that’s not so. Obeying
the external commands makes no one righteous. The Pharisees proved that,
and Jesus called them hypocrites. Righteousness
begins in the heart. Obeying
the external commands doesn’t mean you obey them in
your heart. Here’s
an analogy that explains this well.
A child was being punished for yelling at his brother.
He was told to sit in the corner and be quiet.
The child thinks to himself, “I may be quiet on the outside,
but I’m still screaming at my brother on the inside”. Many
of us are like this child. We
obey the Ten Commandments on the outside, but on the inside
it’s a different story. That
would put us in the same corner as the Pharisees.
like the rest of the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments as they were
originally written have taken on a new meaning
for New Testament Christians.
Tithing is not part of the Ten Commandments, but like murder and
adultery, it has a New Testament alternative.
Giving the tithes in obedience to the Law of Moses has been
redefined in New Testament terms. Giving
has first become a matter of the heart and from the heart is expressed
in outward actions.
Law of Moses demanded three tithes.
Jesus isn’t interested in us giving three tithes any more than
He is interested in us offering blood sacrifices. What Jesus is
interested in is us “giving generously according to our ability to
give, and giving cheerfully from the depth of our hearts, which may well
be more than a tenth”. This
is what Paul advises in 2 Cor. 9:7.
This is New Testament thinking concerning the giving of our
2 Cor. 9:6-7 Paul said,
“whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows
generously will also reap generously.
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.
what we learn from Paul. In
verse 6 we learn that New Testament thinking concerning giving money is
not restricted to a certain percentage as demanded by a Law. Our giving
should be generous, and God will reward us for this generosity.
The word generous is somewhat abstract. The amount of generousity
of one person may differ from another.
One thing we do know is that the word generous means more than
the normal amount.
verse 7 Paul said, "each man should give what he has
decided...". We learn here that we decide what to give, not what a law tells us to
give, or not what someone else tells us to give. It’s
our decision, made from the goodness of our hearts and influenced by
also learn in verse 7 that we should never give “reluctantly”.
This means we should give freely, without any complaining
or hesitating. Simply put,
we should enjoy giving.
last thing we learn from verse 7 is that we should not give under
“compulsion”. This means
that we should not be forced to give by any rule or by any person.
Christians are often compelled to give by zealous preachers
attempting to twist their arms into giving.
Tithing sermons based on the premise that if you don’t tithe
you’ll be cursed is compulsive
preaching in my thinking. Paul
said that we should not give under such circumstances.
once again, New Testament thinking concerning the giving of money is as
follows. You decide how much to give.
You give freely, not reluctantly.
You shouldn’t be compelled by anyone or any rule to give. And
you give cheerfully.
will argue that what Paul says in 1 Cor. 16:2 is giving over and above
their tithe. They are right
in thinking that what Paul was speaking to here is a special fund
raising event he was involved in. It wasn’t an ongoing process of
giving. Paul was raising
money to give to the poor Christians in
see Paul’s request for help as being voluntary and Holy Spirit led, as
was the practice with all first generation Christians.
Jesus has freely given to us and He wants us to freely give to
other. Paul makes this clear
In 2 Cor. 9:7 when he Paul said, “each man should give what he has
decided in his heart to give…”