The last half of the big ten are often referred to as the “Do not” commands. They follow the pattern set in the garden of Eden where God restricted the first humans by giving them one “Do not” command.
Whereas the Ten Commandments were said to have been given in order to cause sin to become recognizable, the commands given under the New Covenant tend to shift towards the “Do”. In this section of Wineskins, the book notes that Jesus expects to see his righteousness become appropriated into the lives and choices of his followers.
As seen in the previous two reviews, there remains a great deal of value to be gained by viewing each of these commands through the lens of Christs’ incarnation and sacrifice.
#6 Consider that now misplaced anger is tantamount to murder. The “Do” for Christians is much more stringent, when confronted by an enemy, in requiring blessing rather than abuse. In this way we demonstrate ourselves to be sons of God.
#7 Simply entertaining mental pictures is now the same as adultery. And no adulterer will be allowed in the Kingdom of God. Just because the 10 Commandments have been replaced by Jesus as the focus and practice of our faith in no way dismisses the degree of expectation. Quite the opposite, Jesus expects perfection like found in himself!
#8 The story of Zacchaeus is a great example of how one thought to be a thief was motivated to give generously, not by conviction from the Law, but through a passionate desire to honor Jesus with whom he had come face-to-face. He didn’t need a law, he needed to be loved by Jesus and to respond by demonstrating his gratitude through sacrificially serving others.
#9 Col 3:9 gives the same command, but the stated reason we are not to lie is bound up in recognition of Christ in us rather than because of what had been stated under the Old Covenant Law.
#10 Coveting is a matter of misplaced desires. As Christians, we are now cautioned against not only desiring what other have, but even more regarding what we ourselves desire. Self desire is now a sin! It is the very reason that Jesus states that those who attempt to promote their own lives will lose out on eternity.
When filtered by the blood of Christ, the former commands given to the nation of Israel seem like child’s play. Christian living is more than just difficult, it is flat out impossible!
This is why it is imperative that a believer be born again. Without the transforming activity of the Holy Spirit, there is no way to measure up to New Covenant expectations. If no one was capable of keeping the Ten, then somehow trying to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees is an effort in futility.
Here flows the blood. The only way possible to ever keep Jesus’ commands, the only conceivable way to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,” is to dwell under the cleansing power of the blood of Christ poured out upon the Cross.
Remember, however, that transfusions only work if the blood type is the same. It is not enough to be covered by the blood when our lives continue to express themselves contrary to the standard and expectations set by our Lord. It is necessary to desire to be like him, to follow him, to hang on every word eagerly seeking to honor his every whim. That heart desire enables the Holy Spirit to unleash himself within us, transforming the blood of our natures into the image of Christ-likeness.
When the life blood in us is the Life blood of Jesus, when our choices reflect pursuit of his life as our standard, when we submit to his accomplishments rather than trying to establish our own degree of goodness, that is when his righteousness is credited to us. That is when his eternally perfect life is reflected as our own.
“He who loves me will keep my commands.”
The question is, what distinction do you recognize between the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ commands?