Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Recovering the Ten Commandments in the Church Today

Historical theology is a key subject for the church. Solomon warned us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that "there is nothing new under the sun". Through almost 2000 years, there have been three things which the church has used in the West, to pass on the content of the faith to each succeeding generation. Do you know what they are? It has been teaching on the Apostles' Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer. It is important that teaching on these basic elements of the Christian faith are taught today in the church.

The reformed documents and confessions of faith sought to teach these three things, but they filled them with biblical content, in contradiction to the false teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The Apostles' Creed provides the basic structure for Calvin's Institutes and the Westminster Confession. The Westminster catechisms essentially expound the core doctrines of the Apostles' Creed, followed by a thorough exposition of the Ten Commandments and then prayer based on the Lord's Prayer.

Someone once remarked to me that we will either recover of dismantle the reformed and biblical heritage. When the church hides, neglects of falsely teaches that the Ten Commandments has no binding significance on the church or is not needed, then that church has fallen into doctrinal decline. Romans 6:17 explains that there is content to the faith to be passed on to every succeeding generation: "But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed". The word teaching is the Greek word "didachē" implying the content of the Christian faith.

The biblical standard of teaching has always required a correct understanding of the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) and it is amazing how this provides shape to the church, to our personal faith and our approach to the subject of worship. The connection between a church's understanding of what is worship changes when the law of God is understood. It is no longer simp lying a personal experience but it takes on a God-centred approach with guardrails to protect us from our sinful tendencies, which constantly desire to introduce new but sometimes unhelpful practices into public worship.

To be reformed is to truly know, understand and agree with Paul in Romans 7:22 "For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being". Can you say that with joy? Do you understand what Paul is saying here in Romans 7:22. If not, then why not pray that the Lord would you and the church where you are a member the right understanding concerning God's holy law. Psalm 119:18 is a great prayer: "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law".

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