By Benjamin H. Liles
Today, I want to depart a little from our going forward on Ezekiel. today I want to focus on God's laws and why they are there; what the intent is, and how do we "work" toward God. We all follow certain laws and rules as it pertains to daily living. Here they are as follows:
1) You shall not murder; Jesus Christ, when talking about this topic equated hating another person as murder. How do we as society validate that murder is wrong? What usually happens? You end up in court, await trial, usually get convicted for causing harm, damage, or any of the like resulting in someone's death. This is murder. There is another form of murder as well...
2) You shall not tell lies about your neighbor (false witness, I looked this up). What is more hateful to do in this world than maligning, slighting, putting down someone else? I truly detest people who bully others. Who doesn't "hate" being ridiculed, put down, talked about badly, etc.? Isn't this just another form of murder?
3) You shall not steal. I'll cover this more in other points. For now let's suffice it to say that the usual punishment for theft is usually jail time, possible fine, and community service.
Moving on away from these first points.
4) You shall not commit adultery. Jesus Christ added this on about adultery, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Look, lust is lust. It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman. To harbor thoughts about what you want to do to another person, in terms of adultery, robs that person and yourself of any kind of dignity.
Also, Jesus added this on as well, in regards to adultery: "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery" (Matthew 5:32). The reason I'm stopping there on this verse is the fact that being sexually immoral with another person - whether with someone of the same sex, or with the opposite sex - results in divorce. It doesn't matter. This continues in the next as well...
5) You shall not covet. Synonyms related to this are as follows: to pine after, envy, jealousy, to ache for, resent, and lust after. Coveting can lead to theft or stealing for that matter. This leads into the next commandment as well, BUT the point I'm making here is that who doesn't end up feeling guilty over this, when the easiest thing to do is to just obtain the item you want without doing any damage. Who doesn't want certain "things" in their life? If you want a guy in your life, don't pine after someone else’s guy. Get out, date, something. If it comes to needing items such as food, clothing and the like find a way to do it the right way. Food pantries exist to help the needy. Second hand clothes (I know, who really likes second hand?) are better than nothing. I can go on, but to the next.
While I've only covered a part of the Ten Commandments, can you see how wrong it is just to do these? This proves the point that moral absolutes exist. We find certain things wrong in society. Theft, murder, lying - no one likes feeling robbed. To suggest that these morals are subjective (emotional, based on inner experience or fact) means there is a personal bias, a prejudice, can be likened to living as an anarchist. "The laws don't apply to me," mentality.
When we have Jesus Christ in our lives, truly repenting of our past actions, you don't want to live your life that way anymore. You turn from that lifestyle for something better.
In wrapping this up, I have two more points: first, Jesus Christ, when he healed people from whatever ailed them, often said, "Go and sin no more." It means not staying in the same boat; second, Jesus Christ wanted us to experience faith in a personal, life-changing way. Paul made a lot of comments about living a sin-free life. I'm not going into all of them. However, there are two I will touch on, and then I'm done. "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him [Jesus Christ] who loved us" (Romans 8:37). We can be people who overcome. I certainly do the best I can to live my life this way. Do I still sin? Of course, but I can take those to the cross and seek forgiveness. I hate sin in my life. I don't want it. I'm not meant to be apart from Jesus Christ. No one is.
Paul also said, "No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:8-11). Would you do things against your family? Would you lie, cheat, steal from family members to get what you want? It's detestable. If you want a victorious life, leave those old ways behind.
We, as a people, aren't meant for hell or damnation. Only angels who fell away from God's Kingdom deserve that punishment. But we don’t realize there are such powers against us. They deceive us. They whisper naughty thoughts in our flesh. It's why we're told in Romans 6:5-6, "For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." If we’re truly tired of sin in our lives, we must allow for His word to be planted within us. It means realizing there are moral absolutes. It means being objective, relying on the facts. It means to take in the preponderance of the evidence so that we're no longer blinded.
"The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:5). All it requires is an act of faith, to turn away from your sins, and become a part of God's family.
Truth be told, God's works matter, not our own. Salvation comes through Faith in what Jesus Christ (the Messiah, in Greek) did at the cross of Calvary (known as Golgotha). I point to the law to show how inadequate it is to do any good for us. It shows our need for Someone far greater than us. That Someone is Jesus, the Messiah, who is God Incarnate.
Father, I know I don't always get things right. I admit I get things quite wrong. Your ways are right, just, and true. You tell me in Your word, "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6). Your servant Matthew (once called Levi) wrote on, "For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew 9:13). Lord, I hunger and thirst for You, for Your ways. Every time that I am able to bring myself to You, to allow myself to be in Your presence I do feel and see Your holiness. I get why the seraphim hid themselves. You are holy. The rest of us are created, and may not always be holy in Your sight. But I desire to be holy as You are. I know it means putting off myself, my desires, wants and needs. Help me to be set apart for You, in order that others might know and see You as I do. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.