Commandments and Grace

The other day I read through the passage of God giving the Ten Commandments to Moses (Exodus 19, 20). I felt puzzled, if God is a God of grace, not of law, why did he reveal these commandments so dramatically? As I read, the second commandment frightened me. "for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me" ((Exodus 20:5). But verse 6 had a greater promise than the threat in verse 5. " but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." ((Exodus 20:6), so I saw even in these commandments there is an emphasis on grace.

Then I turned to 2 Corinthians, where Paul talks about the new and old covenants. "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!" (2 Corinthians 3:6-9). How glorious, God gives us the Spirit, and writes the law, not with his finger on stone tablets, but with his spirit on our hearts.

I perceived and could rejoice that God had given his commandments -- I know I have longed for things I was not meant to have, things it is impossible to have. It is God's law that showed me I should say "no" to those desires. And having said "no," I rejoice in the grace that enables me to say "no," that assures me that I don't have to have what I want to be happy. "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to everyone. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age," (Titus 2:11-12).

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