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The 10 Commandments Illusion

I often say that modern day America is a picture book example of the biblical adage “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5 NIV) Nowhere is this clearer than in the on-going debate about the display of 10 Commandment signs and symbols throughout the country. On one side you have the progressives (code for anti-God) – the ACLU types who want all current images or references to the 10 Commandments removed from all public property. On the other side is the so-called traditionalists or Christian adherents who fight bitterly to prevent such removals. These fights have occurred over displays in public parks, courthouse buildings and other government property. By and large, the ACLU types generally win these arguments mostly on the establishment of religion clause in the Constitution, although recently, the US Supreme Court ruled that displays that have been in existence for a lengthy period of time could not be challenged.

Generally, when the displays are preserved, the religious types are happy, along with a sizeable majority of the general public who undoubtedly do not share the ultimate goal of the progressives of wanting all references to God removed from the public square. However, when one reads the New Testament of the Bible, it is clear that this “controversy” as it relates to spurring true worship of God among the citizenry, is nothing more than a powerless debate that generally misses the mark of drawing people to true worship of God through Jesus Christ.

In the US, the 10 Commandments are generally viewed as a good thing, because it theoretically acts as a biblical guide toward decent living. To God however, the 10 Commandments serves exclusively to show man his evil and depraved nature and thus his need for the salvation offered through Jesus Christ alone. In the New Testament, the Bible says: 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, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! (2 Corinthians 3:7-11 NIV) Here the Bible states that the 10 Commandments glorious as it is, condemns men…not spur them to decent living. The Bible refers to it as “a ministry that brings death”! This ministry doesn’t kill the body, but kills the souls of men for eternity. Yet in 2006 America, in our pious and artificial façade of religiosity, we latch on to this symbol of “the righteous God” and yell to the hills that it must be displayed for the betterment of the common man. This passage of scripture is telling us that the engravement on stone will not save us. Instead, it is the engravement on the heart that ultimately will save. This heart engravement says scripture, comes solely from “the ministry of the Spirit”. The quality of life in America would be significantly enhanced not by ceremonious granite displays, but by genuine spiritual displays of the human heart…made so by the changing nature of a life submitted to Jesus Christ. The scripture says “how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!”

A knowledge of the 10 Commandments (which the Bible refers to as “the law”) is a good thing. If public displays educate about such knowledge, then wonderful. However, this is simply a means to a much more relevant end. That end is not “good living”. There are many who’s lives displayed “good living”, but who on the day of judgment will hear these horrifying words from the mouth of Jesus: Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven… I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21 & 23 truncated – NIV) The true end of the 10 Commandments is this - As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Romans 3: 10-12 NIV) Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:30-24 NIV)


Ed Darrell said…
ACLU defends Christian displays when the government illegally tries to get them removed. Your claim that "progressive" means "anti-God" is in error.

ACLU's position is that of the founders: The government doesn't get to advocate religion. It's not anti-God at all -- it's religiously free, giving everyone the right to worship as their conscience dictates.

Is freedom anti-God? I don't think so.

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