Daily Thought for: 15th January
THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME
Exodus 20. 1-3; Romans 7. 1-6; Romans 8. 1-4
The next few meditations will focus on what scripture calls the ten commandments, Deut. 4. 13. Although as New Testament believers we have no contract with the law of God, yet we are not lawless, and, to avoid misunderstanding, some key issues need to be explained. Keeping the commandments had no place in our justification; it was ‘by faith without the deeds of the law’, Rom. 3. 28. Similarly, striving to obey the law plays no part in our sanctification. Just as death ends a marriage, so our union with Christ in His death has ended our marriage to the law, Rom. 7.1-4. The old demanding husband no longer intimidates us. Being’married to another’, i.e. Christ, we now ‘serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter’, v. 6. That is, holy living is energized by the Holy Spirit and not by any sense of duty to the law, Rom. 8. 3-4. The thrust of these two verses is summarized in John Bunyan’s rhyme:
‘Run, John, run, the law demands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Far grander news the gospel brings,
It bids me fly and gives me wings.’
So then, for the believer, divine power is available to implement divine commands, commandment one being our topic for today.
This first commandment insists that God be unrivalled in the affections of His people. The demand was reasonable for it was He who had liberated them from Egypt and from slavery, v. 2. The blood of the lamb had been shed and divine power had been exerted to give them their freedom. Now He called for their total allegiance. The parallel in our own experience is obvious. We have been delivered from ‘this present evil world’, pictured by Egypt, Gal. 1. 4, and we have been released from the tyranny of sin, Rom. 6. 18. All this demands unswerving loyalty to Him who accomplished it for us. He will never be content with divided affections. The Samaritans ‘feared the Lord, and served their own gods’, which was totally inadequate, 2 Kgs. 17. 33. ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon’, Matt. 6.24, so let no usurper invade the throne of our lives. ‘Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)’, Acts 10. 36.