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May the Lord fill your life with the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

If God is not first in your life, then something else is (Deut 6:4-5, Matt 6:24, 33; 10:32-38, Mark 8:34, Luke 11:23, 1 John 5:21).

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"O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers." (Psalm 5:4-6) "There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family." (Proverbs 6:16-19)
 
We are given the Ten Commandmentsin the OT twice, and written by God Himself (Exodus 31:18, Deuteronomy 9:10), and the order in which they were given has great significance. For example, the first Commandment tells us that we are to worship one God. Now this was given to us first because if God is not first in our life then something else is, like money, work, weekend toys or anything or anyone that displaces Him as being our highest priority. God makes it clear that our loyalty and devotion belongs to Him first. In fact, when we look at the remaining Commandments we discover a recurring theme that centers on ourselves by not having God first. When God is first and center in our lives, in our minds and in our thoughts, everything else will fall into the right place. When it does we don't need to worry about false idols (Romans 1:25, 1 Corinthians 10), misusing His name, forgetting to meditate on Him with a restful mind (Mark 6:31)*, respecting and honoring our parents, murdering, adultery, stealing, lying and gossiping, and lusting or coveting (Hebrews 13:5). What is interesting to note about the last commandment is that it captures the role of the heart. While we may think we have conquered the commandments as we read through them in order, it is not until we get to the last one that we realize that He "got us!" The flesh is never satisfied and is always wanting more than what we have (Romans 7:7-13, James 1:14-15).
 
What is also important about the order is that the first four are about our relationship and love with God and the remaining six are about our relationship and love with one another. In the NT, Jesus reminds us of these two loves that we need to have: "You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than these (Mark 12:30-31)." An important note to keep in mind is that these were not suggestions!
 
Is your heart filled with both of these loves (1 Kings 8:61; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Jeremiah 29:13)? When our hearts are filled with love, we respect one another and do not think of ourselves first. Nor are our hearts filled with envy, spite, anger, jealousy, and lust. The notion of respect comes naturally. The idea of stealing, murder and coveting do not exist. So, does your life and the choices you make reflect the love of God and all of His children? (1 Corinthians 13)
 
The most important aspect of any commandment is that it surrounds our lifestyle, and the style in which we live our lives must always be pleasing to God 24/7 (Romans 14:8). This means living in the Spirit (Romans 7:1-6) and being careful about the freedom (or "free will") that we are given. We must cherish and respect this gift greater than a rare, fragile artifact because one slip and it will be far more devastating. We must also be aware that this freedom affects those around us. We must always be thoughtful, peaceful, loving, kind, and patient to everyone so others will always be encouraged. It is important to understand that once we become saved by God's grace, we must help others become saved. The best way to do this is by example. "Because of greater knowledge, a weak Christian, for whom Christ died, will be destroyed; Knowledge may make us feel important, but love builds up the church; the person who loves God is the one God knows and cares for (1 Corinthians 8)."
We are reminded in scripture to be filled with love & peace (Colossians 3:12). We are not to be critical, judgmental, greedy, sexually immoral, or anything that would be contrary to having the Holy Spirit control our life (Galatians 5:22-23). God wants everyone to live in holiness & honor so that they can be a part of His Kingdom of Heaven. Again, everyone (John 3:16)! This means that even the most vilest and wretched human can reach His Kingdom if that person stops what they are doing now, repent (Acts 17:30-31, 2 Peter 3:9) and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior (John 14:6, 1 John 1:9). To think that God gave up His one and only Son so that even the weakest can find strength. Now that is grace and mercy!
 
Because God is not always first in our lives, we will never fully obey the Commandments (1 Timothy 1:8-10). We all live in sin that separates us from God (Romans 3:19-20). The power of these Laws makes us aware that we need a savior; a redeemer (Galatians 3:24). The Good News is we have became rescued when His Son was nailed to the cross and said, "It is finished." It was a Roman custom to nail a description of the crime committed to the cross of the crucified criminal. The description nailed to the cross of Jesus, an innocent man, were the words Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (INRI), or "Jesus of Nazareth, King of Jews" (Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, John 19:19-22). That was His only crime. Give glory to His death!
 
 
*NOTE: Jesus fulfilled the Law & provides eternal rest. While the Christian is exempt from this ceremonial Law (the only such type), we still identify the essence of it on the day Jesus was resurrected
 
 

 
"...all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin... no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are... we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin... (Romans 3:9-31)."
 
Without Condition (by Greg Laurie)
 
 
Created Monday, January 21, 2008