The Bible Speaks
“and you shall be holy men to Me” Exodus 22:31a
Each year the government will add anywhere from 20 to 90 new crimes to the law books. At present, there are over 4,450 crimes that can be committed. Although it would be a challenge, each of the crimes could be categorized into the last six of the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God Almighty. Every breach of the law is some form of a breaking of the commandments: honor your father and mother, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not lie and do not covet. God gave His law and man has tried to codify it ever since. The six commandments have grown into four thousand and counting.
If you know anything about your Bible, you probably know there are more than six commandments. The first four of the 10 are not part of our criminal code, but they are laws nonetheless. The last six Commandments govern how we should treat each other, but the first four govern how we should treat God. The first four are, in fact, far more important than the last six yet somehow in America we have endeavored to have morality without religion and righteousness without God. No wonder we have failed to attain it. We have scrapped the first table of the law to accept only the second. We want a moral society without the reason for morality itself: holiness unto God.
A 2012 study of our citizenry discovered that 20 percent of Americans claimed no religious affiliation whatsoever. The 20 percent were not all atheists, but they all stated that religion, any religion, had no significance in their life. A followup study of this 20 percent group found them to be the most immoral of our population. They had extremely low scruples with regard to acceptable conduct and it was extremely rare to find a “no religion” respondent that held a pro-life or pro-traditional marriage position. This group didn’t believe that absolute truth exists and tended to agree with the statement “everyone can have their own idea of right and wrong.” This should not come as a surprise, however, for morality comes from a right view of God and a desire to please Him above oneself. Men who love God want to obey Him; that obedience is called holiness. Holiness is what God wants for us. It is why He gave us His law. “You shall be holy men unto Me.”
The Bible speaks of holiness as the desire of God for our lives and the means for a society to foster morality and civility among the people. Holiness begins with a healthy fear of God and a desire to obey His law. Expounding the last six Commandments and expanding their number won’t make men holy. Keeping the first four Commandments; loving the Lord and seeking to please Him, will. Oh, that we would obey His Commandments IN ORDER.
The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor of Turner’s Chapel.