(I haven’t posted in a few months but the following thought came to mind. After arriving at my conclusion I figured that it is a good subject to post)
God gave us the Ten Commandments as the foundation of the Law (Torah). As people of faith we need to look at the Law through the lens of God’s heart.
Why did God give us the Law? What does God ultimately want? Does He want our obedience or our love and devotion? He wants both but how should they be prioritized?
Jesus said that the Law, all of the Law and Prophets, were summed up in the Greatest Commandment, which is, from a human perspective, two commandments intertwined as to be unable to be separated.
Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’”
Relationship is the key. God wants us to love Him first and foremost. He does want our obedience but He wants our obedience to be an outflowing of love and devotion to Him rather than an act of self-protection from divine wrath.
The best way for me to illustrate this concept is as follows…
The seventh commandment instructs us to “not commit adultery”. In our household that has never been stated as a house rule or law. (We don’t really have house rules, just an implied code of conduct developed over years of relationship.) it would however, be a violation of a vow I took over 30 years ago to be a “true and devoted husband, faithful to her and to her only…”
I have never committed adultery, I have never cheated on my wife. Why have I not committed adultery and why will I not do so? Is it because I do not want to face the consequences of breaking that rule? That could be a secondary motivation but the primary reason that I have not nor will I ever commit adultery is because I love my wife. I am madly in love with her and I could not bear to hurt her, break her heart or betray her.
While the consequences of such an act would be devastating to me that devastation on my part would be warranted but the pain that my wife would endure would be incomprehensible and I could never recover from knowing that I had inflicted such an atrocity on someone so special and so important to me.
My reason for obeying the no adultery rule or not because it would be a violation of law but because I would be hurting someone I love deeply. Our relationship would at best be damaged and at worst, destroyed.
God wants us to get to know Him on such a level that our adherence to His commands are motivated by love for Him, not of simply doing good.