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Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is Exodus 20:12-17, where the LORD God says this:   

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged on the land which the Lord your God gives you.13 “You shall not murder.14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.16 “You shall no give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male slave, or his female slave, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


WHEN DID GOD’S LAW BECOME MERE OPINION?

 

When did greed, coveting, promiscuity, character assassination, violence, and even intimidation become our “cultural values?” When did things like these even become entertaining to some? When did “virtue” become such a dirty word? Indeed, it seems that vices have become virtues and virtues have been turned into vices all too often. Look, I realize that all of us are sinful and broken. I also know that it’s hard to have these conversations because the finger points back at all of us. Furthermore, we must all admit that even our best efforts at living morally and virtuously fall short, often when we needed to be at our best. But all of that is not the same as saying that it doesn’t matter how we live. Struggling to live out our virtues is not the same thing as suggesting that virtue no longer matters! And the notion that the Laws of God, which are rooted in the reality of His creating and ordering of life for us, are outdated or unnecessary to our well-being, is both personally and culturally dangerous.

Amidst all of our present-day rationalizations, here’s a little truth from Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,  a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Godly virtue opposes all of these and a healthy society seeks to mitigate the worst abuses of them. But no society which celebrates what God detests can endure. Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth (Does anyone even worry about being lazy today?), unrighteous wrath (Just because you are angry doesn’t mean you’re right!), envy, and pride not only undermine your life and mine, they can even undermine a nation.

It also doesn’t matter whether politicians or societal powerbrokers deem such things acceptable. No matter what the leaders of the day think or what popular opinion promotes, God’s Word and God’s ways will always prevail in the end. Jesus puts all of this in context when He says this to Pontius Pilate about the limits of earthly power, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11).  

Whatever is going on in your life, whatever seems to be going on in our communities or even our culture, remember that all things are ultimately in God’s hands. So let’s be committed to others in the communities in which we live. For the sake of the culture in which we reside, let us boldly proclaim the whole counsel of God, both His “No” and His “Yes,” for all of our good. God’s Law wasn’t mere opinion when he gave it to Israel in today’s reading from Exodus and it isn’t now. For all who take it seriously, who are broken by its enduring truth and who then look to God for a salvation that doesn’t come by our works, there is forgiveness and salvation by His grace. Thanks be to God!

In the midst of the brokenness of our culture and for the sake of our proclamation of God’s Good News of grace in Jesus Christ, the message of God’s righteous Law needs to be heard now and always. Who will rise to the occasion of proclamation? Could it be you and me? A virtuous people, motivated and empowered by faith, seeks to answer the call to speak God’s truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, let us be like Moses, Daniel, and Esther of old who boldly spoke your Word of truth. Maybe we do so in love for the sake of the Church, and, yes, also for the sake of the culture in which we live, so that all might come to know Your gracious love through faith in Christ alone. AMEN.

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