3.1 You make me feel guilty. Don’t you want me to have a good self image?
God wants you to know and feel your guilt so that you will be moved to take action. Only those who admit that they are sick will go to a doctor for healing. Therefore only those who acknowledge that they are sinners will go to Christ for salvation. What’s the use of having a good self image when you are sliding over the edge of a precipice?
3.2 If good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, then what do I have to worry about?
- The assumption is wrong and therefore the conclusion is also wrong. It is not true that good people go to heaven because, according to God’s standard, there are no good people (3a).
- You might think that this is a hard conclusion but that is because we do not appreciate God’s high standards. A road sweeper, a housewife and a surgeon would have different standards of cleanliness. In Isaiah c55v8-9 God says about His standards and ways, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
- The only type of people who go to heaven are sinners saved by grace, which is God’s undeserved favour. If you are not saved by grace, you have plenty to worry about.
3.3 Do you mean to say I’m as bad as a lot of other people I know?
From your own, your relatives’ or your friends’ opinions, you may not be as bad as others, but those opinions and standards do not finally count. As God is the final judge (3b), it is His opinion that finally counts. In God’s sight we are guilty sinners (3c).
3.4 If I keep the Ten Commandments won’t I be all right?
The Ten Commandments, stated in Exodus c20, require:
1. No other gods (v1-2). A god is that which first place in your life. The true God must have that first place. This eliminates other gods, whether represented by idols or such gods as: money, sex, power and self. None of these can be on the throne of the life.
2. No idol (v4-6). We usually think of idols as graven images, but this commandment also forbids worshipping such people and things as: a celebrity, children, position or car.
3. Do not take the Name of the Lord in vain (v7). This forbids testifying falsely when under oath before God and rules out using the Lord Jesus’ name in an irreverent way or in cursing.
4. Remember the Sabbath Day (v8-11). We should set one day in seven apart for the worship and service of God.
5. Honour your father and mother (v12). We are not to disobey them, treat them disrespectfully, or steal from them. Do we care for them and show gratitude to them?
6. Do not kill (v13). Even if you have never killed someone the Bible teaches that hatred is in principle the same as murder (3d).
7. Do not commit adultery (v14). All sex, except between a lawfully married man and woman, is forbidden by God. Jesus Christ also taught that even the lustful look at a woman is adulterous (3e).
8. Do not steal (v15). Have you taken someone’s property, or misused the time at work? Also we should not rob God of worship, obedience and service.
9. Do not bear false witness (v16). Do you give in false income tax returns? Do you tell lies or white lies? Do you exaggerate, deceive or withhold information that makes a situation look what it is not?
10. Do not covet (v17). Coveting people or things takes place in the mind and so to obey this commandment means having a pure thought life. How is your thought life?
Jesus summarized the commandments by saying that we should love God with all our being and love our neighbour as our self (3f). No one, apart from the Lord Jesus, has ever kept them, or can keep them.
3.5 If we can’t keep the Ten Commandments, why then were they given?
- They were given to convince us of the fact that we are sinners. Romans c3v20 says, “By the law is the knowledge of sin” It takes a straight line to reveal a crooked one. The commandments are God’s straight line, that were also given for the best good of society. If we kept them then society would be vastly better and happier. Yet when we stand next to them we realize how crooked we are.
- All the same they were never intended as a step ladder to heaven. A mirror tells us that our face needs washing, but the mirror doesn’t clean it. A thermometer tells us we have a fever, but swallowing a thermometer doesn’t cure a fever.
3a Ecclesiastes c7v20 “For there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.”
3b Acts c17v31 “Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.”
3c Romans c3v10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”
3c Romans c3v22b-23 ”… for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
3d 1 John c3v15 “Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
3f Matthew c5v28 The Lord Jesus said “But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
3g Mark c12v30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”