The Ten Commandments are the True Gauge of Freedom
This is my fourth post on the Ten Commandments using Buddy Dano’s study: FOR THE LAND OF THE FREE: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FREEDOM. This is my last installment of Pastor Dano’s introduction to the Ten Commandments, next week I plan on posting his teaching on the first commandment. This is a larger post than the previous parts of the introduction. Since this material is so closely related, breaking it up will ruin its continuity.
I don’t think that this material needs a long introduction but it is important stuff. How I wish that such teaching was coming from American pulpits today rather than the feel good fluff that passes as Christianity. I encourage any readers to consider this teaching carefully!
THE TRUE GAUGE OF FREEDOM.
The second point about the Mosaic Law which must be understood is that the DECALOGUE is a standard, a guide, a rule, a canon, which measures personal and national status with regard to freedom. When these principles come under attack, the very foundation of freedom is undermined. It is God’s way of letting people know the condition of their souls regarding the four Divine Institutions, which are free will, marriage, family, and a nation. These institutions have been designed by God for both the believer and the unbeliever, and the Ten Commandments are the provision for the protection of both, the whole human race.
Exodus 20:2, ‘‘I am the Lord Thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’’
PRINCIPLE: GOD IS THE SOURCE OF OUR FREEDOM. In the Hebrew there is no verb in this verse. The word ‘‘am’’ in italics has been inserted, and it is misleading. The correct declaration is, ‘‘I, the Lord thy God.’’ God is not establishing His existence, but is establishing Himself as the Source. Since His existence is assumed, no verb is needed. And although the first commandment is given in verse 3, the principle is contained in verse 2.
The source of all freedom is God Himself, and God in His matchless GRACE sets up laws to protect freedom, laws to punish violation of freedom and laws regarding self-enslavement. Basic enslavement in human life, as taught in Romans 6, occurs in the soul, the real you, and believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are commanded to avoid soul-enslavement. Romans 6:13a, ‘Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.’’ Now this means being controlled by your old sin nature, and that is basic soul-enslavement. Romans 6:13b, ‘‘But yield your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.’’
This is basic freedom and is achieved by making the Word of God in your mind the authority of your soul. It is what goes on in the soul that determines freedom or slavery, and soul activity in turn influences the overt activities of the individual and the nation. As Theodore Roosevelt stated, ‘‘Our nation must find its soul.’’ There is a historical principle that is borne out in the rise and the fall of nations. This principle is that no nation ever becomes enslaved until first a maximum number of people in that nation undergo emotional rebellion in the soul. Soul slavery always leads to physical slavery. No nation is conquered by an enemy unless destruction of individual souls occurs first. A large number of people in our country are in soul slavery today. If this soul slavery continues, it will be only a matter of time before the enemies of our country, both internal and external, destroy it and deliver our people into literally physical slavery, i.e., Siberia. But the Word of God transferred from the Bible into our individual souls can reverse this present trend.
Exodus 20:2, ‘‘The Lord Thy God.’’ This is interesting because it is made up of two words, the Tetragrammaton, which we simply call JEHOVAH and the noun ELOHIM. Since the word ELOHIM refers to essence, it is in the plural. The Tetragrammaton never refers to more than one Person at a time. It could refer to God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. The context of the passage determines the specific reference.
The God of Israel is the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, ‘‘I the Lord Thy God,’’ is the Lord Jesus Christ. So Jesus Christ gave these Commandments of freedom to Moses. The Lord Jesus Christ personally taught these Ten Commandments to Moses. Now, later on great portions of the Mosaic Law were taught by angels. And this is found in Galatians 3:19, ‘‘Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; AND IT WAS ORDAINED BY ANGELS IN THE HAND OF A MEDIATOR.’’
PRINCIPLE: NEITHER THE GOSPEL NOR EVANGELISM WAS THE ISSUE IN THIS PASSAGE because the people this was addressed to were already saved. This was spoken to believers. So the issue then is FREEDOM.
The words ‘‘have brought you out’’ is a Hebrew word which means that the Jews were caused to be delivered, caused to go forth, or to be delivered from slavery. Their freedom was an established fact, the principle comes out in the literal rendition. ‘‘I have caused you to go forth, out of the land of Egypt.’’ They didn’t earn their freedom. They didn’t deserve their freedom. They didn’t work for their freedom. It was strictly the GRACE of God.
Jewish freedom began at the Passover, which portrays our salvation. The blood shed by the physical death of the lamb, taught through representative analogy, the spiritual death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.
1 Peter 1:18, 19, ‘‘Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot.’’ Christ died spiritually when He was judged for the sins of the world. The Old Testament believer looked forward to the cross, while today we look back to the cross, but for both, salvation was simply by faith in Christ as personal Saviour.
The whole structure of the Ten Commandments, therefore, was designed for people who were free, who had the ability to use their own free will. This then introduces the principle of human freedom.
1. FREEDOM DEMANDS RESPONSIBILITY.
Responsibility is necessary for freedom to be maintained. The Mosaic Law connotes responsibility. In slavery, the Jews would not function as a nation. Once free from physical slavery, the Jews had the responsibility not only of exercising their freedom, but also of protecting and maintaining their freedom.
2. HUMAN FREEDOM IS A PRIMARY FACTOR IN THE RESOLVING OF THE UNSEEN CONFLICT.
Human volition, free will, must be in tact to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Believing in Jesus Christ requires the non-meritorious function of your volition.
3. HUMAN FREEDOM GIVES OPPORTUNITY FOR A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Through the operation of human freedom, God in His matchless GRACE gives man the opportunity to have a relationship with Himself. This in turn gives meaning and purpose and definition to your life. All true purposes in life must be related to God. This is the principle found in the Book of Ecclesiastes and Solomon’s vain pursuit apart form the Lord.
4. GOD HAS DESIGNED LAWS FOR THE PROTECTION OF FREEDOM IN THE UNSEEN CONFLICT.
Without Divine provision for the stability of the soul, man is no match for Satan, who is called ‘‘the god of this world.’’ 2 Corinthians 4:4, ‘‘In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.’’ Without God’s principles for maintaining freedom, there would be no norms or standards to guide the soul and no restraints on the old sin nature, and that would result in the old sin nature dictating to the soul and the soul would be in rebellion because of the emotions taking over.
Now, legalism is the great enemy of all of God’s gracious provisions. The DECALOGUE has been distorted and abused by legalism. Legalism is satanic in origin and is part of Satan’s strategy to destroy the true purpose of the Ten Commandments. And in this way to destroy human volition. A true understanding of the function of the DECALOGUE will free you from some of the legalistic traps and self-righteous attitudes that have existed historically during this present Church Age, not to mention all of the legalism prior to the Church Age.
5. ALL SIN, KNOWN OR UNKNOWN, INVOLVES THE ACT OF THE VOLITION.
The only way to avoid deliberately sinning is to have your volition, your free will, removed from your soul. This is impossible, unless you are an idiot.
Let’s look at the problem of original sin. In the Garden the Lord Jesus Christ held a Bible class every day for one man and one woman (‘‘Where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I am in their midst’’). Subsequent events reveal that Adam understood the issue involved in God’s command, ‘‘Thou shalt not eat,’’ given in Genesis 2:17. But the woman did not know the issue. Now, after the woman sinned, as recorded in Genesis 3:13, she said, ‘‘The serpent beguiled me.’’ So her’s was an unknown sin, as it were.
The apostle Peter in 2 Peter 2:14, warns the believer of the false teachers who beguile unstable souls. Since the serpent beguiled the woman, it is evident that she had developed an unstable soul in innocence, even while under perfect conditions, with the Lord Jesus Christ teaching the Word of God. So out of a congregation or assembly of two, one was not tuned in.
Genesis 3:6, ‘‘She took of the fruit.’’ Even though she did not understand what she was doing, her volition was involved. Adam, on the other hand, knew exactly what he was doing. The fact that both were involved in the sin is stated clearly in 1 Timothy 2:14, but there was a difference. The woman was deceived, but Adam deliberately sinned. ‘‘And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.’’
How did Adam and Eve sin without an old sin nature? Well, mechanically, there was only one way: through their volition. See, free will operated in their souls, and both sinned, one knowingly, one unknowingly. But both willingly, freely.
THE PRINCIPLE. ALL SIN, KNOWN OR UNKNOWN, INVOLVES THE ACTION OF THE VOLITION. The original sin of Adam and Eve was negative volition to the Word of God. SO THEN, EVERY IMPERATIVE MOOD, EVERY COMMANDMENT, IMPLIES THE OPERATION OF YOUR FREE WILL AND/OR VOLITION.
6. VOLITION AND HUMAN FREEDOM ARE THE BASIS OF THE FUNCTION OF LOVE.
There are three categories of love:
1. Category 1 love is love toward God.
2. Category 2 love is love toward your Right-Man or Right-Woman.
3. Category 3 love is love towards friends, etc.
The principle of category 2 love is illustrated in the relationship of Right-Man and Right-Woman. Now the man is the aggressor and the initiation of love must come from his volition. A lot of men say, ‘‘I am not naturally aggressive.’’ But since you have free will and a normal soul, you are an aggressor. All you need is that spark, that Right-Woman, and you will want to initiate, and will initiate.
By contrast, a woman is designed for response. But the response of love must come from her volition. True love cannot be coerced. It must be freely given. The Right-Man must provide for the Right- Woman both freedom and privacy. In aggression, the Right-Man protects the freedom of the Right-Woman so that she can respond freely.
Now a woman can be very aggressive in responding to her man. But that does not mean she is manly. It means that her volition has been protected, and she is free to respond. Ignorance of this principle leads some men to destroy the volition of the Right-Woman by demanding love. The enslavement of a woman’s soul destroys her capacity for love.
7. HUMAN FREEDOM IS THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING HUMAN MATURITY.
Human maturity is defined as taking full responsibility for one’s own decisions. God has designed the mind as the authority of the soul. The mentality of the soul contains the conscience and is the area for the norms and standards. Under emotional rebellion of the soul, the emotions rule the soul under the dictates of the old sin nature. When the emotions rule the soul, individual responsibility is lost, as is capacity for objective thinking.
8. VOLITION IS THE ISSUE IN SALVATION.
The reason volition is the determining factor is that everything else has been provided. Salvation has been provided by God the Father. John 4:34, ‘‘Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.’’ Salvation is revealed by God the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:10, ‘‘But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.’’
Salvation was purchased for us by the Lord Jesus Christ through His work on the cross. 1 Peter 2:24, ‘‘Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.’’ 1 John 2:2, ‘‘And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’’ 1 John 3:16, ‘‘Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’’
Yet salvation is optional. Whether a person is saved or not depends on the attitude of their free will. Positive volition is simply ‘‘HE THAT BELIEVETH on the Son hath everlasting life.’’ And negative volition is simply, ‘‘HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on Him,’’ John 3:36.
9. HUMAN FREEDOM IS PROTECTED BY GOD’S PROHIBITIONS.
‘‘Thou shalt not.’’ This is not a tyrannical expression of God’s will, rather it has been given by God in His matchless GRACE for the protection of the freedom of our souls and the freedom of our nation.