Faith in God, Love for People

God’s First commandment “No Other gods”

Harmony Baptist Herald Number 10, Fall 2007

Imagine you and I are among the estimated two million Jews following Moses out of Egypt. God has destroyed Egypt with one miraculous plague after another, and broken the power and spirit of the world’s super power. We have just passed through the Red Sea on dry ground with water piled up high on both sides. What a frightening but glorious experience! The mighty army of Pharaoh was drowned when they attempted to follow. Oh, what mighty miracles we have seen from the hand of our Almighty God. You and I have joined our voices in the Song of Moses, singing, “I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: . . . The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. . . . Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? . . . The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Oh, what a glorious day that was. (Exodus 15:1-18)

The LORD God has begun to feed us with the manna from Heaven, which we will eat for the next 40 years. Water has miraculously been supplied from “The Rock” in the desert. The whole assembly with all of our herds has now come to Mount Sinai in the Arabian Desert. Moses has told us that in three days he will go up to God on the mountain to receive His holy Law. We are to sanctify ourselves and prepare ourselves for this holy occasion. God has ordained that no man or animal shall even touch the holy mountain while God’s presence is manifest upon it. For this purpose a fence has been set up to keep everyone out, so that God’s holy anger will not destroy them.

It is now the third day, and Moses and Joshua are about to ascend the Mountain of God. We fear for our very lives, for as the Bible says, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. . . . And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai,” (Exodus 19:16-20)

This, my Friend, was the scene on the day the God of the Universe descended in grace and gave to men His holy Law revealing to us His holy, just, merciful, and righteous character and nature. For as the apostle says, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and
good.” (Rom. 7:12) This is so because the law reflects the Lawgiver. The first of these holy commandments says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Even though the Law was given to Israel, God’s chosen nation, it applies to all men as He is the Creator of all men. As the Psalmist says, “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;” (Ps. 100:3) Because Israel forsook the true God of Heaven and made for themselves other gods, God destroyed their temple, and their nation, and drove them into dispersion where they remain until the Lord’s second coming. The Lord Jesus summed up the first table of the Ten Commandments by saying; “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mk. 12:30) The Lord Jesus Christ made it very clear that to fail to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind is to break God’s Law and be guilty of sin. Can anyone reading these words claim that God has been first in your heart every hour of every day of your entire life? Or have you used all of your physical and mental abilities only for those things that glorify God? Certainly none of us could say such a thing.

Rather we use our strength and mental powers to gratify our sinful flesh. We use them for sinful pursuits such as gambling, drinking, or covetousness to name just a few. And what about the affections of our heart? Are we not guilty of loving those things that God hates and hating those things that He loves, for example, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and adultery? I have not mentioned the heathen in foreign lands who bow before gods of their own making, such as Allah, the moon god of Mohammed, or the worshippers of Buddha, or any one of the other false gods invented by men. In our own society the humanist runs after the god of evolution so as to avoid being responsible to the Creator. This is why the Word of God declares that we are all sinners, guilty before a holy God. We all deserve God’s righteous judgment in Hell. Right now, my Friend, if I got what I deserved, I would be in Hell. Right now, dear Friend, if you got what you deserved, you too would suffer with me in the fiery torments of Hell for all eternity.

This is why the holy prophets and apostles all with one voice call upon men to repent and turn to the true God of Heaven. Jesus Himself said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” The apostle Paul put it thus, “God . . . now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Lk. 13:3; Acts 17:30)

For this very purpose God sent His beloved Son into the world, to save sinners. The apostle said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;” The angel Gabriel told Joseph, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The Lord Jesus Himself said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ( 1Tim.1:15; Mt.1:21; Luke 19:10)

The great question is how can God maintain His justice and holiness while at the same time showing mercy and saving those who justly deserve His wrath? Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, kept perfectly God’s holy Law without sin. HE IS THE ONLY ONE to walk upon this earth without sin. Because He was sinless, neither death nor wrath had any claim upon Him. Had Jesus not given Himself to die, and not given His life, He could not have been killed nor would He have died. But praise God He did die for all the sins of all of His people! Consider the following verses from God’s Word.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,”
“But God commendeth (demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“For he (God the Father) hath made him (God the Son) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him.”
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;”
“By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with
hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ
that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (1 Pt. 3:18; Rom. 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:28,12,24; 10:12,19; Rom. 8:33-34)

I hope that you will read all of those verses carefully and prayerfully asking God to show you His salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. He died as our Substitute, bearing our sins and guilt, suffering God’s just wrath against sinners. God was satisfied, and the Lord Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father as our Great High Priest. There He pleads for all who come to God through Him. He obtains the full salvation for all of His people based upon the merits of His own precious and sinless blood.

Today, because of Jesus my Savior, I can say without any doubt or anything of myself, that I KNOW THAT MY SINS ARE FORGIVEN, AND THAT I HAVE BEEN SAVED BY HIS GRACE. I KNOW THAT WHEN I DIE, I WILL GO IMMEDIATELY TO BE WITH GOD IN HEAVEN. This is so, not because of anything that I have done, or could ever do. It is so because 37 years ago God opened my heart and showed me my sinfulness and just condemnation before Him. He, by His grace, granted to me the gift of repentance to turn from all trust in self and all sin. He also gave me faith to trust solely and wholly upon His Son Jesus for my salvation. By faith I trusted that Jesus died in my place, for my sins. I trusted His perfect sacrifice for my sin. Since that day I have had His peace in my heart. Do you, my Friend, have such assurance of God’s salvation? If not, I urge you to re-read the verses above until God opens your heart and grants to you the gift of faith. Look to the perfect Lamb of God, and trust in His perfect sacrifice for sin. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

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