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Where Do You Stand?

Colin Smith
Colin Smith
2013 5 Nov

On one occasion Jesus talked with a brilliant young man about the 10 Commandments. The man said, “I’ve kept them all.” He really believed he had. What about you? Where do you stand in relation to the 10 Commandments? I want to suggest 3 possibilities:

Some of us feel we’ve kept them

The man hadn’t murdered anyone. He’d been faithful to his wife. He hadn’t told any big lies or raided a bank. He was a good, upright citizen, who flossed his teeth and paid his taxes. There are lots of folks who feel like this. Some of them hang out in churches.

The problem is that he didn’t understand the commandments. Jesus made it clear that the commandments aren’t limited to actions. They search the thoughts of your mind and the feelings of your heart (Matthew 5). If you don’t know about the struggle of keeping the commands, it probably means you haven’t started climbing.

Some of us are struggling to keep them

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8

You want to please the Lord. But it is just so hard. The Christian life isn’t easy, but by the grace of God, you can make progress one step at a time. The fact that you’re struggling means you are on the wall, and your desire to be more holy is the greatest evidence of the work of the Spirit of God in you. You should thank God for it.

Years ago I found great help and encouragement from a description of the Christian faith called the Heidelberg Catechism. It sets out the whole of the Christian faith under three headings: misery, deliverance and gratitude. It’s very significant that the Heidelberg Catechism deals with the 10 Commandments under gratitude:

Q. Can those converted to God obey these commands perfectly?

A. No. In this life, even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.

Nevertheless, they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commands.

What we have is a beginning of integrity, a beginning of worship, and a beginning of contentment. But it is a true beginning, and that beginning will one day be complete!

Some of us have let go of them

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

There was a time when you were walking with Christ. You were making progress as a Christian. But somehow you lost your footing. Maybe it’s been the chaos of a workaholic lifestyle. Maybe it’s an unresolved conflict. Maybe it’s a secret deception.

But somewhere in the climb, you came off the wall. Here’s what I want to say to you:

Thank God there’s a rope. That rope is called the mercy of God. If it was not for the mercy of God, you would be lost forever.

But you have been held in the mercy of God. You are not where you used to be, but you are not totally lost either. There is hope for you. Get back on the wall where you are, and start climbing. And as you climb, thank God for His mercy that never let you go. You will not be climbing out of obligation, but out of gratitude.

This week's Scripture: "All these I have kept since my youth!" Mark 10:20

This LifeKey is based on the message “The Ten Greatest Struggles of Your Life,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith on September 5, 2004, from the series “The 10 Greatest Struggles of Your Life.”  Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ. 

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