“Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. ” (Exodus 20:1–2, NASB95)
These verses are the words God spoke to the children of Israel from Mt. Sinai just before giving them the 10 commandments. They are significant because they set the tone and put the commandments into perspective. Too many religious people see the 10 commandments as a means to get right with God. They see them as a way to become a child of God. They think to themselves, “If I just live according to the 10 commandments I will earn God’s grace.” This is just not correct.
The verses above tell the Israelites, and us, that we are already recipients of God’s redemptive grace. God already made them His people by bringing them out of Egypt. With this proclamation of love and grace, God presents to His children the 10 commandments. They are not how we are to live to become God’s people, but how we are to live because WE ARE GOD’S PEOPLE. This is significantly different. I encourage you to read the 10 commandments from the perspective that God is providing them as a guide about how to live as His children.
Here is Tom’s paraphrase of Exodus 20. God says, “I love you so much I redeemed and saved you from the horrible slavery you were in. I have adopted you as my children and am going to bring you into the land I promised your forefathers. As my children, I know how best you can live and get along as my children. I am giving you the following commandments because I love you and I want you to remain my people forever. I want you to follow these commandments because you love me, too. I don’t want you to follow them because you feel compelled to do so. I want you to follow the commandments because you love Me and want to love Me with your life.
Today, live out your Christian life as a “want to”, not a “have to”. Dedicate yourself to godly living as a response to the rich grace that God has bestowed upon you.