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The First Commandment

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Last time we looked at the preamble for the Ten Commandments and now it is time to move on to the commandments themselves. We should never read the commandments out of context and we should remember that even though we are Christians and we don’t have to obey the Law, we have a higher calling than the Israelis. They were saved out of the Land of Egypt, the house of slavery but we have been eternally saved from all the torments of hell.

As Christians we don’t have to obey the Law so what does the first commandment mean to the church? Do we have to worry about this at all. Christians may not have the Law but we do have a preamble. This preamble encourages us to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ paid a huge price for our salvation. The Law, however, gives a good example of our Maker’s instructions on how to live a rich and complete life.

There is another very important reason for us to consider the first commandment and its implications for our Christian lives. We find this reason in Phil 2: 5-8. The Lord Jesus Christ was in a position where he could do nothing to improve his own position. He was already God and could not become more God. He could not enrich himself more because he already owned everything in the Universe and the praise of all the people who ever lived was just something that God was entitled to anyway; as well as that, we learn from Psalm 19 that the heavens give praise to God without break throughout time. The praise of the human family is less than a mosquito buzzing next to the praise that the rest of creation brings to the Lord. Whatever Christ did for us when He came to this earth was entirely for our benefit and not for His.

The next question that could be asked is “why did the Lord Jesus humble Himself so completely when He became a man?” (compare Matt 8: 20). The major reason has to do with the first commandment. But, how would the Lord Jesus coming to the earth as a king or a mighty general affect the first commandment? If we look at the time when the Lord Jesus fed the 5000 we can see the major reason. In John 6: 14, 15 we are told that the crowd of people who were fed came to the Lord and tried to make Him their king. They wanted to do this because He fed them and they thought that He would become their servant and feed them all the time. However, he was here to die for our sins rather than feed us for nothing. The Lord Jesus had nothing because He was here as God and not as some populist figure to get fame for Himself. Had He come as an earthly king or a mighty general people would have followed Him for His position and not for who He was. This would mean that they were following another God rather than the God who had made them. The same is true today, we don’t follow Christ for personal advantage but to give all the glory to Him, if we believe in Him and give Him the glory then we will be given eternal life.

The second reason that the Lord Jesus humiliated Himself so much was so that He wouldn’t have any distractions to His work. If He had been rich He would have had to spend some time protecting His riches. But, He had nothing on earth to lose so He was totally dedicated to glorifying the Father in everything that He did (John 17: 4). The Lord Jesus is the perfect example of a person who lived the first commandment.

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