The Christmas Commandments

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 24, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

For the last eleven weeks, I’ve been writing on the Ten Commandments as found in Exodus 20:1-17. As we’ve explored these commandments, we’ve seen how they’re not just for the people of Israel back in the Old Testament but for us today as well, though with some contextual differences of course.

But with today being Christmas Eve, what do the Ten Commandments have to do with Christmas? A lot, actually.

The connection between the commandments and Christmas actually goes back all the way to the book of Genesis. Genesis 2:15-17 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’” A little while later in Genesis 3, the serpent tempts Eve and she and Adam both fall into sin. Ever since then, all humanity has been sinful and separated from God.

Fast forward a bit to Genesis 15, where God makes the covenant with Abraham. In that covenant, God promised Abraham that He would save him. Traditionally in a covenant such as that, two people would walk through the carcass halves together, meaning that if either one of them broke it, that person would be as good as dead. But in this situation, only God Himself went through the carcass halves as a smoking firepot and a blazing torch. This means that if God breaks the covenant, He should die for it; but if Abraham (or his offspring) breaks the covenant, God will still die for it.

Fast forward a bit more to the book of Exodus. Abraham’s grandson was Jacob, aka Israel, whose offspring from his twelve sons became the people of Israel. When this multitude of people left Egypt years later, they were in the process of becoming a unified nation - God’s chosen people. We read in Exodus 19 that on the first day of the third month after leaving Egypt, the people camped at Mt. Sinai. It was here that God gave their leader, Moses, the law for the people of Israel.

But why did this law matter? And what does that have to do with Jesus? We’re getting there.

If we don’t know what the rules are, we can’t know that we’ve broken them. Way back in Genesis 2, we saw that God clearly told Adam the rule: don’t eat from that one specific tree. Adam (and Eve) broke that rule, and they knew they had broken it because they knew what the rule was. The people of Israel were a sinful people, but they may not have known specifically how they were sinning until God gave them the law, the Ten Commandments. Now, they would know exactly what they were supposed to do (or not do). They also knew that anytime they broke God’s law, that separated them from Him, because God is holy and cannot be around sin.

The problem is, not one single person has been able to fully keep that law. Every last person who has ever lived or will ever live will break God’s law. I have; you have; everyone you know has. That means that we’re all separated from God because of our sin.

That’s where Christmas comes in. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We know that Jesus was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit inside Mary (Luke 1:26-38), so He is both fully God and fully human. Jesus had to be fully God in order to live a perfect, sinless life and never break a single one of the Commandments. Jesus had to be fully human in order to be an acceptable sacrifice for all of humanity who has sinned. Jesus couldn’t be fully human without being born of a woman, so that’s exactly what happened.

Jesus’ birth that we celebrate at Christmas time is the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham back in Genesis 15, because He had to be born as a human. Jesus’ death and resurrection truly fulfilled that covenant by dying for the sins of all of humanity - every single time that every person who has ever lived or will ever lived has broken or will break any one of the Ten Commandments. That’s how amazing, powerful, and loving our God is!

What are you celebrating this Christmas? Are you celebrating the happiness you get from being around your friends and family, eating good food, and exchanging gifts? I encourage you this Christmas to celebrate way more than that: celebrate the law that was given to us and the Savior who fulfilled it.

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