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The 10 Commandments are not a lesson in morality.  They are not about a list of don’ts.  Luther’s explanation of the 10 Words speaks to this as he challenges us not to focus on the don’t side but reverses the rules and turns them into ongoing activities.  Don’t bear false witness—but also seek the best in others and defend their character.  Don’t steal—but also help others keep what is theirs.  Luther understands the spirit of the 10 Commandments as far more than a list of rules and a lesson in morality.  The 10 Commandments are about relationship.  It is our roadmap for how to live in community.

In the same way, Jesus isn’t the moral police.  He didn’t come to make sure you act like a Boy Scout or Girl Scout.  The story of redemption is far more than a restoration of morality in an immoral world.

Sure, there is no shortage of immoral acts and practices in our society today.  Jerry Sandusky’s sentencing reminds us of this fact 30 to 60 times over.  But the reality is that Jesus didn’t come to redeem our immorality, our impulsivity, and our imperfection.  The Fall was certainly a fall from grace—but it wasn’t so much a failure of obedience.  The Fall is about broken relationships.  Our broken relationship with God, with our selves, with others, and with creation.  We are broken.  We are less than human.  Our immorality and imperfection is a symptom of this brokenness.  Jesus came to restore our relationships far more than He came to make us do the proper things.  Doing the proper thing is good.  But if we think this is all that God came to do than we miss the mark, so to speak.

Relationship restoration is the locus of God’s work in Jesus Christ.  Our sinfulness is the cancer that has eaten away at the relationships for which we were created.  This cancer keeps us from our union with God.  We deny like Peter.  We hide like Adam and Eve.  In the goodness of Jesus, despite our brokenness, Jesus calls us into His family, sits us at His dinner table, and eats with us.  We come back into union with Him.  Come-union.  Communion.

This cancer destroys our understanding of ourselves.  We lie to ourselves and we believe the judgments of others.  The work of Jesus is to continually implant His image on us, remind us of how He sees us, and show his perfection made perfect in our weakness.

This cancer corrupts the way we relate with others.  We treat people like lepers.  We point out the specks in others’ eyes.  Jesus restores us by showing us the way of service and what it means to be last as we relate with others.

The cancer corrupts our connection to creation.  We exploit, expose, and abuse creation with little regard to its creator.  And it responds with groans too deep for words.  Yet, in the work of Jesus, even the Rocks would cry out in celebration.  The Rock that rolled away did cry out.

Restored relationship is the focus of Christ’s work.  As a result, our call to moral living is a reflection of relationships restored.  For some reason, we have made morality too much of the center of a Christ filled life.  Instead, let us live in relationship with God, our self, one another, and God’s creation.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Marilee Litwa permalink
    10October2012 09:22

    It struck me a few months ago that the 10 Commandments were really a blueprint for life. If you follow them, your life will be a lot easier, less complicated, happier. For example, if you don’t steal, you don’t end up in jail. Simple. I used to think of them as THE BIG DON’TS.

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