Grace is truly a scandalous concept, in fact, bordering on heresy in some minds. Recently a very popular preacher stirred the waters of controversy by suggesting that the 10 commandments were more appropriately realized as the 10 promises. I do not want to jump into the debate, but I want to call us to a faith walk in what I will call the Grace Upgrade.
No doubt the very name of the Old Testament book calls attention to the Law. “Deuteronomy” means the “second law,” denoting its recounting of the law given through Moses. But as we read through the words of God, we discover the promise of grace. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:19-20).
I recall sitting to watch a Volley Ball game of my youngest daughter while in Middle School that I noticed on the gymnasium wall the very conservative Christian private school had renamed them the “Ten Promises of God.” Paul reminds us in Galatians and Romans of the inability of our flesh to obey the law and keep the commandments. So it is certainly the promise of grace that through Christ we are able to live by the standards God placed before us in the Law.
It is scandalous, however, to the point that the Jewish religious leaders were the ones to crucify the very one who gave the law. Examine carefully that it was His message of grace that seemed to so infuriate the religious establishment.
What if we view calling them Promises instead of Commandments were seen as an Upgrade. The binding force of Ten Commandments is not negated by grace, it is upgraded.I am sure that I am missing something with these comments, but I am just do not see the point in complicating what should be simple.
If Paul struggled with the inability of his flesh to obey the law, why would I think that I could do better. It is only with the “Thank God through Jesus Christ” that the presence of the Holy Spirit living in me that I can have victory to obey. It is under grace more of a Promise than a Command. Apart from Christ, I can do nothing. (Jesus said that, not me). It is the “I can do all things through Christ” of Paul’s admission that I can obey. Is this not the promise of grace? What I could not do through the inability of my corrupted flesh, but am brought to awareness by the schoolmaster of the law, that grace fulfills. I can love the Lord my God with all my heart. I can indeed not have other gods before the One true God. I can not steal. I can not kill. But I can only obey the Ten Commandments by the inherent Promise of Grace that they contain.