Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bill of 'Whose' Rights?

I'm reading an article by Dr. Daniel Block, from Wheaton Graduate School, on the relevance of Old Testament law for us today.  He says something very profound about the Ten Commandments (literally: 'Ten Words' found in Ex 20 and Deut 5), which he calls "ancient Israel’s version of the Bill of Rights." 

You know ours, right?  According to the Constitution of the United States we all have the right to a fair trial, the right to bear arms, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc.  But God's Bill of Rights is really quite the opposite!  Block points out that in contrast to our nation's Bill of Rights, the Ten Commandmants are "concerned to protect not my rights but the rights of the next person."  Those of us who enter into covenant with God are bound to behave in such a way to respect God more than ourselves, and to protect the freedom of others rather than our own. 

This preference for God and others is why Jesus can sum up the whole law in just 2 commands:  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27 NIV)  Jesus wasn't writing a new law in order to do away with the old one.  He simply made plain what was there all along.

Quotes taken from "Preaching Old Testament Law to New Testament Christians" Part 1, Ministry May 2006.

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