By Shawn McMullen
Some people view the Ten Commandments as a burdensome set of rules. We know, however, that they are something different—timeless principles that, when obeyed, bring honor to the Lord and blessings to the obedient.
The apostle Paul understood this. Writing to encourage Timothy in his ministry, he noted, “Anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5). Seen this way, God’s people continue to live by rules even in the age of grace.
The Rule of Purity
The psalmist asked, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?” and answered, “By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9). Paul prayed that the believers in Philippi would remain “pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:9-11). The rule of purity calls us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), hold our tongues (James 3:1-12), protect our bodies
(2 Corinthians 7:1), and control our thoughts (Philippians 4:8).
The Rule of Integrity
King David observed, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17). To live with integrity means that we choose to do what’s right at all times. Paul emphasized his personal commitment to integrity among the Corinthians when he wrote, “Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity” (2 Corinthians 1:12).
The Rule of Honesty
Moses instructed the Israelites, “You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 25:15). God said through the psalmist, “No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence” (Psalm 101:7). The rule of honesty calls us to tell the truth and to be fair in all our dealings. Jesus taught us to live such honest lives that no one questions our word: “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37).
The Rule of Service
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). Paul reminds us, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13, NIV, 1984). The rule of service calls us to humble ourselves for the sake of others, following the example of our servant-Savior.
Like the Ten Commandments, the rules we live by in the age of grace bring honor to God and blessings to the obedient. As John affirmed, “This is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3, NIV).