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Table of the law

How Did We Get Here: What In The World?

Table of the law
It should not come as a surprise that our culture has completely rejected God’s law—or that many churches are now beginning to follow. Our question must now be, “what are we to do about it?”
Every day, it seems there are more and more moral crises facing Christians in our nation. The LGBTQ+ revolution is accelerating at an unbelievable rate. Legislation is being passed to remove any and all regulations surrounding abortion. Christians are increasingly being shoved to the margins of society, as the radical moral and sexual revolution sweeps through our schools, workplaces, and communities. This is a breathtaking (and in many ways an overwhelming) time to be a Christian, and it can be difficult for us to know how to respond, all while avoiding being caught up in the tidal wave of a transforming morality. More than ever, it is vital for Christians to be firmly planted in God’s Word, and even more specifically, grounded in God’s law.

It is interesting if we look at what we call the “second table” of the law – those commandments which deal with our interactions with other people—we can see, one by one, the widespread disobedience and sheer disregard of God’s standard for mankind. Homes that are centered around the children have become the norm; not only that, but nearly every form of authority, whether it be employers, police officers, teachers or governing officials, is subverted and disrespected, breaking God’s command for us to honor father and mother.
God commands us not to murder, and yet the murder of the unborn is now considered a fundamental human right. God forbids adultery, which has become commonplace in every way in our society. Not only is divorce as common as marriage, and premarital sex a given, but prostitution, multiple partners, one night stands, and of course homosexuality are condoned, encouraged, and even celebrated.
“You shall not steal”—yet with each passing year, it seems that more people want a government which seizes people’s earnings and redistributes it according to how they see fit. Lying is prohibited by God but it is expected and, in the eyes of most, acceptable for our nation’s leaders to lie pathologically. Coveting in our consumeristic society is so commonplace that it doesn’t seem many of us even realize when we do it.

The disregard of God’s law in our culture is clear, widespread, and detrimental; it may leave many Christians asking the question, “how did we get here?” What Christians need to consider however, is that this second table of the law does not exist in a vacuum. These laws do not come out of nowhere. They are built on a strong foundation: the first table of the law. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
These first four commandments instruct mankind in how we are to worship God, how we are to think about Him, how we are to talk about Him. They show us what a right relationship with God looks like. And it’s only in light of this right relationship with God that we can seek godly relationships with man. If we’re not concerned about having a fruitful relationship with God, eventually there’s no real reason to seek God glorifying relationships with man.
Jesus sums up the whole law in the two great commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:37-39). These words summarize both the first and second tables of the law. They point us to right relationship with God and with man; you must have one to have the other.

Over the past generation or so, many in the church have become disinterested with preaching and upholding the first table of the law. The concern for some time has been a sort of “moralism”—imposing the second table without coupling it with a high view of God and a strong position on how we relate to Him. There has been far more concern with external conformity rather than internal transformation and this attitude has led to the fruits which we are currently reaping.

The law comes as a whole. If the first table is dismissed, eventually the whole thing will be dismantled. Our relationship with God is the foundation upon which the rest of the law is built and if that foundation is removed, the structure will fall.
It should not come as a surprise that our culture has completely rejected God’s law—or that many churches are now beginning to follow. Our question must now be, “what are we to do about it?” In this series, I want to examine how the church has largely failed in upholding the first table of the law, and impress upon all of us how vital it is for us to teach and exhibit right relationship with God in all that we do.
Luke Griffo is a member of leadership at Redeemer Church of South Hills in West Mifflin, PA. Click here for more RCSH Blog posts.
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