The Taser's Edge

The Sermon on the Other Mount

As a good antinomian evangelical child, I never really knew why Christians ever talked about the Ten Commandments.  My basic problem with the Commandments was that Christianity is supposed to be about grace, and I never could figure out how Ten Major Rules have anything to do with the Gospel.

But they do.

The first year I Lented, I decided to start adding the Penitential Order to Morning Prayer once a week.  Part of the service is to read the Ten Commandments.  After each one is read, the response is “Amen.  Lord have mercy.”

Built into the Ten Commandments…

  • Thou shalt not steal & Thou shalt not desire to steal (“covet”)
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery and Thou shalt not desire thy neighbor’s wife (lust)

And (the reason I thought to write about this, during this very not-Lent time of year) where Jesus says don’t kill and don’t even hate, contrary to a billion easy sermons, it’s not true that it’s a radical new teaching.

From last week’s Daily Office, Leviticus 19:17-18:

You shall not hate your brother in our heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The 1979 Daily Office only even touches on six chapters of Leviticus’ 27 chapters.  The book is considered too hard, too boring, too offensive, too bloody, too etc.  But this time through, I recognized so much grace sprouting in that strange, hard, boring, offensive, bloody forest.  The church needs Leviticus.  The Gospel is there.