The sixth through tenth commandments (vv. 13-17) require man to live out the virtues that express God’s attributes, the main ones of which are holiness, righteousness, love, and light (cf. note Exo. 20:11).
The title Jehovah your God in this verse indicates that the fifth commandment, related to the honoring of parents, is ranked with the first four commandments, related to God. The reason is that by honoring our parents we honor our source, which ultimately is God Himself (Luke 3:23-38).
Like an engagement ring, the Sabbath was a sign that God’s people were sanctified, separated unto Him, to belong only to Him.
See note Exo. 16:231a. The Sabbath signifies that God has done everything, completed everything, and prepared everything and that man must stop all his work. To keep the Sabbath is to stop our work and to take God and all that He has accomplished for us as our enjoyment, rest, and satisfaction. This is God’s economy. See note Gen. 2:21b.
Or, graven image.
The law of God is God’s word (in Exo. 34:28 the Ten Commandments, the main contents of the law, are called “the ten words” — see note there). As such, the law is God’s testimony (Exo. 16:34; 31:18; 32:15; 40:20; Psa. 19:7), God’s expression, a revelation of God to His people (see note John 1:12b and note Heb. 1:11, par. 1). The law of God reveals God’s attributes, showing that He is jealous (vv. 4-6; cf. 2 Cor. 11:2), holy (vv. 7-11), loving (vv. 6, 12-15; cf. Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14), righteous (v. 5), truthful (v. 16; cf. 1 John 1:5-6), and pure (vv. 2-3, 17). As the word of God and the testimony, the expression, of God, the law is a type of Christ as God’s Word and God’s testimony, God’s expression (John 1:1, 18; Rev. 19:13; 1:5; Col. 1:15).
The reality of keeping the law is to live God and express God. Such a living, a living in the eternal economy of God, is the living of a God-man, a life of continually denying the self and being crucified to live Christ, who is God’s testimony, by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ for the enlarged and expanded expression of God (Matt. 16:24; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:19-21a; Rom. 8:4).
The mentioning of love here indicates that God’s intention in giving His law to His chosen people was that they become His lovers (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:35-38; Mark 12:28-30). In bringing His people out of Egypt and giving His law to them, God was courting them, wooing them, and seeking to win their affection. Jer. 2:2; 31:32 and Ezek. 16:8 indicate that the covenant enacted at the mountain of God through the giving of the law (Exo. 24:7-8; 34:27-28) was an engagement covenant, in which God betrothed the children of Israel to Himself (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2). The Ten Commandments, especially the first five, gave the terms of the engagement between God and His people. The highest function of the law is to bring God’s chosen people into oneness with Him, as a wife is brought into oneness with her husband (cf. Gen. 2:24; Rev. 22:17). In order for God and His people to be one, there must be a mutual love between them (John 14:21, 23). The love between God and His people unfolded in the Bible is primarily like the affectionate love between a man and a woman (Jer. 2:2; 31:3). As God’s people love God and spend time to fellowship with Him in His word, God infuses them with His divine element, making them one with Him as His spouse, the same as He is in life, nature, and expression (Gen. 2:18-25 and notes). See note Exo. 19:81, pars. 2 and 3.
The entire Bible is a divine romance, a record of how God courts His chosen people and eventually marries them (Gen. 2:21-24; S.S. 1:2-4; Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 2:2; 3:1, 14; 31:32; Ezek. 16:8; 23:5; Hosea 2:7, 19; Matt. 9:15; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-32; Rev. 19:7; 21:2, 9-10; 22:17). When we as God’s people enter into a love relationship with God, we receive His life, just as Eve received the life of Adam (Gen. 2:21-22). It is this life that enables us to become one with God and makes Him one with us. We keep the law not by exercising our mind and will (cf. Rom. 7:18-25) but by loving the Lord as our Husband and thereby partaking of His life and nature to become one with Him as His enlargement and expression.
See note Rom. 7:73b.
See note Exo. 24:131.
cf. Gal. 3:19
The moral section of the law of God (see note Exo. 25:11) is composed mainly of the Ten Commandments (vv. 2-17) and also of the statutes (vv. 22-26) and the ordinances (21:1—23:19), which supplement the Ten Commandments or add details to them (see note Luke 1:64). The statutes in vv. 22-26, concerning the way to worship God, supplement the second and third commandments and add details to these commandments.
cf. Exo. 32:31
The altar and the sacrifices for the worship of God provide a gateway for fallen man to enter into the economy of God. They indicate that in order to worship God, fallen man must be redeemed and terminated by the cross and replaced by Christ in resurrection. The worship God desires is through the altar and by the sacrifices, i.e., through the cross (Heb. 13:10) and by Christ as the reality of the sacrifices (Heb. 10:5-10). A true worshipper is one who worships God in the virtue of Christ as the burnt offering (Lev. 1) for God’s satisfaction and the peace offering (Lev. 3) for the mutual satisfaction with God and with his fellow worshippers (John 4:23-24 and note John 4:244).
According to vv. 24-26, the altar God requires for His worship is primitive and uncultured in the eyes of man and offers no place for man’s wisdom and power (1 Cor. 1:17-25). It was to be erected with materials created by God, either earth or unhewn stone (v. 25). This indicates that the cross has been prepared entirely by the work of God, with no place given to man’s work. Thus, to erect an altar in this way means to receive what God has prepared, with no human work added. An altar made of earth or stone also points to the availability of the cross.
The proper worship of God invites God’s visitation and blessing.
See note Exo. 20:244.
To add man’s work to the worship of God is to bring in pollution. Because fallen man himself is sin, pollution, in the eyes of God (Psa. 51:5; 2 Cor. 5:21), no work of man is acceptable to Him (cf. Gen. 4:3-5; Gal. 2:16). Thus, every fallen man who worships God must be terminated, with all his works and ways.
Steps refer to man’s way, which promotes achievement by natural ability and creates different levels of attainment among God’s people. The altar (cross) prepared by God is not elevated but is close to the ground, eliminating the need for steps and making it possible for anyone to approach it.
Man’s nakedness denotes the shame of fallen man (Gen. 3:7). God’s salvation clothes man with Christ as his righteousness (Gen. 3:21; Luke 15:22; 1 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 3:9), but man’s way uncovers the nakedness of his fallen nature. In principle, the exercise of man’s wisdom in building an altar with steps puts Christ aside and causes man’s fallen nature to be exposed. Instead of exercising our wisdom in things pertaining to God, we should fully trust in Christ and thereby remain under Christ as our covering.
Speaking the Truth in Love
This is how denominations are formed.
The main direction is to come out of the system; it cannot change.
"I began to realize that our practices have differed and deviated from our vision. Our vision was the same, our teaching was mostly the same, the truth is always the same, but our practice has really differed."