The way people respond to me when I bring up thoughts about the Second Commandment often shows a rolling-of-the-eyes impatience with me as if I am some freak that is superstitiously stirring up a witch hunt. The kinder ones suggest that I am being legalistic and impractical. They act as if the Second Commandment is hardly relevant today. No sophisticated person bows down to idols. They immediately imply that I am ready to pray down fire from Heaven on the Sunday School flannel graph and start a crusade vandalizing nativity scenes.
I only wish to make one point here:
The Second Commandment is just as relevant today as is the Seventh Commandment.
The Law is spiritual (Romans 7:14). Jesus illustrates this in the Sermon on the Mount and the truth of Romans 7:14 and Jesus’ illustrations in the Sermon on the Mount apply to all the Law. You must prove it otherwise.
One person, frustrated with me for using the Second Commandment as a reason for my opposition to the Gibson movie, chided me for suggesting that people would actually look at the screen as if the actor were God. He said that the Second Commandment forbids the making of images to worship as God. That’s obviously true. He’s right on both points. But if worshipping an image as God is all that is meant, then God is repeating the First Commandment which says that we should have no other God besides Him; and that would mean that for centuries we have all been mistaken: there are actually only The Nine Commandments.
The other option is to do as the Roman Church has done and that is to split the Tenth Commandment into two separate commandments which is equally ridiculous because the problem of redundancy is still the same. The Roman Catholics combine the First and the Second Commandments as one; and my conservative, Evangelical brother’s assertion fits neatly into the Roman Catholic scheme of things. The Gibson film cannot possibly be a violation of the Second Commandment, he says, because God has said that we should not make images into God and this film was not made to be God.
This brother also said that the Second Commandment should be taken only literally. Really? If this is so, then we are far off base to consider this the Moral Law of God because then the Seventh Commandment would not exclude sex before marriage, just extra-marital sex. And there is no law, then, against me coveting a brand new car, only that I do not covet my neighbor’s wife, or his donkey, or his ox, or his servants (which is not hard because his wife is not pretty, and he has neither donkey, ox, nor servants). Since the Law is spiritual (Romans 7:14) — and Jesus illustrated this by saying that a mere lustful thought constitutes a violation of the Seventh Commandment — then it is equally true that the Second Commandment has spiritual ramifications that do not merely reiterate the prohibition stated in the First Commandment. You may not like my application. But I am not wrong to say that there must be one.
Filed under: Things I have learned |