The first three commandments provide almost everything you need to know to live a life pleasing to God. Last week we did a high-level flyover of all ten commandments of God’s law (see “The Ten Commandments”). Some may wonder why I’d bother spending more time on such a well-known passage of Scripture from the Old Testament. The reason is God’s law forms the bedrock of our faith.
It is this law that shows, without the blood and resurrection power of Jesus, we are lost. So I want to dive a little deeper into the first three commandments today: do not have any gods other than God, do not make anything an idol, and do not disrespect the name of God. I think we can sum up these commandments by saying we must serve God and God alone.
In many circles today, it’s almost as if the Old Testament has been forgotten. Popular teachers say we don’t need the Old Testament at all and can remove it from our faith. As I mentioned in a recent post (see “The Word of God“), there could be no New Testament without the Old Testament. It wouldn’t make any sense. For this reason, it’s valuable to regularly revisit the teachings that form the foundation of our faith. If our foundation is weak, our faith and commitment will also be weak.
God alone is God. He is the only true God and the only way to eternal life. As Jesus said, no one gets to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). There is only one door and only a narrow path that leads to it (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus and the Father are the same, yet different, but One in a way we will never comprehend until God glorifies our minds in His presence (John 10:30-38). To proclaim any other god as God violates the first law. Anyone who does not worship Jesus as the only truth is guilty before God and, if they do not repent, will not see Heaven.
We must avoid all forms of idolatry. Nothing in our lives can be more important than God. He alone is worthy of the first and best of everything we have to offer. Our days should begin and end in His presence, and we should also honor Him in everything we do throughout the day. There is no joy to be found on earth that is greater than spending time in the presence of God. All other enjoyments and pursuits are only distractions and cheap imitations of what really fulfills us. Never let the pleasures of this world consume your life. Put God first in all things and at all times. Serve God and God alone.
When we speak of God, it should always be done with fear, reverence, and awe. To speak of God flippantly is disrespectful and does not give Him the honor that is due His name. Remember who He is and who we are. We are nothing without Him. Our next breath and entire existence are because of Him and meant to be used for Him. We exist only by His grace. How dare we demote Him to anything less than He is by our careless words? The thought of doing so should terrify us. Speak of the Lord with the highest reverence and praise. He is worthy of it all.
If we want to serve God and God alone, we must base our lives on the first three commandments. Recognize God alone is the one true God. There is no other. Avoid making any idols in your life. Give God the best of your time and attention. Nothing and no one else is worth it. Finally, revere God’s name. Worship Him properly, with respect and awe, not in some culturally relevant way. He is God. We are small. If you want to live eternally with Him, spend your days determined to serve God and God alone.