We have been made holy. This has occurred because God chose us and because he demonstrated it for us through the holiness of others. Jesus, holy above all others, was our ultimate example. He had great zeal for the house of the Lord (John 2:17), but much greater zeal did he have for us. Although no one could live up to the holiness of Jesus, we have modern examples in our own lives, and we strive to be examples ourselves.
Now that we know we are holy, it’s time to take a second look at the list found in Exodus 20: the Ten Commandments. As holy ones of God, we no longer have to be afraid or intimidated by this list. He will help us follow his commandments and forgive us when we fall short, as we will inevitably do. So if we don’t have to be afraid or intimidated by the Commandments, what is their purpose for us?
First, they show us our sin. We can know from these verses what we have done wrong. Second, they show us our Savior. Exodus 20 starts out like this: “And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’” God reminds us before he gets into any commandments that he is powerful, perfect, and compassionate. He is holy, and he will not leave us in our unholy state. He will give us a guide in these commandments, but he will also give us a way out in his Son.
We are holy, yes – but it’s important to remember that our holiness has nothing to do with us. We can never have too many reminders of this fact. Our holiness is not about us, it’s about God. We have been made holy by God; if it was on us, we would be helpless. But God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and he saved us from slavery in our sin. This is Law and Gospel. We were slaves, we were dead, but Jesus came and freed us and brought us back to life. To quote Pastor Jay’s 11-word sermon: “The cross may not look like much, but it is everything.”