Pauline Hanson and now Sonia Kruger have called for curbs to be placed on Muslim migration levels into Australia. I believe the concern of each has been a seeming lack of integration of Muslims into the Australian community, failing to join Tony Abbot’s, ‘Team Australia.’
Genesis 1 records God speaking (‘And God said’,’Then God said) on ten occassions, calling creation into being.
In Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, the same speaking God utters ten words ( the ten commandments) by which He defines the shape of redemptive living. These are the commands we receive from the hand of the Lord Jesus and understand in the light of His words and work. I recently heard the late opthalmologist, Fred Hollows, quoted as saying, ‘I believe the basic attribute of mankind is to look after eachother’.
Respect and care for one another is certainly part of God’s plan for the shape of His peoples’ living. However, the ten words place the emphasis on our honouring of God, it is from that relationship with God, that our loving action flows.
We are not merely humanitarians, just as Israel had been redeemed from Egypt, so we have been redeemed from bondage to sin, and we live gratefully in response to that gracious redemption, by respecting and loving others.
The same priority is evident in Jesus’ summary of the law, ‘Love God…love your neighbour as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.'( Matt 22:37-40) The first of the ten words, the doorway to all the others is,’You shall have no other gods before me.'(Exodus20:3 and Deut5:7)
This means that we worship, trust and serve the one true God who reveals Himself in Scripture, through the history of ancient Israel and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the God who rules over all things.
This does not imply the existance of other gods, but for Israel and for us there is always the attraction of being drawn away to other gods, gods of our own making, with whom we feel more at home.
Alec Motyer said, ‘Baal did not exist, however Baalism certainly did’. There is only one true God, He is the God of the Bible, who called and redeemed Israel, who was incarnate in Jesus Christ.
The gods of all other non Biblical religions have no objective reality, though their worship is very real, however it is the worship of a fantasy.
When Paul visited Athens he was distressed at the city, the intellectual centre of the ancient world, being so full of idols.(Acts17:16)
Paul calls the Athenians from their idolatry:
You do not make a place for God, He has made a place for you, v.24
God is not dependant on you, you are dependant on Him,v.25
God is not lost, you are lost.v.26
You are made by God, He is not made by you.v.29. It is the clearest evidence of our pride, that we seek to recreate our Creator according to our image.
God commands all to repent of their idolatry, for He has set the judgement day and the proof of this is the resurrection of the one who will be the judge.v30-31
We are to turn our back on all potential substitutes and worship, trust and serve the risen Lord Jesus, the one we will face at that future tribunal.
Paul said that God’s law is,’holy, righteous and good’ Romans7:12.
The law is holy, in that it bears the imprint of God’s purity, it is therefore righteous and just. It is good, it is for our welfare, we are more the people God created us to be when we live in this way.
Love and respect for our neighbour is the fruit of a life lived gratefully as a result of the gracious redemptive activity of God on our behalf.
There is an abundance of other gods on offer, they are all the product of humankind’s creative imagination. ‘My idea of God is…’, is irrelevant and invariably fanciful.
In love we call on others to repent of ‘the’ lie of idolatry (Rom1;25), the worship and service of any other than the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. God spoke ten words in creation, and ten words from the mountain regarding the lifestyle of the redeemed.
Now God speaks one word from the mountain in Maathew 17:5,’This is my son whom I love, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him’.
He alone is the way to God, the truth about God and the source of real life.(John 14:6)
Rt Rev David Cook
Posted 19 July 2016