God gave the children of Israel 10 commandments in the Old Testament and we can find them in Exodus chapter 20.
- You shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make or bow down to (serve) any graven image
- You shall not take the name of God in vain
- Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy
- Honor your father and mother
- You shall not kill
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall not steal
- You shall not bear false witness
- You shall not covet
As we know, the commandments could not produce righteousness in the life of the Israelites or any other person. However, Jesus still said in Matthew 5:19 that, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the Kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
He said this because the commandments are still very relevant today both in our personal walk with God and in evangelism. This is how I know: Paul said in Romans 7:7 that, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
The law is what teaches a man or shows him that he is a sinner in need of a Saviour. Galatians 3:24 personifies the law as a school master. This means that we need the law to bring conviction of sin.
A Nigerian man arrived in the US for the first time. He needed to cross the road to get to the bank at the other side. On the side walk he looked left and right and once he saw that no car was coming he ran across. As soon as he got to the other side, a police officer apprehended him. He was going to arrest him for crossing the road. This man was shocked. What’s wrong with crossing the road? He was angry and argued fiercely with the police officer. The police officer handcuffed him and then pulled out a copy of the Road and Traffic Rules of America. On the first page, he showed the Nigerian man the law which states that: “A pedestrian must cross the road only at zebra crossings when the pedestrian light turns green”. As soon as the man realised he had broken the law, he was an offender and would have to face the judge for sentencing. Contrition filled his heart and he began to beg the police officer for mercy.
A sinner must realize they have broken God’s law before they can feel sorry for their sins. In my experience, many people are self righteous and typically feel they will do great on judgement day… until you spell out each of the 10 commandments and ask them if they have kept it. If they are the type that do not like or accept the Old Testament, I simply ask them if they have kept the two New Testament commandments given by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-40
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
- Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself
Ask them if God were to judge them based on these 12 commandments on judgement day, whether they will be guilty. One hundred percent of the time the person would be guilty. Now they know that they have broken the law. That they are sinners in need of mercy.
Now is the time to tell them of Jesus Christ who purchased mercy and forgiveness for them with his life’s blood at the cross of Calvary. Since we all have broken the law, we are in need of mercy and need to beg for it, like that Nigerian man in the story above.
God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4) and He is able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25) those that come to him through Jesus Christ.