Grace Comes First

William C. Brownson

READ : Exodus 2:23-25
Exodus 3:7-8

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of . . . the house of slavery. (Ex. 20:2)

Every student of the Ten Commandments needs to listen carefully to these introductory words. They affect profoundly how we view what follows. Amid the thunders of Mt. Sinai, God is introducing himself afresh to his people, reminding them of his sovereign role in their history. He is the Lord, their God, who has revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, giving them thrilling promises. Even more, he is the One who by mighty signs and wonders has delivered them from enslavement in Egypt and has been their Shepherd in the “howling wilderness.” This is the God who now gives them commands.

Every call to obedience throughout the Scriptures rests on this foundation of grace. God gives before he asks. He redeems before he requires. He is always beforehand with our souls, loving us, seeking us, saving us. Only then does he call for our loyalty and obedience.

Oh, that we could remember that! All God’s commands spring from his loving concern. They are meant for our good always. They are not a means to earn God’s love, but a way of responding to it. When we grasp the wonder of that, especially as we meet it fully in Jesus Christ, we trust him, love him, and obey him with grateful hearts.

PRAYER

We praise you, O God, for your beforehand love!