Rodney Tolleson, Community Bible Church
Right now I drive a Honda Accord. I have decided that when it comes time to replace my car, I will be looking for a domestic model. The reason is because my favorite mechanics won’t work on foreign cars. And the reason that they won’t is because they can’t attract enough foreign car business to justify the expense for the foreign repair manuals, which now come on computer disks.
Cars are getting more and more complex. And that means that they are harder and harder to work on. These days, to be a mechanic, you need to know a lot about electronics. One thing is for sure, if you ignore your car’s owner’s manual and if your mechanic ignores the repair manual, you are headed for big car trouble.
Christian author, J.I. Packer has compared the 10 Commandments to a car’s owner’s manual and the rest of the Bible to a car’s repair manual. Here’s what he means: humans are incredibly complex, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. The 10 Commandments are like the owner’s manual. They tell us the way that we were created to live. Packer says, “Whether as persons we grow and blossom or shrink and wither, whether in character we become more like God or more like the devil, depends directly on whether we seek to live by what is in the Commandments or not.”
But, we have all broken the Commandments numerous times. (If you doubt me, consider the last time that you were not completely honest or the last time that you desired something that someone else owned. If you think that you have kept the 10 Commandments, you are being dishonest with yourself and that is breaking the 9th Commandment.) Fallen humanity cannot keep them. So the rest of the Bible is God’s repair manual. Again, quoting Packer, the rest of the Scripture “spells out the gospel of grace that restores sin-damaged human nature… and it is precisely for this way of living [according to the Commandments] that God’s grace rescues and refits us.”
This analogy is especially true when it comes to family life! The 10 Commands and the Bible are the supreme owner’s manual / repair manual when it comes to your family!
I’d like to encourage you to read Exodus 20.1-21 and notice these observations on family relationships:
1. There are grave family / generational consequences when parents lead their children away from God! — Exodus 20.5
2. Any idolatry in the parent’s lives will lead the children away from God. — Exodus 20.5
3. When God says that he will ‘visit the iniquity of the father on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me’ He is not being unfair to the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. 1) The children have to follow in their parent’s hatred for God for the iniquities to be passed down. 2) This statement simply acknowledges the reality that parents greatly influence their children spiritual for either good or evil.
4. BUT there is the very real possibility that one generation can rise up and break the chain of iniquity. (My parents did that, and my sister and I and now my family reap the benefits!) If your family is mired in sin, YOU rise up and break that chain of sin for the blessing of your children!!!
5. Great blessing (God’s steadfast love) is promised to our children when we give God our affections and obedience! — Exodus 20.6
6. Since the command to not work on the Sabbath specifically mentioned sons and daughters, we should conclude that the head of the household has a serious responsibility to lead his children toward true worship of the true God! This is something that we will give an account to God concerning. — Exodus 20.10
7. When God says to honor fathers and mothers, children should not think that they are getting a bum rap! Honoring parents is worth it! God has promised long years of blessing to those who learn to honor their parents. — Exodus 20.12
8. And finally, marriage is sacred. God is the creator of the marriage relationship and He does not want to see it torn down by adultery. And that is exactly what adultery does, whether that adultery is with your body or your mind. — Exodus 20.14
As I mentioned earlier, we have all broken God’s commands, and our lives wither because of it. But God’s grace not only forgives our sins when we trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, but God’s grace also “refits” us to live in the blessing of obedience to the Commands!