In a fascinating and humorous article, Debra Murphy exposes the ignorance of law makers, while offering a healthy analysis of the purpose of the Ten Words. Murphy writes:
The Commandments don’t speak to a public; they give life within a community. What might seem to be restrictive and unrelentingly legalistic (thou shalt not this; thou shalt not that), turns out to be the parameters by which we exercise our freedom. That is, the Ten Words given in Exodus chapter 20 (and the hundreds of laws and mandates that follow in succeeding chapters) help give human freedom its proper aims, for they show us “the responsibilities without which no one can be legitimately free, or free for very long.”
I think Motyer’s analysis is congruent and perhaps even more insightful. Just as man is created in the image of God, so is the law. Freedom lies in being what we were created to be. When we look in to the ‘mirror’ of the law (as in James 1) we can either look into the perfect law of liberty and see ourselves in that image, or see ourselves by comparison, and turn away to forget.
Helpful. Thanks, Tom.