Home > Bible Study, Exodus, Old Testament, Ten Commandments > The Ten Commandments and the ‘Greatest Generation’

The Ten Commandments and the ‘Greatest Generation’

I’m now going through Tom Chantry’s “The Ten Commandments” series, a set of 81 available audio messages (the audio is missing from a few of the lectures), a Wednesday-night series he did several years ago as an in-depth look at Exodus 20 and related scriptures regarding the overall issue of the Ten Commandments as well as each individual command within the set.

The introductory messages include (message 2) “For Whom?,” a look at the people who received the Ten Commandments – two groups (Exodus 20, and the children a generation later in Deuteronomy) and the contrast between them, with a great point of application to us in our day.

The first generation, those who came out of Egypt, was a generally unbelieving group. As Paul later said, they were an example for us; and the law was given as a schoolmaster, to point out our sinfulness and our need of Christ, that we cannot obtain salvation by keeping the law.

Their children were a very different group: a generally believing group who had great faith and, abiding in the Lord, accomplished great things: the initial conquest of Canaan under Joshua – a generation in Israel unlike the preceding and unlike all the later generations, a group that could be called “the greatest generation.” Of course they were fallen, unglorified humans, with imperfect obedience – and yet they were believers–like us, part of the one people of God throughout all redemptive history.

Yet the law was also given to them–a point that Moses emphasized: this law is given to you, this covenant made with you. As Chantry points out, this group might have been tempted to think “we’re different than our parents,” and “we’ve arrived.” After all, the wilderness wandering is over; this group would soon be entering the Promised Land; no more following the cloud by day and the fire by night, but living in a settled land; no more miraculous daily feeding of the manna, but the “milk and honey” abundance of the land.

An interesting point, of great application to us in our day: the “third use” of the law. We recognize that God’s people never were saved by law-keeping but always by the “covenant of grace” which was progressively revealed, the atonement provided for God’s people in Christ’s death. Yet the law, the Ten Commandments, was given to both types of people in the Old Testament: the generally unbelieving group in Exodus, and also to the group of believers in Deuteronomy.


  1. December 18, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Wow 81 part series???

    • December 21, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Yes indeed. 🙂 Actually the 1689 Confession series is much longer, 247 parts and still going.

      • December 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm


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