For those of you who read our article yesterday, the introduction to this companion article will be redundant, but we pivot to focus on the last 6 commandments in this article where we focused on the first 4 yesterday. (You Shall Love The Lord Your God With All Your Heart)
The ten commandments do not represent the sum total of God’s law or instruction for His people. However. He saw fit to focus on these 10 as He addressed the people. Much more detail was shared with the people through Moses and is available for us to study and learn in scripture. The point is, that learning and obeying these 10 commandments is not sufficient but it is a good place to start.
Some immediately want to say that this is out of date, “Didn’t Jesus say to love God and love others was all we need to do?”
34But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Context is important. This is not a new commandment replacing the others. Jesus lived obeying the law of Moses and quoting from it in His teaching. He explicitly said He did not come to change the law.
17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
What Jesus is essentially saying is that He can summarize God’s instruction down to loving God and loving one another. However, we don’t get to define what that means on our terms. All too often people today define that as accepting sin and encouraging people that they do not have to repent of sin to be in right relationship with God. God already defined what it means to love God and love one another. As a starting point, we can use the 10 commandments. The first four are about our relationship with God and the next 6 are about our relationship with each other. This is not an all inclusive list, but it is a good place to start and to a health check on our relationship with God and others. We focus today on our relationship with others.
Deuteronomy 5:16-21 (the last six commandments)
16‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.
17‘You shall not murder.
18‘You shall not commit adultery.
19‘You shall not steal.
20‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
21‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
Let us first observe that loving God comes first, before loving others. This is true in the order in which the commandments were given by God and also the order in which Jesus spoke about them… love God and love one another… the order is important.
Honor your father and your mother. God has commanded us to honor our parents. In particular this is important for children when they are in the care of their parents before they grow in wisdom and relationship with the Lord. Their parents are there to protect and provide for and guide them. Even as adults we should honor father and mother. Children do not need to agree with parents in order to honor them.
You shall not murder. Too often this is mistranslated as “do not kill”. There is a difference between killing (e.g. in self defense) and murder. God’s people were often called to defend their nation in battle or to take the promised land at God’s command. God Himself provided a legal system in which some offenses are punishable by death. These are not the same as murder even though people die. On the other hand, abortion is the taking of an innocent life… it is murder. This will be tough for many to accept and internalize. However, keep in mind that Christ has died for our sins and so we can be forgiven.
You shall not commit adultery. Sadly, this should be obvious to anyone who loves their spouse, but our culture seems to be less and less concerned with calling out this sin. It is almost accepted as not ideal or flattering, but commonplace. It really should be considered a terrible offense and not lessened in significance just because so many fail in this area. It rips apart marriage, which is intended as a very close, personal bond between a man and a woman for life. It rips apart and damages families and children. It is very destructive on our society and culture.
You shall not steal. We do not love others by taking what is theirs. That is extremely selfish and hurtful.
Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Do not lie to get someone else in trouble. Speak the truth and treat people honestly and with integrity.
You shall not covet. Coveting is an everyday part of our lives. For America, and much of the world, it is the new favorite national pastime. Marketing constantly tries to make us covet what others have so we go buy it. People go deep into debt buying things they don’t need and can’t afford (e.g. houses, cars, clothes, phones, anything and everything) because they covet. People hate others and resent others because they covet. Do not let this sin sneak into your life because it is so accepted in our culture. Look for it and ask for God’s help for you to be content rather than coveting.
Think you are scoring well? Let’s take a look at how Jesus told us to judge against these commandments.
Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28
21“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Jesus shows us how high God’s standards are. We don’t get to redefine them so they are easy just because we fail. They are the righteous standard and good reference point to measure our progress in becoming more like Christ and less like the world. It should be clear by now that we all truly need the grace of Christ’s offer of forgiveness through grace by faith based on His death on the cross for us. None of us can meet God’s holy standard.
Consider this a health check on your relationship with God and others. Do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love others as yourself? Most of us would admit we have further to go to live up to this standard… and we need God’s help to get there. Ask for Him to help you love Him more. Then look to understand more about how to demonstrate love for God through your decisions and attitudes of submission and obedience to Him.
Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.