The Ten Commandments are the law of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was given to mankind to reveal their sinful condition.
Romans 7:7-8 says, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, you shall not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.”
Sin is made “alive” or “aroused” by the law. If there was no law then sin isn’t imputed to the sinner. If there is no law then can there be any transgression? The law was given to stop our self-justification that we are basically good, moral people. The law brings people face-to-face with their need for salvation and was given to the unrighteous man.
The word of God says in 1 Timothy 7 the law is good when used correctly. It was established for people who are lawless, rebellious, ungodly, sinful and who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy. The law isn’t able to produce holiness or give life, nor can it cleanse our consciences or make us righteous.
To paraphrase Martin Luther, the main function of God’s law is to first and foremost show us we are sinners. Our failure to obey these laws should drive us to the foot of the cross seeking forgiveness. The law should convict and bring about godly sorrow which works repentance leading to salvation.
It’s only through the law being established did mankind find out they could not obey them, if you broke one you were guilty of breaking the whole law. The only one who kept the entire law was the man Christ Jesus, who provides salvation and paid the price for the sins of mankind.
You shall have no other Gods before me (Exodus 20:3)
This commandment reveals the nature of the relationship that God wants to have with each of us.
God is seeking an intimate heart to heart relationship with you. He desires a relationship and to have fellowship with you.
That is why he created mankind, so he could reveal his goodness to him. Despite our shortcomings and failures God always has our best interest in his heart.
Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Life doesn’t necessarily get easier when you have a solid relationship with God, but he will always have your back. God will watch over and keep you safe during times of trouble. He will lead and guide those who seek his will in their lives.
You shall not make any graven image to bow down and worship it (Exodus 20:4-6)
This is not just limited to graven images. An idol is something we worship other than God.
An idol can be any person, place or thing that gets in the way of our relationship with God.
The heart of any unregenerate person rebels against God, idols provide a way for them to set their own ways above him and his righteousness.
Isaiah 55:8 says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” We see millions who put Hollywood actors or professional athletes above God. These men and women receive the adoration that God would like to have from us. These people can’t save you when you are drowning in sin. They only provide a temporary escape from reality.
Do not take the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7)
Many folks today wrongly believe the only way to take God’s name in vain is by using it as a curse word.
This is certainly true; however, it’s not the only way mankind takes God’s name in vain.
His name is great and above all things, any use of his name that brings dishonor upon it, or his character, can be considered as taking the Lord’s name in vain.
When a Christian claims to love Jesus, pray in his name but yet continually disobeys him might be considered as taking God’s name in vain.
By our words if we claim to love God, but our actions show differently this brings dishonor upon his name. God’s name is a representation of his glory, majesty and his supreme deity which we are to esteem and honor just as we do God himself.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8-11)
God rested on the seventh day of his labors and it was a part of the creation process. Could this be the reason he included this commandment in his word?
He wants mankind to have a day of rest from their labors. Perhaps to enjoy the fruit of their work could be one reason. God did not set the Sabbath day so it becomes a burden.
It’s not that taking pleasure in normal routine things is evil, on the contrary; the Sabbath day is meant to be special, and we should take delight on this day.
Jesus said in Mark chapter two, that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. It was made to ensure each person has a balance in their lives, both physically and spiritually. Our bodies need rest from the labors of the week, our minds need to be energized. We need a day, the Sabbath, set aside when we can reflect upon God’s word and have fellowship with him.
Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12)
This commandment is said to be the first one that contains a promise. If you honor your mother and father God promises long life.
How do we honor our parents? If you are under their authority one way to bring them honor is by obeying them.
In today’s society many youth run rampant and do their own thing, which brings dishonor upon them and their parents.
Being grateful to them is another way to honor them. We can do simple things as adults in honoring our parents. We can call them just to see how they are doing. When they are in need, we can help them. Whenever they just need someone to talk to by just listening listen to them is a way to show honor to them. Show them love in all things is another way. Honoring our parents brings honor to God.
You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13)
The original Hebrew word ratsach means to murder instead of kill. This would seem more reasonable despite popular Ten Commandments lists word it as you shall not kill.
Using the word kill would seem to be misleading and a misuse of the proper terminology in this commandment.
It’s said that many Jewish scholars claim the mistranslation of the word murder for the word kill is itself immoral because it falsifies the words of God.
People kill in war. They kill as punishment for crimes, and they kill because of accidents. Would God consider these killings as a violation of the Sixth Commandment?
There are certain instances in the word of God when it is morally licit, (not forbidden, lawful), to kill other human beings. The Sixth Commandment should be read and studied more carefully to find it’s true meaning.
You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14)
Committing adultery can be construed as more than having sex with someone besides our husbands or wives.
The most commonly known form of adultery is the sexual union with at least one partner being married.
According to Jesus, anyone looking after another person with lust in their hearts has committed adultery.
He said, “you have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mat 5:27-28).
Another way for someone to commit adultery is through divorce. Jesus talked about this in Matthew chapter five. He said “it has been said, “Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.” But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery” (Mat 5:31-32).
Marriage is supposed to be a commitment before God, something we are supposed to honor. Most of us know what it’s like to meet someone and fall in love, it’s exciting and your thoughts are continually about the other person. However, when the initial feelings of intensity vanish, it’s our choice to make the decision whether to continue loving someone when those feelings subside.
You shall not steal (Exodus 20:15)
Stealing can take on many different forms, but it’s stealing nonetheless. Most of us would agree that stealing is wrong.
However, there are some who are stealing and might not realize it. Stealing can also be applied to our jobs.
Here’s an example, you go to work and don’t put in an honest day’s work for the wages your employer is giving you. Is this stealing? Some would say yes because you’re getting paid to do a job, and if you don’t give your employer your all; then perhaps it could be considered stealing.
There are many dilemmas in this life where there can be some conflicting thoughts about a given situation. Stealing comes from a flawed understanding of possessions.
If it doesn’t belong to you, then bottom line is that it’s stealing. There is only one instance found in the bible, that this Examiner knows about, where stealing might not be considered as wrong. This is found in Proverbs 6:30. This verse says, “Men do not despise a thief, if he steals to satisfy his soul when he is hungry.” However, with all the charities and churches available to help someone, stealing would not be necessary; only perhaps in extreme cases.
Do not bear false witness against your neighbor (Exodus 20:16)
Bearing false witness is more than simply lying about your neighbor. It also means to put out a false report against them, containing untruths.
Believers are also not to side with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. Speaking falsely against someone is wrong and most of us know it but some do it anyway.
One way to bear false witness is to commit fraud against them to obtain something good for yourself. (Example, during WWII many Germans falsely testified of wrongs by their Jewish neighbors so the false witness could steal from them).
Many of us are guilty of being quick to judge and accuse another person of wrong. Assassinating another person’s character to destroy them is also considered bearing false witness.
You shall not covet (Exodus 20:17)
Coveting means to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others.
Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
We can see from this verse that no matter what happened to Paul, he learned to be content. So then, coveting something that is not ours could be said that we haven’t learned to be content with what God has blessed us with.
When we covet we can become obsessed with acquiring something so much that it takes the love we have for God and puts it on something else where it doesn’t belong. Ultimately, our fulfillment and contentment can only be found in God.