Across Australia - and across the world for that matter - the greater majority of people believe that either the Ten Commandments are no longer in force, or that they were just “suggestions” in the first place. The general lack of importance attached to keeping the Commandments today, reinforces the prophecy we are warned about in Rev 12:9 - that Satan’s goal is to deceive the whole world. It is easy to see why Satan wants people to think of the Commandments as just Old Testament stuff, and not relevant in today’s modern world. In Acts 5:32 we are told that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God - and that can only be done by keeping His Commandments. By Satan tricking men into not keeping the Commandments, he is effectively reducing the flow of the Holy Spirit. Of course, all but devoted Christians, are delighted to be told that they don’t have to obey the Law of God, as summarized by the Ten Commandments. In effect they are saying “that is one less restriction out of the way, now we can concentrate on getting the “man made” laws watered down, while we enjoy our “freedom”“.
How many times have we heard the cry - “we want our freedom!”. It has a catchy ring to it, and implies that anyone who is against granting freedom has the heart of a slave-trader. However, the bottom-line is, many people’s understanding of “freedom” is not working very well for them in this day and age.
A simple description of freedom could go something like this - good water, good food, good shelter, a job, and no attacks from others because of race, gender, religion or social status. The Concise Oxford Dictionary has much to say, but includes, “Personal liberty, civil liberty, independence, power of self determination”. In other words, no one standing over you telling you what to do. However, the world as it is today, can never experience this sort of “freedom”.
Inherent in human nature is the desire “to be in charge”, to be the boss, to have others conform to “our” wishes. This inner desire to be “Top Dog” creates a stream of people – at all levels of society – who want a say in at least some of the actions of others. Two examples of this desire taken to an extreme would be a dictator or a cult leader. Thus, true freedom is only experienced when a higher power is able to put a restraint on the human nature of those around us, or people have learnt to control their own human nature.
Guess what? In groups of people who recognize and obey the Ten Commandments, that is exactly what you have. People who control their own human nature. God's position as Number One is recognized and accepted, and there is no attempt to imitate His position. Commandment keeping ensures that no one coverts your wife, your house, your belongings. No one steals. No one does physical violence to another, and no one exploits the “sex or age” of others. Christ summarized the last six Commandments in what He called the “Second Great Commandment” in Mat 22:39 when He said “You shall love your neighbour as [if they were] yourself”. To put it another way, if you don’t like losing your freedom, then you would never take freedom away from someone else. Thus, under a Commandment keeping society, the country would enjoy complete freedom.
I should insert a thought at this point to keep the balance. Law breakers within society cannot be ignored. Just as one rotten apple will eventually affect every other apple in the box, so too, lawlessness will spread. So freedom loving people will have to, at times, take freedom away from the law breakers for a while, or apply a penalty, so that the long term freedom of all will be preserved. However, even this “correction” needs to be done in love, and not used as an excuse to take advantage of another human being.
So, I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time trying to show that most people would like to live in a society where the last six of the Ten Commandments are voluntarily kept. I am sure most parents would like to be honoured by their children. All would like to know that they will never be murdered, have their spouse commit adultery, have their belongings stolen, or be told lies. Just imagine a society without locks - in all their different forms - because people around you won’t covet what you own, and therefore won’t steal from you.
Yes, most normal people would like to live in a world where the last six of the Ten Commandments are the order of the day.
So, why don’t we keep all ten?
As I see it, there many reasons given, but they fall into two groups.
The first group has to do with the keeping of the first four of the Ten Commandments. To "love God with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength", means that we have to give full recognition to God and His instructions. We have to come to understand the plan and "grand design" ( the “logos” ) of God, and know that our physical lives are just an allotted time for training and testing. Real life, eternal life, only comes to those who show God by their actions that they want the “pearl of great price” (Mat 13:45,46). By accepting the first four Commandments, we then have to accept that all Ten are binding on humans today.
However, humans do not want to admit that the Ten Commandments (as nice as the fruits of the last six might be) are in force and should be kept, because that would take away their “freedom” to do what they like, when they like. To accept the first four Commandments is to accept that there is a higher power that has the right to ask us to conform to His standards. It is a bit of a “catch 22" situation - to enjoy freedom ourselves, we have to live up to a code of conduct so that everyone else around us can enjoy their freedom. But we don’t want to put in the effort of following that code of conduct, we just selfishly want everyone else to conform, so we can enjoy true “freedom” - the freedom to do what we like when we like, and take no responsibility for the harm it does to others.
The second group of excuses for not keeping all ten of the Commandments, are all tied to the Bible. It involves such logic as “Christ kept the Ten Commandments for us” so now we don’t have to try, or other similar themes. Some go so far as to say that the apostle Paul changed what his Master (Christ) said would never be changed (Mat 5:17-20), and invoke a “progressive revelation” theory to water down the bulk of the Bible that was written before Paul’s time. As we shall see, God the Father and our creator, has consistently instructed the humans that He has created, that to please and show love toward Him, we must keep the Ten Commandments as a bare minimum. Twisting Scriptures to do away with the Law - is just that, twisting Scripture.
However it is done, most people are happy to hear that we “don’t have to keep the Law today”, and so they don’t bother to check it out. Big mistake. Once Satan has convinced people to believe the lie [and Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44)] that the Ten Commandments are no longer required, they are so happy with their “freedom” to sin [break the Commandments (1 John 3:4)] that there is little incentive to re-examine the issue. It takes the Spirit of God moving in our lives, to bring us to repentance, and change.
So let me try and outline why I believe the Ten Commandments are still in force today, and are required by God and Christ to be kept.
Before I get into the reasons why we should be trying to keep the Law [the Ten Commandments], we should understand why so many people are not being told to keep them today. Adam was given the chance to lead the human race into the Kingdom of God. Had he qualified to “eat of the tree of life”, he would have shown the rest of his family how to enter the Kingdom of God. But instead, he followed the deceived Eve and took of the tree of ”the knowledge of good and evil”. Satan, Eve and Adam were told by God of some of the problems that would follow them (Gen 3:14-19), and the Tree of Life was put “off-limits” by a flaming sword. Mankind has had almost 6000 years to display the fruits of the “knowledge of good and evil”, and for all men and women to prove that without God’s “Tree of Life” there is no life after death (that is, prior to a resurrection). Yes, Christ has been given the power to resurrect all who have died, but they will all stand before the Judgment Seat and be finally convinced that apart from God - there is no hope of eternal life.
To put it a different way, mankind has been left to his own devices for almost 6000 years. If people want to reject God’s instructions about keeping the Ten Commandments, then they can, but will face judgment in the resurrection (1 Pet 4:17). For those of us who are alive at this time, there is another important reason why we should be keeping the Commandments today. People who attempt to keep the Commandments are in the running to be in the First Resurrection - which occurs when God and Christ come down to earth - while those who make little attempt to keep them will not be resurrected till 1000 years later.
All individuals need to make their own decision about keeping or not keeping the Law. My recommendation is to not take the matter lightly.
Rev 20:6 points to a very special time in the future when Christ, working under the Father, takes over the rulership of the world (Rev 11:15-18) for a 1000 year period. This 1000 year period is called the World Tomorrow by some and the Millennium by others. Many Old Testament prophecies indicate that this will be a time of peace and great prosperity. I feel that the only way this can happen is for there to be just one Law for the whole world. Today we have much confusion with different countries each having their own laws, and each religion having its own moral standards. This World Tomorrow will be very different from what man’s “best effort” can produce today.
Christ has already proven - even to the point of death - that He wants to do the will of His Father. God clearly made His will known when He spoke to Israel in Deut 30 (especially v10 and v16). God wants us - pleads with us - to keep His Commandments. Why? Because they show love towards God - our maker and our master - and love to all those around us. The greatest “freedom” of all is enjoyed by people living in a society where the Commandments are kept. So far, all the groups, countries, empires and systems produced by men, have not come up with a better way of having men live in harmony and peace. Perhaps in our lifetime, we will see the Beast power of Rev 13 try one last final experiment to unite the earth under one common code. However, it will not be designed to worship God, but rather through deception, it will try to force people to worship Satan. This too will eventually fail (Rev 18:15-20).
I think the fourth Commandment - which tells us to remember to keep the Sabbath - makes a good case for showing that God’s Law was set in motion at creation, was restated to Israel during the Exodus at Mount Sinai, and was kept by Christ and the apostles.
Let’s look at just a few of the Scriptures that show the continuance of the Sabbath being kept. All Scriptures from NKJV, unless noted otherwise.
I think that it is important to note that the Sabbath - a day to rest - was made during the creation week. People have written papers to show that all the Commandments were in force from creation (which I also believe to be true), but for this exercise I am just looking at the Sabbath.
1" Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.
2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
Since Israel had lost much knowledge about God’s instructions during their captivity in Egypt, God restated the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, which includes the Sabbath (see Ex 16:27).
8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
God even used the fact that the manna did not come on the Sabbath, to test Israel. A test that some failed. Notice too that Israel is being tested on the fourth Commandment before the Law was restated at Sinai (Ex 16). This confirms that the instructions given to Israel at Mount Sinai (Ex 20) was a restatement of the Commandments and not the point where the Commandments started.
Exodus 16:4,5 - 27,28
4 “ Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
5 "And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily."
27 Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.
28 And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?”
King David and his son King Solomon, both went to great lengths to enhance the Sabbath with special music and songs (Neh 12:46). Later Kings also followed the Sabbath law.
2 Chron 31:3
3 “The king [Hezekiah] also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the LORD.”
The prophet Isaiah had quite a bit to say about the Sabbath.
2 “ Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil."
4 For thus says the LORD: "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant,”
13 "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,
14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken."
I don’t think that I need to establish the fact that Christ kept the Sabbath (and with a lot more understanding than the Pharisees) while He was here on Earth (Mark 1:21). But we should note that He still saw the Sabbath being kept almost 2000 years in the future, during the tribulation at the end of the age.
20 “ "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be”.
The apostle Paul maintained his custom of keeping the Sabbath during his ministry.
2 “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,”
The writer of Hebrews also knew that the final “rest” (the Sabbath is a type of this rest) has not yet arrived, so we should continue to keep the Sabbath.
8 “ For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remains therefore a rest [original word means - keeping of the Sabbath] for the people of God.
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”
Finally, Isaiah talking about the millennium - the time that the Kingdom of God is established on earth - also brings out that people will still be keeping the Sabbath.
22 “ "For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD.”
So, by just picking out a few key verses, we have seen that the Sabbath was created on the seventh day of creation, and has been required to be kept for the last 6000 years, and will still be required for the next 1000 years. It seems to me that because the Sabbath is so fundamental in the worship of God, we can do no less than to keep the other nine as well. Other verses in the Bible also gives weight to this conclusion.
16 “ Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."”
1 John 2:3-5
3 “ Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
Christ was very specific that He himself would not “do away with” or “change” the law in any way, and those who taught others to break any of the Ten Commandments were doing themselves no favours. If we want to have any chance of being called “great”, we have to start by teaching people to live by the Commandments.
17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
19 "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The Life Application Study Bible says that 1 John was probably written between A.D. 85 and 90. We are also told that the apostle Paul died about A.D. 68, so what the apostle John is saying in 1 John is well and truly after Paul had a chance to “change things”, as some would like us to think. However, we can see that the apostle John is just as adamant as Christ was that the Commandments are to be kept.
1 John 2:3,4
3 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
1 John 3:22
22 “ And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
1 John 5:2,3
2 “ By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
Since I have mentioned about people trying to twist Paul’s writings so that they can claim that the Ten Commandments - the Law - has been done away, I would like to suggest another way of looking at what Paul was saying. Eternal life is a gift from God. God gives this gift to humans who He thinks are worthy of such things, out of grace. There is absolutely nothing we can do to “earn” such a priceless gift. Paul understood this, though apparently many others of his time did not. They thought that if they kept the Law, or certain other traditions (such as circumcision), then God was obligated to give them the gift of eternal life. Paul, in his writings, was trying to point out that keeping a law - any law - or tradition was not going to “earn” eternal life. This is not the same as doing away with the law. It is just pointing out what the law can not do. So, we keep the Law, not to force God to do something, but because we want to show love towards God and towards our fellow man.
If you want more reasons why I feel that the New Testament supports our keeping of the Ten Commandments, you might like to look up Mat 15:3-9, Mat 22:36-40, Mark 7:6-13, Mark 10:17-27, Luke 10:25-38, Luke 16:15-17, Luke 18:18-27, John 14:15,21, John 15:10-14, James 4:11,12, 2 John 1:6, Rev 12:17, Rev 14:12, Rev 22:14.
I think most people would love for their neighbours to keep the Ten Commandments - the Law. No stealing, no lies, no late night parties, no loud music, and so on. But we touch on a sensitive issue when we ask people why they don’t show the same respect in return. Most religious groups put the blame back on Adam and Eve, and an event they call “the fall”. Most humans feel good about being able to blame someone else for their short comings, so the thought that Adam and Eve are the ones responsible is a popular one. But is it as simple as that?
At the time of the Garden of Eden, it is a mute point whether Satan was an actual serpent, or has been symbolized by one for the sake of the story. The bottom line is that someone deceived Eve. That “someone” is a spirit being, and that “someone” has been trying to influence every other human being since then. Let’s look at the results that Satan - the deceiver, the father of lies - has been able to achieve.
2:1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
In New Testament language, Satan is no longer painted as a serpent, but rather “the prince of the power of the air”. However the M.O. (Method of Operation) has not changed. Eve lusted over the fruit she was told to leave alone, and today people are still filled with “the lusts of the flesh” (1 John 2:15-17). Just as Eve thought it was her “right” to know about good and evil, people today feel it is their “right” to get drunk, take drugs, have sex outside marriage, destroy other people’s property, exceed the speed limit, tell “white lies” - or even “black lies” if the stakes are, in their opinion, high enough - and so on ... . Satan has filled the world with temptations, and then used people with less than Christlike character in the media and film industry, to keep promoting the “good feelings” you can get by falling for these temptations.
So, one answer as to why more people don’t keep the Law, is that Satan has made the alternative look so much more attractive. The “prince of the power of the air” has succeeded in having people believe that their feeling of well being or enjoyment, is much more important than having God feel good about their own “Law abiding” behaviour. Eve thought it would be great to have some forbidden fruit and to be more like God. She died not having received the promise of eternal life. People today think that it is great to have sex outside of marriage, and they too - unless it is repented of - will also die with receiving the promise of eternal life. To keep the balance, I should add here that dying without receiving the promise of eternal life (as a lot of people will do) is not the end of the matter. The full plan of God is revealed by the seven annual Holy Days, and shows that there is a small first harvest/resurrection at the end of the first 6000 years, followed by a bigger harvest (Rev14:14-16) 1000 years later.
Proverbs 14:12 sums it up this way.
12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
Satan has made his system - his way - look so attractive (at least for the short term) that people don’t spend much time - if any - checking out the long term results of breaking the Law. What seems right to a man (or woman) is usually what they end up doing. Christ put it this way.
13 “ "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
It takes effort to search out a reason for keeping the Law, and few people are willing to go to that sort of trouble. After all, it restricts their “freedom” as well, or so they are tricked into thinking.
The eighth Commandment as recorded in Ex 20:15 simply says “You shall not steal”. Can you begin to imagine the freedom that we would have if we didn’t need a door key to our house, a key to lock our car, or a key for anything for that matter. Why would you need a key, if everyone was keeping the eighth Commandment? Originally a cars ignition system was turned on by a simple switch, so we would be able to go back to doing something like that again.
Have you ever thought of all the freedom we would have if everyone kept the seventh Commandment “You shall not commit adultery”? (What this Command is saying is that any sex outside marriage – and this includes fornication - is wrong). We would have the freedom of almost zero AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and what a cost savings that would be. Divorce would almost be non-existent, and that would stop families being torn apart with all its associated emotional and financial costs. We would be free of the cost of many of the orphanages and homes for single mothers. The benefits just keep coming.
Yes, keeping the Ten Commandments would bring society much freedom.
In an attempt to show how all encompassing the Ten Commandments are when you fully embrace them, I will show you how you can expand the original point that God etched into granite (Ex34). I will state each commandment in a simplified form that we can teach our children. It is important to have our children learn the simplified form early in life, to counter Satan’s deception that they are no longer in force.
Speaking of children, sometimes people comment that the Commands are negative - don’t do this and don’t do that. Yet this is the very same way we start to teach our children when the are young. They are taught to not touch things that are dangerous, don’t pull the cat’s tail, and so on. At the beginning of our Christian life, we too are spiritual children, and understanding that there are things we shouldn’t do is a good starting point. But as we mature spiritually, we come to see that the positives far outweigh the negatives.
The Commandments are listed in full at Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.
God of the Bible, the Creator of all things - including man - says
that He is to be the focus of our worship, and nothing is to be put
in His place. Moses said (Deut 8:3) that we are to live by the
words from God's mouth. This was confirmed by Christ (Mat 4:4) and the
Apostle Paul (2 Tim 3:16 - when you get the translation right).
The most important words from God's mouth start in Exodus 20 (vs
1 - 17).
Our Lord has given us a good summary of the first four Commandments, and it certainly highlights the intent of the First Commandment.
Mark 12:29,30 (NLT)
“29Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’’”
we are going to keep the First Commandment, then we have to see and
believe that God the Father is the primary power in the universe.
God tells us that He had a plan from the beginning, and all
things are being done according to that plan. He takes
responsibility for the universe, this earth, and all living life on it.
To believe in and/or promote evolution, most certainly breaks the
If we love someone, we should communicate that love. So, embedded in the First Commandment is the instruction to get in daily prayer and Bible study. Prayer with due praise, is our communication to God. Reading the words from God's mouth recorded in the Bible, is God’s communication to us. Along with prayer and Bible study, we need time for meditation - not as the world promotes it, but rather quiet periods of time when we can think about life in general, and how God is leading us in particular. All this needs to be backed up with fasting. Fasting - going without food and water for a day or two if our health allows it - helps reminds us of just how fragile we really are, and our need to be close to God. Cutting off our supply of energy for a short period is a useful tool for Christians to be able to draw closer to the Spiritual power of the universe.
The temptation to break this command is strong, and many generations of men have failed to keep it. People want to worship something that they can “see”, rather than an invisible Spirit Being. While we might not bow down to images made of metal or wood (although many of the world’s religions do) we can still put an object between us and God. Ever seen “good luck” objects dangling from rear-view mirrors, or worn around people’s neck? What about a golfing cap that has special significance because you were wearing it when you got a hole in one? We have heard of Screen Idols or American/Australian Idols and the word “idol” fits the situation rather well. To spend more time and effort thinking about a relative stranger, than we do for God, is to break the spirit of the Second Commandment as I see it. This can also apply to the time spent following our favourite football club, or some other sport.
John 4:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Any addiction we might have - be it alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or gambling - also breaks the spirit of the Second Commandment. In effect, it has a greater hold over our life and our actions, than we allow God to have. Addictions also break the spirit of the First Commandment. I like what the Life Application Bible has to say for 1 John 5:21 " An idol is ... any human ideal that claims to be more authoritative than the Bible, any loyality that replaces God at the center of our lives."
The apostle Paul says that greed is idolatry (Col 3:5). Can you see any examples of greed in the world today?
The Second Commandment also brings out a very significant characteristic of God. God takes Commandment keeping very seriously. If we do keep them then we are blessed and so are the generations that come after us. However, if we “hate” them [by not showing love to] God, then not only ourselves but following generations will carry a curse.
Taking God’s name in vain and using Holy terms in an inappropriate way is very common in the Western world today. No wonder the generations to come after us are going to see some very horrible times. A very commonly used word in Australia is the swear word “bloody”, and is an abbreviation of the phrase “by the blood of Christ”. The spilt blood of Christ is what God uses to “atone” or cover our sins. To take something so important and use it as part of our profanity certainly breaks the Third Commandment. You might like to do a search and find the source of such everyday words as “golly”, “gee”, “gee whiz”, “oh my gosh”, “by gosh”, “crikey”, and so on. The Third Commandment requires us to clean up our speech. Mat 5:37 “But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
Notice that the Command to rest covers all our family, everyone living with us, and even our animals. While we may not use our pets to work for us, we can still make the Sabbath special for them with some form of “treat”. Making the day different for others, helps to remind us to do things differently our selves. While Lev 23:3 tells us that the Sabbath is also a day to come together for worship, we should not lose sight of the fact that rest and a cessation of our primary work was the reason the Sabbath was created. Sometimes it may be better to informally come before God with a Bible Study or a taped sermon - opened with prayer - in our own home on the Sabbath, rather than spend many hours traveling to a “convocation” so that we can be with others. However we do it, the Sabbath should always help us to refocus on God and the great plan He has for mankind.
The first four Commandments show us how to treat God in a special way. They are sign-posts to keep us on the right track. However, as we study the Bible we will find many other Scriptures that further expand each Commandment, and help us to keep each one in a more understanding way.
The last six Commandments help us shape our thoughts and actions so that we can show love to our fellow man. A good mental exercise is to watch the evening news and try to spot where these Commandments have been kept or broken in each of the news stories.
As Eph 6:2 brings out, this Commandment has a promise embedded in it. Giving honour to our parents while we are growing up in their house, will give us greater stability and understanding so that our life will be long and prosperous. There is a strong tendency in teenage children when they see that their parents are human, and can, and do make mistakes, that they want to discount everything Mum and Dad have to say. However, the Dads and Mums of this world still have far more experience of life than a teenager, and the children that follow the Fifth Commandment will benefit greatly from considering their parents input.
Sometimes parents abuse their children, or ask them to do things that break other Commandments. We should not use the Fifth Commandment as an excuse to continue to have wrong done to us, or for us to continue to do wrong to others. If there is “legal abuse” (physical or sexual) then help from someone in authority should be sought. Sometimes our “honour” towards our parents has to be done at a distance, but we can still follow the Command by being concerned for their welfare and by not being quick to condemn. Sometimes the best “honour” we can show our parents is to live “honourable” lives ourselves.
This Commandment is for parents too, who need to keep in mind that our children are only “on loan” from God, and we need to be training them to become self sufficient adults, in due time. Also it makes it easier for the children to honour their parents, if the parents live lives that are worthy of honour. However, all parents make mistakes, and no matter how big and how many those mistakes are, it never nullifies the responsibility for children to love their parents - as best they can without getting caught up in the situation.
This Commandment brings about stability within the home, so parents need to expand on the initial thought and make the home a fun place to be, and a soft place to fall. Start, and keep family traditions. Look for excuses to have family get-togethers and outings.
Christ showed (Mat 5:21,22) that murder starts with anger and feeling superior to others. Humans will often try to gain this feeling of superiority by tearing down the character of others. So, while we certainly should not take the life of another human, we should also guard against having wrong thoughts about someone else. Anger is a powerful emotion, so we need to learn to keep it under control, and teach our children to keep it under control. Road rage and hate, both break the spirit of the Sixth Commandment. 1 John 4:20,21 shows us that we can not hate a fellow human and still say that we love God.
The media often break the spirit of the sixth commandment by exploiting the act of murder for entertainment reasons. I have no doubt that making TV shows about gangland murders is affecting the watching public, by enticing them to "accept it" - even "look up" to certain individuals. We should be revolted by murder, but instead we read about it and watch it far too much for our own good.
Another way that we give murder a cloak of respectability, is by saying that abortion is "OK". An unborn baby has as much right to be allowed to live as any other human being. Once the egg is fertilized, then the dye is cast. The colour of its skin, eyes and hair, and other physical features, are beyond human ability to change. David tells us that God "knit" his body together in the womb. I think that is a good description of how intimately God is involved with the development of every child. We are told that on at least three occasions, God gave a child in the womb the Holy Spirit. John the baptist as a child in the womb was able to respond to the mother of Jesus coming near. There is no point where a fertilized egg in a woman's womb is considered worthless by God, so who or what gives us the right to think anything less?
The Sixth Commandment is about protecting human life, and as such it is woven into the fabric of our everyday life. It has to do with how safe are the cars we make and how well we drive them. It also involves safety at work and on the farm and with our leisure activities. It even goes deeper than that. In Exodus 21:18,19 we are told that we should pay compensation and any hospital costs to anyone we injure. Unless we are rich, the only way to be able to do this is to have third party or worker's insurance. We are to seek out every safety option available to us for the equipment we are using, and then maintain them in good working order. Just driving an unsafe vehicle, or a safe vehicle without third party insurance, breaks the spirit of the Sixth Commandment.
The positive side to this Commandment is to preserve and promote happy/stable marriages. As I mentioned before, this Commandment includes fornication, but can also include pornography, and anything that portrays women and men - even young children - as sex objects. We should teach our children from an early age that sex is something special that only married people should enjoy. All Christian parents should have the goal that their children will marry as virgins - but still be well educated about the subject of sex. We also need to instill the concept that a successful marriage is more than just successful sex. Christ shows us in Mat 5:27,28 that we can break this command just with our eyes and our heart - and that goes for women who dress in a way to make men look, as well as for the men who do look and lust.
This Commandment is more than just not taking things that don’t belong to us. Ex 23:4,5 show us that we are to go out of our way to look after the animals (and by extension, property) of others. “Neighbourhood Watch” has some principals that come directly out of this Commandment. The Eighth Commandment includes having honest weights and measures (Lev 19:35), and giving that bit extra (Luke 6:38).
In Mat 5:37 Christ is telling us that our “yes” should mean just that, and we should not “embellish” our speech to give an appearance of truthfulness. Any “witness” that we give should also be honest, but we should also be diplomatic. While a fat person may look overweight, it is not helpful to say so. They may be fighting an illness that makes them that way. Not all things that are true should be said - but when we do say something, then it should always be true. If you have doubts about it or don’t have clear proof, then refrain from speaking, lest you start to gossip. When asked about something you need to tell the truth but at the same time, be sensitive in how you say it and not hurt people's feelings.
“Wysiwyg” (What You See Is What You Get) is a term that is applied to some computer terminals. It also should be a description of a Christian. Painting our faces or dyeing our hair so that we look different to our natural self is a form of lying. Obviously we need to look after our skin and hair, and we need to dress in a way that looks neat, clean and tidy (1 Tim 2:9,10), but we should never be a slave to the world’s fashion labels and the looks promoted by the media. Character shines from the inside out.
The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines covet as - “desire eagerly (usually what belongs to another)”. Because it is a very human thing to do, advertisers exploit this human weakness as they try to get people to “desire eagerly” the product they want to sell. Our Lord explained in Mat 7:21,22,27,28 that having wrong thoughts is just as much sin as doing the action. Actions come after the thought, so we have to stop sin at its source - the thought in our mind. So when you look at what others have - be it the members of their family or any of their possessions - be careful to hold in check any thoughts that might be described as “desire eagerly”. We should be careful not to get taken in by glossy magazines whose sole purpose is to tempt people to lust for things they don’t already have, and probably can’t afford.
is a big business in Australia, and no doubt other places in the world,
but it breaks the 10th Commandment big time. The lust for money
and the power it gives, can cause people to become addicted, so they
break the first and second Commandment as well.
Don’t try to “keep up with the Jones”, or make money you haven’t worked for by gambling. Be content with what you have while you work to build up your situation.
I feel the answer to the question about are the Ten Commandments still being in force today, is a resounding yes. Since God made man and all the laws of the universe, He knows what sort of human behaviour will bring about positive results. While ever we have physical humans, we will need the Ten Commandments to give direction on how to have a happy life while allowing others to also have one, and obtain true “freedom” for all.
Bob Orchard June 2008
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