The Ten Commandments

The following ten commandments were given to Moses by God. Moses returned to the Children of Israel and gave them the following commandments as listed in Exodus 20 of the Bible.  

First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Not only does this mean that God does not want us to put any gods, beings, people or objects on a pedestal considered to be higher than God, but the word “before” in Hebrew actually means that He doesn’t even want to see any other gods in our lives. The Children of Israel had dabbled in the worship of idols and the false gods of other people. To God, this was spiritual adultery.

Second Commandment: “You shall not make any idols.” It is important to note that God’s first two commandments deal with our relationship to Him and putting Him in proper perspective. Note that this command is almost a clarifying command. It is as though God is saying, “Not only do I not want you to put any gods before me, I don’t even want you to have anything resembling another worshiped entity.” This sure seems to dismiss the “All-rivers-lead-to-one-ocean” theology.

Third Commandment: “You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.” Again it is noteworthy that the first three commandments deal exclusively with our behavior and attitude toward God. The first commandment referred to where we place God among other beings in the universe. The second commandment clarified that He is the only spiritual power worthy of being God and doesn’t even want to see an inanimate object given a consideration of godly rank. Now in His third command, God commands we not take His name and use it in a way that makes it common. This means that when we use the name “God,” that we not use it in frustration, anger or in a way that ridicules it. His name should be held in reverence and highest regard. We are to be careful how we use His name because we should respect, love and honor Him to the point that His name is not ever belittled.

Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” The Sabbath Day is Saturday and the Children of Israel did not work that day but rather worshiped God, visited with family and rested their bodies. They also used this time to reflect on relationships, past events and life. Because God commanded this, it seems logical that God does not want us to work to the point that we misplace our priorities by neglecting the relationships in our lives or not giving our bodies proper rest.

Fifth Commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” Just as God commanded us to honor Him by worshiping Him alone as the author and giver of life, He expects us to honor those who gave us life on this earth. When a human being respects the ones who came before him and respects the ones who nourished him to grow and live, He shows great wisdom and maturity.

Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder.” God expects human beings to honor life. There are other passages where God commands execution and war, therefore the word “murder” here appears to be the killing of an innocent human who was not attacking or threatening another life.

Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” God expects us to honor our commitments and vows. When we make a marriage commitment to a person, vowing to be sexual with them alone, we are not to go back on that vow.

Eighth Commandment: “You shall not steal.” Other passages in the Bible tell us that God honors hard work and He says that a worker should be paid fairly for the work that he/she does. When we take something that someone else has earned, we are being dishonest and harming their livelihood.

Ninth Commandment: “You shall not lie.” God is all knowing and expects reality and truth to be life’s standard of decision making and thought. Lying misrepresents history of which God is a constant and all-seeing witness. Therefore lying not only harms and betrays our fellow humans, but it mocks God who knows the truth.

Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet.” If you want it, earn it. Don’t become angry and bitter because you want what someone else has earned or been given. God expects us to be content while at the same time working to better our situation. Wanting what someone else has to the point of coveting tempts us to lie and steal, and therefore we should not “give the devil a foothold.”

In Light of these Commandments

James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law but offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

We all have to face a holy and perfect God when our lives are over. He sees lust as adultery (Matthew 5:28) and hatred as murder (1 John 3:15). Will you be guilty?

Jesus took your punishment on the cross and rose again defeating death to save you from Hell. Through His sacrifice, your sins can be continually “washed away” and you can live eternally with God and other forgiven humans. But you have to put your faith in God in order to become part of God’s family. You do that by believing in Him (John 3:16), repenting of and confessing your sins (Acts 2:38, Romans 10:10) and being baptized to demonstrate those previous three things (Romans 6:4, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16). Romans 6:4 tells us that by baptism in water we are buried with Jesus and rise out of the water just as Jesus did to walk in “newness” of life.