The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments are ten laws that God wrote with His finger on stone (Exodus 31:18). The first four commandments deal with man’s relationship with God. The last six commandments deal with man’s relationships with his fellow men. The Ten Commandments are recorded in the Bible in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 and are as follows:
Relationship with God
- “You shall have no other gods before me.” This command is against worshiping any god or anything other than the Creator.
- “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” This command is against making an idol or a visible representation of God.
- “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.” This is a command against taking the name of the Lord in vain. We are not to treat God’s name lightly.
- “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” This is a command to set aside the Sabbath (Saturday, the last day of the week) as a day of rest dedicated to the Lord.
Relationship with man
- “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” This is a command to always treat one’s parents with honor and respect.
- “You shall not murder.” This is a command against the premeditated murder of another human being.
- “You shall not commit adultery.” This is a command against have sexual relations with anyone other than one’s spouse.
- “You shall not steal.” This is a command against taking anything that is not one’s own.
- “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” This is a command prohibiting testifying against another person falsely. It is essentially a command against lying.
- “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” This is a command against desiring anything that is not one’s own.
Salvation and the Ten Commandments
Please note that no one can be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments. Salvation comes only through grace, as a free gift from Jesus Christ, and we receive this gift by faith, not by works. “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20). The Ten Commandments serve only as a mirror to point out sin in our lives (Romans 3:20; 7:7).
Cleansing and forgiveness from sin come only through Christ. When the believer comes to Christ, the Lord Himself promises, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10). God made a blessed provision through Jesus to enable the believer to keep His Commandments (Philippians 4:13) through the power of His indwelling presence.
Jesus Himself endorsed the keeping of the Ten Commandment’s to His followers as seen in the following passage: “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?…if you want to enter into life, keep the commandment. He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother, and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:16-19).
It is the will of God that man shall reflect His nature, and His nature may be summed up in the word “love” (1 John 4:7–12). To reflect the love of God, believers should love Him first and their fellow men (Matthew 22:37, 39). If we ask how we are to show our love to God and our fellow men, God gives us the answer in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3–17), which Jesus taught and honored (Isaiah 42:21) in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17–48).
In His service,