God’s moral law – The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), are summarized by the two great commandments of loving God and man (Matthew 22:39). The tenth commandment which says, “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17) clearly attacks the roots of the other nine commandments. And it is an addition to the eight commandment that deal with covetousness which is the origin for stealing.
“Thou shalt not covet” is central to human experience because it reveals the motives behind the external acts (1 Chronicles 28:9; Hebrews 4:13). Thus, it presents a higher moral code than any other ancient code. For most ancient codes dealt with the external action, and a few dealt with the words of man, but none dealt with the thoughts of man. Thus, the Tenth commandment is vital to human experience in that it infiltrates the motive behind the external act. It teaches humans that the Lord reads the minds (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Hebrews 4:13). He doesn’t pay much attention to the external actions than with the thought from which the actions originate.
The tenth commandment
“You shall not covet” shows that man is responsible for his own actions. When he harbors an evil thought, a wrong desire springs, which in time leads to a wrong act. Solomon wrote, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). And James affirmed the same truth, “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13–15).
A man may not commit adultery because of a social or a civil restriction that is experienced when that law is broken, yet in the eyes of God, he may be as guilty as if he actually committed the deed. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Thus, the person who places his thoughts and will in line with the tenth commandment is protected against breaking the seventh commandment – “thou salt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
God’s victory over Covetousness
The tenth commandment shows the great truth that humans are not in bondage to their desires. For within them there is the power of the will which when it is empowered by the Creator, it can overcome every wrong desire. God gives man the power to do good: “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Therefore, the believer can truly say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). When God’s commands are sincerely followed, the Lord makes Himself responsible for the success of imprinting His unselfish character upon His children. Thus, in Christ, there is power to fulfill every duty, strength to resist all temptations.
In His service,