The Relationship Purpose of the Ten Commandments (Article 2)
When the Pharisees learned that the Sadducees could not argue with Jesus' answers to them, the Pharisees met together. One Pharisee, who was an expert on the law of Moses, asked Jesus this question to test him:
"Teacher, which command in the law is the most important?"
Jesus answered, " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and most important command.
And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'
All the law and the writings of the prophets depend on these two commands." (Matthew 22:34-40) NCV
It is interesting and yet not surprising that Jesus did not answer this pharisee's question with one specific commandment. Instead, Jesus went deeper in stating the heart commandments from which all the commandments originated.
Loving God and our neighbor puts all the other commandments in context. The commandments are encased in RELATIONSHIP. A proper understanding of the law will not be achieved outside of this context.
In the Old Testament the Ten Commandments were a covenant of love given by a personal God for the people of Israel.
"Now therefore, O our God, the great, mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love..."(Neh. 9:32).
In the New Testament the Ten Commandments serve as a guide to lead us to a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the new covenant.
The first thing we must understand is the ten commandments were never intended to be an end in themselves. The primary purpose of the law is to restore RELATIONSHIP between holy God and sinful man and establish the foundation for RELATIONSHIP with one another. The commandments are like signposts guiding us on the road to this end. Without such understanding, the Ten Commandments are merely a set of rules that lead to death, discouragement, and pride.
The whole law hangs on these two commandments:
1. Love the Lord (RELATIONSHIP) and
2. Love your neighbor (RELATIONSHIP).
God loves people! He gave His law in order to show people their need for a Savior and ultimately to restore fellowship with His most precious of creation - PEOPLE, through the work of Jesus Christ!
We were created for relationship with
1. God and
2. one another.
The Ten Commandments are divided accordingly.
Commandments Addressing Relationship with God
- No other gods
- No idols
- God's name
- Keep Sabbath holy
Commandments Addressing Relationship with Others
- Honor parents
- Do not murder
- Do not commit adultery
- Do not steal
- Do not give false testimony
- Do not covet
In the following pages discover the RELATIONSHIP purposes of God's law:
2. Reveals character of God
3. Reveals nature of man
4. Reconciliation of God and man
5. Receive the Good News
2. Reveals the Character of God
Through the ten commandments and other laws given to Israel by God, He reveals His nature and character. The characteristics and attributes of God are so numerous that to list and expound upon them thoroughly would require much more time and space than I have here. For the purposes of this site let's focus our attention on one of the basic and predominant characteristics revealed in the law of God.
Simply stated: God is HOLY.
Holiness is part of God's very being. He did not attain it, achieve it, or recieve it. He is the very source and wellspring; the epitomy of purity and righteousness. The person of God sets the standard for purity. Without this standard mankind would have no bearing to determine what is good or evil, right or wrong, moral or immoral.
The Ten Commandments are part of God's expression of His holiness and the standard He requires in order to have a relationship with Him.
Mankind was originally created in this holiness and enjoyed unhindered fellowship with God. Man was also created with a will. God did not force man to love Him. God gave him a choice. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, they fell out of holiness and became alienated from God.
God can not abide anything or person that is unholy. The only way a person can relate to God is in perfect holiness. God gave His law as an expression of His holiness. As the nation of Israel obeyed His holy law, it seperated them from every other nation of the earth. It seperated them as "holy" unto the Lord. Israel became known by the world as God's holy nation. They were marked as His people because they "wore" the laws of His holiness.
God severly judged and punished disobedience to His law because it was a defilement of His very character. When a law was broken God required a sacrifice of blood. God commanded that the blood of an animal be shed to cover for sin. These sacrifices were not adequate to forgive man's sin, but in practicing them, Israel demonstrated faith. It was this faith that was counted as righteousness and put Israel in right standing (relaitonship) with God.
The ten commandments reveal God's perfect holiness. These laws tell us of His very nature. If mankind is to have a relationship with God we must know who He is.
"There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee..."(I Samuel 2:2 kjv).
"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee..." (Revelations 15:4 KJV).
"And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation"(Exodus 19:6 kjv)
3. Reveals the Nature of Man
As mentioned previously, mankind was created in holiness and lived in an environment of perfection - the Garden of Eden. Unlike the rest of creation, man was made in the very image of God. Meaning that man had the unique ability to enjoy an intimate relationship and fellowship with God. Mankind could relate to God on God's level. Lest this be misunderstood, mankind was not a god, nor was he ever equal with God. Man's entire being (body, soul, and spirit) could enjoy the presence of God without guilt or shame. God never forced affection from His creation. Mankind was free to love God at will.
Now Satan (the Devil, Lucifer) was an angel who rose up against God and demanded to be equal with Him in power and authority. God responded to this rebellion by casting Satan and a third of the angels (who also joined with Satan) out of His presence (heaven) forever.
Seeing the mutual affections of God and Man, Satan's mission became that of destroying God's relationship with His most precious creation-man! This has been Satan's passion from the beginning of time and continues to be so today and will continue until the end of the world.
Upon the creation of Adam and Eve, God gave one simple commandment. Satan took advantage of man's free will and the battle for man's soul began. Satan tempted man with the untruth that God had not provided everything they needed. That God was holding back and they were missing out. Adam and Eve listened and after being convinced that Satan's lies were true, they disobeyed the command and betrayed God.
Immediately they fell into a condition of sin. Their very consciences told them that they had disappointed God and jeopardized their holy relationship with Him. They were filled with fear, ran, and tried to hide from the presence of God. This SIN was a wedge that alienated mankind from a holy God. In discovering sin Adam and Eve realized they were naked and attempted to cover their shame with leaves. When God confronted them, he killed an animal (sacrifice) and with the skin made a covering for them. God put them out of the garden of Eden (lest they eat of the tree of life and live forever in their sin) and promised that He would make a way for man to be reconciled with God eternally.
Since that time every person is born into this condition of sin (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:19). God gave us His law to reveal not only His holiness, but our sinfulness.
"God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were." (NLT Romans 5:20)
Through the law we are reminded and convicted of how far we have fallen from relationship with God and the impassable chasm that exists between us.
"The person who sins breaks God's law. Yes, sin is living against God's law."
(I John 3:4 NCV)
The law gives us a clear view of this chasm created by the wedge of sin.
"You might think I am saying that sin and the law are the same thing. That is not true. But the law was the only way I could learn what sin meant. I would never have known what it means to want to take something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, "You must not want to take your neighbor's things.
" And sin found a way to use that command and cause me to want all kinds of things I should not want. But without the law, sin has no power.
" I was alive before I knew the law. But when the law's command came to me, then sin began to live, and I died. The command was meant to bring life, but for me it brought death. Sin found a way to fool me by using the command to make me die.
So the law is holy, and the command is holy and right and good. Does this mean that something that is good brought death to me? No! Sin used something that is good to bring death to me. This happened so that I could see what sin is really like; the command was used to show that sin is very evil" (Romans 7:7-13, NCV).
A person can be told he has dirt on his face. The person will go to a mirror to take a look. The mirror accurately reflects a true image. The dirt is indeed there. The person might walk away from the mirror, but his "dirty face" condition remains. Washing the mirror or taking it away does not clean the face. God's law is like a mirror. When gazed into it shows man's true condition. Ignoring or rejecting the law does not take away our condition of sin. When facing the standard of God's holy law we realize there is not one of us who has not sinned. All have sinned and fallen short of God's standard.
"There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:10-12, KJV).
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:19-20; 23, KJV).
Let's say that a chain represented our life line to God. It was the means by which we could reach Him. The way by which we could restore the position once lost. And each link in the chain represented a law of God.
We would need to keep each law perfectly in order to be reconciled with God. In fact we would have to be born in this perfect condition. We all know this is impossible.
So let's make it a little easier. Say a person were only to break one commandment once in his life? That would be a pretty righteous person. But are they good enough for God's requirements?
If a person were hanging by a chain and one link broke, they would fall. It doesn't take breaking every link to fall from God - just one!
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10, KJV).
Who is God? Holy. Who is man? A Sinner. Sin has alienated mankind from God. It has made the whole human race at enmity with Him. We selfishly seek after those things that fulfill our depraved passions. We lift ourselves to be our own gods, running our own lives, controlling our own destinies. Humankind is bent toward evil as a tree bends to the light. Human nature is to operate in contradiction to the law of God! Why? Because we are born sinners.
As if this were not bad enough...there's more! Not only have we been separated from God because of sin, but this separation brings with it consequences.
When we go to work at a job we receive wages (pay) for the work we did. It is inevitable - that is why we are employed.
In life, wherever there is a work in sin, there is an accompanying wage (payment) for the sin committed. It is called the wage of death. When man works sin he receives death.
"For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23, KJV).
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekial 18:20, KJV).
"When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. And though there was no law to break, since it had not yet been given, they all died anyway-even though they did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did" (Romans 5:12-14, NLV).
God is life. When separated from him there is inevitable death. Like a grape on a vine. When the grape is cut from its source of life, it dies.
When Adam sinned there was immediate death and alienation from the life that is within God. Sin also brought physical death. A dead person does not respond to sights, sounds, or touch. In the same way, the spiritually dead are unable to see, hear, or touch Him. The fact of our death in sin explains our helplessness. Without life there is hopelessness and despair.
We were created eternal beings (this is part of being in the likeness of God). He created us to enjoy fellowship with Him forever. When sin entered, our physical bodies would perish, but our spirit would live forever. For those who have sinned (all of mankind) separation from God is for eternity. This means suffering eternal death in a place God created for Satan and his angels called Hell. It is a place of torment and fire. Though there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" the worst part is being banished from God for all eternity with no hope of ever getting out. Does this make God unreasonable? Does it make Him merciless and unrelenting? Not at all as we'll see in the following pages. God in His holiness can not abide sin in man. It's like trying to mix light and darkness, or good and evil.
Left to himself, mankind's condition of sin leaves him helpless, destitute, alone, hopeless, and separated from God.
But remember, after Adam and Eve sinned, God promised he would provide an answer to this devastating separation of man from Himself.
4. Reconciliation of God and Man
How can man find peace with God? How can a personal relationship be established? How is God appeased? Can mankind attain a unity with God? Is there a dimension of life beyond the natural (physical)? What about life after death?
These and many similar questions have been the object of discussion, debate, confusion, and enlightenment since the beginning of time. These questions have spawned many religions, cults, beliefs, and philosophies.
Is there an answer? The good news is YES!
Sin left mankind with another problem...a void! An emptiness that can only be filled by God. If a person would pause long enough from their busy lives and reflect upon this void, they would discover a vacuum so strong as to drive them toward answering these questions. Separation from God left mankind without purpose or hope. It is this emptiness, hopelessness, and purposelessness that mankind is frantically trying to fill.
In an attempt to find the truth people will travel a multitude of paths seeking the right one. Some pursue religious paths. "Is this the right religion? What about that church? or this preacher? or that leader? What about this philosophy or that theology?"
Others pursue of life of piousness - a life full of good works. They contribute to society and are champions of good causes.
Still others seek to fill the void in social and financial status. Many seek it in fulfilling the pleasures of life. If it feels good, do it. There are many paths, but they do not all lead to the same end. Just because something seems right for you, doesn't mean it is right.
A man is sitting in the airport. His destination is Chicago. Because of a computer error he and several other passengers are misinformed regarding the departure gate. He is unaware of this and sincerely believes the plane he is about to board is headed to Chicago. Unfortunately it is headed to San Francisco.
He strikes up small talk with a couple sitting next to him. They believe they are going to Chicago too. That's what their tickets say. Being preoccupied in conversation, he doesn't hear the destination of the flight during boarding call. He's in the air when the captain announces the details of the flight to San Francisco.
Just because a person is sincere in their beliefs, doesn't mean they're going where they think they are. We can be sincerely wrong. Sincerity doesn't relieve us from the consequences of our misinformation.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12, KJV).
God's law in context of the whole Bible makes the truth very clear. The law was given to reveal God's holiness, show man's sinfulness, and lead man to peace with God.
The law proves man a failure at keeping the law perfectly. This was it's intent as we've discovered previously. Man falls short of the righteousness required for reconciliation with God. Regardless of how "good" one is - it's never good enough! Acknowledging this point is the first step in the right direction.
Many ask, "What if my good works outweigh the bad? Will God disregard this? Surely this counts for something?
"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away" (Isaiah 64:6, NLV).
We can proudly present God with our gifts of good works, but in the light of His holiness they amount to a pile of dirty old rags.
Others say, "At least I'm not as bad as those people. I admit, I'm not perfect, but I sure am better than a lot of people. If anyone deserves God's favor it's me. I can see how God could reject someone like Hitler, but save someone like Mother Theresa."
The standard for union with God is God himself. How good or evil a person's work might be is not relevant to being acceptable to God. In His eyes all have sinned and all sin is evil. Mankind is on level ground. No sin is so great that God can't forgive it and no goodness is so righteous as not to need God's pardon. If a shirt is drenched in mud the shirt is dirty. If the shirt has a small stain on it, the shirt is dirty. Dirt makes the shirt dirty regardless of the degree. Likewise sin contaminates mankind regardless of its degree!
"Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were [unlawful].' Matthew 7:21-23, NLB).
A person's good works are not enough to deliver from sin. It is impossible to attain unto God or earn His favor.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5, KJV).
"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" (Romans 2:8-9, KJV).
As we have already seen, the work of sin brings a wage of death (see "Reveals the Nature of Man") A price must be paid. Though the death penalty is mankind's due wage, the GOOD NEWS is that Jesus Christ took this wage upon Himself for us.
Who is Jesus? He is part of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). Jesus is the Son of God, but He is also God.
The law was not sufficient to save mankind from his sin - only convict him of his sin and condemn him. Jesus Christ came to earth in human form (born of the virgin Mary) to live a perfect life. Jesus actually fulfilled the law perfectly. He lived a sinless life.
"But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children" (Galatians 4:4-5, NLB).
"...but [Jesus] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15, KJV).
"The law was without power, because the law was made weak by our sinful selves. But God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son to earth with the same human life that others use for sin. By sending his Son to be an offering to pay for sin, God used a human life to destroy sin. He did this so that we could be the kind of people the law correctly wants us to be. Now we do not live following our sinful selves, but we live following the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4 NCV).
This is a critical point to understand. Only Christ has ever or could ever perfectly fulfill the law. This was God's standard for salvation from our sins and Christ did it! You see, the point of the law is to bring people to Christ (the One who was able to fulfill it.)
"In other words, the law was our guardian leading us to Christ so that we could be made right with God through faith" (Galatians 3:24, NCV).
It is only through Jesus Christ that mankind can be made holy to God's standard. Through this holiness mankind can once again relate with God.
"And because of this, we are made holy through the sacrifice Christ made in his body once and for all time" (Hebrews 10:10, NCV).
In addition to living a sinless life, Jesus died with the burden of our sin wages. He took upon himself the wages of death in our place.
"He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God" (I Peter 1:19 NLB).
"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ" (II Corinthians 5:21, NLB).
And why did Jesus Christ take the punishment we deserve? Simply because God loves people more than anything! He is a personal God and wants a relationship with every human being.
"When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good.
"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
"And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God-all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God" (Romans 5:6-11, NLB).
GOD LOVES PEOPLE!!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17, KJV).
This good news message is not "religion". Religion is man's attempt to reach God; the gospel is God reaching down to reunite man with Himself. Though there are many religions there is only one way...through the person of Jesus Christ. This is not a subjective fact. It is not an opinion. It is objective because Jesus himself made the statement and then proved it through His sinless life, death, and miraculous resurrection!
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved". (Acts 4:12, KJV).
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6, KJV).
The chasm of sin separating mankind from God was bridged through Jesus Christ.
"There is one God and one way human beings can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who is himself human. He gave himself as a payment to free all people" (I Timothy 2:5, NCV).
Through His being raised up from the dead, Jesus gained victory over the death that held mankind. His death saved us from our sins and His resurrection gave us eternal life.
"He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life" (Titus 3:7, NLB).
"And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God" (Romans 6:8-10, NLB).
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23, KJV).
How is a person to respond to these facts? Is everyone automatically exempt from the wages of sin because of what Jesus did? No. As in the beginning when God created man, he gave mankind a will. God never forces people to love Him and have a relationship with him. God has given mankind a very special gift in Jesus Christ. A gift is not really useful unless it is received and accepted. God makes this Gift available to everyone.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9, NIV).
A person must receive and accept God's gift if they are to be saved from sin and restored with God. The gift is Jesus.
"For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, 'Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed'" (Romans 10:9-11, NLB).
This act seems too simple for some. It is simple, yet it is the most powerful confession a person can make in their entire life. It requires a great humility and a childlike faith.
Remember God is personal. He is a God of relationship. He simply desires us to come before Him and:
- Confess our sins.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9, KJV).
- Be willing to turn from our sins
- Believe that the work of Jesus (death, burial, and resurrection) was total payment for our sins.
- Accept the GIFT (Jesus) into our life. When He comes in He cleanses us of our sins and restores us to fellowship with God.
Some would say they have sinned too much for God to forgive them. Sin is sin regardless of the degree. God conquered ALL sin. No sin is too big for God to forgive. A person must not wait until they have stopped "sinning" to come to God. This becomes an act of works, not an act of receiving God's free gift. Jesus did not come to save the "righteous" but sinners. The ground is level. Though we may say one sin is worse than another, every sin is equally offensive to God.
Others would not stoop so low as to make such a confession. After all, this is the kind of response you might expect of a common criminal. This would be the response of someone sentenced to death begging for mercy. Many do not see themselves in this position. Blinded by their own pious acts of righteousness and good works they look down upon the "greater sinners" around them and feel deserving of God's favor.
Still others count on their "religion" to satisfy God's demands. To receive God's Gift is not enough. There must be an ever greater measure of religious service, works, and devotion to the church.
One day Jesus addressed some very religious leaders with these words:
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:39-40, KJV).
Some are willing to go anywhere, except to Jesus. But when a person comes to Jesus with this confession and acceptance of Jesus Christ they are guaranteed His acceptance.
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37, KJV).
5. Receive the Good News
God Loves You! This is not a trite or a "make you feel good" statement. It is not a fairy tale, fable, or legend. It is indeed simple, but most profound! A holy God loving a sinful people! This is the truth. God said it Himself and sent Jesus Christ to die in your place to prove His love!
God's love is available to everyone, but it is especially available to you because He is a personal God! This information may not be new to you. You may have heard it hundreds of times. It is spoken in millions of churches, broadcast around the world, it is even evident through God's creation. It is available to everyone. But someday God will speak this message to you personally. In that moment His message of love will speak directly to your heart.
Maybe you sense God speaking to you now. Maybe reading these pages has stirred something in your heart.
This is the perfect time to respond !
"God says, "At the right time I heard your prayers. On the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you that the "right time" is now, and the "day of salvation" is now." (2 Corinthians 6:2, NCV).
"My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me" (John 10:27-28, NLB).
"Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write this letter to you who believe in the Son of God so you will know you have eternal life" (I John 5:12-13, NCV).
The Ten Commandments Listed
Following are the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20 as given to the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments are also found in Deuteronomy 5. The Ten Commandments here are presented in three different versions of the Bible.
New International Version
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
And God spoke all these words: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Then God instructed the people as follows: "I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
You shall have no other gods before me.
Do not worship any other gods besides me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
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.
Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god! I do not leave unpunished the sins of those who hate me, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations. But I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
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.
Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any kind of work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; then he rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God will give you
Thou shalt not kill.
You shall not murder.
Do not murder.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
You shall not commit adultery.
Do not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
You shall not steal.
Do not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
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.
Do not covet your neighbor's house. Do not covet your neighbor's wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else your neighbor owns."
The Ten Commandments Frequently Asked Questions
- How many times are the Ten Commandments listed? Where are they listed?
- What is the Decalogue?
- Where were the Ten Commandments kept?
- Are Christians today still under the Ten Commandment laws?
- Should Christians today observe the Sabbath Day Commandment?
The Ten Commandments are listed in their completeness two times in the Old Testament in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:1-22. They are partially listed in the New Testament as well in Matthew 19:17-19; 22:34-40; Luke 10:25-28; Romans 13:8-10.
The Decalogue is another name given for the Ten Commandments by the Greeks. It is literally rendered "The Ten Words". The Decalogue is specifically the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets and given to Moses for the people of Israel.
The Ten Commandments were first spoken by God to Moses for the people of Israel (Exodus 20). Later, God commanded Moses to meet with Him on Mount Sinai where God would write the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets (Exodus 24:12-18). These two tablets were broken by Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai and discovered Israel worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:15-20). In Deuteronomy 10:1 God had Moses carve out two more stone tablets and God again writes upon them the Ten Commandments. These stone tablets were placed in the ark of the covenant as directed by God (Exodus 25:16; 40:20). Throughout Israel's wandering in the wilderness the Ten Commandments were kept in the Tabernacle in the holiest place inside the ark of the covenant underneath the mercy seat. Later, when the temple was built the Ten Commandments were kept in the ark of the covenant beneath the wings of the cherubim in the most holy place of the temple (II Chronicles 5:6-10).
This is a very good question, and one that is answered clearly in the Law & Grace section of this document. In short, the Ten Commandments were specifically written to Israel as a covenant with God. It was a covenant that pointed to the promised Messiah (Jesus Christ) who would fulfill the requirements of the covenant and thus, institute a new covenant of salvation in Jesus Christ. Christians today are not bound to keep the Ten Commandments in the same way Israel was. They kept them as a demonstration of faith in the promise that was to come (Jesus Christ). When Jesus instituted a new covenant for all people, the old covenant law was transformed into new covenant law. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which sets us free from the law of sin and death.
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:2-4, KJV).
Christians today (in the era of grace) are not obligated to keep the Sabbath Day commandment as given to Moses for the people of Israel. The Sabbath Day was specifically the "sign of the covenant" for Israel and as such is distinctly different from the other nine. Nor are we commanded to keep a Christian Sabbath day (Sunday-which is of pagan origin anyway).
The keeping of a Sabbath Day becomes a Love issue and a personal choice.
In deeper study and personal growth the Feasts of the Lord gets revealed to us on a deeper level and one responds to it differently then.