Do you think the Ten Commandments are still valid for this day and age? Are they outdated? Do you think Jesus nailed them to the cross? What does the Bible say and what does Jesus say about the Ten Commandments? Please understand that I am not saying that we are saved by the law or the keeping of the commandments because Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and Jesus clarified the two greatest commandments: Love the Lord God and love your neighbor as yourself. Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12) and no one is saved by works, but my only point is that if these would be lived out, realizing none of us can keep these in perfection, what would society be like?
The Vertical Commandments
The First Commandment
Looking at the first Commandment reveals that we are not to put anyone or anything before God. These were spoken of as valid in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. In the Old Testament it reads, “I am the LORD your God, Which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2, 3) Jesus reiterated this command in the New Testament saying, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall your serve.” (Matt 4:10 and Luke 4:8)
Further, Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
The Second Commandment
What exactly is idolatry? The Second Commandment reads, “You shall not make unto yourself 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; You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your 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 showing mercy unto thousands who love Me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)
Jesus showed that some people considered money or gold more important than the temple which seems to be a violation of the second commandment. (Matthew 23:16) And what your imagine God to be, if it is not based upon what the Bible says, is creating a god after your own imagination and in your own mind’s likeness.
The Third Commandment
The Old Testament clearly states that “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
How many times have you heard on TV, radio, or from other people say, “Oh my God! “. Even worse is trying to use God’s name in profanity and this includes Jesus holy name. That is a violation of the Third Commandment.
Jesus reference this in the New Testament saying “Our Father which is in heaven, Hallowed be your name.” (Matthews 6:9 and Luke 11:2) He continued, “I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36) And “This people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8,9)
The Fourth Commandment
The Old Testament states that we should “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your 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.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
This is the only commandment of the ten that Jesus did not seem specifically mention except by saying “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” (Matthew12:8 and Luke 6:5) He further says that “it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.” (Matthew 12:12) A day of rest is useful and beneficial for humans and it is in our best interest to take one day in seven to rest the body.
The Horizontal Commandments
Commandments five to ten are designed to keep humans in a right relationship with one another.
The Fifth Commandment
Honoring your parents and foster parents or step parents is the first one given to humans in relation to other humans. Why!? Because the family is the bedrock of any society and when children are disobedient and disrespectful, then these children later become the society itself and there is a downward spiral of decay and morality. This commandment is placed above that of murder, and stealing, because none of these would likely occur in such a grand scale if this commandment were kept in the first place.
The Sixth Commandment
This commandment is often mistranslated into “You shall not kill” when it is literally “You shall not murder”. That is a huge difference. If someone is going to come in and kill your family, it is not a sin to prevent this slaughter by first killing the person trying to murder innocent people. Police do not murder criminals that are trying to kill other people including themselves. They are killing to prevent further killing of innocent people. That is not murder. It is defending themselves or others in the line of duty.
This commandment does not prohibit nations from going to war to defend their nations or from hunting or killing animals for the purpose of food.
The Seventh Commandment
The generally accepted standard of today is that adultery is outdated and since there are no laws in the United States making this punishable by law or by criminal courts, then it is acceptable…unless you’re the one being cheated on! Adultery wrecks lives and shatters families and leaves in it wake destroyed lives; of the parents, children, and grandparents. Of course, divorce is permissible under certain conditions and if anyone is being abused then it is the best course of action. Even though this commandment’s value is not so obvious to society, it’s being kept does help to cement the family structure into stabilizing factors in society.
The Eighth Commandment
This seems to be generally accepted that we should not take away from others things that don’t belong to us. Stealing is punishable by fines or imprisonment, depending upon the severity of the crime. This commandment’s value is obvious to society. Here is where the breaking of the Tenth Commandment (coveting) can cause the breaking of the Eighth.
The Ninth Commandment
White lies are lies nonetheless. Lying is only hurting oneself. I remember that every time I lied, I had to use additional lies to cover the original lie up. Bearing false witness in a court is even criminal and punishable by fine or imprisonment.
The Tenth Commandment
This commandment is one of the few that are internally broken. And it is one that is the hardest to discern. No one gets arrested for coveting neighbor’s goods. This is the same thing as being jealous of a rich person or wishing you had their BMW or their $100,000 home. This commandment can not be seen by others but by God alone and the person in whom it resides.
No one is able to keep all of the commandments, but the fact that we can’t keep them perfectly doesn’t mean that we should disregard them. Jesus still spoke about the validity of the Ten Commandments but realized that no one can be saved apart from Him and no one is saved by keeping these Commandments. The first four are about our vertical relationship with God. The last six are about our horizontal relationship with our fellow human beings. Jesus is the one and only way to salvation and no one can inherit eternal life by keeping the commandments, but the commandments do show the way that God desires that we live. Their result lived out produces happiness.
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40) This pretty much sums up all ten. My take is that we should follow the ten, based on what Jesus said in these verses.
Great insight Reverend. I wish I had put is as succinctly as you did sir. Thank you.
Seventh day or one in seven? If you are going to take these ten commandment and keep them, why would you rationalize one of them into something that it is not. “You shall not murder”, “You shall not take the Lords name in vain”, “Remember the Sabbath day (notice, it is not ‘remember one day out of seven’) and keep it holy”. I dare you to pray about this in honest searching and study for a view that may be against your own and see what happens. The seventh-day Sabbath is a blessing that the far majority of my fellow Christians today are just simply missing all together.