The Ten Commandments and their relevance to Christians

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5 verse 17, “Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (AMP) It is Christ’s intention that the spiritual requirement of God’s law is fulfilled in the lives of his followers. Today let’s analyze the reflection of the Ten Commandments the most basic presentation of the Old Testament Law in the light of Jesus’ words and the other New Testament Authors.

1. You shall not serve other gods

Exodus 20:1-3

This is the first command of the ten commandments. This commandment means God alone should be the focus of my faith. There can be no room for excuses or exceptions. Today a “god” is something that is not evil but seeks to replace God in my life. Some literal examples are celebrity worship, while unhealthy career habits, gluttony, and the pursuit of money, fame, and power can be called figurative examples, (Matthew 6:24).

2. You shall not make/worship Idols

Exodus 20:4-6

This is the second commandment of the ten commandments and it demands that God always comes first in my life. The Word of God provides very clear and specific examples for worshipping idols without actually worshipping idols. These idols are called, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, (Colossians 3:5). God cannot come first in your life when you have these idols in life because He cannot coexist with them.

3. You shall not abuse God’s Name

Exodus 20:7

This is the third commandment of the ten commandments God handed over to Moses and required the Israelites his chosen people to abide by. I must not abuse the name of God by using it to swear or curse or show disrespect towards someone. His name is to be honored at all times. The name of the Lord is powerful and holy. It should be used with the right attitude, (Luke 12:10). Abusing his name indicates a lack of love for him.

4. You shall honor the Sabbath

Exodus 20:8-11

This is the fourth commandment of the ten commandments. Christians are free from observing the Sabbath. The purpose of gathering on Sundays (Fridays in Middle Eastern countries) is to worship God and enjoy fellowship with other Christians. There are no rules that make church attendance mandatory. However regular church attendance is a principle that Paul the apostle urged the early believers to abide by, (Hebrews 10:25).

5. You shall honor your Parents

Exodus 20:12

This is the fifth commandment of the ten commandments. My parents might be right they might be wrong. Still, I must always treat them with respect. They deserve my gratitude. When they are wrong I can correct them respectfully and suggest a good alternative that they might consider. Nobody is perfect. Neither my parents. We are to honor them even if they don’t deserve it, (Ephesians 6:1-3).

6. You shall not commit Murder

Exodus 20:13

This is the sixth commandment of the ten commandments. We don’t physically kill people but bad-mouthing other people is a way of murder. Hollywood justifies murder in the name of justice. Revenge belongs to God (Deuteronomy 32:25, Romans 12:19) and he will make everything right in the end. God has set up governments and rules to deal with injustice. Therefore murder cannot be justified under any circumstances.

7. You shall not commit Adultery

Exodus 20:14

This is the seventh commandment of the ten commandments. It demands that I must remain faithful to my spouse. My sex life should be limited to my marriage partner. I am to avoid indulgence in all forms of sexual immorality including pornographic videos, pictures, magazines, or even websites, computer games, and software. The Bible strictly forbids and warns against these, (Matthew 5:28).

8. You shall not Steal

Exodus 20:15

This is the eighth commandment of the ten commandments and it demands that I avoid all forms of theft including but not limited to software piracy, copyright infringement, plagiarism, reproducing intellectual property without permission, as well as cheating tests, and taxes, (Ephesians 4:28). There are many other forms of stealing and theft. When in doubt I must consult the word of God to confirm that my activities don’t come under stealing and theft.

9. You shall not Lie

Exodus 20:16

This is the ninth commandment of the ten commandments and it demands that I must avoid all forms of lies including but not limited to gossip, lying about others or to others (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 3:9), or making promises I can’t keep. There are no grey lies. The Bible compliments Rahab’s faith but not her lie, (Joshua 2:11, Hebrews 11:31). Besides Rahab was a heathen prostitute. She wasn’t a worshipper of Jehovah.

10. You shall not Covet

This is the tenth or the final commandment of the ten commandments and it demands that I must discipline myself to be content with what God has given me. I am to avoid greed and envy (James 4:2-3; Proverbs 24:1) but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. When I do God shall meet my needs, (Matthew 6:33)

Closing Remarks

The ten commandments are more than a mere list of dos and don’ts. It’s an ancient codex for healthy relationships, (Romans 13:9). The first four commandments are about our relationship with God while the other six are to do with people.

Jesus said the Parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate the entire law is fulfilled if we do two things. Love God and Love People, (Matthew 22:37-38). Unfortunately, we cannot love either on our own. We are sinful beings capable of loving ourselves but not others.

Jesus died on a cross on mount Calvary to give us that ability to love God and people. If you admit that you are a sinner incapable of loving others and invite Jesus into your life God will accept you as his own child and give you the ability to love Him and people unconditionally. Remember, when you love God and people you begin to fulfill the entire law, (Galatians 5:14).

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