The Ten Commandments are God’s rules for how we are to live our lives. I know the Ten Commandments are important, but when I think of ways to draw closer to God, I have to admit studying these is not first on my list. I think of the ten commandments as the law – necessary but not exactly refreshing. This week I’m studying the book Getting to Know Jesus and this has changed my perspective. I’ve discovered The Ten Commandments are ten truths that give life.
Understanding The Ten Commandments
Check out this quick video from a Family Feud episode:
Steve Harvey and all the audience are shocked when a woman says she has broken 7 out of the 10 commandments in the last month. “What,” Steve Harvey gasps, “have you DONE?”
The audience laughed, but the reality is this woman was closer to the truth than anyone realized. She just didn’t take it far enough because she should have said 10! All of us have broken every single one of the ten commandments and do so on a regular basis.
Jesus clearly tells us that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer. (Matthew 5:17-48) None of us can uphold the law of God, even for one day.
The Ten Commandments are God’s law, and law shows us our sin and our all-important need for a Savior.
This could be depressing, but instead, we can find tremendous hope and this is why –
The purpose of God’s law is to lead us to the righteousness of Jesus. (Pastor Paul Schult, Getting to Know Jesus)
Let’s dig deeper into what The Ten Commandments and how they are used in our everyday lives.
What are the Ten Commandments?
The Ten Commandments are not numbered in the Bible, so you will see slight variations in how they are numbered. A couple different variations are equally correct for this reason. A listing of the Ten Commandments can be found in both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.
- You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
- You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
- Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
- Honor your father and your mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
- You shall not murder. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
- You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
- You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor’s wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.
Note: Meanings taken from Luther’s Small Catechism.
What is the Value of the Ten Commandments?
The Bible tells us that the law of God (which includes the Ten Commandments) has three proper uses: a curb, a mirror, and a guide.
1. A Curb – God’s law keeps people on the path of life.
Just like curbs on the road keep you from driving off the path, the law of God keeps us headed in the right direction. God’s law keeps us from heading off into a disaster of our own making. Your conscious is part of your God-given ability to understand God’s law. (See Romans 2:14-15).
2. A Mirror – God’s law shows us our sin.
When we see God’s law, we recognize God’s holiness and our sinfulness. God’s law clearly shows us the areas in life where we fall short. God’s law never lies and it is not silent.
A key understanding when it comes to the law of God is this. God did not give us His laws so that we could earn his love and favor by obeying them.
This is a natural assumption to make in our human limited understanding, but when we look at the Bible as a whole we see a very different story. God loves you fully and unconditionally regardless of your behavior. The Ten Commandments have nothing to do with earning God’s favor.
God does not give us the law to beat us over the head. He gives us the law so that we can see the reality of our sin and turn to Him for comfort, mercy, and forgiveness.
Friend, I encourage you to take the time to allow this message to sink deeply into your soul. One of the biggest misunderstandings about Christianity today is idea that the Ten Commandments are rules we should follow to be okay with God. Yet the Bible clearly states that salvation is a free gift. (Read Romans 3:28 and Ephesians 2:8-9 to learn more.)
3. A Guide – God’s law shows us the way to go.
Once you become a Christian, the Ten Commandments become a guide for how you should live your life. We follow God’s law out of thankful obedience. We follow God’s laws because He commands us to do so. We follow God’s laws out of love.
We know we can never follow God’s laws perfectly, but we are thankful that God gives forgiveness for the times we fall down.
The Ten Commandments: God’s Values
The Ten Commandments are God’s values. Here we see clearly what God loves and God hates.
What God Loves
- Worship Him alone
- Uplift His name through prayer and praise
- Spend time with His people
- Honor and respect authority.
- Hold human life sacred.
- Practice sexual purity and boundaries in marriage.
- Protect each other’s property.
- Preserve a good name and reputation.
- & 10. Live with contentment.
What God Hates
- Worshiping idols.
- Misusing His name.
- Distance from God.
- Rebelling against authority.
- Committing murder.
- Committing adultery.
- Gossip and slander.
- & 10. Envy.
God’s Ten Commandments clearly offer us direction for our daily life and decisions. Even more, they point out our sin and need for a Savior. Praise God that He sent his son, Jesus, to be that Savior for us! As you grow in your knowledge and understanding of these core truths, you will continue to grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus.
Getting to Know Jesus Online Bible Study
Come join our Getting to Know Jesus Online Bible study. This week, read Chapter 2 in your book. Everyone is welcome to participate in this study. We would love to have you join us!
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Learn more about the online Bible study here: Getting to Know Jesus Online Bible Study
Purchase the book from Amazon here: Getting to Know Jesus
Getting to Know Jesus: Using the Six Core Teachings of the Bible to Grow in a Deeper Relationship with JesusLuther’s Small Catechism with Explanation – 2017 EditionThe Screwtape LettersGod Space: Where Spiritual Conversations Happen Naturally
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