WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE TEN
by Betty Miller
What importance is there for a Christian, or anyone else, to know the Ten
Commandments? How much validity and relevance can they have in our lives today?
Does God expect us to follow them? Will we go to Hell if we do not keep them?
Are these Laws for everyone, or are they only for those who hold the Old
Testament as sacred?
If you have ever asked these questions, we think that you will be blessed by
this in-depth look at the Ten Commandments. How did they come about? The
Commandments are the 10 basic laws that God commanded Israel to obey in the Old
Testament. The laws were given to Moses by God, Himself. Moses was called of God
to go up into a mountain and there God gave him these commandments so he could
return and give them to the Israelites. They were written in tablets of stone by
the finger of God. The story is recorded in Exodus 24:12-13:
12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there:
and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have
written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the
mount of God.
Here are the Ten Commandments that God
spoke and wrote for Moses to give to His people:
The Ten Commandments (KJV)
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 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:
5 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;
6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my
7 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.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 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:
11 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.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land
which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 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.
Condensed they would read as follows:
Number 1: Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Beside Me
Number 2: Thou Shalt Not Worship Any Graven Images
Number 3: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord Thy God in Vain
Number 4: Remember the Sabbath Day to Rest and Keep it
Number 5: Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Number 6: Thou Shalt Not Kill
Number 7: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
Number 8: Thou Shalt Not Steal
Number 9: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness
Number 10: Thou Shalt Not Covet Anything That is Thy Neighbor's
The Ten Commandments Offer Guidance
Psalm 119:104-105 says, "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore
I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my
If we want holy guidance we must study the word of God and find out what God
has to say about life and human experience, so that we can be guided by His
Word. Neither my opinion, nor anyone else's opinions are sufficient to solve the
problems of humanity. The answers can only be found in God's Word. He is the
creator of all things, and He has the answers for His creation. He is the Judge
and final authority on every subject.
By keeping His Word and His commandments we will
not stumble, but will have light on our pathway of life; therefore, we should
make it a priority to understand His ways. If you do not know the
Ten Commandments, you are among a big company. Recent statistics state that the
average Christian scored very low when tested for knowledge of the Ten
Commandments. Most of us do not know the Ten Commandments, and many cannot even
name three of them. That's really a sad commentary for Christians.
The 10 Commandments are the 10 basic laws that God commanded Israel to obey
in the Old Testament. Since all believers in Christ make up "spiritual Israel,"
these laws are still valid for us to live by. Some people think that these
precepts do not apply to Christians today as they are the Old Testament law. I
have heard people make this statement, "Well that's the old law, we don't have
to keep the old law." The Bible teaches that the Old Testament law is the
foundation for the New Testament commandments.
We actually are
called to keep a higher law under the new covenant. In the Old Testament they
were judged on their deeds and their actions. The New Testament we are judged by
what goes on in our hearts. The Bible deals all the way through the New
Testament about what goes on in the heart of man. Jesus dealt with the heart
attitudes of men. He always put His finger right on the motives of men. In the
Old Testament men were commanded not to commit murder. In the New Testament the
Bible tells us if we have hatred in our hearts for a brother we are guilty of
murder even if we do not commit the actual deed.
3:15 says, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no
murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
God's Commandments Are Life to Us
Let us see what the Bible says about the importance of knowing and
keeping God’s laws.
"Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know
understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.... Hear, O
my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have
taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.... My son,
attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from
thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those
that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all
diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:1-2, 10-11, 20-23).
In above verse, the Lord instructs
us to "attend to" or to "pay attention" to His words. The commandments of God
are His Words to us. They are life! The Bible says if we put God's Word into our
hearts it will produce the blessings of life.
In computer language we understand the expression, GIGO (Garbage
In, Garbage Out). If we put garbage into our spirits, that is what will come
out. Likewise, if we fill our heart with the good things of the Spirit, that is
also what will come out. Spiritually, as well as physically, "we are what we
What did Jesus say about the Law?
In Matthew 12:34-37, Jesus lays out an important principle.
Speaking to the Pharisees, He says: "O generation of vipers, how can ye,
being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good
things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak they shall give
account thereof in the day of judgment. For by their words they shall be
justified and by their words they shall be condemned."
Jesus said that we will either be justified or condemned by the words that we
speak. Therefore, it is extremely important that we watch what comes out of our
mouths. God wants His words of life and truth to come out of our spirit. For
this to happen, however, we must read, study and receive the Word of God in our
hearts. It can only come out of our hearts, if it has been planted there! If we
do not take the time to study and know His commandments and His words, they will
not come forth in our life.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come
to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be
fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and
shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but
whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom
of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19).
The Ten Commandments Influence in Society and Culture
God is doing many wonderful things in this hour;
however, Satan is countering with his
deception and counterfeits. Our world is becoming more volatile and changes are
occurring rapidly. There are huge waves of satanic corruption coming against our
culture. All over the world, we are faced with demonic filth that is paraded
before us with very little shame.
A recent statistic, at the time of this writing,
showed that in the United States, a crime is committed every three seconds and a
murder is committed every half hour. Millions of children are victimized by kiddie pornography. There are hundreds
of magazine titles dealing with child
pornography, let alone the filth that is available through the Internet. Every
year, there are a quarter of a million child abuse victims. An estimated ten per
cent of the U.S. population is addicted to cocaine. There are millions of
alcoholics in the U.S., and thousands of people die on our highways each year
because of liquor, not to mention the other alcohol related deaths. Teen suicide
and pregnancy are major problems as well as sexual abuse and rape. Millions of
women around the world will be sexually abused this year.
I share the above statistics because there are some people who believe that
the Ten Commandments are out of date, and are not relevant for today. If the
Commandments had been kept, we wouldn't have committed these sins in our nation
and there would be no statistics to report such as this. Therefore, the Ten
Commandments are not out of date today. They are very much in date and are
needed today so that healing and wholeness can come to our world.
Two Parts to the Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments are actually broken up into two basic sections. The
first four commandments deal specifically with our relationship with God. The
last six commandments deal with our relationship with other human beings. It is
important to note that the commandments that focus on God come first. If
we keep the first four commandments, the next six will be easier to keep as
well. Much of the world focuses on keeping the last six commandments; and they
believe that because they are leading a "moral" life, they are acceptable before
God. Treating our fellow man in a righteous manner is extremely important to
God. However, the first four commandments are more important than the last six.
They are the foundation of the law. God wants us to treat each other as we
ourselves would like to be treated. However, we can only do that to the extent
that we are like God, and we are only like Him to the extent that we know Him
and love Him. The knowledge and love of Him is obtained through keeping the
first four commandments.
In the time of Christ, there was much discussion in Israel about the law and
how to fulfill it. Jesus made the answer very simple by focusing on two verses
from the Old Testament that sum up the entire 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 neighbour as
thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew
Jesus’ answer was based on two scriptures from the Old Testament:
Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. According to Jesus, these are
the verses that summed up the whole of the Law.
The first command deals with our relationship with God and second command
deals with our relationship with others. Therefore we might say that the first
four commandments are summed in the phrase that we are to "love the Lord with
all our heart, soul and strength." The next six commandments are also summed up
in one phrase; that we are to "love our neighbor as ourselves."
The Ten Commandments can be very simple for us to remember, if we know the
concepts behind them: Love God and Love everyone else. If we keep these
commands in the proper order and at the forefront of our heart and mind, we
cannot go wrong. Love is the highest command and love never fails. (1
Corinthians 13:8). Love is the essence of the Law.
The Old and New Covenants
One may wonder why a study of the Ten
Commandments are in order, if the Law has already been simplified to these
two basic commandments. Why should we
complicate the matter by adding a list of do’s and don’ts to such
a beautiful and simple law of love? The answer is this: Do you already know how
to love God perfectly? Do you know how to love others perfectly? Of course
we don't without God showing us–although we eagerly anticipate the day when we will be just like Christ and
then, having such love will come naturally to us. Until then, we must let the Spirit of God
work within us and learn His ways and follow them. The essence of the Law is
love, but it is the Ten Commandments that show us how to love.
Without these commandments, the instructions to love would be very difficult to
keep as everyone has a different idea about love. These commandments show us not
only what love is, but also how we are to live by it in our
His desire has been consistent from the beginning
of the creation of man, and has been plainly stated in the Old Testament:
"These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules
taught by men" (Isaiah 29:13 NIV).
"Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou
shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash
me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:6-7).
Again, in the following verse we see that God’s desire was for His law to be
in our hearts, and not just an outward action. This verse speaks of the future
covenant that God would make with His people, which was established in Christ.
(Emphasis in following verses is mine).
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the
covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand
to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I
was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I
will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will
put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be
their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every
man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they
shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the
LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more"
There were many who lived under the Old Covenant, such as King David, who
approached God with a New Covenant mentality. He knew that God desired more of
him than merely keeping a list of rules. He wanted more than just a checklist to
measure his righteousness and acceptability before God. He knew that God desired
him to be an intimate friend and he wanted to know God in the same way.
Just as some under the Old Covenant lived with a New Covenant mentality;
today, it is possible to have an Old Covenant mentality, even through one may be
a Christian, and technically living under the New Covenant. Obeying the Law
is not the end of the matter. It is only a vehicle to get us to the end
of the matter, which is to enter into a mutual relationship of love and trust
with God, where our hearts are consumed with love for Him. If
we look at the law as the end of the matter, we will have the
mentality of what we look like toward others, while God looks at our hearts and
motives. However, if our hearts and motives are pure, certainly our
actions will line up with our hearts. Those who walk to be seen of men as good,
while inside they are not, are hypocrites. God way is to write His law on our hearts
and make us holy from the
Receiving the Word of God With the Proper Attitude
I feel that it is necessary to interject a very important point here. God
commands us to study His word. However, it is how we receive the word of
God that makes all the difference in our lives. The Pharisees were known for
their strict observance of the Law. They were very zealous for knowing and
keeping the commandments of God, far more than the average Israelite. Yet, we
find Jesus constantly rebuking them for their evil hearts.
Therefore we can see that it is possible to know the laws of God, but to no
avail. We can study His word in-depth and still bear no harvest of
righteousness. This is a sobering thought for all who wish to know the law and
ways of God. We must be aware that the more we understand of His ways and
righteousness, the greater the temptation we have to judge and condemn those who
are not where we are. This is the temptation that the Pharisees fell into. They
kept the outward law better than anyone in Israel, and yet they missed the
entire point of it. Their lives were consumed with keeping the tiniest detail of
the law and yet they broke the greatest commandments of love. Their
self-righteous behavior indicated that the one thing they loved most was not God
or even other people, but themselves. Let us learn from the mistake of the
Pharisees. If we strive to obey these laws so that we may feel righteous and
better than others, we have already broken them. If we strive to keep these
commandments in an outward manner, while neglecting the inner principles of
them, we are worse than a lawbreaker–we are a hypocrite.
What is one of the most despised and unattractive qualities that a human can
possess? Wouldn’t we all agree that we hate interacting with someone who has a
superior attitude towards us and the rest of the world? Whether they are right
or wrong in their position matters little when all they have for others is
criticism and condemnation. Those who treat others with contempt and arrogance
are among the least liked people on the planet! This attitude is distasteful to
God as well. He would rather be with one sinner who has a little humility, than
one hundred "righteous" people who are prideful and intolerant of others.
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am
not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes
unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:
for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth
himself shall be exalted.
Self-righteousness always blinds us to the truth. The more self-righteous we
are, the less of a true understanding we will have concerning who God really is.
How else could it be that those who studied Scripture more than any others were
the greatest stumbling blocks to those who sought the truth? How could it be
that those who were most diligent in the Word, missed the author of the Word as
He walked among them? Not only did they not recognize Him, but they violently
The Pharisees and lawyers of the day knew the
Scriptures backwards and forwards. Yet, for all their study, they never saw the
figure of Christ within the Scripture. In the following Scripture we see the
accusation that Jesus makes against them. As we begin this study of the Ten
Commandments, let us also take these words to heart, lest we also fall into
the same trap as them.
"And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye
have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not
his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
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. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have
not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye
receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour
that cometh from God only?" (John 5:37-44).
I want to make a few quick points from this verse. First, we can see that
though the Pharisees diligently read the Word, and believed that they had
eternal life through it, they were deceived. The word of God did not actually
abide within them. They knew the Word, but it did not live in their hearts.
If it did, they would have recognized the Lord when He came amongst them. Jesus
also pointed out that it was impossible for them to believe in Him, as long as
they were seeking honor from each other, rather than God.
Let us decide, therefore, that we will not seek after the honor and praise of
men, whether they be of the world, or within the walls of religion. Seeking such
praise will always hinder our faith. We must never read the Scriptures in an
attempt to discern how we may obtain glory or praise, but rather how God alone
may be glorified. It is not merely knowing the Scriptures, but rather it is
living by them that saves us.
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own
selves" (James 1:22).
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock" (Matthew
It is noble to commit the Bible to our memory, as long as we do it for the
right reason. But we must remember that playing with Scripture is like playing
with dynamite. There is power in those words! The same Scripture that has
the power to work for our life can also work for our death. If it is received
wrongly, the very words that are intended to bring light, bring blindness
instead. As soon as we mix our Bible Study with self-righteousness, we begin to
have blurred vision. If we continue to mix these two, we will eventually be as
blind as the Pharisees, who did not even know that they were blind.
"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and
of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou
blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the
outside of them may be clean also" (Matthew 23:24-26).
"And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they
not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every
one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that
is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
"And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see
not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the
Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind
also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye
say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth" (John 9:39-41).
The more exposure to the Bible that we have, the greater responsibility we
have to walk in truth. If we use our knowledge wrongfully, we are worse off than
if we had never heard it in the first place. Someone may ask, "Well then,
wouldn’t I be safer never reading the Bible at all? That way I won’t have to be
held responsible for my actions."
Actually, there is no safety in ignoring the Word of God. Ignoring it is even
more dangerous. It contains the instructions to life, and tells us what will
take place in the future. If we do not read those instructions, and understand
those prophecies, how can we make wise decisions that will lead us to life? Lack
of knowledge leads to destruction.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected
knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing
thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea
The wise person will take to heart the lessons of the past and consider the
message that pertains to the future, so that he or she may find their own place
and purpose in the world right now. The Bible is meant to bring light to
our daily existence. It is the rod by which we may measure our heart. It is the
message that shows us how to both overcome in this world, and to live in the
next one as well.
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand
for ever" (Isaiah 40:8).
Therefore we can see that the answer to this dilemma is actually quite
simple. The only possible path that we are left with is to read and study God’s
Word, with a humble and open heart to hear from God. We must be willing to drop
all preconceived ideas, and acknowledge that the words we are reading are meant
specifically for us (so often we apply the words of the Bible to others, when
God wants us to look inside our own heart). Many have read the Bible, but have
not been able to understand the message because their hearts were closed and
If you want understanding, we are confident that the Lord will give it to
you. He never holds Himself back from the one who truly desires to know Him.
Before we go any farther in this study, let us pray for the guidance of the
"Father in Heaven, we come before You at this moment with a humble heart. We
desire to know your ways, O God, that we might serve you correctly. We
acknowledge that the ways of man are flawed and that we have missed the mark of
walking with You in friendship and holiness, as You originally created us to do
in the Garden. Now, God we ask for your guidance as we study Your commandments.
Give us understanding and revelation of Your eternal principals. Open our eyes
and heal us from all spiritual blindness. We invite Your Holy Spirit to guide us
and teach us in the way of wisdom, for the purpose of knowing and loving You.
May we receive Your love into our heart, and may Your great mercy make us into
merciful people. Father, I ask that every person who partakes of this study will
be changed. Let the life of God be awakened and revived within them. I pray this
in the name of Your Beloved Son, Jesus. Amen."
The Law Shall Be On Our Hearts
All the way through the Bible, God deals with what goes on in the heart of
man. Jesus especially focused His teaching on this issue. He always put His
finger right on the motives of men. In the Old Testament, men were commanded not
to commit murder. In the New Testament, Jesus further explained what this meant,
by getting to the heart of the issue: hatred.
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and
whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you,
That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of
the judgment" (Matthew 5:21-22a).
"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer
hath eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15).
Because the heart issue is so important to God, in this study we will attempt
to examine both the outward commandments, as well as the principals behind the
commandment. We will also examine the internal motives that cause us to break
them in the first place. God is calling us out of the world of slavery to sin,
into a world of absolute freedom in Him.
"Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as
slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin,
which leads to death, or to obedience which leads righteousness. But thanks be
to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the
form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin
and have become slaves to righteousness" (Romans 6:16-18 NIV).
"And God spoke all these words: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out
of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Exodus 1:1-2).
In these verses, it says that God brought His people out of the land of Egypt
and out of the house of slavery or bondage. Egypt is a "type" of world and the
devil. God will bring anyone who chooses to follow Him out of the bondage of sin
and into God's freedom. Some of us have lived in bondage so long that we have a
hard time adjusting to our new freedom. We are used to being in a cage, in a
prison. Even after God brings us out it takes a while for us to operate in the
freedom of Christ and learn the new laws of God and His ways.
The Story of the Caged Chickens
Several years ago, we bought some chickens from a poultry farm. They were
chickens who had lived their entire lives in a cage. We took them out to our
ranch and turned them loose to freely run in the chicken yard and go in and out
of the chicken house at will. As we placed them on the chicken house floor they
didn't move. The poor little things had lived in cages all their life so they
just stayed right in the chicken house. They didn't even know how to roost. They
didn't even get up on the roost at night. They stayed huddled together on the
floor. They were used to sleeping under a light because the poultry farmer kept
a light lamp on them to make them lay more eggs. Men have devised ways to get
the most out of everything, no matter if it's good for the animal or not.
Because they were used to the light, they would sleep outside huddled under the
moon on the ground.
They didn't even know how to drink water the regular way because
they had only known to drink water out of a little bottle with a little red tip
on it. They had always gone over and pushed that little tip and gotten their
water out. Now, they had fresh running water yet they didn't even know how to
drink. One of them almost drowned trying to learn how to drink. These chickens
didn't know what freedom was. I don't know if they would have ever enjoyed their
freedom without someone to teach them what to do. But we had some older chickens
that were already there and after the new ones watched them for awhile they
discovered a new way of living. Living with the older chickens for a time and
learning from them they got liberated. Hallelujah! They found out that they
could go anyplace in the barnyard. But it took them a while.
Humans are the same way. We are creatures of habit. We don't realize it, but
we do things out of habit. God wants to break old habits and old things out of
our lives that do not glorify Him. As soon as we become born again, the Holy
Spirit will deal with various issues in our lives. We immediately begin to know
and understand by the Spirit that certain things that seemed acceptable
yesterday no longer can be tolerated. The Lord begins to mold us into the image
of His Son and we see that our old habits are not fitting for God's kingdom or
Moving Into God’s House
If somebody comes to visit our house and they
have bad habits we will tolerate
them on short-term basis. Out of the graciousness of our heart, we won't say
anything. We will just put up with it and once they leave we will clean up
behind them. However, if somebody comes to live with us, the rules are
different. We may say, "Wait a minute. We have rules in this house. This is
how we live here. We do not do these things in this house."
It's the same way with our Heavenly Father. When we come to God's house with
some bad, filthy habits, He begins to show us the way out of bondage. Now that
we are living in His house, the rules are different. God gives us commandments
and rules so that we know what is acceptable in His house. If someone came to
live in our own home with us, there would be certain rules they would be asked
to follow. It would not be acceptable to throw the towels down on the bathroom
floor. There would be certain things that we would expect of them. We would
expect them to make up their beds when they got up in the morning. They would
help with cleaning up the dishes, because we like our house to be neat and
God likes His house neat and clean too. He says that those filthy things that
we used to do are not acceptable in His house. That is the reason He gives us
rules. The laws and commandments of God are given so that we might live a
blessed life in this earth. God gives us these rules out of His love for us. As
we study each of them, we will see how God designed them to be a blessing. His
commandments come from His love for us.
When we first come into the kingdom, many of us don't know how to respond to
this new freedom from sin. We have walked the old way for so long. We have bad
habits and bad thought patterns. We are used to the old ways but God wants to
show us a new way. This new way is by faith, walking in the Spirit and trusting
God to break the old habits. He will certainly do it for anyone who desires to
change. His power and grace are enough to transform us all.
As we begin this study of the commandments, let us remember that none of
these come naturally to fallen human beings. These are not things that we all
naturally do. That is why God repeatedly tells us to remember these commands. He
knows how easy it is for us to forget them! We automatically respond to things
in a certain way. However, God is saying to us,
"I want to show you the new
way by the Spirit, I'm going to give you My Spirit to break the old habits."
As we go through this study and see the principles of God behind these
commandments, I believe that we will gain a greater appreciation of not only
why these commandments were written, but also how to keep them in a
way that pleases God. Jesus is our model in this endeavor, for He above all men,
has kept the commandments of God in absolute perfection. He was the sinless One,
the perfect sacrifice for our sin. His death and resurrection has opened a "new
and living way" into the Holy place of God. This place is open, not to just a
few saintly few, but to anyone who desires to enter therein.
Many, in their fear of becoming like a Pharisee, have thrown out much of the
law and live with very low standards of holiness. Surely this reaction against
legalism is not the answer. Self-righteous legalism and unholy liberty are both
equally defiling and evil in the sight of God. Both send the wrong message to
those who do not yet know God, and neither of these extremes can lead us, or
anyone else, to Life. Both of these extremes oppose the work of the Cross and
the power of the Holy Spirit.
Despite the failure of many who have gone before us to obtain the path of
life, let us not be discouraged. God is calling us to press onward, in humility,
holiness, and a burning fire of love for Him. The tools He has given us are more
than abundant, and God’s power works strongly in behalf of those who seek Him
with a pure heart. In fact, we will find that the more of ourselves that we give
to the Lord, the greater ease we have in living and walking in His ways. As we
yield to the dealings of the Holy Spirit in our life and as we seek to know and
obey the word of God, we will achieve the most precious gift in the universe:
eternal life with Lord of Life. His righteousness will be truly written on our
heart, and we will share in His joy and freedom. Great peace awaits those who
diligently give all that they are, that they may know the Lord of Glory, and
obtain the priceless treasure of these few words taken from Matthew 25:21:
"Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few
things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy
This is number one of a series of teachings
about The Ten Commandments. We will be posting the
additional studies soon.