Commandments 4-6

  Reflecting on the Ten Commandments  (Commandments 4-6)  

We recognize sin in our lives as we examine ourselves according to the Ten Commandments.  Sin takes a gift God has given and uses it in a way God does not want it used.  Each commandment also teaches us how God’s gifts are used to His honour and glory. 

The Fourth Commandment: Honour your father and your mother. 

God has given us parents, pastors and other authorities for our good. They serve as His representatives.  Through them, God richly blesses us, and our world, with orderly authority, as opposed to the chaos that sin brings.  By honoring parents and others in authority, we honor God.  (Prov. 23:22; Rom. 13:2; Eph. 6:2-3; 1 Tim. 5:4; Rom. 13:7; Col. 3:20; Titus 3:1; Prov. 23:22). 

The Fifth Commandment: You shall not murder. 

Human life is the crowning gift of God’s creation. We are not to end human life through murder, abortion, euthanasia or suicide.  Prejudice, bigotry and abuse of those less fortunate are forbidden.  We recognize that we can “murder” a person with our thoughts, certainly with our words, and then most dramatically with our actions.  As God’s representative, the government has the authority to execute criminals and to wage just wars in order to punish evildoers, protect us, and maintain order.  As we continue to receive mercy and kindness in Christ, so we support our neighbors when they need help.  (Gen. 9:6; Matt. 26:52; Jer. 1:5; Prov. 31:8; Matt. 5:22; 1 John 3:15; Eph. 4:26; Rom. 13:4).

The Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery. 

God has given marriage, our sexuality, and our family as great blessings. This commandment confronts us when our thoughts, words and actions fall short of the sexual purity God demands of both the married and unmarried.  God wants all people, both married and single, to honor and uphold marriage as His gift.  In Christ, we are set free to live sexually pure and decent lives, and to honour and cherish the husband or wife God gives us. (Gen. 2:24-25; Mark 10:6-9; Heb. 13:4; Titus 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

How does God use the Ten Commandments in our lives? 

The Ten Commandments cause us to ask ourselves the following questions: Do I fear, love and trust in anything or anyone above the Triune God? Have I honoured the Lord’s name on my lips and in my life? Have I gladly held His Word sacred, listened attentively to the preaching of that Word, and made use of it in my daily life? Have I honoured and obeyed all the authorities placed over me? Have I maintained the purity of my marriage and my sexual life in my thoughts, words and deeds? Have I stolen property or not helped my neighbour protect his? Have I gossiped, either by listening to it, or spreading it myself? Have I been content with all that the Lord has given to me? 

The Law is a blinding reflection of our sin. The Law of God is what the Holy Spirit uses to make us realize how much we need the forgiveness Christ won for the world and now distributes through His Word and Sacraments. The Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, to turn to Christ Jesus, who is our only hope, for He has fulfilled the Law perfectly for us and died so that our sin would be forgiven. Through His resurrection from death, He conquered death. In Christ, we have been adopted as the Lord’s own dear children. 

Therefore, God uses His Law in three ways: First, like a curb, by which outbursts of sin are controlled. Second, and most importantly, like a mirror, to show us our sin and our need for a Saviour. And then, like a guide, to teach us what is pleasing to Him. Living in the forgiveness won by Christ, throughout our lives we pray, “Have mercy, Lord!” 

from Dr. A.L. Barry’s “What About the Ten Commandments?”