Commandments 7-10

  Reflecting on the Ten Commandments  (Commandments 7-10)  

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 Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal. 

Everything we have is a gift from God, a trust from Him to be used for His honor and glory.  This is turned around when we do whatever it takes to get what we want.  Christians are led by the Spirit of God not to steal or cheat but instead to do what is necessary to help others keep and improve what is theirs.  (Eph. 4:28; Phil. 2:4; Heb. 13:16; 1 John 3:17). 

The Eighth Commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. 

Our good reputation is another gift from God.  God gives some the duty to judge behavior and to punish evildoers, but if that is not our calling in life, we have no right to tarnish other people’s reputations.  We have the duty to speak in such a way about individuals or situations that we are putting the best construction on them and speaking about them in the kindest possible way, even as God treats us kindly, with mercy and compassion, through Christ our Lord. (Eph. 4:25; James 4:11; 1 Cor. 13:7; 1 Peter 4:8). 

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments: You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour. 

Being content with the material gifts God has given us is the theme of these last two commandments. The Lord will provide for all our needs.  We are free to help our neighbour and wish him well, rejoicing with him in his good fortune, or helping him in need.  As Christ has served us, so we serve others.  With these two commandments, we find ourselves back again at the first, for the heart that fears, loves and trust in God is content with the gifts God gives. (Rom. 7:8; 1 Tim. 6:8-10; Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6; Heb. 13:5).

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?”