The following is an edited transcription of our bi-monthly audio teaching on The Ten Commandments by John W. Schoenheit.
I’m going to be teaching on the Ten Commandments and talking about the relevance of the Ten Commandments in our lives today, and in order to do that, I want to set some of the heart from the New Testament because it’s very important that we understand the relationship of the Old Testament Law to the New Testament.
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
You see, we’re not under Law, but under Grace. The opposite of Law is Lawlessness. This is very important for us to understand as we speak about the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, because when the Bible talks about us not being under Law, what it’s referring to is how we are saved. How does our righteousness come. How do we get sanctified. You know, in the Old Testament the righteousness of the Israelite came as he had faith in God and obeyed God’s Laws. We can see this in Deuteronomy 6.
And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.
We are not under that scenario any longer. You can disobey God’s Laws all you want to and your righteousness doesn’t come from that. Your righteousness comes because you were saved in Christ when you followed Romans 10:9 and 10.
If you want to be saved, confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved. So we’re not under Law, but under Grace – Romans 6:14, and the context is your Salvation, your sanctification, your righteousness.
But really, do we Christians have laws that we are to obey? Yes, absolutely. If you’re going down the interstate at eighty-five miles an hour, and a policeman pulls you over, and you look at him and say, “Excuse me, Officer, I’m not under the Law, I’m under Grace.” After probably having a bit of a laughing fit, he’ll get up off the pavement and still write you a ticket! Because we are still to obey laws. And the New Testament is full of laws. The New Testament is full of rules and regulations. What is a law anyway? Well, I looked it up in the dictionary this morning, so here’s a dictionary definition of a law:
A Law is simply principles or regulations emanating from a Government, and applicable to a people.
Do we Christians today have that? Yes! Think of all the principles and regulations that emanate from God’s Government, and they are applicable to us. What about Ephesians – Don’t lie, don’t steal, let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth (Eph. 4:25-29)? The New Testament is full of principles and regulations, and by the way, we will be judged if we ignore them. The Christian is responsible to obey the rules and regulations of God. And you say, “Well, wait a minute, if we’re not under the Law but under Grace, but if we disobey we get judged for it, how does that work?” Grace doesn’t just set aside the Law. It’s not like, “Ok, there are no more rules and no more regulations because now there’s Grace.” It’s that Grace usually provides under the Law. Let me give you an example of that.
God says the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). But Grace provides a substitute. So Jesus Christ can die instead of you. The strictness of the Law would say you would have to die. But Grace steps in and says, “No, I see the Law, and something’s going to have to die, but I’m going to provide a substitute.” Or the Law has a penalty. If you do this, you get this. But Grace steps in and says, “Well, we’re going to allow forgiveness.” We understand the Law, and we still want to obey the Law, but Grace provides for forgiveness. It’s important to understand how the Law is divided, separated, and broken into parts. The Law is not homogeneous. The Law is broken into parts and bits. So for example, under the category of Law there’s Civil Law, there’s Moral Law, there’s Levitical Law. These are all broad categories under the Law. And by the way, when we’re reading in the New Testament, it’s important for us to know that and to understand what is being written about. So for example, when Hebrews 10:1 says, “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming [Christ] —not the realities themselves,” well does that mean that there is no longer a Law against murder? Well no, of course not. There’s a rule, a regulation in the New Testament against murder. But what about animal sacrifice? Sacrificed any animals lately? No. Many of the rules and regulations of the Old Testament – the Levitical rules and regulations – have been put away.
Sacrificial rules have been put away in Christ. The priestly functions, the fact that there are priests and levites, the fact that you have to go to a temple – all those things have been put away in Christ. They are part of the Levitical Law. But now, the Civil Law. How do you define a Civil law? A Civil Law is a law that emanates from a Civil Government and generally carries a punishment. In the Old Testament, the Law said, “don’t steal” (Lev. 19:11, Deut. 5:19). Furthermore, the Law went on to say if you do steal these will be the consequences. The New Testament also echoes the Old Testament Law and says, “don’t steal” (Eph. 2:28). So, that Law wasn’t put away. Do you see how some of the Old Testament Law was put away, and some of it wasn’t? This is a very important thing to understand.
How do you know what part of the Old Testament Law is put away in Christ? The answer to that is the Bible will tell you. The Bible tells us the Sabbath Law has been changed from the time of Moses. The Bible will tell you that Sacrificial Law has been changed from the time of Moses. The Bible will also tell you that the Law concerning murder, perjury, stealing, kidnapping has not changed since the time of Moses.
We still have to deal with people and running Governments. And God will still hold us accountable. And when the Bible says that we’re going to stand in front of the Judgment Seat of Christ and be judged, we’re going to be judged according to how we’ve lived. So, it’s very important to understand what parts of the Old Testament Law are applicable and what parts are not. By the way, there’s another area of the Old Testament Law – I talked about the Civil Law and the Levitical Law – I also talked about the Moral Law. And this is very important too, because there’s a Moral Law that’s part of the Old Testament, and there are moral rules and regulations that are part of the New Testament.
“‘Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.
That’s an interesting Law. That’s an interesting command of God. “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly.” This is what we would call the Moral Law. It emanates from God, but it’s not a Civil Law in the sense that there’s no civil penalty. When I was a child, my Mother and Father taught me that if an elderly person walked into the room I was to stand up. That’s the way I was raised. This law has pretty much fallen out of American usage and most children today are not taught that if an elderly person walks into the room that they should stand up, but this was very much a part of the Old Testament Law. And by the way, I would make a pretty good case for it being part of our Moral Law today. It is important to show respect for those that are elderly. That is an important thing, and here it is sitting right in the middle of God’s Word. But, it’s a Moral Law rather than a Civil Law because it doesn’t have a penalty attached to it. What is the penalty that God prescribes if a person says, “No, I’m not standing up,” when an elderly person walks into the room? What’s the penalty? Well, there is none. It just shows a disregard for the way that God, who created people, would like to order Society.
The Moral Law is distinct from the Civil Law in the way I am teaching it, in the sense that the Civil Law has penalties if you break them, and the Moral Law does not. The Moral Law is just, ‘This is the way you should behave, and the way you should act,’ and then it’s up to us to realize that God will hold us accountable for what He says we should do if we just decide we’re not going to do it.
I trust now you understand that we, as Christians, like the book of Romans says, are not under the Law for Salvation – meaning that our righteousness, sanctification, redemption, salvation, is not determined on whether or not we obey the Law, but rather on whether or not we have taken Christ as our Lord (Rom. 6:14-15, 7:4-6 etc.). If we have taken Christ as our Lord, we are holy before him, sanctified, and righteous in his sight. In the Old Testament, they had a slightly different relationship. But we’re not under the Law. Then we see that the Law is broken down into parts.
There’s the Levitical Law – that was done away in Christ. Hebrews 10:1 says that was a shadow of the things to come. Then there’s the Civil Law – that has penalties that go along with it. If you steal, if you commit adultery – these are the penalties. And then there’s the Moral Law – that is just God’s wishes if you will, God’s directives for how we should behave to be godly people. We use the word ‘Torah’ a lot in our conversation, we talk about the five books of Moses, the books of the Law, most people equate the word ‘Torah’ with Law. But you know that’s not really true. And it’s important to understand that. The word ‘Torah’ is not really defined ‘Law.’ The Torah is technically an instruction, a direction, or a teaching. There are wonderful Hebrew words for Law. The Hebrew word dath means “law, sentence, statute.” It’s the mandate of a King. It’s very clearly what we would call a law. Also there’s mispt, that’s “a judgment.” Also there’s mitzphah, which is “a command or charge.” A Jewish boy about his thirteenth birthday goes through a Ceremony that’s called the Bar Mitzphah – it makes him the son of the Law. It means that the child has graduated to where he is now responsible before God under the Law, and where he should know a large part of the Law. So, at thirteen years old the Jewish boy undergoes the Bar Mitzphah, he now becomes a son of the Law. There are wonderful words – mitzphah, misput, dath that mean ‘Law.’ ‘Torah’ technically does not mean ‘Law.’ It means “instruction, direction, or teaching.”
One of the reasons that it’s very important for us to understand this is that you’ve probably heard some people in your circles of influence say things like, “Well, the Bible, you know, that’s really an old book, it’s been around a long time, you know the Bible doesn’t really pertain to much of life today.” Now it is true that I cannot take you to the Bible and read you a verse about nuclear contamination or speed limits on interstates. And it’s good in that sense that the Bible calls itself the Torah, the instruction. Because the Old Testament Law for the most part is like Case Law, if you will, where the Bible sets forth examples, it sets forth ways to do things, and these are instructions, directions, and teachings.
The Torah is not just a set of commands and then you have this carte blanche from God, that, “Well, if you find something that doesn’t apply to what I’ve said then you can make up your own regulation.” No, that’s not what we’re supposed to do! What we’re supposed to do is study and meditate on God’s Law to get the direction, to get the teaching, to get the gist, if you will, of how God would run things and then we can apply what we learn from the Torah, the Instruction, to things in our life – like building codes or speed limits, or nuclear waste, or biological warfare or whatever it happens to be. Because there are principles in God’s Word, there is instruction in God’s Word. You know, God could see what direction things were going in life, and when He wrote the Old Testament Law He wrote it in such a way that it would give direction and instruction for us who will read it and meditate on it. This is one of the reasons that Peter can write and say that all things that pertain to life and godliness are contained in the Bible (2 Pet. 1:3). If somebody comes to you and says, “Yeah well, what about what to do about this nuclear waste dump? Where is that in the Bible?” It’s in there. There is instruction and direction about how to handle that kind of thing. No, you’re not going to find a statute that says, “In case of nuclear waste, do this.” But you will find instruction or direction. And this is very important for us to understand. The Torah, or Old Testament Law is instruction, direction, and teaching.
There’s another thing about the Law that you should be aware of, and that is that a lot of the Old Testament Law and most of the Ten Commandments are worded in the negative. “Thou shalt not….” It’s very important to understand why God does this. When a Law forbids something, it means that the Law is very specifically defined, very limited, and it leaves freedom to the people. For example, let’s take children at a swimming pool. What does every parent say about a thousand times to the children at the swimming pool? No running! Now, you know what that means? That means that the child is free to get from one place to another in any number of different ways. He can walk, he can crawl, he can stroll – there’s a lot of freedom. Whenever you speak a Law in the negative, it leaves a lot of freedom. And you see this with God. If God says, “Don’t steal.” Well, you know when you are stealing. But, imagine how hard it would be to keep a Law if God said something like, “Make sure every persons property is controlled by their best interest” or something like that. Or, we could make a clearer one where if God, instead of saying, “Don’t steal,” He says as a Law or Regulation: “Be very loving.” Now you get ten people and you talk to them about what “Be very loving” means, and you’re going to get ten different ideas, and this is a problem with Laws that are worded in the positive. They are not clearly defined, and so what happens is people that are in control end up controlling other people.
Imagine, a Government that said, “One of our Laws is that we will ensure the well-being of all people.” On the surface, that sounds really good. Boy, that’s what I want. I want a Government that’s going to ensure the well-being of all people. But now, how are we going to enforce that? Let’s see. Is drinking soda in anyone’s best interest? Maybe the Government’s going to forbid soda. Now you start looking at all the things that somebody somewhere thinks aren’t good to do. And now they can get their fingers into your life and control you. One of the beauties of Laws written in the negative is that they are very freeing because they tell you what not to do, and then the rest of your life is yours. It’s very important to understand this. This does explain why the Ten Commandments say, “Thou shall not steal, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not…etc.”
In the book of Ephesians it says basically the same thing. “Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t let any corrupt communication out of your mouth…” (Eph. 4:28 and 29). Again, when something is worded in the negative, it’s very limited, it’s very simple to obey – it may not be very easy to obey based on where you’re coming from, but it’s very simple to understand. Let’s take a look at the Ten Commandments themselves. I hope what I’ve done for you in this first part is to show you that there is some validity in looking at rules and regulations. God says in Malachi 3:6, “I the LORD do not change.” And rules and regulations that apply in the Old Testament, unless they are negated by New Testament revelation, we should listen to them. So here’s God, and He gives Ten Commandments, this is from the top of Mount Sinai, being spoken to Moses. And it says, “God spoke all these words.”
(1) And God spoke all these words:
(2) “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
(3) “You shall have no other gods before me.
When God starts with this first commandment, one of the things that hits us right away is that God is a personal God. God wants to know that He is our God on the basis of a relationship with us. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt” – we know this God. He’s been active in our lives. We have a relationship with Him. By the way, if you feel like you do not have a relationship with God, then there are ways – and the New Testament outlines ways – that you can establish a relationship. Don’t go on living your life without a relationship with God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t allow that to happen. It’s so important to have a relationship with them. Look how God bases the first commandment on the principle that there is a relationship here. And God says, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3). There’s a lot involved in this not having any other gods before Him, and one of the first things we need to know is that God recognizes that there are other gods. Sure, the Devil is called ‘the god of this age’ (2 Cor. 4:4). There are other gods. There are demons aplenty. Absolutely. There are pagan gods aplenty. And you know, those pagan gods make promises. If you talk to pagans about what their gods promise, those pagan gods make promises.
But what God says is, “I am the LORD your God. I have a relationship with you. You shall not have any other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3). And you know, if we’ve got a relationship with God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and our Lord Jesus Christ, we don’t need any other gods. You know God is not being restrictive here. He’s not hiding something from us, or keeping something from us, or holding back something from us. It’s not that some demon is going to give you something that God can’t give you, but God’s jealous anyway. God can give you everything you need. He’s going to meet all of your needs. He’s blessed you with every blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, it says in Ephesians 1:3. And God says He doesn’t want any other god before Him. In other words, He doesn’t want you to bring any other god up before Him. He wants to be the exclusive God in your life. Well, if we’re going to let God be the exclusive God in our life, then it’s very important for us to understand what an idol is. What another god is. A god – an idol – is anything that you ascribe power to and give homage to in any way. Note those two factors. An idol is something that you ascribe power to and give homage to in any way.
So for example, I recognize that there is a Devil. And I ascribe power to him in the sense that I know he can do things. I know the Devil is powerful. But he’s not an idol to me because I don’t give him the time of day! I don’t give him any homage at all. I recognize that he’s got power, but I don’t give him any homage. On the other hand, you can have a museum curator in Israel, and he’s dug up some statue of Baal and it’s sitting over in a museum case, and he recognizes that at one point it was somebody’s idol. It’s not an idol to him because it’s just sitting over there behind a glass and he’s like, “Ah, stupid piece of stone!” So, an idol is something that you ascribe power to and give homage to. Now, idolatry is rampant world-wide and it usually leaks into people’s lives through superstition, good luck charms, and that type of thing.
So, for example, let’s talk about a ball cap that becomes an idol. Say you’re a fisherman, and you put on a certain ball cap and you go to a fishing tournament and you win that tournament. Then you put on that ball cap the next time there’s a fishing tournament and you win that one, too. You do that about three times in a row and the next thing is a guy picks you up for your fourth tournament and you’re in a panic. You’re running all around the garage, and you’re running all over the house, and the person says, “Come on, man, we’re going to be late, what are you doing?” “My hat! I’ve got to find my lucky hat! I always win when I have that hat on. That is my lucky hat!” Excuse me. Your hat just became an idol. You are ascribing power to that hat. You are ascribing ability to that hat – that it can help you win. A hat can’t help you win! That’s an idol! You might as well get a piece of stone, carve a little statue of Baal, and tie it on top of your head because that’s precisely what has happened. A plain, old, ordinary ball cap has now become an idol because you have ascribed power to it. This is what happens in superstition. You drop a mirror, and now you’re in a panic because there is somebody somewhere that said that you’d have seven years bad luck if you broke a mirror. I don’t read that in Scripture.
What I read in Scripture is that if you are standing blameless in God’s Word, then no one can curse you. It says in Proverbs 26:2 “…the curse causeless shall not come.” I don’t read where dropping a mirror is a sin. I don’t read where having a black cat cross your path is some kind of sin that brings consequences. I don’t read where walking under a ladder is some kind of sin that brings consequences. Now, if the guy who’s standing on the ladder drops his paint-brush, it could clunk you on the head! So it’s not intelligent to walk under a ladder, but it’s not a sin. You’re not breaking any kind of commandment. You see, the Devil is very wily. He’s very sly. And he wants people to have idols. So he works them into people’s lives any way he can. Some nice person gives you a set of prayer-hands for Christmas and says, “Here, stick these prayer-hands on the dash of your car and they’ll keep you from getting into car wrecks.”
That’s an idol because you are ascribing the power to help, and you are giving homage to something other than God. And it’s extremely important that we are not idolaters. It’s extremely important to God. This is the first commandment. You shall have no other gods in front of Me. The pagans can have other gods. But we Christians, we have no other gods in front of Him. And we need to live by this. If you’ve got a lucky hat, if you’ve got a lucky rabbit’s foot, if you’ve got a lucky quarter or a fifty cent piece that you carry in your pocket that you think brings you luck – if you’ve got something in your life that you are ascribing power to that isn’t the one true God, or isn’t Jesus Christ, then please, for your sake, get rid of it. Just go throw it out. It really isn’t worth having that in your life. And then say, “Lord Jesus, this hat is no longer going to help me win tournaments. I’m going to turn to you to win.” This is what we’ve got to do in our lives. We’ve got to come back to the true God and His Son and ascribe power where power belongs.
When it comes to idols, there are objects that have been made by demonized people – people that are in league with the Devil – that do attract demons. So, it is possible for you to have an item in your home that is someone else’s idol. It may not be your idol, but it’s an idol in your home that can attract demons or cause problems. Just because you don’t ascribe power to something doesn’t mean that a demon might not be around it or with it. It is worth watching what you bring into your life, to make sure that your life and your house are spiritually clean.
The Second Commandment
(4) “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
(5) You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
(6) but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
When you first read the second commandment, it almost seems like, “Why would He need to say this?” If He’s already said that He doesn’t want any other gods before Him, then doesn’t it follow logically that you shall not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below – doesn’t that seem to follow? So, there’s more depth here to this command. Obviously, the second command is more specific than the first. It’s specifically forbidding making objects to worship them. But you know, even deeper, there’s an undercurrent here of God saying, “I don’t want you to do things your own way.” Because I think you’ll find if you go to other cultures – let’s say you go to India, and you go into a Temple and talk to a Hindu priest, and you are looking at one of those idol statues – it could be Shiva, Vishnu, etc, you look at their golden idols and it has all these arms, and you say to the priest, “Is this your god?” and he says, “Well, no, this isn’t the god, but this statue represents the god.” You say, “Well, what’s the deal with the many arms?” He says, “Well, we are priests to a simple people, and they don’t understand omnipotence, but they understand that if you have a lot of hands then you can do a lot of things all at the same time. And so we represent our god with a lot of arms.”
You say, “Well, that seems to be logical. What’s the deal with all the eyes?” He says, “Well, we minister to a simple people, and they don’t understand omniscience and all-knowingness, but they understand that if you have a lot of eyes then you can see a lot of things. So, we have made this idol to represent our god who sees everything and can get involved in many things at one time. And that’s what this representation is.” And here’s the unwitting Christian and he says, “Man, that’s really great! I really like that idea. You know, my God is all-powerful, and my God is omniscient and I’m going to go home and make a representation of Him so that everybody will see how great and wonderful our God is.” And then here comes this sincere believer, and he’s going to make this statue to represent God, to bring God down to the level of mankind. And he’s going to say, “You know, this is Jehovah! Look at His eyes, look at these many hands, look at this, look at that.”
And it’s interesting that what you have then is man trying to worship God his way. And one of the things I see forbidden in the second commandment is that God says, “Look, I am the LORD, your God, and I want you to do things My way. It isn’t good enough for you to invent things that you think will be OK. Rather, what I want you to do is come to Me and do what I want you to do.” And so in the second command He says, “I don’t want any other gods,” then He says, “I don’t want an image. I don’t want any representation being in your life, because I, the LORD thy God, am a jealous God. You’re going to do things My way. I’m invisible. You just believe. That’s good enough.” And then God makes an interesting statement in the second commandment. He says, “I am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me.”
At first reading, this is extremely harsh on God’s part. He’s going to punish the children to the third and fourth generation for the sin of the father? Why would He do this? What’s the greater depth here? The greater depth is that demons are real. If you make idols – if you make your hat into an idol, or your rabbit’s foot into an idol, or you make your lucky fifty-cent piece into an idol, or you carve an idol out of stone, or you make an image and call it ‘god’ and start to worship it, you will call demons into your life. Do you get that? If you start making idols of the things around you – genuine idols that you’re ascribing power to and giving homage to, they will pull in demons because that’s what the Devil and his demons want. The Devil and his demons want worship. Remember the Devil in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 was willing to give Christ all the kingdoms of the earth if only Christ would worship him. You take a hat or a rabbit’s foot or something in your life, and you start to worship it and give it the worship that God deserves, and you’ll pull in demons like a magnet. And they will begin to do their demon-thing in your life. I don’t know whether it’s going to be sickness or family strife or losing your job or whatever, but you will not have demons in your life without suffering consequences.
In the biblical world a girl might be married at fifteen. That was a common age, in fact, it might be on the older side of common. Maybe fourteen or thirteen – but let’s take fifteen. So, a girl that’s fifteen could be a mother. She’s a grandmother at thirty. She’s a great-grandmother at forty-five. She’s a great-great-grandmother by age sixty. So you see, in today’s world, in our modern American culture, it would be very difficult for you to directly influence the children you would have to the fourth generation, because you will most likely be dead. But in the biblical world, that wasn’t at all out of the realm of possibility. It was extremely possible for a man or woman to affect children to the fourth generation. Because if you personally are an idolater, if you personally are disobedient, if you personally are doing things that are bringing demons into your life, and then acting devilishly, and you’re the patriarch or the elder of a family unit, then yes, your sin and your behavior is going to bring curses onto children of the third and even the fourth generation.
What we see here in God’s Word is a very stark reality, and a very stark warning. Let’s not mess with idols. And let’s not try to do things our own way. Let’s see if we can do what God wants us to do, and obey Him.
The Third Commandment
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Interestingly enough, it’s been in the study of the Ten Commandments that I’ve done for this teaching the Word of God has very seriously reproved me. Because I had done a fairly good job of getting the four-letter words out of my life, and I had done a fairly good job of being obedient to Ephesians 5 – we’ll take a look at that later, but I still had a bad habit of saying, “Oh God!” when something startled me or caught me off-guard in some way. And that’s just wrong. It’s not the way God’s Name is to be used.
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
As I said, I have been reproved by this verse as I have once again gone back and studied the Ten Commandments. I believe (or at least like to believe) that I have a great desire to do God’s Will. And it is hurtful to me when I look in the Bible and see things I’m supposed to be doing that I’m not doing. And so it is interesting that the Word of God says that the Word of God itself is to be used for doctrine, reproof and correction (2 Tim. 3:16). This is something that we are supposed to help each other out with. If I am going to come to reprove you, I should have the Bible or a scripture in my mind. We don’t reprove each other based on our opinions or our feelings. We reprove and correct each other based on the way the Word of God says to live. And here’s an area: this use and abuse of God’s Name. And the use and abuse of language in which we, as Christians, have a great opportunity around the world today, not only to work on our own lives and our own hearts, but also to help others. This thing about the end of Time and about the Judgment of all mankind and the giving out of rewards – this isn’t pretend. There’s really going to be a Rapture. There’s really going to be a Judgment. There’s really going to be rewards handed out.
When I read the seriousness of the language here: “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” – I stood convicted. And I was guilty and I needed to ask God to forgive me, and to begin to do what it takes in my life to change. And thankfully I have a wonderful wife that is very sensitive to the language I use, and helps me out a lot, even when sometimes I say things I didn’t even know I said, and she’ll point it out to me. Because I really desire to do what God says. Now, how do you misuse God’s Name? Well, one thing you can do is just like I said – you can just say, “Oh God!” when you’re upset. That’s a misuse of the Name.
Another misuse of the Name would be if you say, “The Lord said…” when the Lord didn’t say. Don’t take what may be your own thoughts and express them in the terms of “The Lord said to tell you…” or “The Lord told me…” If you aren’t absolutely crystal clear positive that God or the Lord Jesus spoke to you and said to say something, don’t then take the authority of that Name. That’s a misuse of the Name. Or if you swear on a Bible, like in a Court, and you say, “I swear before God to tell the whole truth…” and then you don’t, that’s a misuse of the Name of God. You know the New Testament goes even further. This is very important to me, because I believe that we Christians can reclaim society. The language in America today is terrible. The language that is used on the street, and even in professional circles today, is terrible, and it’s an affront to God and it’s an affront to Christianity. And we, as Christians, need to be obedient to God’s Word. And the Bible talks about some rules, some laws from God.
Ephesians 5:3 and 4
(3) But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
(4) Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
There shouldn’t be obscenity coming out of our mouths. There shouldn’t be four-letter words coming out of our mouths when we’re upset or agitated. We can speak in more godly ways. And there shouldn’t be foolish talk and coarse joking. There’s a book that I was given called The Institutes of Biblical Law, by Rousas John Rushdoony, and I’d like to quote what he has to say about speaking. He covers the Ten Commandments, and I’m going to quote bits and pieces from it. He’s talking about the third commandment and not taking the LORD’s name in vain.
“The third commandment once had central attention in the Church and in society.”
Now, that’s very true. When our parents were growing up you couldn’t go around and speak like you can today on the street. It was absolutely forbidden.
“The third commandment once had central attention in the Church and in society. Today it’s significance has waned greatly for modern man. From a biblical perspective all false swearing or cursing is profane, and its profanity is not a separate category. The word profane comes from the Latin ‘pro,’ which means before, and ‘fanum’ which is the temple. So profanity is before or outside the temple, thus profanity is all speech, action and living, which is outside God. Forbidden swearing is essentially and necessarily linked to Religion. It is profanity. It is outside of God and against God. It represents, where the Name of God is involved, an illicit and hostile use of God’s Name, or a dishonest use thereof. Ungodly swearing cannot remain merely negative or hostile. It denies God as the ultimate. But it also must posit another ultimate in God’s place. Godly oaths seek their confirmation and strength from above. Ungodly swearing looks from below for its power. Hence, ungodly swearing finds its power in below, in sex and in excrement.”
And if you think of the swearing words, you’ll hear what he is saying – that ungodly swearing finds its power in sex and in excrement. Look at this next line, beautifully written.
“The direction of profanity is progressively downward. After the middle of the twentieth century a new profane word gained popularity, whose blunt fact was mother-incest. The terms actually gained some honorific senses. Since then, other profane words having reference to homosexuality have become more popularly used. A reference to other perversions has also increased. Second, as already apparent, there’s a religious progression in profanity. It moves from a defiance of God to an invocation of excrement and sex, and then the perverted forms of sex. This religious progression is social as well as verbal.”
Did you get that? He’s right. It’s not just that we say it, we do it. It gets said on the mouths of people, and then acted out in society.
“The profane society invokes not God, but the world of the illicit, the obscene, and the perverted. What it invokes in word, it also invokes in action. This means therefore, that profanity is a barometer. It is indicative of the revolution in process. It is an index to social deterioration and degeneration. The psychological significance of profanity is not lost on a revolutionary age. Profanity is championed with evangelical fervor. A dictionary of slang and profanity was widely promoted as an invaluable reference word for high-school libraries in the 1960s. Knowledge of God meanwhile, is barred from the schools.”
That’s what Rousas John Rushdoony has to say, and he’s exactly right. Profanity is a barometer of the society. And as Christians, it’s our responsibility to see if we can turn things around. And it’s certainly our responsibility to make sure we aren’t participating.
And when we’ve got regulations from God, like not misusing the name of God, and that our language is not supposed to be obscene, we are certainly supposed to do our best to obey them. For those that are habitually trapped in profanity and may be trying to escape, because I was there myself a while back, I was greatly helped when I realized Matthew 12:34 said that out of the heart the mouth speaks. I realized that I used profanity when I was angry and upset, or shocked. And what I began to realize is that I had a lot of anger and hurt and bitterness in my heart, and that drove the profanity like an engine. So if you try to stop using four-letter words, and you can’t, just based on a pure regulation – God saying, “Don’t do it”- go get some heart help. Go get some heart healing. Because in healing the anger and bitterness, and upsetness, the disquiet of your heart, you’ll find that you’ll just quit using profanity simply because you have the peace of God which passes understanding.
The Fourth Commandment
(8) “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
(9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
(10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.
I don’t like the word ‘Sabbath’ in these verses because it’s not an English word. It’s a Hebrew word. The Hebrew word ‘Sabbath’ is simply transliterated and made into the English word ‘Sabbath.’ So, what that means is that the actual meaning of the word ‘Sabbath’ is hidden from you unless you speak Hebrew because the word ‘Sabbath’ isn’t translated, it’s transliterated. The letters are simply taken over. What does the word ‘Sabbath’ mean? The Hebrew word ‘Sabbath’ means ‘rest.’ So verse eight, if you are reading the Hebrew text, reads this way:
(8) “Remember the Rest day by keeping it holy.
(9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
(10) but the seventh day is a Rest to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
(11) For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Rest day and made it holy.
As I really began to study that I realized what I had done in my mind, in an improper way, was I made the Sabbath a Worship day. Instead of reading it as Rest day, I read it as Worship day. ‘Remember the Worship day by keeping it holy,’ and that the Sabbath was somehow God’s Worship day, but you know what? That’s not what the text says. And it’s not what the text means. It’s not a Worship day. How are we supposed to worship God? When are we supposed to worship God? We are supposed to worship God seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Worship is integral to our lives. We listen to praise and worship music, we sing songs, we talk with our children about the Lord, and we talk to our families back and forth about God. We are always worshipping God. But the Sabbath is a rest. God says, “Enough work. Take a break.” Now from a strictly legal perspective, we know – and we can read this very clearly in Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16 and following – that the specifics of the Sabbath have been put away. It was a capital offence in the Old Testament for breaking the Sabbath. Moses stoned a man to death for picking up sticks. The Sabbath was a sign of the Covenant, and Christ fulfilled the Covenant. And so, the Sabbath today is no longer in force. You can keep the Sabbath or not keep the Sabbath, which is exactly what these New Testament verses say.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
Colossians 2:16 and 17
(16) Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
(17) These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
We don’t have to keep the Sabbath (or Rest) today, as a function of Old Testament law. But let me tell you something about the way your body works. God designed your body to take a break. And when we rest, we become rejuvenated, we have time to think clearly about what we’re going to do for God, and how we’re going to do it. So, am I encouraging you here to take a Sabbath, to set one day aside and that’s going to be the day that you rest? No, I’m not encouraging that, but what I am encouraging is this. Take a look at God’s original intent, and His purpose here in setting aside the Sabbath, and take a rest for yourself. If you look back over the last couple of weeks and all you’ve done is work, work, work, you know how run-down you get. I know how run-down I get! And that’s not where God wants us. He wants us to have a break to look forward to, where we can pull back and enjoy our families. And this is interesting, because for years I used to kid about Sunday – when we did an early morning service, and a morning service, and an afternoon service, and then we had a late night meeting after the evening meeting – and we all used to kid back and forth (this was back when I was getting my degree in Theology) that Sunday was by far the most tiring day of the week! Sunday would kill you! It was like, “Please, let Monday come, because Sunday’s a lot of work!”
And so it’s important to understand, the Sabbath is a rest. If you’re involved in the work of the Ministry, or the work of the Church, or whatever, and you kill yourself on Sunday – and don’t kid yourself, lots of people do. They show up early, they do set-up, they have Sunday school, they do meetings and services and singing, and by the end of the day they are worn out. That’s wonderful, but it’s not a rest. God wants you to rest on the Sabbath. That’s what it is. He wants you to take a break and to rest, and this is a very important thing. And it’s very important for us to know the thrust of where God is coming from. And I also ought to say that historically we’ve talked a lot about the Sabbath being Saturday, or the Sabbath being Sunday, and again, the way around all those Saturday / Sunday arguments is very simple. You just look at Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16 and 17 and it says, “Hey, whatever day you want to set aside is fine, a partial day, whatever, that’s fine.” Just make sure that you are rested before the Lord, so you can do his work.
Something I have discovered in my own life, and maybe you have discovered this in yours, is that television is not always restful, by any stretch of the imagination. Many times I have a little break in my life and I say, “Let me sit down and watch a little bit of TV,” only to get up and find that I am more tired or more frustrated than I was before! If you are addicted to TV on your time off, try taking a rest from that. Try going out and sitting on your back porch with a cup of coffee or glass of water, and just sit and think about God. Pray for your family. Let your muscles relax and your eyes relax. Get your family there, or some good friends there, and just sit and talk and enjoy yourself and rest. The Lord made us to need that.
The Fifth Commandment
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
One of the things that has occurred today in our world is that the family is under attack, and Rousas John Rushdoony talks about that in his book. I quoted from him about not taking the name of the God in vain. I’d like to quote two paragraphs that he has to say about the family. He starts out by saying:
“Before analyzing the biblical law with respect to honoring of parents and their authority, it is necessary to take note of the extensive undermining of the biblical doctrine of the family. In the Ten Commandments, four laws deal with the family. Three of them directly. Honor thy father and mother; Thou shall not commit adultery; Thou shall not steal; Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house; etc. The family is clearly central to a biblical way of life, and it is the ‘family under God’ which has this centrality. But it must be added that this biblical perspective is alien to the Darwinian worldview.”
Darwin, of course, was the great evolutionist.
“Evolutionary thought concedes the centrality of the family, but only as historical fact. The family is seen as the great primitive institution, now rapidly being superceded, but important for studies of man’s past. The family is seen as the old collectivity, which must give way to the new collectivity. As the old collectivism, which is resisting change, the family is steadily attacked by evolutionary and social scientists, educators, and clergymen.”
I don’t think I need to point out to you that a former President’s wife, Hillary Clinton, has written a book entitled It Takes a Village to Raise Your Child. Well, no, it doesn’t take a village to raise my child, it takes my wife and I having a relationship under God, and working together as the family that God intended us to be. The family in America (and around the globe) is under attack. And as Christians, we need to understand the value of the family. And when it says, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD, your God, is giving you,” this is a command of God. It comes right from the heart of God. If we are going to preserve God’s ways, and God’s laws, then we need to do things His way. I want to say here that there’s a difference between ‘honoring’ your father and mother and ‘obeying’ them. Now, we know that the biblical command here in Exodus 20:12, the fifth commandment – Honor your father and mother – is slightly modified in the New Testament, and I think it’s actually worth going there.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Here it goes even a step further really than in the Old Testament, where it simply says “Honor your father and mother.” It says, “Obey your parents in the Lord.” But notice the prepositional phrase ‘in the Lord.` Ephesians is not an absolute blanket statement “Obey your parents period, no matter what they tell you to do.” That’s not what Ephesians is saying. It says, “Obey your parents in the Lord,” and there are lots of times when children don’t want to obey parents, but the parents are in the Lord, and the children need to obey. It’s godly, it’s the way God has honored and set up society.
“Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise–
When Ephesians 6:1 says, “Obey your parents in the Lord,” what does it use as documentation or backing that you should obey your parents? It goes right back to the Old Testament Commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” And so, Ephesians 6:2 quotes the Ten Commandments. Any time the Adversary, the Devil, and demons want to weaken society, they attack the family. Were they attacking the family, for example, in the time of Christ? Absolutely. Do you remember what Christ did when he dealt with the Pharisees when he said, “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’…. But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” (Matt.15:4).
Attacking the family is not new. The family has been under attack by demons in every age. Christians need to be aware of this, and we need to do what we can to support the family unit, and not let it get abused by the Adversary. I’m very sensitive to this with some of the TV shows my children watch, and some of the movies they watch, and some of the language they use around me, because it’s dishonoring. We want a society where there are families that honor each other. That means if you’re a Christian mother or a Christian father you need to be able to hold your children accountable. They may not always be obedient, but you at least need to take the time to point out to them what’s going on so they have a chance to honor their father and mother. And then the Bible talks about “so that you may live long in the land – which is the first Command with a promise – so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
When the family units are strong there’s a greater blessing on people’s lives, and I think we all know that. If you’re at peace with your Mom and Dad, life is a lot easier than if you and your parents or you and your siblings are at war.
The Sixth Commandment
“You shall not murder.
We have an audio teaching available that I did called The Bible and Civil Law. In it I go into great detail on this commandment. The King James Version of the Bible translates this commandment as ‘Thou shall not kill.’ This is a horrible translation, and very debilitating to people because the Bible does not say ‘Thou shall not kill,’ it says, ‘Thou shall not murder.’ In fact, the death penalty is very important for societies. Is the death penalty part of the Old Testament law? Absolutely.
“Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.
Was there a death penalty? Absolutely. There was the death penalty for a number of things in the Old Testament. You can read Exodus 21, starting in verse 12. I would also ask you to read Genesis 9:6, where the Bible tells us that if man sheds man’s blood then by man must his blood be shed. Also, Leviticus 24:17-22, Numbers 35:16 and following, Deuteronomy 19:11 – these are all great sections on capital punishment. By the way, did Moses ever put anybody to death? Sure he did – a man picking up sticks on the Sabbath day was stoned to death at the command of Moses. A man who blasphemed God was stoned to death at the command of Moses. Did Joshua ever put anybody to death? Remember Joshua, who took over after Moses – did he ever execute anybody? Sure, Joshua chapter 7, he executed Achan who had stolen things from the town of Jericho and brought destruction upon the troops of Israel in the battle at Ai. Did David ever execute anybody? Absolutely. Because I’ve done so much on that particular commandment in the teaching on the Bible and Civil Law and my booklet The Death Penalty: Godly or Ungodly (posted in its entirety), I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it here.
The Seventh Commandment
“You shall not commit adultery.
I want to take a good look at that commandment. Biblically, the only legitimate sexual relationship between a man and a woman is when that man and that woman are married. 1 Corinthians 7 deals with marriage, because obviously not committing adultery doesn’t talk about sex before marriage. But legitimate sex, biblically, is when a man and a woman are married. In 1 Corinthians 7 it says, “It’s better to marry than to burn,” meaning it’s better to marry than to burn with passion. What 1 Corinthians 7 says is that if you’re burning with sexual passion, marry. There’s nothing in 1 Corinthians 7 that says if you’re burning with sexual passion, live together out of wedlock, or have a relationship with somebody that involves sexual intercourse. When the Bible talks about sex, it talks about a man and a woman in a married state having sexual intercourse. The command is very clear: You shall not commit adultery. Notice that the Bible does not say, “You shall not commit adultery,” and then have in parenthesis, “except in the case of this or except in the case of that.”
What I hear today is a lot of people saying, “Well, they’re having an affair.” We don’t even call it adultery – they’re having an affair. Even the use of that word is repugnant, because to God if you’re having an affair you’re committing adultery and you should quit. It’s a sin. It’s not the way we build our society. And it’s not, “Well, my husband does…,” “Well, my wife does…,” “ Well, I like this guy better,” “Well, this,” “Well, that…” We, as Christians, are responsible to obey God. Period. The commandment is: “You shall not commit adultery.” It’s interesting that, as a marriage counselor, one of the things that you run into fairly commonly is that a lot of marriages get cold and people inside them have trouble, but a large part of the time, when the couple actually seeks out a marriage counselor is when one of them has committed adultery. It’s interesting that that’s such a watershed event. God simply says, ‘Don’t do it.’ We’re supposed to protect the family, and what the family is all about. Again, it’s our responsibility to do the law. It’s not our responsibility to make excuses for why we’re not doing it. Of course, the result of a godly marriage is supposedly to help us with godliness. Remember Ecclesiastes 4:9-12? It talks about “If two work together they can help out each other.” This is very true in a marriage – we’re supposed to help out each other.
Malachi 2:15 says that we’re supposed to raise godly children. He wanted the man and the woman to be together so the children could be godly. That’s very true. You know when God created people, it says God created them male and female. As well as the family being under attack today, the gender is under attack. But God created them male and female. Men and women are different and they bring different strengths to the table, and when you have a godly man and a godly woman raising children, they have the best chance to be godly children. So again, we have the command here of God about how we’re supposed to behave sexually.
The Eighth Commandment
“You shall not steal.
That’s very clear-cut. You shall not steal.
Titus 2:9 and 10
(9) Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,
(10) and not to steal from them…
This sounds very much like the eighth commandment – Don’t steal. If you’re reading the King James Version, it says, “Servants don’t purloin….” Most people don’t know what purloining is, but it’s a fantastic word, because when you purloin is when you steal things that aren’t noticed. So a slave, for example, might steal some grapes or an apple or something like that from the food tray, and no one would notice. And somehow, though there’s plenty of stealing, there’s even more purloining. There’s this thing that if what you take isn’t noticed, then it’s OK to take it. One Christian to another, I want to tell you it’s not OK. God knows what stealing is. If you take that which is not yours it is stealing. This is a very serious offence before God, and something that we need to put our country on alert over. If you go walking out of the office with pens that don’t belong to you, paper-clips that don’t belong to you, if you’re running your envelopes through the stamp machine at work, it doesn’t belong to you – that is stealing. That’s not the way Christians behave, and we need to take this seriously. We need to give a wake-up call to our country.
I believe that Christians can change their country. I really do. We’ve got to take a stand on stealing, because there’s a lot of stealing going on all around the world. And we need to put people on notice because even people who would consider themselves good Christians will take a pen, or a pencil, or paper-clips, grab a little of this or a little of that. It is God that will meet your needs. By the way, let’s say you’re in the office, and there’s a whole box of pencils and nobody’s going to miss one, and you need just one pencil at home. What can you always do? Ask. Just go and ask. “Hey, do you mind if I just bring one pencil home? I just need one pencil.” And if your boss says, “Sure,” then you’ve asked and it’s not stealing to take it home. If you take something that isn’t yours, it’s stealing. When it comes to stealing, I want to go into something a little more controversial here. It’s a slightly different type of stealing, if you will.
(1) If you see your brother’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him.
(2) If the brother does not live near you or if you do not know who he is, take it home with you and keep it until he comes looking for it. Then give it back to him.
(3) Do the same if you find your brother’s donkey or his cloak or anything he loses. Do not ignore it.
Some in America have a ‘Finders Keepers’ thing, that if they find something they don’t make an effort to return it. They just keep it. The Bible stands firmly against that. You know what you’ve worked for, you know what you’ve bought, and you know what’s yours. If you find something and it’s not yours, and there’s any hope you can get it back to the person, make the effort. That’s biblical.
If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help him get it to its feet.
As Christians, are not supposed to steal from people by letting them languish in need, and then what they have is destroyed. If you see someone that you can help, you’re supposed to actually step in and try to help in any way that you can. Take the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30), for example. You know, the priests and the people that walked by that poor man that had been beaten up, the Law of God commanded them to help. And yet they turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the man’s needs and walked by anyway.
The Ninth Commandment
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Again, this is rampant, and I believe that we Christians can change this. Think of political campaigns. It’s become a political strategy to smear people with lies, and you know that’s breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Ephesians says we need to speak the truth (4:5). We don’t lie (4:25). We don’t bring up false testimony against people. You know, I think also of divorces, and marital fights. “Well, he said…” “Well, she said…” and the next thing you know you’re in this escalation, and you’re saying things about somebody that they didn’t actually do, or it misrepresents their hearts. This is not the way Christians behave. Again, we are going to face a Judgment. We are going to stand before God and give an account of our lives. I want to stand before God and hear Him say He’s proud of what I said. Not even just that what I said was OK, or it was true. You know, “Well, you spoke the truth…” but that He’s proud of what I said.
You know –”A word fitly spoken is like an apple of gold,” the Bible says (Prov. 25:11). And we’re not to give false testimony. There’s a lot of false testimony taking place – the lies that are spread from one person to another, that get into slander and gossip and that kind of stuff. I can just hear two people talking about their boss at work, and the conversation escalates, and next thing you know you’re into false testimony against your neighbor. If somebody else is speaking words that are in the category or hedging towards false testimony because they’re upset with somebody, and they’re getting emotional, and they’re beginning to lean into false testimony, what’s your part in the conversation? What’s my part in the conversation? Are we calling people to account, to speak the truth like Ephesians 4:5 says, to let our words be seasoned with salt like Colossians says, or are we goading and egging people on, and getting involved in the conversation, saying, “I know exactly what you mean,” and pushing people farther and farther towards false testimony?
These Ten Commandments are great laws to live by! I can see why they are the Ten Commandments. I’d like to be able to say I’ve lived by these all my life. And I know I don’t have my righteousness by being under the Law. My righteousness is through Christ. But, I also know I’m going to be judged for how I’ve lived on this planet, and I want to use God’s rules and God’s regulations as my guidelines for how to live. I don’t want to invent my own command, my own laws. I want to use His Laws. And in talking about not making false testimony, I’d like to say a brief word about not making false testimony about God. Our book “Don’t Blame God: A Biblical Answer to the Problem of Evil, Sin, and Suffering” talks about how God doesn’t kill, and He doesn’t cause sickness and death and disease. And I’ve heard so much on TV lately about how God took this person home, or God caused cancer in this one person to show him how important it was not to be attached to the world, or whatever. That’s false testimony against God. God didn’t do those things. Imagine how surprised you’d be if you were sitting at the funeral of a friend, and someone was speaking up front, and they accused you of killing the person! You’d sit there and go, “What? Me?” That’s where God is! He hasn’t killed this person. He hasn’t caused this cancer. He doesn’t do those horrible things. And when people say that He does, that’s bearing false testimony against God. Our responsibility is to study the Book, the Bible, until we know what God does, and what He doesn’t do, so we’re not speaking false testimony about Him.
The Tenth Commandment
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
You know, it ties right back to the first commandment. God will get you what you need. He brought you out of Egypt, He’s got a relationship with you. You don’t need to covet what your neighbor has. And the tenth commandment in using the word ‘covet,’ has a lot of things going on here all at once. One thing is we are responsible to control our minds. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it tells us to bring every thought captive. Every thought captive. And we are responsible to do it. We can control our thoughts. We can control our minds. Coveting is a strong intense desire, and the word ‘covet’ can be used in a good sense or a bad sense. Like when the New Testament says, “Covet to prophesy,” or “Covet the best gift.” It can be used in a good sense or a bad sense, but here it’s clearly used in a bad sense. The implication is we are to control our minds. I ought to say this, too. The Hebrew word ‘covet,’ which is the word chamad, can be used of the action as well as the thought. If you look at what Christ did in Mark 10:19, instead of saying, “You shall not covet,” he said, “You shall not defraud your neighbor.” That’s the understanding of the word chamad as an action, and not a thought. The Bible is very clear that we’re supposed to watch over our thoughts and our actions. We’re supposed to watch the way we live around people. We don’t need to covet. We don’t need to steal because God is going to be there to meet all our needs.
I sure appreciate you taking the time to read this transcription, and I trust that it has helped you. I trust it has given you some keys and some helps to being a more godly person. I know for a long time I discounted the Ten Commandments because, “Well, that was the Old Testament, and that was the Law.” I hope that I’m growing in my understanding enough to see that I am still under rules and regulations, and although part of the Levitical Law – the sacrifices and the priests and that type of thing – have been put away, but not murder, not stealing, not committing adultery, not giving false testimony, not using the Name of God in the wrong way – these things are very important to obey. We need to make them important in our lives, and I’m going to go so far as to say we need to see what we can do about changing our society.
God bless you,
John W. Schoenheit