TITLE: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS : GOD'S IMPOSSIBLE STANDARD FOR MAN!!!!
Resources to aid your Understanding
Subtitle: We Cannot Possibly "Keep" The Very First One, Let Alone All Ten!
This article is in response to the ever-increasing numbers of those who insist that we are wrong because we worship on Sunday--the first day of the week. Of course the rationale for the criticism is based upon God's commandment to Israel that they "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8) and the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, Saturday.
But before we discuss the specifics concerning the Sabbath commandment, we must take an look at the commandments as a whole in view of New Testament teaching. When a Scribe (or "lawyer") tried to test Him by asking what was the greatest commandment, the Lord replied as follows:
"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" (Matthew 22:37-38, KJV, emphasis mine).
In Exodus 20:3, the first commandment is actually stated thusly:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3, KJV).
And of course the Lord explained the full intent of the commandment by pointing out that God demands our undivided loyalty and love. He must be number one in our hearts.
FIRST QUESTION: Is it humanly possible for us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind? Of course the answer is an emphatic no! Even those individuals in the secular fields of psychiatry and psychology understand that we basically love ourselves and just naturally "look out for number one." We are born selfish and self-centered--and must really work at it to mature and learn to compromise with others in order to get along. This innate selfishness is the result of our depraved sinful nature and can never be completely eradicated as long as we are in these mortal bodies. (When we are born again, we gain a new nature, but do not get rid of the old).
Then to emphasize this overall concept, we must take into consideration that the New Testament makes it clear the entire law is condensed into the command for us to love our neighbor as ourself:
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Galatians 5:14, KJV)
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (James 2:8, KJV).
SECOND QUESTION: Do we love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves? You've got to be kidding! If we did, all he would have to do is request the keys to our houses, cars, and other property and we would give it without a murmur! And you know good and well that is not the case with any of us.
The second commandment is:
"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:  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;  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments" (Exodus 20:4-6, KJV).
This second commandment is very closely associated with the first in that it gives definition to the "gods" mentioned previously. In other words, God will not tolerate His people worshipping idols--"graven" (or engraved) images of man, bird, beast, or anything else. So anything that we allow to come between us and our God is technically an idol, because we give it the love and devotion due Him.
THIRD QUESTION: Have we not occasionally allowed careers, possessions, children, grandchildren, or (fill in the blank) to have more of our time and devotion than we devote to God? You know the answer.
The third commandment is:
"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" (Exodus 20:7, KJV).
Because so many misunderstand the phrase "in vain," perhaps the Amplified Bible can help to shed some light on it:
"You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously , in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."
FOURTH QUESTION: Is there one among us who would be so bold as to state that they have never used any of the many names of God in a light or frivolous manner? Most Christians today are guilty of using the name Jesus in a disrespectful manner--similar to calling one's father or mother by their first names. That is the reason why I teach people to append His name with the title "Christ" or precede it with "the Lord....." Most people immediately think of profanity when this verse is mentioned, but that is only a part of the meaning. To use His Holy name in a frivolous manner is to break this commandment!
Now we come to the fourth commandment, which is:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8, KJV).
The admonition to "remember" the Sabbath was given to Israel at Mt.Sinai, some commentaries maintain, because the principle of the seventh day of rest was previously known to them, having been instituted by God at the end of the creation week. But what does it mean to "keep it holy"? As originally imposed, it was a day in which total rest was enforced by the penalty of death! So solemn was to be the observance that they were even admonished to not kindle a fire on that day (Exodus 35:3). Therefore we must understand that since holiness is basically being set apart for God's service, observing this Sabbath rest was a sign between them and God of their position before Him. We find this stated in the following verses:
"Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you" (Exodus 31:13, KJV, emphasis mine). (Sanctification is the process through which God's people are made holy.)
"It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (Exodus 31:17, KJV).
The Sabbath day of rest, then, is clearly something between God and the nation of Israel--not the Church! It pictures the rest that all genuine Christians now have in Christ (Hebrews, chapter four). His labor on the cross is finished and we have entered into His rest with Him and are not bound by the observance of a particular day. Colossians 2:17-18 speaks to this when it states: (using the Amplified Bible for clarity)
"Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath. Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality--the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it--belongs to Christ."
Nowhere in the New Testament is this commandment to Israel reiterated to the Church and is actually the only one of the Ten Commandments not so restated in one form or other. But before we leave this particular commandment, we must point out that it--like all the rest--was and still is, impossible for Israel or anyone else to keep perfectly. In thought, word, or deed, everyone violates the holiness associated with it, because we are sinful creatures. And we will continue to amplify this fact as we comment on the next six commandments.
FIFTH QUESTION: How can those who insist that the Sabbath--the keeping of a particular day--is binding upon the Church when they conveniently overlook the penalty of death associated with violating it--a death by stoning that was to be at the hands of the brethren?
Next we come to the fifth commandment which is:
"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Exodus 20:12, KJV).
What does it mean to "honour" one's parents? The Amplified Bible renders the verse thusly and sheds some additional light on what it means to honor them:
"Regard (treat with honor, due obedience and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you"
SIXTH QUESTION: Has there ever been a child other than Jesus Christ who did not, at some point and fairly often, dishonor, disobey, and act discourteously toward his/her parents in their hearts if not openly?
The sixth commandment is:
"Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13, KJV).
The Hebrew word translated "kill" is ratsach and carries the connotation of murder. On several occasions, God commanded the army of Israel to kill His/their enemies and He would not command them to do something He had expressly forbidden. But for our purposes, the words of the Lord Himself clearly state the ease with which we break this commandment in our hearts:
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: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21-22, KJV)
In God's eyes, being angry with a brother without cause is as serious as murder!
SIXTH QUESTION: Been angry with anyone lately?
The seventh commandment is:
"Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14, KJV)
Once again the Lord gives us His view of this sin:
"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:28, KJV)
SEVENTH QUESTION: Ever lust after someone in your heart? Come on now, you may as well admit it because we know you are as guilty as the rest of us! It doesn't have to last long--just a fleeting thought that crosses your mind--but it breaks the commandment.
The eighth commandment is:
"Thou shalt not steal" (Exodus 20:15, KJV)
EIGHTH QUESTION: Ever take it easy on the job and loaf a little? Stolen time. Ever forget and take a pen or pencil or even a paper clip home with you and leave it there? Stolen merchandise. Ever gossiped about someone? Stolen reputation. Get the picture?
The ninth commandment is:
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" (Exodus 20:16, KJV).
Don't lie, in other words.
NINTH QUESTION: Told any "white lies" lately by sparing someone's feelings through not telling the whole truth? A half-truth is a whole lie!
The tenth commandment is:
"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" (Exodus 20:17, KJV).
Covetousness is not merely wanting the same type of things as others have, but wanting the very things themselves--and thereby depriving your "neighbor" of them. There is a definite element of jealousy involved in the sin of covetousness.
TENTH QUESTION: Who has not felt a twinge of this kind of jealousy when rivals receive accolades and we are excluded? Remember that the "things" coveted need not be material.
So without going to extremes in trying to make each point, it should be obvious that the Ten Commandments--and by extension, the entire Law of Moses--was given to condemn mankind, because we are all sinners by nature and by practice. The Old Testament system of laws and sacrifice served to emphasize the point that we need a Savior. A truly godly Jew quickly came to the realization that he could not possibly keep pace with the obvious sin in his life by making the appropriate offerings! He would have neither the time nor the finances to run back and forth to Jerusalem each time he was convicted in his heart of a particular sin. And sooner or later, he would just have to lump them all together and trust that God would forgive him as he offered an innocent animal in his stead. God's forgiveness has always been by grace and was never truly secured through the sacrifice of "bulls and goats" (Hebrews 10:4).
"Legalism" has been defined as the desire of professed Christians to be back under the law--as expressed by those who insist upon observing various ordinances contained therein, such as the Sabbath. Beloved, we have perfect freedom in Christ and it is foolish for anyone to want to wear the "ball and chain" that was imposed upon Old Testament Israel. When we set aside one day in seven to worship the Lord, we are meeting the intent of the commandment--if not the very letter. The specific day of the week is of little consequence because of our freedom in Him.
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Col. 2:14, KJV)
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
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