The 10 Commandments Reflect the Love of God.
As we noted at the beginning of this doctrine, there are four things to observe about the Decalogue.
1.) The Ten Commandments were a direct revelation from God given to Moses for the people.
2.) They are all, with two exceptions, negatives, given in legal format because they were designed to expose sin.
3.) They are based on the mental attitude, your thoughts, not overt activity. This is explained in the 10th Commandment, “you shall not covet,” that is, inordinately desire or lust. This is an inner mental attitude, which proves that the entire complex of the Ten Commandments is for the thinking of a man. That is, if you are tempted in the mentality of your soul to sin, you can stop it from becoming sin mentally, verbally, or overtly, by applying these commandments to your life in faith.
4.) They are given in treaty format, because they are the basis for our right relationship, right living with God, in Christ Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the 10 Commandments are the core of what God asks of people who are in right relationship with Him.
We also see in these 10 mandates, the revelation of God’s nature and the reality of right living inside a free and prosperous society. God asks His people to commit themselves and their needs to Him, and in so doing, become free to value others for who and what they are, and rejoice in what they have, just as God does. This is the expression of “loving your neighbor,” Lev 19:18; Mark 12:31; Gal 5:14; James 2:8.
Lev 19:18, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”
Gal 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF’.”
The person who treats God and others in this way, will truly be part of a kingdom of priests, a holy nation unto God, Ex 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9.
Regarding Israel it is said in Ex 19:6, “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Regarding the Church it is said in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
James 2:8, “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,’ you are doing well.”
God has expressed in these commandments His concern for the rights and the integrity of each individual.
1 John 4:21, “And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
In addition, looking to these commandments, an Israelite could, as you and I can today, come to know more about God and see in these commandments the Divine heart of love.
1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.”
1 John 3:1a, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.”
1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
In Deut 5, we see five elements of relationship with God defined, which tell us about His love for us.
- Love is Personal, Deut 5:1-3.
The relationship is between “us, who are . . . alive here,” and the Lord, YHWH, who is also here and living.
Often a person grows up in a home where the Lord is God of his parents or even grandparents. His relationship with God is through Mom and Dad, or Gramma, etc., and he goes to church because they do. This falls short of a personal love relationship.
Someone who cares for you wants to reach out and touch you personally, not through others. God wants to know and to love you personally, warmly, intimately without anything and anyone in between.
- Love is Urgent, Deut 5:4-14.
The urgency of the relationship is emphasized in the first four of the Ten Commandments, (the “vertical” commandments), all of which are repeated here from Ex 20. This tells us that God wants your eyes fixed on Him, as it is also stated in Heb 12:2.
Heb 12:2, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
As any lover, God is unwilling to share your affection with competitors. It is hard to imagine a husband who truly loves his wife unaffected by her unfaithfulness, or encouraging her to date around.
Truly intimate love is to be exclusive. God wants and helps us to love other people, just as a good husband/wife relationship enriches the context of the home for their children. But God will not share us with other gods, whether they are idols of the ancient world or the financial successes of the modern.
- Love is Demonstrated, Deut 5:15.
Love that lets you feel your belongingness must be demonstrated. How clearly God had demonstrated to this generation His personal and practical involvement with them: “The Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”
Christ is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us.
1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
And each of us can find many other special ways in which God has acted in our lives to show His love.
- Love is Expressive, Deut 5:16-20.
It is hard to feel loved when you do not really know what is going on inside a person who claims to love you. That is why God gave the 10 Commandments not just once but twice, as it is restated here in Deut 5, just as 9 of the 10 are individually given to us today in the NT.
This shows us God’s willingness to communicate His expectations. The people told Moses in vs. 27, “All that the Lord our God will speak to you, we will hear and do.”
Love communicates and expresses; love desires a response. What is even more significant for us in our relationship with God is this: God wants to help us grow in our own capacity to love.
Eph 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”
2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
As we noted in this doctrine, these “horizontal,” manward commandments are rooted in God’s own concern for men. As we listen to Him and respond to His Word, we grow in our ability to love others.
1 John 3:23, “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”
1 John 5:2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.” That’s our response in love to God for His love to us.
This is an important thing to see. A person who loves another, desires to see him grow. As such, you can be utterly sure that God loves you, because His every word to you is designed to help you grow to your fullest potentials.
- Love is Unselfish, Deut 5:21-33.
This last element of real love is affirmed in these passages. God enters into relationship with us, and speaks to us “that it might go well with” us, cf. vs. 29.
As Deut 5:33 summarizes, “You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.”
People who come into personal relationship with God are not pawns in some cosmic game. We are not His playthings. No, God’s love for you is unselfish. He honestly has your best interests at heart.
All this helped Israel realize that they had a personal relationship with the Lord, and that God truly did care for them. This “people” were loved. And so are we.
Perhaps your parents or your spouse have never let you know how deeply you are loved. Perhaps they have not truly cared. But through Christ you can have a personal relationship with God Himself, in which you are loved and do belong, John 3:16. God Himself says to you and to me today, “You are loved,” personally, urgently, practically, expressively, and unselfishly,
1 John 2:5, “But whoever keeps His Word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”
2 John 1:6, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.”
Jesus Christ’s Application of the Commandments.
In conclusion to our summary of this doctrine where we are looking at the forest of God’s great plan for our lives, taking a step back from the trees of His Ten Commandments, we conclude by reviewing Jesus’ application of these commandments in the Gospels.
At the end of the giving of the Ten Commandments, the people stood in fear and trembling, Ex 20:18-21. They had a sense of awe toward God. And from reading the rest of the OT, we know that they also failed repeatedly. Even their mediator, Moses, would fail. However, there is a greater mediator who did not fail; the Lord Jesus Christ.
These Ten Commandments point us to the Savior.
1.) Christ was “born under the law, to redeem those under the law,” Gal 4:4-5.
2.) He fulfilled the law in every respect, Mat 5:17-18.
3.) He paid the penalty of the law and bore the curse of the law on the Cross, Gal 3:10-14; Col 2:13-14.
We cannot keep God’s law perfectly. We need another to do this for us. The law drives us to Jesus for forgiveness and a new heart, and the Spirit then empowers for obedience. While in this life, we cannot keep the law perfectly and are always in need of grace; we are never crushed by the law, because there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1, because the weight has been lifted. Therefore, we are able to delight in God’s law, and we do not see His commandments as burdensome, 1 John 5:3.
Our hope and power does not come from our law keeping but from His law keeping. He lived the life we could not live, (keeping the law), then died the death we should have died, (for our law breaking). That is why we love Jesus.
In studying these Ten Commandments, we noted how Jesus applied them during His ministry at His First Advent. They tell us about His love for us, and the blessings we have received through Him.
The 1st Commandment, Ex 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Jesus applied this and the 2nd Commandment to rebuke Satan after his third temptation in Mat 4:10; Luke 4:8.
Mat 4:10, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY’.”
This is the positive response to the command of negation given in the Decalogue. The first half of this phrase speaks to the “object” of our worship; God. Jesus reminded Satan and us all that there is only one God in the words, “the Lord your God” and “Him only.”
Therefore, there is only One God.
The 2nd Commandment, Ex 20:4-6, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness…5You shall not worship them or serve them.”
In Mat 4:10; Luke 4:8, we also see the 2nd Commandment being applied by Jesus that speaks of the “mode” of our veneration towards God; we are to worship and serve Him
Jesus said of the Church Age in, John 4:23-24, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (As opposed to an image that is formed by man’s hands and worshipped).
This speaks to how we worship and serve God; utilizing our new regenerated human spirit, (empowered by God the Holy Spirit), and by means of the Word of God resident within our soul.
Jesus also reminded us in Mat 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Therefore, we are to worship and serve Him only. We worship and serve God by means of the Holy Spirit through our human spirit and His Word / Bible Doctrine resident within our souls.
The 3rd Commandment, Ex 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
In Mat 5:33-37, Jesus talks about making “false oaths.” God is the greatest being in the universe. His name is the greatest name and must be honored as such. That is why the first petition in the Lord’s template prayer is, “Hallowed be Your name,” Mat 6:9. It is to be honored, venerated, and glorified. Making it worthless through a false oath or in vulgarity, cheapens His name, which blasphemes God, cf. Mat 23:16-22; Lev 19:12.
Therefore, we are to honor and glorify Him in our personal relationship with Him. We are to hold God in the highest regard in our lives.
The 4th Commandment, Ex 20:8-11, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
This Commandment emphasizes our relationship with God and the rest we have in Him. Jesus performed several acts on the Sabbath to make the point that He was, “the Lord of the Sabbath,” Mat 12:1f. Through Him we have the forgiveness of sins, a relationship with God and peace within our souls. He is the Creator of the heavens and earth who rested on the 7th day and established the 7th day Sabbath rest for Israel. In other words, He is God Himself, the Sovereign over the Sabbath and not controlled by it, cf. Mark 2:27-28; cf. John 1:3.
Mark 2:27-28, “Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath’.” Cf. Luke 6:6.
Jesus’ healings on the Sabbath, Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-10, reflect His work as God to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and all of us from the slave market of sin. Deut 5:15, “by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm.”
Observance of the Sabbath was not about the act of resting, but the relationship they had with God that they were supposed to enjoy on that day.
In Summary, the Sabbath in relation to Jesus’ activities tells of God’s Plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ:
- His healings, Mat 12:9-13; Luke 13:10-17; 14:1-5; John 5:1-17; 7:22-23; 9:14-16.
- His teachings, Mat 24:20; Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31.
- His Messiahship proclaimed, Luke 4:16f.
- His death, as the hypocritical Pharisees requested to kill Him while on the Cross by breaking His legs, because of the impending Sabbath, Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31, (this is not the 7th day Sabbath, but the Sabbath related to the Feast of Passover.)
- His burial, Mark 15:42-47 (cf. 16:1); John 19:31.
- His resurrection, Mat 28:1; Luke 23:56.
Jesus said in Mat 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Therefore, we have rest in Him, i.e., been saved from our sins through Him.
The 5th Commandment, Ex 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother.”
Five times it is used in the Gospels describing two events of Jesus Christ.
1.) Rebuking human works, traditions, and religion, Mat 15:4; Mark 7:10.
2.) Regarding the way for salvation; not by keeping the Law, Mat 19:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20, (rich young ruler).
To the rich young ruler, Jesus mentioned 5 of the last 6 of the Ten Commandments, because they all related to the horizontal relationships of life; behavior toward others. The issue was salvation, eternal life. Rather than having faith in God and Christ for salvation, this man trusted in his own works. Human works can only take you so far, and human works will only let you go so far. They will never take you all the way to salvation and eternal life. Only by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is anyone saved, Eph 2:8-9.
Therefore, we are not saved by our human good works.
The 6th Commandment, Ex 20:13; Deut 5:17, “You shall not murder.”
This commandment is first used in Mat 5:21f, in the Sermon on the Mount, to emphasize the inner man, where sin and human good works emanate from.
This too was used by Jesus speaking to the rich young man to refute human good works for salvation. Mat 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20.
Jesus also stated that murder has a father, (and lying, 10th). His name is Satan / the devil who brought death to all of mankind and wants to steal their eternal life, John 8:44.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Then Jesus noted the first account of death in the human race, which highlights what human good works and sin bring to mankind; death, Mat 23:35; Luke 11:51. Cf. Gen 4:5-8.
Therefore, human good works and sin emanate from the inner man and bring death to mankind.
The 7th Commandment, Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18, “You shall not commit adultery.”
The first time “adultery,” is used in the NT is by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, Mat 5:27-28, telling us of the genesis of sin being in the mentality of our souls.
Mat 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
In Mat 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20, the episode of the rich young ruler again emphasized that salvation is not based on works.
In John 8:3-4, Jesus taught about love and forgiveness, as well as the sin of self-righteous arrogance, when the Pharisees were trying to entrap Him using the Law regarding adultery. This is when Jesus responded, “he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
In Mat 12:39; 16:4, our Lord rebukes the Pharisees who were looking for Him to perform a sign or miracle. Because they did not believe in Him through faith, they are classed, “an evil and adulterous generation,” meaning they trusted in other things, (their eyes, their emotions, etc.) rather than God, which made them idolaters.
In Mark 8:38, Jesus commanded that we put aside the things of this world and take up our Cross and follow Him. If we do not, we are an adulterer towards God, (idolater).
In Luke 18:11, Jesus told a parable about a self-righteous Pharisee who thanked God in his prayer at the Temple that he was not a MOICHOS, (adulterer), like all the others, yet his pride caused God to reject him.
That is why in Mat 5:32; Luke 16:18, Jesus taught on divorce where adultery is a bona fide basis for divorce. Yet, the spiritual analogy is our adultery / idolatry against God that causes Him to reject us.
Therefore, God’s love and forgiveness gives us salvation; those who reject Him are adulterers to God – idolaters, rejected by Him.
The 8th Commandment, Ex 20:15, “You shall not steal.”
This Commandment is given in the listing to the rich young ruler to show that no one is saved by the Law / human good works, Mat 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20.
The heart issue continues, as it is first used by Jesus to exhort men to not store up the treasures of this world, but to store up treasures in heaven, Mat 6:19-20. Vs. 21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In other word, produce Divine good / the fruit of the Spirit to receive blessings for both time and eternity, 1 Cor 3:10-15.
The next two verses give the negative / sinful aspect of a man’s heart that is focused on the world.
Mat 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, (KLOPE), false witness, slanders.”
Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, (KLOPE), murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
In John 10:10, our Lord used it to compare Himself to the false teachers / Pharisees who were robbing people of salvation and eternal life; whereas, Jesus came to “give life” so that they could “have it abundantly.”
John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Finally, the hypocritical Pharisees used it in Mat 27:64, regarding the Lord’s tomb where His body was laid, which the Pharisee thought Jesus’ disciples would rob to falsify His resurrection, cf. Mat 28:13.
Therefore, Jesus gives life abundantly and with it we are to produce Divine good, the fruit of the Spirit, from the inner man.
The 9th Commandment, Ex 20:16, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
The commandment is first used in the story of the rich young ruler in Mat 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-25, refuting human good works for salvation.
Also, once again, in Mat 15:19, the false witness is used as one of the evil emanations of the human heart that defile an individual.
Mat 15:19-20, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
The concept is first used by Jesus in Mat 5:11, “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.” Here those who are persecuted via lies on account of their relationship with Jesus are blessed.
Jesus Himself became the object of persecution by “false witnesses,” Mark 14:56-57; Mat 26:59, by those who desired to have Jesus executed. They purposefully sought out false testimony that could be used to build a case against Him.
Mat 26:59, “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death.”
Mark 14:56-57, “For many were giving false testimony against Him, and yet their testimony was not consistent. 57And some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him.”
Like murder, the 6th Commandment, the one who lies is of his father the devil and practices lying, John 8:44.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar (PSEUSTES), and the father of it, (lies).”
Therefore, when we are falsely persecuted on account of Jesus, we are blessed, (suffering for blessing).
The 10th Commandment, Ex 20:17, “You shall not covet…”
In the first NT utilization of the principle of “coveting,” Jesus enlarged on all of the commandments utilizing “coveting / lusting” in reference to being the genesis of all sins, because they emanate from within a man’s heart, Mat 5:21-48.
Mat 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust (EPITHUMEO) for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
It too is used in the list of Mat 15:19, regarding where sin emanates from, “evil thoughts.”
Mat 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
Jesus made the point that the sins that defile a person are sins coming from untamed desires in the heart, Mark 7:20-22; Luke 12:15.
Mark 7:20-23, “And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man”.”
Jesus warned that covetousness destroys Bible Doctrine in the soul and leads to a lack of Divine good production, Mark 4:19.
Mark 4:19, “The worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
Jesus also warns us to guard our hearts against covetousness and the false hope of the riches of this world, Luke 12:15.
Luke 12:15, “Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions”.”
Therefore, we are warned to not allow the lust pattern of the sin nature control our souls, and trust in the false hope of the things of this world.
So, in summary, Jesus’ application of the Ten Commandments tells us:
1st There is only One God.
2nd We are to worship and serve Him only.
3rd We are to honor and glorify Him in our personal relationship with Him.
4th We have rest in Him, i.e., been saved from our sins through Him.
5th We are not saved by our human good works.
6th Human good works and sin emanate from the inner man and bring death to mankind.
7th God’s love and forgiveness gives us salvation; those who reject Him are adulterers to God – idolaters, rejected by Him.
8th Jesus gives life abundantly and with it we are to produce Divine good, the fruit of the Spirit, from the inner man.
9th When we are falsely persecuted on account to Jesus, we are blessed, (suffering for blessing).
10th We are warned to not allow the lust pattern of the sin nature control our souls and trust in the false hope of the things of this world.
Therefore, rejoice that you have a Savior who lived for you and died for you. And by the power of the Spirit, as a new creation, live out these commands to the glory of our great and awesome God.
Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
(Augustus Toplady, “Rock of Ages”)