UNDERSTANDING THE SEVENTH TO TENTH COMMANDMENTS
1. The Seventh Commandment – ‘Do not commit adultery’
The seventh commandment deals with the most intimate of human relationships,human sexuality, which has been significantly abused.
“You shall not commit adultery.”
i. Adultery violates God’s original design of marriage.
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
ii. Sexual sin is personal defilement
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
iii. Watching pornography is adultery
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
iv. Re-marriage after divorce is adultery
“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
v. Only a personal resolve can keep one out of adultery
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”
Joseph ran away from the tempting situation.
“One day he [Joseph] went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She [Potiphar’s wife] caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”
Any imagination, impression, expression, or action that seeks for sexual pleasure other than between husband and wife is adultery!
In what other ways do we violate the seventh commandment?
How can we overcome the temptation to sexual sin?
2. The eighth commandment – ‘Do not steal’
This commandment is about respecting the property of other people. To deprive a person of that which rightfully belongs to them is an evil forbidden by God.
i. Do not take what rightfully belongs to another
“You shall not steal.”
ii. All fraud and corruption is theft
“Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.
iii. Unauthorized use of other people’s messages is theft
“I’ve had it with the ‘prophets’ who get all their sermons second hand from each other. 31 Yes, I’ve had it with them. They make up stuff and then pretend it’s a real sermon.(MSG)
iv. Selling substandard goods is detestable to God
“You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 16 For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.”
v. Falsifying financial claims and reports is abominable
“Switching price tags and padding the expense account are two things God hates.”
vi. Failure to pay mandatory dues is robbery.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–because you are robbing me.”
Whereas tithes are for taking care of God’s servants in His house, taxes are for taking care of God’s servants in government.
vii. The only way to stop stealing is to stop.
“Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”
“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
3. The Ninth Commandment – ‘Do not give false testimony’
This commandment is about truthfulness in all our conversations, and especially when testifying about another person or persons.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.”
i. To be a false witness in a legal process is sinful
Exodus 23:1- 3
“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness. “When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,
3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.”
ii. A false witness will not escape punishment.
“A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.”
iii. A believer should not engage in slander and gossip.
“‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour’s life. I am the Lord.”
iv. Do not undermine colleagues with falsehood.
“Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.”
We should not engage in any form of falsehood, gossip or slander about anybody. We must strive to be truthful witnesses and ‘speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.’
4. The Tenth Commandment –‘Do not covet’
This commandment warns against the inordinate desire to have what your neighbour has. It is a warning against being dissatisfied with what you own and being jealous of your neighbour’s success.
“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
i. Covetousness is a strong and dangerous drive.
“ What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”
ii. Covetousness is a failure to recognise God as the source of all things
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
iii. Covetousness is a failure to ask God for your needs.
“You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
iv. The cure for covetousness is to live in contentment.
1 Timothy 6:6-10
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
The tenth commandment is a preventative caution against a desire that could lead to sin.
Covetousness – the illegitimate desire for something that belongs to someone else – is a threat to the community because any action taken to fulfil such a desire is almost always sin.
This is what leads to adultery, theft, murder, etc.
In studying the Ten Commandments, it is clear that this code is merely a reminder of the obligations that the good life places on us. It must therefore be re-emphasized that to embark on merely fulfilling these “laws” is attempting a mission impossible. Yet it is acknowledged that with a life surrendered to God and His Christ, it is possible to rise to this higher level living, upholding the spirit of the Law rather than seeking to fulfil the letter of the Law.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”