The last two of the Ten Commandments are the theme of today’s article. In addition to these two commandments, we will examine Paul’s words about how the Spirit enables us to live by God’s guidance.
The Ninth Commandment: Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor (Deuteronomy 5.20).
The primary historic meaning of this commandment calls for truth-telling in court. False testimony in court will potentially ruin a person’s life and include years of prison or the death penalty.
False witnesses were used in the trial of Jesus. Even though they were not consistent in their claims, the corrupt system put the Savior of the world on the cross.
Another issue with bearing false witness is the need for truth. Our world is based on trust, and trust relies on people telling the truth.
Here is a common example of how trust is connected to truth.
— People rely on doctors, lawyers, loan officers, clergy, politicians, insurance agents, and other professionals to be honest in their dealings. When they are not, trust is broken.
It is a sad commentary to know so many jokes about the lack of speaking the truth among these professions.
Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount provide insight into telling the truth.
— Matthew 5.33-36 – “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’
“But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
“Or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
“And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.”
Beware when someone talks too much in an attempt to persuade you to accept what they are saying. Their many words, even claims of sincere honesty, reveal that they are not telling the full truth.
Jesus advises us to tell the truth and to do what we say we will do.
— Matthew 5.37 – “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”
Simple speech that is honest is what Jesus counsels his followers.
Do Not Covet
The Tenth Commandment: Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife.
Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5.21).
The dictionary defines covet as: to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others.
As I analyze my inside condition, I understanding coveting as another dimension of greed or discontent. If I am not content with what God has given me or if I am greedy for more of something, then I am coveting.
Paul’s sinful nature was revealed to him through this commandment. He has a complicated treatment of sin, the law, and coveting in Romans 7.
Romans 8 describes how Paul found freedom from coveting and other transgressions. Here is a brief outline of what Paul learned about God’s power to live in a love relationship with him.
— Romans 8.2-4 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
So that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
When we read the Ten Commandments, it makes perfect sense to pattern our lives by them. They are a pathway to living in a love relationship with God and other people.
Imagine how blessed the world would be if everyone lived by the instruction of the Ten Commandments.
Romans 7.7-24 details how the flesh upends our plans to follow God’s directions. A good definition of the flesh is, “A person’s life lived apart from a relationship with God.”
When we strike out on our own and live by our best thinking, we are living in the flesh. The flesh will always fail us.
Jesus came to our world to deal with the flesh and sin. When we live in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves following God’s guidance more and more every day.
— Romans 8.5-6 – For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
The Holy Spirit is the presence of God with us, just as Jesus walked with his disciples. If we live according to the Spirit, we will observe God’s directions.
The result will be a full life that is filled with peace.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I discuss the last two of the Ten Commandments during today’s YouTube video. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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