There is a great deal of controversy about the Ten Commandments in the news today. It seems people don’t want them posted in public places or read in our schools. Strenuous efforts in political and educational realms are being made to have them erased or removed.
Did you know that whether you have ever thought about them or not, or whatever your views of the Ten Commandments may be, that one day every single person (that includes you!), will have to face up to each one of them? Maybe you have heard about the Ten Commandments, but you have never actually read them. So before I go any further, here they are just as God gave them:
- Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image (no “idols” in our lives)
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.
- Honour thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness.
- Thou shalt not covet.
God gave us these 10 commandments. They reveal the holy nature and will of God, and are His standard for righteous living. In fact, the Bible says, Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. - 1 John 3:4.
God says anything that breaks the law of God is sin. So let me ask you, have you ever broken God’s law? Do you know that the Bible says we are all sinners? God says, For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23.
I am sure that some who are reading this will be thinking, “Hey, I’ve never broken the 10 commandments. I mean, I’ve never killed anybody. I’ve never stolen anything. I’m an honest person. I try my best to be a good person and even help people.”
What does God say to that kind of argument. He says, “There is none righteous, no not one. There is none that doeth good, no, not one” – Romans 3:10,12. You read that correctly. NONE. Nobody. There is not one single person who is good in God’s sight according to God’s standard of goodness.
Maybe you wouldn’t go so far as to say you’ve never lied or stolen or cheated (cheating is a form of stealing). Perhaps you might be thinking, “O.K. I admit that I’ve only done a couple of little things that weren’t very nice or what you would call ‘good’. But I’m not as bad as a lot of people I hear about and some I even know! I think I’m good enough to go to heaven.” Really?
Let me ask you this: how many times would you have to steal to be a thief? Three times, five times, ten times? Did you know if you stole once, you are guilty of stealing? (And it doesn’t matter what the thing is or how much it’s worth ether!) The Bible says, For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. – James 2:10,11.
You see it is not how often you might have broken the law, or which of the ten laws of God you break, God says that if you break one law, one time, you become a lawbreaker. And what does God call a lawbreaker? A sinner. You see that’s what sin is. It is breaking the law. He defines it in those very terms, “sin is the transgression of the law” – 1 John 3:4.
And what is the penalty for breaking God’s law? The Bible says it is death. The soul that sinneth, it shall die – Ezekiel 18:4. The wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23. Every single person in the world is guilty of breaking the law, and so we are all under that terrible curse. It is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. - Galatians 3:10.
But the Bible is also a book of Good News. It is called the Gospel. What is the gospel? It is simply this; that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down to this earth to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21) That was why Joseph was told to name Him Jesus. It means “Jehovah is salvation”. He lived a perfect life; never once did He break any of God’s law. And then, having lived an absolutely perfect and sinless life, He willingly took the punishment and paid the penalty of sin (death) for every single person who would ever put their trust in Him! In other words, He paid the penalty for people who broke God’s law! The Bible says, that “He (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21.
So yes, the Ten Commandments are important. Exceedingly important. But what is even more important is what you will do with God’s remedy for breaking them. The Bible is very clear on this point. You must believe that you are a sinner because you have broken God’s law. You must believe that as a sinner you deserve the penalty for breaking His law. You must also believe that you can never be good enough to make up for all your past failures and sins. And you must believe that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” – Titus 3:5. Finally, you must believe that God sent His Son Jesus as your Substitute and that He paid the penalty for your sin when He suffered and died on the cross of Calvary.
Having believed these things, then you must act upon them. To believe like this is what the Bible calls faith, and faith is belief in action. Let me illustrate. You walk into a room and I invite you to sit down in a chair. You look at it with doubt written on your face and so I assure you that it’s alright, the chair will hold you. But you hesitate. You say that you believe me but you continue to stay standing rather than sit in the chair. Maybe it looks too small or too fragile, but you don’t sit in it. When do you show that you believe in the chair’s ability to hold you? I’ll tell you when. It is when you actually take a step of faith and sit in the chair putting all your weight on its legs. Now that is faith! That is really believing my word about the chair and trusting the chair itself regarding its ability to hold you.
So it is with Christ. Believing in Him means you will take God’s Word about your sins, your need of Christ, and His ability to save you, and you actually receive His salvation as a free gift and put yourself into God’s care.
One final thought. Some people are concerned about this matter of faith. You may be one of them. You think that you may not have this kind of faith that will save you, and so you hesitate. Here is yet another wonderful thing about the gospel. The faith that saves you comes to you as a gift from God. For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. – Ephesians 2:8,9.
Go to God in prayer right now in faith and repentance and hear the words of Christ, "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37)