This is the third post in this series. We have discussed:
- Why and how Christians Respect The Rights Of Their Neighbors.
- What Rights Do The First Four Of The Ten Commandments protect?
Here we will look at the last six of The Ten Commandments (Bible Gateway).
What Rights Do The Last Six Of The Ten Commandments protect?
What are the last six of The Ten Commandments (Bible Gateway) about? These commandments focus on the love and respect we owe to each other.
Whereas the first four commandments uphold the rights of our Creator, the last six uphold human rights. Whereas the first four commandments require the government to leave us in peace so that we can worship God as we see fit, all but one of the last six require the government to protect us from each other.
What is the exception? Note that with the exception of the commandments to remember the Sabbath Day and to honor of our Father and Mother, the commandments are all a series of “you shall nots.” Why do only those two commandments require positive actions from us?
- Exodus 20:8-11 NASB – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it – Bible Gateway is a gift to us. How can we force someone to accept a gift? How can we force someone to rest, to take the time to be with God, to contemplate His glory, and to marvel at His Creation?
- Exodus 20:12 NASB – “Honor your father and your mother, – Bible Gateway requires us to honor those with righteous authority over us. How can anyone make a fool understand the harm he does to himself when he thinks of no one except himself?
Thus, these two commandments require something from us that must come the heart.
What about the last five commandments? Oddly, the Bible never explicitly explains why these sins are wrong. Instead, the Bible provides stories that illustrate the harm. However, we can readily observe that these commandments point to things we should not do because they harm those God cares about, creations He made in His own image.
We belong to God, not each other. Therefore, when we abuse each other, we wrong our Creator
- You shall not murder. When Cain murdered Abel, was that the first sin man committed against man? Not likely. However, murder is the first sin for which God requires capital punishment (see Genesis 9:6 NASB – Whoever sheds human blood, By man his – Bible Gateway).
- You shall not commit adultery. Adultery breaks the marriage covenant, Genesis 2:18-24 NASB – Then the LORD God said, “It is not – Bible Gateway). Almost everyone knows from personal experience something about the nature of the bond that forms between a man and a woman. It is deep and personal, and adultery does violence to it. Thus, adultery wrecks families, and numerous studies have shown that healthy two-parent families benefit children. Therefore, adultery harms the whole society.
- You shall not steal. Any economist understands the problem that a society acquires when it approves thievery. We call such societies Socialist. The Bible calls us to a higher standard.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. We live in the Information Age (Information Age – Wikipedia). Yet, ironically, the truth has almost never been more elusive. What is the big problem with lying? Contemplate the first lie the Bible tells us about, when the serpent lied to Eve (Genesis 3:4 NASB – The serpent said to the woman, “You – Bible Gateway). Every sin begins with a lie, even if that lie is only one we tell our self.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male slave, or his female slave, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Each sin begins in the covetousness of our heart. When we covet what belongs to someone else, instead of wishing good for our fellow human beings, we begin to contemplate and justify their harm. When politicians buy our votes, they appeal to our covetousness. Here is the beginning of Socialism, demagogues appealing to our covetousness.
That finishes The Ten Commandments (Bible Gateway), but do The Ten Commandments (Bible Gateway) contain all we need for good government? Can we reduce the Biblical knowledge we need for good government down to 17 verses? No. The Old Testament was called the Law for a reason. The Old Testament instructed the Hebrews in how to rule themselves, to gain control over their worst impulses.
As we observed in Why and how Christians Respect The Rights Of Their Neighbors, we tend to do what seems right in our own eyes (Judges 17:6). Since we lack the capacity to do what is right without the help of the Holy Spirit, doing what seems right in our own eyes produces disastrous results.
Consider Proverbs 28-29 NASB – Warnings and Instructions – The wicked – Bible Gateway. Study the proverbs in these two chapters carefully. Note how well they describe the nature of the strife we see in our nation today.
Here is a sample.
Therefore, to help us, God gave us the Bible.
Doesn’t every good work include running a government that works properly? Yes. Of course, it does.
To Be Continued
- Part 4: What Does The Bible Say About All Men Being Created Equal?
- Part 5: How Do We Fix This Mess?