The Ten Commandments

While the Supreme Court debates whether or not to allow the Ten Commandments and other religious displays on public property, let us not forget our freedom to display them on private property, discuss them over coffee, and proclaim them from our pulpits.

Moses recorded the law of God in Exodus 20:1-20.

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

  1. “You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
  4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. “You shall not murder.
  7. “You shall not commit adultery.
  8. “You shall not steal.
  9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”

How do you measure up? If you use the Ten Commandments as a check list to grade your moral standing before God, would you pass? Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you? Have you ever been less than totally truthful? Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? Have you ever relegated God to second, third, or fourth place in your life? Don’t forget that Jesus takes into consideration more than just our actions, but also the attitudes of the heart. He said that if we lust in our minds, we have already broken the seventh commandment (Matthew 5:27-28). Harboring hatred makes us guilty of number six, in the eyes of God (1John 3:15). Take a moment to evaluate yourself in light of the Ten Commandments. Even if we feel we have done fairly well most of the time, the bible reminds us that breaking one of God’s holy commands brings down an avalanche of guilt for them all (James 2:10).

Through our willful infractions of God’s law we incur a guilt that separates us eternally from our creator. “In His presence there is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore,” (Psalm 16:11), but our sin stands like a great barrier keeping us from Him (Ezekiel 18:4, Revelation 21:8). If you desire to enjoy an all satisfying relationship with the glorious God of the universe and avert the crashing wrath of His judgement that you rightly deserve, only one solution exists. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Run to Christ! Throw yourself on His mercy with the assurance that He will receive you as His own (John 6:37). Even if you have horribly broken all ten of God’s commandments and you find yourself in the path of God’s torrent of justice, He provides a way of escape through Christ. He died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin and hung as a substitute for all those who look to Him in faith (Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:4-10).


let us not forget our freedom to display them on private property, discuss them over coffee, and proclaim them from our pulpits.

Not too long after becoming a Christian the church I was attending was talking about how terrible it was that people did not want the 10 commandments displayed in schools. That struck me as odd; to make sure I was correct, I went through every room in the church buildings (except the pastor’s office) and confirmed what I thought: There wasn’t a single copy of the 10 commandments displayed anywhere inside the church.

I’ve sometimes listened to people who say they should be displayed, then asked, “Can you name all 10?” Rarely are they able to. It’s so important that we remember this is not a legal or political issue, but a spiritual one.

Several years ago, our pastor asked that every classroom in the church’s Christian school prominently display the Ten Commandments. I thought it was a great idea then, and even more so now.

I find so humorous that Christians today make this a really big issue when they discuss the Ten Commandments and the need to publicly display them in schools and other public places. The fourth commandment they virtually ignore by worshipping on the first day of the week. The seventh day is the sabbath not Sunday. What’s up?