The 10 Commandments

I was led to write this article after some comments I received about my post “Good without God?” Arguments were made that we can have moral values without God and that many people who are Atheist, agnostics or other can do good things to better society. I don’t disagree with those statements. People can do good deeds or have compassion and love others.  Morals, on what are we suppose to gauge moral values? If we gauge moral standards  and values on human philosophy and thinking, who determines the moral code for  society to live by?  One persons moral values may not be another persons moral values.  One persons morals  may be immoral to another. Who would set the standards for a moral society?  Who would get to decide what is moral and what is not?

I believe that God Who gave the 10 commandments to Moses on mount Sinai has given mankind a set of  moral values and laws which to live by. These 10 commandments are the foundation on which to build a society. God chose Israel to be a nation,  to live by those commandment and to be a witness to other nations that had no moral values and did what was right in their eyes. It’s too much to get into it now, but they did some deplorable things, e.g human sacrifices, killing, raping and worshiping man-made idols. In those days those things were standard for most nations, which we would call barbaric today. These things are still happening somewhere in the world, there are still barbaric practices that go on. Just look at Rwanda and the genocide there. Absolute evil without a moral conciseness. Rwanda is not the only place in our times, let’s look at Serbia and the genocide that happened there not too long ago. Parts of Africa and the Middle East with no regards of other people’s life’s and beliefs. They kill and rape because a people group has a different faith then them. They behead people or burn them to death. Is that moral? Maybe those who brutally murder and rape think that it is within their moral standards. Many of us would not agree that those things are moral, but there are others in the world that see no problem with those things according to their moral code and ethics. 

I believe that most people know at least some of the 10 commandments, believers or unbelievers. All around the world people know to one degree or another about the 10 commandments. As I stated in my previous article, the law of God is written on the hearts of man. People intrinsically know right from wrong, but many choose to ignore their heart.

Let’s take a quick look at the 10 commandments.  (Short version)  The 10 commandment can be found in Exodus 20.

1.  “You shall have no other gods before Me..  (people invented many false gods).

2.  “You shall not make for yourself a carved image…  (idols).

3.  “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain..  (broken everyday).

4.  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy..  (a day of rest for the people).

5.  “Honor your father and your mother..  ( on the decline in today’s society).

6.  “You shall not murder..  (no words needed).

7.  “You shall not commit adultery..  (get’s broken).

8.  “You shall not steal..  (same as above).

9.  “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor…  (gets broken).

10. “You shall not covet..  (people desire many of the things others have).

The first 4 commandments are directed towards God. We should honor Him and reverence Him as our Father and creator. We should not make idols and worship something that does not exist. Some people say that they don’t worship anything. If you don’t worship God, you worship something.  Yourself, riches and material things, sports etc. God’s name gets used in vain everyday. Jesus has become a swear word, in the movies and society. The sabbath law for the Christian is a subject for another time.

The last 6 commandments are directed towards human relations and how we should live with one another. I firmly believe that if we would all follow those, we would not have the problems in society as we see them today.

These are the moral standards and code we as humans should live by. All of them however get broken every day and today we have thousands of laws in the books because people disobey the commandments given by God. Now, many will say that they have never murdered anyone or committed adultery or have lied etc. The religious leadership in the days of Jesus told Him that. They believed that they kept the law perfectly. Jesus didn’t think so and He actually put the 10 commandments a notch higher. People thought that they kept the laws, because physically they never murdered anybody or cheated on their wife’s. They may have kept the law outwardly, Jesus however showed them that is was and is a matter of the heart.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment….”

If someone hates another person, they have already committed murder in their heart.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery” “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

A person may not had sexual relation with another, but lusting after someone is the same as committing adultery.

These passage can be found in Matthew chapter 5.  Jesus clearly shows that God looks at the heart and not the outside. If we gauge our moral laws on human understanding and reasoning instead of God’s, where would we be? We as humans cannot know the heart of our fellow-man, even our own heart is unknowable and wicked. God judges the heart of man and here is what God said about the heart of man:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:1o, 11.

God will judge according to His law and He will look at the heart. There will be a day of judgment for everybody, whether some believe it or not. Everybody will face death one day, no exceptions and stand before God.

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment..” Hebrews 9:27.

Jesus narrowed those 10 commandment down to two: Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. “This is the first and great commandment. “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.   If we  were to follow those two, we would fulfill the law to love God and not murder, steal, lie etc.

If we talk about moral values and ethics set by man or God,  I rather follow the moral code set by God and not of man and human wisdom and understanding.  A society that distance itself from God and His standards will ultimately fail. There is no other foundation that can be laid but God’s. If a society turns from God, wants to remove God from its life is a society doomed, sooner or later.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”Matthew 7:24-27.


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