The Ten Commandments
Good News, in conjunction with the Correspondence Course Department,
presents brief monthly excursions into the study of the Bible, delving
into topics relevant to the development and increased understanding of
future members of the God Family. Bible study is one means by which
Christians are renewed daily (II Cor. 4:16), so let's refresh ourselves
with more of the precious truths of God's Word!
The format of these ministudies is similar to that of the Ambassador
College Bible Correspondence Course. Look up and read in /our Bible the
scripture references given in answer to the questions. Comments
following the questions elaborate on the scriptures just read. That's
all there is to it! (These studies are based on the King James Version
of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.)
During His ministry,
Jesus Christ taught obedience to God as He preached the good news about
the coming government of God on earth. "Repent ye, and believe the
gospel," was the essence of His message (Mark 1:15).
over again the Bible emphasizes repentance from sin. And sin is defined
in the Bible as the breaking of God's great spiritual law (I John 3:4).
we already know from our study of the Scriptures with past ministudies,
repentance is the first step toward salvation. We must repent of (turn
from) breaking God's law as one of the conditions to receiving His
forgiveness of our sins.
'Fear God, and keep his commandments:
for this is the whole duty of man," is the inspired admonition of
Solomon to all mankind (Eccl! 12:13). Let's review several vital facts
about the Ten Commandments and see how they form the basis of true
1. Are all 10 of God's commandments
conveniently listed for us in the Bible? Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21. How
may we know that there are 10? Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13; 10:4.
Did the patriarch Abraham — the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:16) —
think it was important to keep God's commandments? Gen. 26:5. What was
the prophet David's attitude toward obeying God's law? Carefully read
and ponder the entirety of Psalm 1 19, noticing especially verses
Both Abraham and
David were commandment keepers. They had great respect for God's law.
That is one vital reason why they will hold very responsible positions
in the future government of God on earth.3. Did Christ Himself obey the Ten Commandments? John 15:10. Did He teach others to obey them? Matt. 19:17 -19.
verses in Matthew 19 clearly show that Jesus specifically referred to
the Ten Commandments. He knew that God's 10-point law would bring
peace, fulfillment and joy to any individual or nation that would
choose to obey it.
4. Does the Bible show that the
very Church Jesus built would be teaching obedience to, and literally
endeavoring to keep, the Ten Commandments and other instructions of
Christ? Rev. 12:17; 14:12. (Chapter 12 of Revelation personifies God's
Church as a woman.)
Worldwide Church of God upholds the commandments of God. God's Church
echoes the words of David and follows God's law as the Christian
standard to live by.5. Is the law of God holy, just
and good? Rom. 7:12. Does peace of mind come from keeping the Ten
Commandments? Ps. 119:165.
person who keeps God's law has a clear conscience. He is at peace with
God, with himself and with his neighbor. He has "the peace of God which
passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7).6.
How did Jesus enlarge upon the keeping of the Ten Commandments? Matt.
5:21-22, 27-28. Did John understand this principle? I John 3:15.
The law was given to
make man happy and to lead him into the peaceful, full, abundant life —
and above all to lead him into eternal life. But because of
disobedience to our Creator's holy, righteous law, the world is filled
with strife, poverty, ignorance and suffering today!
Did Paul understand the spiritual aspects of God's law? Rom. 7:14.7. How did
Jesus Christ of Nazareth sum up the great Ten Commandment law of God?
Matt. 22:35-40. In what one word is the very nature and character of
God summarized? I John 4:16.
to the belief of so many today. Jesus did not come to do away with the
Ten Commandments. Rather, He came to teach mankind how to live by the
spiritual intent of the law.
In Old Testament times God required
only a physical, mechanical and visible obedience from the "church." In
other words, obedience only in the letter. This was because the Old
Testament Church of God — the nation of Israel — was not given
opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit to help them obey the spiritual
intent of the Ten Commandments, as well as the letter of the law.
in New Testament times God has made His Holy Spirit available to those
whom He calls. And He desires that His Spirit-begotten children follow
Him in the spirit — the "fullness" — of His law.
another human being is the spirit of murder. Sexual lust is the spirit
of adultery. Christ showed how God's commandments apply to our
innermost thoughts and attitudes as well Let's notice how the Bible
shows this seemingly impossible task can be accomplished, albeit still
imperfectly because of our humanity.
the essence of God's spiritual character is love, the Ten Commandments
are expressions of the character of God. Jesus showed that the Ten
Commandments are in reality a guide to teach us how to love. The first
four commandments show us how to love God, while the last six of the
Ten Commandments show us how to love our neighbor — all fellow human
beings.8. If we possess and exercise God's Spirit, will
the love of God that it imparts enable us to "fulfill" — to obey —
God's law? Rom. 55; 13:10.
divine love of God imparted to converted Christians by the Holy Spirit
is expressed within the bounds of God's law — the Ten Commandments.
Love is not left to interpretation by the individual Christian. Rather,
he is guided in expressing God's love by the provisions of the Ten
Commandments. Therefore, the love of God is manifested first of all in
adoration and worship of God and literal obedience to Him, and then in
outgoing concern, compassion, kindness and service toward fellow human
beings.9. Could there be any
truth whatsoever in the widespread belief that having love nullifies
the need to literally keep God's law? I John 5:2-3; John 14:15;
15:9-10; II John 5-6.
The love of God enables us to fulfill the spirit of,the
law. It was the "tool" that Jesus Christ used to fulfill — to obey —
the law Himself. As the apostle Paul explained: "He who loves his
neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit
adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal. You shall not
covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, 'You
shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to a
neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:8-10,
Revised Standard Version).
apostle John placed a great deal of emphasis upon love. But never did
he or any other inspired writer of Scripture say that love put away,
superseded or destroyed the law. John, who was a close friend, disciple
and apostle of Jesus Christ, made it plain that-one who truly has the
love of God will be obeying the commandments of God!' 10.
Is it possible to earn one's salvation through obedience to God? Rom.
6:23. And yet. can anyone enter God's Kingdom — the very Family of God
— as a lawbreaker? Matt. 7.21; 19:17-19.
cannot earn your salvation by keeping either the Ten Commandments or
any other law of God. Eternal life is clearly a gift from God!
man or woman could earn immortality in 10,000 lifetimes of keeping the
Ten Commandments! But neither can you enter into eternal life as a
lawbreaker (I John 3:4; Rom. 6:23). Obedience to the Ten Commandments
helps one to grow more like God who is love, until finally born into
His spiritual Family at the resurrection. And no rebel will ever be
permitted to enter that divine Kingdom!
Jesus Christ plainly and
emphatically stated, that as Christians we are to endeavor to keep the
Ten Commandments with our whole beings and with His spiritual help
through the Holy Spirit. trusting in Him to mercifully apply His
sacrifice in our behalf when and where we fall short, and as we repent
(I John 1:7-9).
The time is coming soon when the whole world
will understand and appreciate what an incredible blessing the law of
God really is! Isa. 2:2-3.