December 18, 2017

The Eighth & Ninth Commandments

George Stiekes

Eight: Thou shalt not steal. Exodus 20:15

Keeping in mind that the commandments reflect the very nature of God, as God’s people, we ought not steal because our God is trustworthy. We must also be trustworthy and thereby reflect His glory.

The brevity of the command in no way makes stealing any less sinful. To steal is to take the property of another without permission or right, secretly or by force. Another form of stealing takes place when a person takes the words and ideas of others without right or acknowledgment. This commandment is designed to protect the property of our neighbors. Like all of the last six commandments, it is included in Christ’s summary of the commandments. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. THE SECOND IS THIS: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF (Mark 12:30-31).

Nine: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Exodus 20:16

We must start with the fact that it is God’s will that His people always speak the truth and not lie (Proverbs 14:5; Colossians 3:9; James 3:14). Furthermore, it is God’s will that we be like Him (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 92:15; Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2). John 14:6 reminds us that Jesus Christ is truth and we are exhorted to be like Him (Romans 8:29; Philippians 2:5; Ephesians 5:1). We are to emulate the God we know, love and serve.

This commandment can refer to a number potential scenarios. It would include giving a false witness, gossip and even making judgments about one another. We should recognize that the tongue can be a powerful tool for both good or evil (James 3:5-18).

Paul in Ephesians 4:29 expands on this commandment further. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Our speech should always edify and not tear down another person. Bottom line: As Christians, our speech should always be disciplined so that we accomplish God’s will in this matter.

Sometimes when we read such exhortations, we are tempted to respond inwardly with: I would never do that! (or) I have never done that! In truth, we all have been guilty of this sin and need to ask the Lord to guard our tongues from saying anything that would tear down another person or dishonor Him. We want to be careful of not having to say: I didn’t realize… It may be difficult to do, but we need to think before we speak and we need to be aware of everything we say.

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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