These remaining commandments are particularly self-centered. They all could be sub-headings under a lead title of “You Come First After Me,” and the truth would not be stretched at all.
6. “You shall not murder”(Exodus 20:13).
That means not taking another’s life with premeditation and evil and selfish intent. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expanded on this and the following commandments. Here, He said this:
“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. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22).
The deeper meaning of these words comes out in other translations. Here is the New Living Translation (NLT) for verse 22:
“But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”
There is a type of murder this seems to be talking about that destroys the person from within, such as the man being executed in the news story in Part 2. His dad actually killed him within by his degrading, belittling accusations. Then he repeated the action in a direct manner. Again, as Paul wrote, “…fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
7. “You shall not commit adultery”(Exodus 20:14).
Of all the commandments, this one may be one that reaches deepest and the quickest to man’s inner realm of self-indulgence and secret longings of the flesh. Jesus also expanded this one beyond the overt physical relationship to that of the heart and mind. He said this:
“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” (Matthew 5:27-28).
Man has no excuse with that indictment; our hides are peeled and our scalps are nailed to the wall! Even Job, that patriarch of old, fought the same battle, for he made this declaration:
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1 – KJV).
One of my friends commented recently that death by crucifixion is a slow death, referring to the Bible truth that our old nature has been crucified with Christ, and also making the point that that old man will hang around until the body returns to dust in the grave.
There are some harsh facts that need to be understood if a person is going to live above indictment of this commandment as Jesus expanded it into our mental arena. First, Romans 8:5-8 tells us:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit, for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [That’s] because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
The key point to glean from that passage is that the carnal mind is not submissive to the law of God, neither can it be! We Christians spend a great deal of time trying to get the flesh, our old nature, to be spiritual, to be obedient, to be pure—all to no avail. The flesh wins the battle and we are thrown into a pit of self-condemnation. After Paul writes of his struggles in that arena in Romans 7:13-25, he declares this in Romans 8:1:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Then, in Galatians 5:16-18, Paul recognizes that battle as one that all believers, including himself, have to wage every single day of our lives—live in submission to the Spirit of God within us and give no quarter to the longings of the flesh!
Following are some ideas that might be helpful in this warfare:
1. “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
2. Recognize that this is an “every day” issue—“Take up your cross daily…,” Jesus said (Luke 9:23).
3. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, tofulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14). Destroy those lewd videos, books and pictures; don’t frequent those places where you are easily tempted. Do not let your mind play upon thoughts that are not of the Spirit but are of the flesh.
4. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. Your word I have hidden in my heart,
that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:9 & 11). Memorize and repeat often key verses that help change thought patterns.
5. Let Hebrews 4:15-16 become your fall back encouragement and comfort: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
6. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). And closely associated with that warning is Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
It would not be likely that this subject is not addressed in Proverbs, and it is, with sobering words: “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul” (Proverbs 6:32).
The sixth Beatitude is “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8), which, given that no man can look upon God and live, carries a bit of a cloud of mystery. However, as Paul describes purity, it is quite likely that Job, whom I quoted earlier, had a longing for that kind of heart when he made that covenant with himself. In Titus 1:15, Paul writes:
“To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”
Would it be that all believers could have the purity of innocence and not entertain the impurity of a defiled conscience!
(Continued in Part Four.)