The Tenth Commandment
This is my eighteenth and final post on the Ten Commandments using Buddy Dano’s study: FOR THE LAND OF THE FREE: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FREEDOM and the only one dealing with the tenth commandment.
In this week’s excerpt Pastor Dano states that the Tenth Commandment is how the Apostle Paul realized that he had a sinful nature and that he needed a savior (which is true). Then Pastor Dano spends most of his discussion giving the Gospel. This is fine but not much detail regarding covetousness or why it was included in the Ten Commandments is given (remember that the purpose Ten Commandments is to protect the divine institutions).
It really doesn’t hurt to provide the Gospel regularly and I’m glad Pastor Dano did so again here. However, if any of my readers are looking for a more in-depth discussion of covetousness then I would like to recommend Bob Deffinbaugh’s write up titled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Coveting — and a Whole Lot More! (Exodus 20:17)”. I would like to quote a couple of items from Pastor Deffinbaugh and urge anyone who is interested to follow the link.
Just because coveting is the root of all kinds of evil, we must be very careful not to conclude that all coveting is evil. The term “covet” for most of us is a loaded one, suggesting only evil desires. In the Scriptures, however, “covet” may be used both positively and negatively. One may covet in a good sense or in a bad sense, depending on the context in which the term is used.59 Our Lord strongly desired (He desired with desire, Luke 22:15) to eat the Passover with His disciples. Paul strongly desired to know Christ more intimately (Phil. 3:7-14), to be with those whom he loved in the Lord, as well as for their spiritual well-being and growth (cf. Phil. 1:7-11). Paul also encouraged the Corinthian saints to covet the better spiritual gifts:[…]
That is a good point to keep in mind!
Pastor Deffinbaugh also develops several points that I won’t go into in detail but I want to provide the summary of to whet your appetites to read further:
- It is only wrong to covet what God has denied us, or what is of little value.
- We covet most what we value most, what we believe to be good.
- What we covet most we will sacrifice to obtain.
- If God is the greatest good and of infinite value, then we men should covet having fellowship with Him, and make whatever sacrifice is required to attain and enjoy it.
- To covet anything more than God, is to place that thing we covet above God, which is idolatry.
Here is Pastor Dano:
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
‘‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservants, nor his maidservants, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.’’
The word ‘‘to covet’’ means to desire. This commandment forbids the coveting of the property, persons or the personal status of other citizens in a national entity, or of their businesses, or assets or of anything belonging to fellow citizens.
The tenth commandment was the basis for Paul’s discovery of his old sin nature, found in Romans 7:7, where he wrote this: ‘‘Nay, I had not known sin, but by the Law, for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, ’Thou shalt not covet.’’’ Paul is saying I would not have known the existence of the principle of the old sin nature were it not for the tenth commandment. That is the principle found also in Romans 13, and the Christian way of life.
Every member of the human race is born with an old sin nature. When the first man and woman exercised negative volition to the single prohibition of God in the Garden, they died spiritually and acquired an old sin nature, which is now passed down through the male in procreation. Romans 5:12, ‘‘By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death (spiritual) passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’’
The one exception to this is the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ through the virgin birth. The essence of the old sin nature is characterized by an area of weakness which produces personal sins. Hebrews 12:1, ‘‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.’’ And an area of strength which produces human good, declared to be filthy rags in God’s sight in Isaiah 64:6. ‘‘But we all as an unclean thing, AND ALL OUR RIGHTEOUSNESSES ARE AS FILTHY RAGS; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.’’ The old sin nature also has a lust pattern, and has trends, asceticism and lasciviousness.
The fact that man is born with an old sin nature includes his own good works as a means of salvation. But man can only produce relative righteousness and God demands ABSOLUTE RIGHTEOUSNESS. Also, God’s perfect justice demands that a penalty be paid for sin. The Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin. 1 John 2:2, when He bore all the sins of every old sin nature on the cross. ‘‘And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’’ 1 Peter 2:24, ‘‘Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.’’
Therefore sins ARE NOT the issue in salvation. For they have been judged once and for all in Christ. And the justice of God the Father has been satisfied.
The issue the unbeliever faces is whether to stand on his own good works or to accept the finished work of Christ. The Scripture clearly declares that there is no salvation outside of the work and the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 4;12, ‘‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’’
The plan of God is always characterized by God doing all the work and man receiving the benefit. Salvation is a free gift of God, not of works, and it is appropriated by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8, 9, ‘‘For by GRACE are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.’’
GRACE found a way to redeem man from the slave market of sin and that way is to ‘‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’’ In studying the Ten Commandments, Paul discovered, as we have seen, that they were designed as principles of freedom.
The tenth commandment forbids covetousness because, when unchecked, it destroys individual freedom. Covetousness is an expression of the lust pattern of the old sin nature. And when the lust pattern is allowed to control the soul, the emotional rebellion takes place in the soul. When a maximum number of people in a national entity are under emotional rebellion in the soul, freedom is destroyed.
SO AS WE HAVE BEEN REPEATEDLY EMPHASIZING, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE GIVEN BY GOD FOR THE PROTECTION, THE MAINTENANCE AND THE PROMOTION OF FREEDOM. They are a part of the Word of God which lives and abides forever. In every generation the Commandments have formed the basis for human freedom in spite of every conspiracy formed against them. THESE PRINCIPLES ARE THE VERY FOUNDATION UPON WHICH AMERICA WAS BUILT, AND THEY CONSTITUTE FOR US A MARVELOUS HERITAGE.
Today these principles are being rejected by us as a people and undermined by those dedicated to our destruction as a free nation. As a result of their rejection of the principles of freedom, the Exodus generation wandered in the desert for 40 years, and they were never able to go in and claim the land that was designed for them by God. Jeremiah’s generation broke the covenant and ignored the existence of a conspiracy, and their nation was destroyed.
Our freedom as individuals and our independence as a nation rests upon first the understanding and then the application of God’s principles of human freedom. Only then can the effectiveness of any conspiracy formed against us be neutralized.