The Ten Commandments are a set of commands from God we have all heard before, but what do they mean and how do they direct us to live in love?
We all know about the Ten Commandments. We grew up learning about them and knowing that they were important. I honestly never gave them much thought growing up. Yeah, don’t murder, don’t lie, only have one God. It all made sense, but I never truly thought about what they mean to us in light of the New Testament and the fulfillment of the Law. However, my church is going through a study of the 10 Commandments which has caused me to look at them differently.
What is the Greatest Command?
He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.’Matthew 22:37-39
Love God, love others. Those are the two greatest commands. Jesus is very clear about this. If those are the greatest, where do the Ten Commandments fit in?
All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.Matthew 22:40
All the Law. This includes the Ten Commandments. All of the Ten Commandments fall into these 2 categories.
The 2 Categories
Love God, Love Others. Those are the 2 categories.
If you break down the Ten Commandments you will find that the first four deal with our relationship with God and the last six refer to our relationship with others.
All of the first four commands talk about how we relate to God and how we are to show our love and honor to Him. If we keep these first four commands we are loving the Lord our God: the greatest commandment.
The final six commandments reference our relationships with others. They deal with basic things like not murdering. To things that are a little more difficult like not coveting what your neighbor has. These commands all lead us to love our neighbors as ourselves the second greatest commandment.
The Law Vs Love
Don’t even begin to think that I have come to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I haven’t come to do away with them but to fulfill them.Matthew 5:17
The way the Ten Commandments can be compared to the two commands Jesus gave is a perfect example of Jesus’ goal. He came to fulfill the Law not wanting to destroy it, do away with it, or disregard its importance. He fulfilled it so we would not be bound by it. The Law is still important and should be a part of our lives but Jesus fulfilled it and made it possible for us to not have to be bound by it.
Jesus taught us that love is the greatest of all commands. That’s it. Love. When we show love to God and others everything else follows suit…
- You must have no other gods before me.
- Do not use the Lord your God’s name as if it were of no significance; the Lord won’t forgive anyone who uses his name that way.
- Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy.
- Honor your father and your mother so that your life will be long on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you.
- Do not kill.
- Do not commit adultery.
- Do not steal.
- Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.
- Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s house.
- Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.