From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 7 – The Ten Commandments – proof that you and I are sinners, not just other people
I have included this chapter to address the problem many people have. When ‘sin’ or ‘sinners’ are referred to, they assume somebody else is being spoken about, not themselves. Most of the people I have ever spoken to have believed they are good. But they aren’t. We are all sinners, including me and you. If any further proof is needed, that you and I are sinners, let us look at the Ten Commandments as an exercise. The Law of Moses actually contains 613 commandments from God to the Jewish people. But among those there are the ten main ones which Moses was given by God on Mount Sinai. You could say that these ten sum up all of the others. Let us look at them, just as examples, and work out whether or not you have broken them and if so, how often.
However, please note that the Jewish Law of Moses, of which the Ten Commandments are a part, does not apply any longer. That is because Jesus has fulfilled the Law of Moses and we are not now subject to it. However, nine of the ten commandments were specifically restated in the New Testament. That means that they do apply to us today. The only one not restated was the fourth commandment, about the sabbath day. We are therefore still bound to obey the other nine, not as part of the Law of Moses, but because they are restated in the New Testament.
The Ten Commandments which God gave to Israel:
1) 7“You shall have no other gods before me.Deuteronomy 5:7-21 (NIV)
2) 8“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
3) 11“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
4) 12“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. 15Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
(NB Remember, this fourth commandment about the sabbath was not restated in the New Testament so it does not apply to us today).
5) 16“Honour your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
6) 17“You shall not murder.
7) 18“You shall not commit adultery.
8) 19“You shall not steal.
9) 20“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
10) 21“You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbour’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
Are you guilty of breaking these commandments?
Possibly you feel you are not guilty of breaking any of them? Or perhaps you assume that you have only broken them to a slight extent and therefore that you are doing relatively well. However, let’s look at each of the nine commandments that still apply to us and consider whether you are innocent or guilty. I am doing this because, in my experience, so many people just cannot see, or will not admit, that they are sinners.
I hope that by the time we get to the end of this chapter there will no longer be any argument about this and that you will accept that you have sinned in more ways than you have realised, and that you are just as guilty as I am. By the way, I am not saying that these are the only sins that you and I are guilty of. There are many more besides these, such as pride, selfishness, cruelty, callousness, rebellion, lack of love etc etc. These nine commandments are just examples to prove the general point. The true extent of our sinfulness is far wider than this.