The Ten Commandments
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me
This commandment is not only an injunction not to worship other deities before the true God, Yahweh. It also means that nothing in our lives should ever take priority over God and His will. Has there ever been a time in your life in which something or someone was, even for a moment, more important to you than God? Has God always been your top priority and greatest love?
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images
If you are reading this, you probably do not have a statue of Buddha or of some other pagan god sitting somewhere in your home that you worship. In the clear, right? Well, not so fast. If you believe things about God that are not supported by Scripture (for example, that God will accept you as long as you ‘try to be a good person’) then you are not worshipping the true God. You have made a god out of your own image. This is called idolatry and is a serious sin.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
God takes His good name very seriously. Have you ever misused God’s name in a vulgar or even flippant way? This is called blasphemy.
4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy
Though we should love and serve God every day, He has set aside one day a week for special worship of and service to Him. Has there ever been a Sabbath day in which you slept in or maybe went fishing or to a ballgame instead of going to church?
5. Honor thy father and thy mother
Have you ever disobeyed or dishonored your parents? Have you ever lied to them (and thereby broke two commandments at once)?
6. Thou shalt not murder
Most of us have not actually killed another person. Off the hook, right? Well, the Bible teaches that “Whoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). Have you ever hated another individual?
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
Like many of the Ten Commandments, this one encapsulates more than one might expect just at face value. Jesus said, “whoever looketh upon a woman with lust has committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you ever looked at a woman with lust? If you are a lady, have you ever done this toward a man?
8. Thou shalt not steal
Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?
9. Thou shalt not lie
Who among us has not lied?
10. Thou shalt not covet
This means that we should not desire any possession of another individual whether it be his home, vehicle, boat, wife, social status, prestige – anything.
So, how did you do? If you are anything like me, you probably did not do too well. If you are really honest with yourself, I think that you will find that at one time or another you have broken most, if not all, of God’s commandments. Even if we break only one, it is the same as breaking them all (James 2:10). By God’s standards, then, we are all liars, thieves, idolaters, basphemers, and adulterers. We have all at one time or another dishonored our parents, disregarded the Sabbath, coveted another’s possessions, and not put God first in our lives. So you see, by God’s standards, we are not as good as we might have imagined. The fact of the matter is, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23).
The Consequences of Sin
Almost all people to whom I have shared the Gospel will in fact admit they are sinners upon hearing and understanding the 10 Commandments, but many fail to recognize the gravity of their sin. Some believe that God will just overlook their sin. Others have this notion that God will grade on a curve and reward them because they are not as bad as a, say, Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot. Friend, if this is your idea of God, let me say that I love you enough to tell you you are wrong – dead wrong. All sin, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us, is an affront to a holy God. The Bible teaches that “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This death is a spiritual death and results in eternal separation from God. Please understand, dear one, that this eternal death is not just missing out on Heaven, it is eternal conscious suffering in a very real place the Bible calls Hell. Sin has eternal consequences because it is committed against an eternal God. Once a person enters Hell, there are no second chances, his fate is eternally and tragically sealed.
The Good News
The word “Gospel” means “good news.” The Good News of the Gospel is that God does not want you to go to Hell and loves you enough to have provided a Way of escape. His name is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the living God. Jesus came to earth as fully God and fully man and was the only One to have ever lived a perfect, sinless life. Jesus then willingly laid down His life for us by dying on a Roman cross. He was crucified to pay the penalty of your sins and mine. He became the offering for our sins and therefore satisfied the demands of God’s justice.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8
Then, on the morning of the third day, something amazing happened. God raised Jesus from the dead. All four gospels bear witness to this miraculous event. Jesus was raised and showed Himself very much alive to the disciples and apostles and to more than five hundred at once (1 Corinthians 15:3-7). The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most well-attested event in all of ancient history and testifies to the deity of Jesus. The resurrection sets Jesus apart from all other “religious leaders” who came before Him or since.
By being raised from the dead, Jesus has gained victory over sin, death and Hell. He is alive today and stands ready to forgive anyone of his sins who will confess with his mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). Jesus and Jesus alone can forgive one of his sins and secure for him escape from Hell and an eternity in Heaven. That is the Good News.