The Ten Commandments: How do you Measure up?
Bible Study Network
How many times have you heard a person say about someone else,
“Oh, he’s a good guy.” Well, how good of a guy is he, really? Does he
(or you or I for that matter) even begin to measure up to God’s righteous
standards? Let’s find out how you measure up by examining each of the
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3.)
Notice that this passage refers to “gods” with a lower case “g.” This is
because there is only one true and living God. All other persons, things,
and beings are not THE God, they are only things or persons that rule
What is it that really turns you on?—that really “floats your boat?”
What is it that you work so hard to have or experience? It could be a
prize possession like a car or a motorcycle or a boat. It could be a hobby
or a person or a sport. It could be your physique or your job. Whatever
it is, have you ever put it before your pursuit of a relationship with God?
Be honest; otherwise, you are only fooling yourself.
If you have ever placed more importance on a person or a thing or a
pursuit than God, you have violated the First Commandment, and we still
have nine left.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of
anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is
in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve
them.” (Exodus 20:4-5.)
Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in
spirit and truth.” (John 4:24.) Among other things, these passages mean
we must pray to God without the use of props or aids such as crucifixes,
beads, pictures of Jesus (or anyone else), or statues and the like. If you
are from a background that uses things placed between you and God for
prayer or worship, then you have probably violated the Second
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the
LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." (Exodus
God takes His name very seriously. The word vain can be translated
“idle” or “without substance or meaning.” Have you ever said things
like, “Oh God” or said “Jesus Christ” in anger or out of other such
emotion? This is taking the Lord’s name in vain.
Idly invoking the name of the Lord is blasphemy. This is a violation of
God’s law, the Third Commandment.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8.)
This commandment is often misunderstood and misapplied. It was a
commandment meant for the Jewish people only; it is the only
commandment not repeated in the New Testament. Interestingly, this is
the commandment which the Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of
violating when He healed the sick on the Sabbath.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the early church assembled for
worship on the first day of the week, Sunday, because that is the day on
which Jesus resurrected.
The question for you, however, is: How much time each week do you set
aside for God? Do you set aside a portion of any day devoted
exclusively to prayer or Bible study? If not, how would characterize your
relationship with God?
Saying you love God, but failing to spend any real time in fellowship with
Him is phony. If a man told you he loved his wife, but never spent any
time with her, would you believe him?
If you are not spending real time in real fellowship with God, you have
violated His Fourth Commandment.
Jesus’ Summary of First Four Commandments
Jesus summarized the first four Commandments by telling us, “You shall
love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with
all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37.) Have you loved God in this way at all
times in your life? If not, you have violated God’s law.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon
the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12.)
Have you—at all times in your life—given the utmost respect and
obedience your parents? Few people can honestly say this. You
probably can’t. If not, you have violated God’s Fifth Commandment.
“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13.)
Notice that this commandment does not say, “You shall not kill.” It says,
“You shall not murder.” It does not prohibit killing in self-defense or in
times of war. Moreover, murder is specifically defined as the unlawful
killing of another human being, so it does not include killing animals.
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, explained that murder—like so many
sins—is a matter of the heart. In other words, God looks through our
conduct and our façade and examines our inner being. That is why Jesus
said, “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.)
Have you even been really angry at someone without a cause? If so, you
have essentially murdered that person in your heart. Now, you may be
thinking, “Yes, but I had a valid reason!” Did you have a reason which
measured up to God’s standards? Jesus went on to state, “You have
heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your
enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you,
do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use
you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44.)
You may think that you have “a cause,” but not in God’s eyes, and He is
the One doing the judging here, not you, not me, not any human. If you
have been angry at someone, possibly even hated someone, you have
murdered that person in your heart. You are a murderer and have
violated God’s Sixth Commandment.
“You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14.)
If you have cheated on your spouse, you have committed adultery.
However, the Bible goes further. People who engage in any sexual
activity outside of marriage transgress God’s law. (1 Corinthians 6:9;
Ephesians 5:5.) Moreover, as with murder, God looks at the heart when
it comes to lust. Jesus said, “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.)
Therefore, if you have even ever lusted after someone other than your
spouse, you have committed adultery in your heart, and you have
violated God’s Seventh Commandment.
“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15.)
Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you without
returning it? Have you ever committed any type of petty theft for any
reason? You have violated this commandment.
In addition, the Bible tells us that this commandment also means to
abstain from cheating people, especially in business transactions.
Proverbs 11:1 states, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD,
but a just weight is His delight.” (This commandment refers to the
practice of using false weights when weighing out merchandise for sale.)
Therefore, if you have ever gained an unfair advantage in a business
transaction through deception, you have violated God’s law.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16.)
The Bible equates bearing “false witness” with lying. For example,
Proverbs 14:5 says, “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness
will utter lies.” Have you at all times and under all circumstances been a
“faithful witness” or have you ever told a lie . . . ever? Even a so-called
“white lie” is still a lie. Doing so, puts you in violation of the Ninth
Commandment. What would call someone who tells a lie? You call that
person a liar! You are a liar if you have ever told even a “harmless” lie
to get out of an uncomfortable situation. You have violated God’s Ninth
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your
neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox,
nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17.)
Have you ever wanted something that someone else had? Have you ever
had so great a desire to possess something that someone else had that you
spent a lot of time thinking about the various ways you could obtain it?
This is coveteousness. This is sin.
Why is this sin? After all, what is wrong with having goals in life, even
ones that involve material things? This is not coveteousness in and of
itself; rather, we covet when we become overly involved in desiring the
blessings which someone else enjoys. When this happens, we tend to not
be thankful for the things we do have. The Bible tells us that people who
are not thankful to God become futile in their thoughts and their minds
are darkened. Such people, although they may say they are wise, are
actually foolish in their own minds. (Romans 1:21-22.)
A person who covets is not trusting God and therefore is not loving God
with his whole heart, mind, and soul. That person may even resort to
stealing or lying or cheating in order to get what he covets. That person
will most certainly have the wrong set of priorities in the pursuit of the
object which is coveted.
If any of this is hitting home to you, then you have probably coveted, and
you have fallen short of God’s righteous standard. You are in peril of the
There is a Day of Judgment coming when God will judge your life. He
does not weigh the good things you have done against the bad things. If
you have broken even one of God’s laws, you will judged as if you have
broken them all. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet
stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10.) (Also see, You
Can't Follow My Bubbles to Heaven.
In order to understand the need for salvation, sinners like you must
understand their fate on Judgment Day. Let’s see what the Bible says
about that. Please read, Judgment Day and Hell.
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