Isaiah 1:18; I John 1:7
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The third P of Alliterated Promises of God is His Pardon!
But before we can appreciate His pardon, we have to realize the extent of our sinful standing before God! Saint Paul writes in Romans 3:10 and 23, “There is none righteous, no not one….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But how unrighteous are we before our Creator? How much have we sinned? How far short of His glory have we fallen? The Ten Commandments are the basis of all God’s laws.
No, we are not made right with the LORD by obeying the Ten Commandments! That was only accomplished by His grace through faith in what Jesus Christ did to pay for our sins! I must believe that…
- …He lived the perfect life before the Father I could never have lived!
- …He suffered and died for me on Calvary’s cross!
- …He lives forever for me! And…
- …He receives me into His forever kingdom when I put my faith in Him!
Here are the Ten Commandments:
- The tenth of the Ten Commandments says:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything else that is your neighbor’s (Exodus 20:17).
✡ Have you ever been jealous of what your neighbor (or friend, or business associate, or schoolmate, or...) has acquired, or has accomplished?
Recently I had to check myself because a dear friend received an upgrade in his Army disability status to 100% disabled. He also has a very good job with the government. We share the details of our lives with each other, so it was no surprise when he shared that his and his wife’s income was about $125,000 a year! That’s a great deal more than two times the income my wife and I have! I felt the tinges of jealousy! But I quickly turned to the Lord, asking Him to take away any envy, and gave Him thanks and praise for my friend’s financial blessing.
Especially with the proliferation of the use of social media, we increasingly see the best side (maybe the bragging side) of some people who post. This can lead to inferior feelings and jealousy (covetousness)!
Yes, we are all guilty of coveting at one time (or many times)!
✞ But in Colossians 3:5 Paul says, “...covetousness ...is idolatry.” How so? If you are coveting some- thing, you are in effect putting it in first place in your life! That is where God belongs! (see Mat- thew 6:33; 22:37, 38). So by breaking the last com- mandment, you are also breaking the first: “I am the LORD your God....You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2, 3).
- The ninth commandment is, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16). But have you ever spread a rumor when you didn’t know for sure if it was true or not? Have you ever passed on a juicy bit of gossip?
- The eighth is, “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15). I have stolen as a child – pencils, candy, change, etc. But as a teen and as an adult, I have stolen. Before I became a dedicated Christian it didn’t bother me much. But still, what I have done stands, and it can’t be undone as if it never happened. I have tried to pay back what I can remember I stole, but that does not erase the act! What does erase it is being forgiven! More on that is to follow.
I did an internet search on “The Bible definition of stealing.” I found this at the following website: https//www.unlockingthebible.org/lifekey/a-thought-provoking-definition-of-stealing/ It does make you think:
If stealing is about trying to get as much as possible while giving as little as possible, then there is a lot of stealing that goes on in marriages, families, churches, and communities. Every attempt to have much and give little is addressed by the eighth commandment. This definition also shows the root problems behind all forms of stealing: Greed – the desire to get as much as possible, and laziness – the desire to contribute as little as possible.
- The seventh commandment is, “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14). Adultery is defined as “Sexual unfaithfulness of a married person.” (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
✞ Jesus, in The Sermon on the Mount said this: “You have heard...it...said..., ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adul- tery in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27, 28). ✡ It is also written in the second of the Ten Com- mandments in Exodus 20:5, that God visits “...the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation....”
I did not grow up in a Christian home. My father was a philanderer, as was his father. I inherited that addiction, and I have had to seek God’s grace to overcome it! I struggled with pornography in earlier years. Even yet, I have to be careful not the let the images take control that were burned into my younger mind. If the temptation does present itself, I seek the LORD and His power to reject it and keep my mind pure! (see Philippians 4:8). Since I am happily married to my dear wife for 53 years, I do not want to lust after any other woman, and so commit adultery!
- The sixth commandment is, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13).
✞ But Jesus also addressed this in Matthew 5:21 and 22 (Good News Bible): “You have heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not commit murder; anyone who does will be brought to trial.’ But now I tell you: if you are angry with your brother you will be brought to tri- al, if you call your brother ‘You good-for-nothing!’ you will be brought before the Council, and if you call your brother a worthless fool you will be in danger of going to the fire of hell.” ✞ The Apostle John summed it up succinctly in I John 3:15: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
Have you ever been extremely angry with another person? Have you ever hated anyone? According to the Word of God, you are guilty of murder!
- The fifth commandment is, “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).
✞ Paul says in Ephesians 6:2, this “...is the first commandment with promise...” It is also the only commandment with a stated promise! And the promise is that honoring your parents will result in a long and protected life! ✞ The apostle also wrote in... ➔ ...Ephesians 6:1 – “Children, obey your par- ents in the Lord, for this is right.” ➔ ...Colossians 3:20 – “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”
I sure fell down on this commandment! After my father left, we three Norton boys, ages 10 (me), 12, and 14, proceeded to get into quite a bit of trouble, and we gave my mother plenty of grief. We certainly didn’t honor her!
So if you ever have disobeyed your parents, or talked back to them, or criticized them to others, you have broken this commandment!
- The fourth commandment is the longest of the ten, comprising four verses, Exodus 20:8 through 11:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. ✞ There are Christian denominations that insist on Saturday Sabbath-keeping, such as Seventh-Day Adventists. Generally, those who do so tend to be more legalistic in their practice. However, New Testament evidence shows early believers gathered for worship on Sunday, celebrating the resurrection! As it says in Mark 16:9 (Easy-to- Read Version), “Jesus rose from death early on the first day of the week.” (see also Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1, John 20:1; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2). ✞ In Romans 14:5 Paul writes this: “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” The apostle is stating that per- sonal preferences, where no clear Scriptural delineation is present, should not divide the church! He goes on to say in verse 6, “He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.” ✞ In matters of clear Biblical teaching and fund- amental doctrine, it is critical what one be- lieves – such as... ➔ ...the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ! ➔ ...His life, death, and resurrection!
- The third commandment is, “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 20:7).
✞ It is not just using the name or title of the Father or the Son in cursing or cussing, al- though that is taking “...the name of the LORD ...God in vain...”! ✞ What about the fact that we carry the name of the Son of God if we dare to identify ourselves as Christians? If we are not living as the Lord Jesus would have us live, are we not then carry- ing “...the name of the LORD...our God in vain ...”?
- The second commandment is the second longest, in Exodus 20:4 through 6:
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or 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. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, vis- iting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. ✞ Most of those who call themselves Christians in the modern world would not admit to the idea of themselves being idolaters. But what is idol- atry? Webster’s first definition is, “...the worship of a physical object as a god.” (ibid.). In Romans 1:23, Paul describes idolaters thus: They “...changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image of made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.” ➔ Notice, the highest form of idolatry is worshiping “...an image made like corrup- tible man....” ➔ So, putting oneself in the place of God is idolatry! Did not Jesus pray in the Garden, “...nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done...”? (Luke 22:42). Even if we don’t say the following words, don’t we often act like, “Not Your will, but MINE be done...”? ✡ According to Exodus 20:5, one of the... ➔ ...dangers of idolatry is passing on the penchant for such sins “...to the third and fourth generations of those...” who practice such sins! ➔ ...great blessings of obedience is passing on “...to thousands [of generations] mercy ...to those who love Me and keep My com- mandments.”
- And the first of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3). Whether worshiping a physical idol or serving something invisible, NOTHING is to come before the LORD God! For, according to Mark 12:30, we are called to “…love [and obey – see John 14:15] the LORD…our God with all…our heart, with all…our soul, with all…our mind, and with all…our strength.”
I have not yet written about God’s Pardon! Nor have I even quoted the featured Scriptures listed above! I have taken a long time to show you from His Word that “There is none righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned and fall short of the the glory of God.” (Romans 3:10, 23). I once heard an evangelist say, “If I had an hour to witness to someone, I would spend the first fifty minutes convincing that one that he is a sinner. It is then easy to lead him to the forgiveness of Christ.”
So the second part of The Alliterated Promises of God – III will be in the next Gem.