There is one Law with God, and that law is used to identify sin. If we break that law, we are told that we have sinned. And if we sin, we will have lost the privilege to be with God and have eternal life. The law is divided into ten manageable pieces. The law has a physical meaning, and an often overlooked, spirtual meaning. By breaking one of the commandments, we have broken the law; which is just the same as breaking all of them. It is not the individual commandments we are accountable for, but for the sum of the whole. Yet, very neatly, the commandments often tie into one another.

As an illustration, we will see how that by breaking a commandment, such as keeping the Sabbath, we have in one way or another infringed on all the other commandments. None the less, breaking one commandment is breaking the overall law. This was the whole point of Jesus's arrival on earth, not to prevent us from breaking the law by removing free will, but to pay the penalty on our behalf for our transgressions (past and future, inclusive) and to teach us how to live by the law better than we were.

To begin with, the Bible says that this law is spirtual -- so that it discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart; so comprehensive, yet so closely related are the individual commandments; so interlocked each one with the other that if we offend in one point we are guilty of all. The Bible says in Romans 7:12 that "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Hebrews 4:12 says that "the Word of God is quick" (that means living) "and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow and is a discerned of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Starting with the 4th commandment, from Exodus 20:8-11, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou should not do any work, thou, nor thy son, not thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

Now, if a person works on the seventh day of the week, he has broken the fourth commandment outright, has he not? Yup.

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God, says the Bible. It is His; it is not ours, not any man's. Now, when a person takes something for himself that belongs to another, what is he doing?

You got it. Stealing. Then has one who has broken the fourth commandment also broken the eighth.

But before one steals, there is always an intense and illegitimate desire for that which he steals. What commandment is broken?

Coveting, the tenth. Three are broken by breaking just one.

When a man puts himself so entirely first and covets that which is God's and steals from Him, what commandment does he break?

The first one. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. ...but man is not a god. He doesn't have to be, he just has to put himself first. He has considered his own interests more important to him than his relationship to his Maker.

There is another commandment so clearly related to this that we must ask ourselves, if a man thinks so much of himself -- his own desires -- as to place himself before God in his own mind, does he not make an idol of himself? Which one is broken now?

It would have to be the second, the one against making images. How has he broken that one if he has not make a graven image of anything? It is true he has not made a literal, tangible image; but all image worship is nothing more or less than a certain conception in the worshiper's own mind and heart embodied in the visible image and worshiped. What difference does it make whether one worships oneself in a stone image or in one's own person...

God's name is in the fourth commandment. It tells us that He is maker of heaven and earth, the great Creator. That distinguishes Him from all other gods. It is the only place in the Ten Commandments where He has affixed His name to the wonderful document. This commandment, tells us of our relationship and obligations to Him. Now, when one treats His commandment in such a reckless, vain way, is one not using His name in vain? What does the this commandment say?

Your first impression is that that commandment tries to prohibit swearing. You could hardly say that the above is swearing. But the commandment forbids more than outspoken oaths. Any vain use of God's name whatever which would tend to break down one's own or another's sense of reverence for God is forbidden.

Many persons say it makes no difference which day one keeps, just so long as one keeps one day Holy. But God says, in the commandment where His name is signed, that the seventh day is His Sabbath. Then is it true that it makes no difference which day one keeps? Is it not a vain use of that commandment and of God's name in it?

If an individual has not told the truth about the fourth commandment, what other commandment has been transgressed outright? The one that talks about truth.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. What does that have to do with God? To lie is to lie, whether to one or to another. And is it not worse to lie to God than to man? In this case, actions speak louder than words. We may preach the ten commandments, but demonstrate breaking them. That is not being a true witness for God.

In regards to saying it makes no difference what day one keeps, here are a couple more thoughts on that point.

If one wants to keep God's rest day, one must rest on the same day He did. At Creation He rested on the seventh day of the week. His resting on it and blessing it made that day the Sabbath. Sabbath means rest. Man's rest counts for nothing in making a day holy. If all the people on earth should rest on another day, that would not make that day God's holy rest day. Man's rest day could never be God's rest day unless man should rest on the same day that God rested at Creation. In Genesis 2:3 it says: 'God blessed the seventh day, and santified it; because that in it he had rested from all His work which God created and made.' He put His presence into one day, in a separate sense from that in which it is in other days, just as that sacred presence is in some individuals and not in others. His presence in the burning bush made the ground around it holy, as did also the place where the captain of the Lord's host met with Joshua.

Although we may not actually discern the difference between the seventh and the first day of the week, the fact that God's presence is in the seventh day makes all the difference in the world. His presence should be with us every day of the week, but quite aside and separate from this, it is in His holy day. What that sacred presence in the day and the one individual meet, there is in the heart a sense of holiness and sacredness that is felt and known only by those who know this truth and have this experience.

Let's go on another step. God claims by virtue of creation and redemption that He is our Father; and by thus openly dishonoring Him, what other commandment is broken?

The fifth. While we limitingly assess the commandment is for children, commanding them to obey their parents, we need to realize that the ten commandments are also spirtual laws. God calls us His chldren, He made us. Especially does He tell those who will separate from sin and turn to Him for forgiveness and salvation, 'I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.' [2 COR 6:17,18] Will He allow us to show Him less respect and honor than we show our earthly parents? If the letter of the law is broken by a child's disobedience to its earthly parent, is not the spirtual law broken by disobedience of the fourth commandment to our heavenly Father?

Before continuing, we need to refer to three other texts.

  1. "The wages of sin is death." [ROM 6:23]
  2. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." [EZE 18:4]
  3. "Sin is the transgression of the law." [1 JOHN 3:4]

The ten commandments is a law that points out sin and without which we could not tell what sin is. "I had not known sin, but by the law." [Rom 7:7] Since the wages of sin is death, in transgression of God's law, what is the sinner bringing upon himself? What is he doing to himself?

Taking his own life. Murder, in short, but his course leading him to certain death, unless he repents and turns to God and secures the forgiveness of his sins. The sixth commandment is violated, 'Thou shalt not kill' -- even if it be self-destruction.

There are many figures of speech used in the Bible with which God illustrates to us the relation existing between Him and us. From Isaiah 54:5: "Thy maker is thine husband;... and thy redeemer the Holy One of Iseral; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." Notice that here God is the Husband of all He has made. Israel backslid from God by adapting or joining in the religious practices of the nations around her. Of her, God says in Jeremiah 3:20: "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel."

God said also that she played the harlot and committed adultery; that is in the same chapter, verses 8 and 9. Then in James 4:4: it says: 'Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?"

Thus spiritual adultery is forbidden by the seventh commandment just as truely as is the fleshly, natural form of breaking the law. As the law is spirtual, it detects the sin and the thoughts in the heart. Therefore, in the transgression of the fourth commandment, the seventh is also broken.

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