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What does God require in the ninth and tenth commandments?

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Hello everyone,

Through the next few weeks, while we are unable to meet together, I plan to post about the different questions of the New City Catechism that we normally would read as a congregation during the worship service. I hope these will be useful to you in family worship.

This week, we look at Question 12. The past month, we have been learning about the 10 commandments, both what they are and what they mean for our daily living. This week, we wrap that up with Commandments 9 and 10.

What does God require in the ninth and tenth commandments?

Ninth, that we do not lie or deceive, but speak the truth in love. Tenth, that we are content, not envying anyone or resenting what God has given them or us.

Growing up, I always heard the ninth commandment as not lying. It is relatively good not to lie. I missed the idea however of "bearing false witness." Deceiving is included in that. You may be telling the truth for personal gain, but deceiving someone in doing so. This is just as much a sin as lying. We must speak the truth in love.

English Reformer John Bradford (no relation to Pastor Jeremiah) had this to say about bearing false witness:

"Now dost thou, most gracious Lord, instruct me in this commandment, how I should use my tongue towards my neighbour, and behave myself concerning his name, forbidding me to bear false witness; in the which thou forbiddest me all kinds of slandering, lying, hypocrisy, and untruth. And why? Because, as 'members of one body,' thou wouldest we should 'speak truth one to another,' and be careful every one to cover others' infirmity, and with our tongue defend the names of others, even as we would that others should defend ours: so that in this commandment, as thou forbiddest me all kind of evil, perilous, calumnious and untrue speaking, so dost thou command to me all kind of godly, honest, and true report and talk..."

In short, do we lie for evil and perilous purposes? Saying "oh, a white lie isn't that bad..." is quite dangerous if done for evil intent against each other and more importantly, against God.

As for the tenth commandment, Thabiti Anyabwile had this to say about coveting:

"If you can imagine the heart having hands, coveting is like the heart grasping for things, desiring things, laying hold of things that don't properly belong to it...The tenth commandment sets for us a kind of boundary that protects against the way covetousness tends to cross lines. We are tempted to cross the line of desires, longing for things that aren't properly in our possession. We cross the line of property, grasping for things that belong to another person (your neighbor's cattle, your neighbor's spouse). So our coveting actually, socially, does injury to our neighbor."

We live in a world today that constantly wants. We want that person's nice house over the shabby one we may own or the apartment we rent. We want our kids to behave more like their kids. We want a car like they have. We want an income like they have. Etc, etc, etc.

We should desire the one true source of contentment, Jesus Christ. In 1 Timothy 6, Paul warns Timothy to be on his guard against those who say that godliness is a means to financial gain. Instead, we should strive for godliness that leads to a great gain, the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and a relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. In verses 7-8, Paul writes that "we brough nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out. If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these."

Are you content? Do your love your neighbor as yourself? Do you hunger for godliness for the sake of knowing God more? I pray as you learn the answer to this question this week that you would reflect on God's generosity to you and those around you.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well.

James 2:8