God's Commandments

The first thing to know about God's commandments is that they really are good. No one likes to have their car stolen. No one likes being mistreated. No one likes being cheated on. No one likes being killed.

And these very things are what God's commandments forbid.

In fact, many of the laws we have today also forbid similar things that God's commandments forbid, so as a society we generally see the wisdom of such laws.

These laws are more than just "do's and don'ts." They are life, peace, and happiness for all who follow them.

Originally God gave the nation of Israel the ten commandments, as well as many others.

However, then Jesus Christ (God's messiah) summarized all of God's laws with the two greatest commandments (essentially: (1) Love God, and (2) Love people).

Table of Contents
The First and Greatest Commandment

The Second Commandment

- Just to Clarify: Who is My Neighbor?

The Ten Commandments

The First and Greatest Commandment

The two greatest commandments summarize all of God's law into just two.

According to Jesus, the most important one of all time is: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)

This means that the greatest commandment is for God to be your number 1 priority in life. We are to love him with all of our being; and everything we do should be based out of this love for God.

After all, everything we have is from God. He created everything, and everything belongs to Him, even our lives (which is a gift from the living God).

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The Second Commandment

The second commandment is similar to the first in that it deals with love. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39)

This one goes right along with Jesus' golden rule, "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

Some versions say, "Treat others as you would have them treat you."

The evidence for this commandment can be found in many places in the Old Testament.

For instance, you can find this love in the ten: 'Don't steal,' 'Don't kill,' etc.

As well as many other places in the Old Testament, such as "You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Deuteronomy 10:19)

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Just to Clarify: Who is My Neighbor?

Love our neighbor as ourselves. Who exactly is our neighbor?

Jesus makes the point in the "Parable of the Good Samaritan" to say that all people are our neighbors. If any person crosses paths with you, they are your neighbor.

Jesus even tells us to love our enemies. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

And as we just saw in Deuteronomy 10:19, loving even strangers is definitely there in the Old Testament.

So if our neighbor happens to be an enemy, we should still love them and treat them well (no matter how they treat us).

(Important Note: Of course, this doesn't mean we need to throw our brains out the window. God gave us wisdom and discernment, so please use it. Love our enemies doesn't mean start hanging out with the creepy guy next door, if you're female. Love your neighbors, but be wise about it.)

Another example in the Old Testament, of loving others, is:

"You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien (foreigner): I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:10)

God wanted to make sure they took care of even the poor and the foreigners.

In the New Testament, Paul notes that "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:10)

And as Jesus says, regarding these two greatest commandments, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:40)

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The Ten Commandments

"He (God) declared to you (Isreal) his covenant, which he charged you to observe, that is, the ten commandments; and he wrote them on two stone tablets." (Deuteronomy 4:13)

The ten commandments are almost like the introduction to the rest of the "statutes and ordinances" that the nation of Israel was to observe.

In essence, these ten were the introduction to a list of commandments Israel was expected to keep when they entered into the land that God had promised their ancestors.

The first four deal with the relationship between God and humans. The last six deal with the relationship between humans.

The commandments are:

Between God and Humans

1. I am the Lord your God...you shall have no other gods before (besides) me. (Deut. 5:6-7)

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol... (Deut. 5:8)

3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God... (Deut. 5:11)

4. Observe the Sabbath day (7th day of the week) and keep it holy... (the day when people aren't supposed to work) (Deut. 5:12)

Between Humans

5. Honor your father and your mother... (Deut. 5:16)

6. You shall not murder (kill). (Deut. 5:17)

7. Neither shall you commit adultery. (Deut. 5:18)

8. Neither shall you steal. (Deut. 5:19)

9. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor. (Deut. 5:20)

10. Neither shall you covet your neighbor's wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor's house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Deut. 5:21)

Overall, Israel was given a large set of laws on how to basically function as a community.

The laws given to Israel are sort of like the USA or Canada's Constitution. Within these commandments, of the Old Testament, you have a sort of Bill of Rights or Civil Rights part, as well as laws on how to operate the nation of Israel.

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