The Tenth Commandment
Of all the Ten Commandments that God gave the tenth is the key to understanding the true definition of sin and how we human beings cannot by keeping the law fulfill the law.
KJV Hebrews 7:18-19
18. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof
19. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.
The law was unable to make those who kept it perfect. Jesus said that we had to become perfect.
KJV Matthew 5:48
48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
The law then was useless for this perfection.
KJV Romans 3:21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
We know the prophets spoke of the grace to come but how did the law serve as a witness to testify of the righteousness of God without the law being needed?
KJV Romans 7:7
7. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet.
Under the law two human witnesses were required to testify against someone to accuse them of breaking the law. The accused, if guilty, was usually killed.
KJV Hebrews 10:28
28. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
How can a human witness testify that someone was coveting? To covet is to think with the mind, to desire or lust and this without taking any action to do what is intended. If a person thinks in their mind about performing an evil act it is sin. How could the tenth commandment be enforced by mere human witnesses' testimony when no one can know the thoughts and intents of the heart of anyone else? Under the law as long as you did not actually do what you were thinking and kept your mouth shut you would appear on the outside as a whitened sepulcher but inside you would be full of dead men's bones.
KJV Matthew 5:28
28. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Jesus magnified the definition of sin to include the thoughts and intents of the human mind and made the thought of sin equal to the act of sin and worthy of the same punishment.
KJV Matthew 12:35
35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth-good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth-evil things.
KJV Matthew 15:18-20
18. But those things, which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart and they defile the man.
19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies:
20. These are the things, which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.
The message Jesus gives us is that all manner of sin has its source in our human spirit. Our bodies are only the vehicles we use to commit the acts or speak the words we think about. All sin is premeditated.
KJV James 1:13-15
13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
How can the Ten Commandments address sin when Jesus magnified the definition of sin to include our thoughts? What person can control all of his or her thoughts at all times in order not to sin? This is the question Solomon asked.
KJV Proverbs 20:9-11
9. Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
The real problem with humanity is the human spirit where sin begins. The law could not deal with the cause of sin but could only deal with the effect of sin. The tenth commandment is a witness to this truth because you will never read of anyone in scripture convicted of coveting by two witnesses under the law and all the other nine commandments can be broken by coveting as Jesus illustrated. James also shows this fact.
KJV James 2:10
10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
The law dealt with the outer man, the flesh, while the Holy Spirit deals with the inner man, the human spirit. Your human spirit is what you really are and is what has the promise of salvation, not your fleshly body.
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:50
50. Now this I say brethren that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
The law was given as a schoolmaster to teach us this very thing.
KJV Galatians 3:24-25
24. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The law is not sin but those who attempt to keep the law will become sinners.
KJV Romans 3:23
23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
If we are honest with ourselves can we in truth say that we are without sin because we keep the law? All people have sinned and have fallen short of God's glory. Sin then is falling short of God's glory. Job and Solomon knew that sin begins in the heart of man and that no man was free of sin. Except the man Jesus who is described as the brightness of Gods glory and who did not fall short of the glory of God and sin.
KJV Job 4:17-19
17. Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?
18. Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
19. How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?
KJV Proverbs 20:9-11
9. Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
10. Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the lord.
11. Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work is pure, and whether it is right.
Those who think that following the law will make them justified in God's eyes are self righteous and deceived. No law was ever given to address the thoughts and intents of the human spirit. The law itself testified to this truth as well as the prophets.
This is why Paul said that he would not have known sin except the law had said thou shalt not covet. Paul recognized that all sin begins as a thought of coveting or lust in our human spirit. The law was powerless to address this fatal flaw in our natures. It is only by the Holy Spirit of God that our minds can be renewed into sound minds so that the inner man can also be renewed and transformed into the likeness of Christ. Those who are intent on keeping the law deny the working power of the Holy Spirit of God as well as the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The law could only give us the knowledge of what good and evil is but not the power needed to always do the good and reject the evil and that is what righteousness is.
KJV James 4:17
17. Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
The law cannot change our natures but the Holy Spirit is the divine nature of God himself that can transform our minds to be like the mind of Christ.
KJV 2 Peter 1:4
4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Anyone who has ever come to grace has first come to an understanding of the law because the law is what condemns all as sinners and in need of being saved. Once under grace the law has no hold a person. The correct way to preach the gospel is to inform sinners of their death sentence resulting from the laws righteous condemnation. To tell sinners they need to have sincere Godly sorrow for failing to keep the law. Sinners then are informed that Jesus brought a new covenant into effect by His sacrifice and resurrection to enable them to escape the old covenant. The law is a vital tool needed to bring sinners to repentance. Without the law there would be no sin to repent of and no way for God to judge the world. It is not just Israel but all people except those who have come to grace.
KJV Romans 3:19
19. Now we know that what things soever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and the entire world may become guilty before God.
There are many views today about the law and differences in doctrine among the churches, because of misunderstanding how the law functions.
KJV Galatians 3:22
22. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
It makes no difference if you are Jew or Gentile; God's law condemns all except those who come to grace. The law is not for the righteous, those who have faith in the gospel and are in the new covenant.
KJV 1 Timothy 1:9
8. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
All unconverted people are under and condemned by the law to death. It is only the righteous, the born again and saved person that is not under the law.