St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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The Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
The Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Though given to the Jews primarily, these commandments do serve a purpose for Christians as well. While there is similarity between these commandments and the 7th commandment, there is also a big difference. These commandments are concerned with jealousy and envy over a neighbor’s possessions, such that we obsessively conspire and plot to have them for ourselves, even if it means annihilate our neighbor to get it.

We see these commandments defiled today often in courts where inheritances over estates is fought among families, or in government when a losing candidate tries to take down the winning candidate through mischievousness or slanderousness. It’s when friendly competition in sports becomes not-so-friendly when one team cheats and steals their way to a win by any means.

Covetousness is at the core of adultery, where a person may obsess over obtaining for himself a married woman, even if it means destroying her husband and family to get her.

Whatever the case, it is not the Lord’s desire that we deprive our neighbor of anything such that he suffer at our hands. These commandments speak especially against envy and avarice, because such vices are always damaging to the neighbor. Instead, having a pure heart, and knowing full well that we may not ever attain what our neighbor has, we are content, because we have all the riches of heaven!

Conclusion of the Commandments

We have devoted ourselves to studying the Commandments, as is fundamental to the Christian faith. These commandments teach us what it is to live lives pleasing to God, to do good works, and to see that nothing outside these commandments is good or pleasing to God, though certainly wonderful in the eyes of the world.

These commandments hang perfectly from the two greatest commandments of the Lord, that we should love Him with all our heart and soul and strength, and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves.

But what we learn as we meditate on these commandments is that we do not keep them as we ought, but that in every way break them, abuse them, and fall short of their perfect and good expectations. Thus, we must not cling to these commandments as our means of salvation for we will fall short at every attempt. Instead, we must study these commandments intently as we study our own faces in the mirror. These commandments reveal our law breaking, that before God our internal righteousness is nowhere near enough. That God’s mercy and kindness toward us must be from outside of us.

Tomorrow, we discover God’s answer to our sin problem as we look at the Apostles’ Creed.

Prayer: Lord, I do not do the good I want, and as I consider Your law, I see how I still do the evil I hate. Keep me in the one truth faith that I may trust in Your goodness and not my own, for You live and reign with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.