Q12: What does God require in the ninth and tenth commandments?
A: 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 (Crossway 2017).
James 2:8 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
The passage surrounding James 2:8 speaks of showing partiality to those who posses more wealth than those who do not. It further illustrates the importance of loving our neighbor as ourselves, thus highlighting the fact that our hearts must be in the right posture towards God in order to obediently love Him and others. In James 3:2-12, many practical examples are used to illustrate the power of our tongue in the way we can destroy others while also failing to honor God. How many times have we sought to praise the Lord with our mouth, but minutes, hours, or days ago, our mouth was “cursing those made in the likeness of God?” (James 3:9, ESV) Furthermore, as our mouth may be deceitful, the tenth commandment points out that our heart’s desires can contradict what our praises to the Lord say. How many times have we expressed that we are thankful to God, but deep inside, we covet what belongs to others? The duplicitous status of our tongue and heart cannot produce blessings to God and curses at the same time. To use our tongue to be deceitful or hurtful implies we think we can honor a holy God of absolute truth and love with a mouth of deceit and malice. Furthermore, to covet is to propose to God that He cannot meet our needs, and it is suggesting that we do not delight ourselves in Him.
- Psalm 15:1-3 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart, who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend.”
- Galatians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
- Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
- Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
When we have a mouth that is loosed as a “world of unrighteousness and burning the entire course of life” (James 3:6, ESV), we hurt others. We destroy relationships, discourage others, invoke anger in others, and break spirit. In essence, our mouth has done the opposite of how we are commanded to love others. With our tongue, we can cause serious injury to those we are supposed to love – even when they sin against us. Likewise, with a covetous heart, we can cause enmity with our neighbor and as a Christian, we can communicate that we feel our God doesn’t meet our needs. Such lack of control and contentment yields not only a hurtful posture towards others, but it also indicates to others that we lack contentment with what God has given us.
- Proverbs 15:1, 4 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
- Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained a brother.”
- 2 Samuel12:8-9 “And I gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
In situations where our tongues and hearts can betray our obedience to our Lord, we can find benefits in pausing to reflect on God’s statutes and His provision. The psalmist clearly expressed that the person who meditates on God’s Word is blessed or filled with joy. Such joy propels the heart, mind, and spirit above discontent and malice and towards fellowship and delight in the Lord. A simple exercise each morning of Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer (SOAP), even for just 15 minutes, will center our heart and thoughts on His goodness. God’s Word declares that we will be provided with more if we seek His Kingdom.
- Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in and out of season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
- Luke 12:28-31 “But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you. O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”