This week we will continue with an evaluation of the implications of the Fifth Commandment. At initial look it would seem that the commandment itself is pretty self-explanatory, but as we shall see there is much to be dissected in its study. As I studied it, I thought what a beautiful world this would be if only we could just institute this one commandment into our lifestyle! We have come to know that as humans on our own it approaches ‘mission impossible’. So, we shall continue the evaluation and try to see where we might strive to move closer to the will of God.
As parents we have the responsibility to see that our children are adequately educated so that they may support and guide themselves as they move into adulthood. In today’s world we have pretty much come to rely on the government to educate our children. The state school system is predicated upon the idea that the government has primary oversight in the education of youth. In the USA there are compulsory attendance laws, compulsory taxes imposed on everyone to support the school…whether their child attends public school or not, and government control of the educational process. Even if the structure and content were not pagan (and they certainly are today), state education would still undermine the parental authority and duty.
The Fifth Commandment (along with the Seventh and Tenth) establishes the family as the fundamental institution of society. Marriage is between one man and one woman. (Gen. 2:23-24). The marriage union is sacred and is not to be broken. (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:4-6). Sex should only take place with your spouse in marriage. (Acts 15:20, 29,21:25; Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 7:2). Children are to honor their parents. (Ex. 20:12; Matt.15:4; Mark10:19). God never intended for divorce but made provision for it due to the hardness on man’s heart (sin). (Matt. 19:8-9). The Bible says that children are a gift of the Lord. (Psalm 127:3-5) with parents as stewards who are to prepare them to fulfill God’s will for their lives. Parents are to train and educate children in God’s Word. (Deut. 6:4-7; Eph. 6:4). Parents are to provide discipline, both preventive and corrective. (Pr. 29:15; 13:24; 23: 13-14; Heb. 12:6-9; Pr. 22:15; Matt. 15:4). Jesus affirmed God’s original mandate for one man and one woman to cleave to one another inseparably and live in complete love and harmony. (Matt. 19:4-6). Thus, polygamy and homosexual marriages are unbiblical. A family is a man and woman, along with any children, who are related by marriage, blood, or adoption. The ideal marriage has a man and woman who covenant together to fulfill God’s desire for them to be fruitful and bless the world. Both parents are to fulfill the purpose and responsibilities that God gives in His Word. Marriage is to be held in honor by all. Marriage is a heavy responsibility to take on.
Our elders and all those in authority in church, state, business, etc. should be honored. To honor our superiors, we can pray for them, give thanks, imitate their virtues and faith, obey them, submit to them, give them reverence, and give appropriate tribute and taxes to government. (In today’s atmosphere, as it relates to government, this is becoming more and more difficult.) Superiors have a responsibility to their inferiors to love them, teach them to love God, honor them, do good and overcome evil, and provide for them in accordance with their jurisdictional authority. This is one portion of the commandment that we can all, with God’s help and effort on our part, comply with. If this commandment were honored, we would have a much better world to live in.
Sixth Commandment – “You shall not murder.” We are to seek to preserve life, our own as well as others. We are not to be enticed by others to take a life. Abortion is the taking of human life and is prohibited. (Ex. 21:22-25). I cannot help but wonder how doctors who perform abortions…infant murder…will be treated on judgement day? We are to defend the innocent against violence. (Prov. 24:11-12). We are to show mercy and compassion to all. (Luke 10:33-34; Zech. 7:9). We are not to render evil for evil. Our calling is to defend the rights of the poor, afflicted, and needy. (Prov. 31:8-9).
Jesus said that murder begins in the heart of man; therefore, we should avoid all thoughts, subdue all passions, and avoid all temptations and influence from evil men that would cause us to let sinful anger or hatred control us. We are to avoid lusts and evil passions. (James 4:1). This is not easy to do and can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are to love our neighbor, for if we do so we will do our neighbor no evil. We are to do all we can to live peaceably with all. We are to bless those who revile us and forgive those who do us wrong. This is something many politicians have a tough time doing for fear of losing votes. In cases of public justice or self-defense the Bible teaches it is OK to take the life of those who kill others or would kill others. This is not murder, but upholding Godly justice and protecting innocent life. Civil government is given the authority to execute Godly justice against those who would break God’s civil laws. It wields the sword for this reason.
Testimony must be corroborated by at least two witnesses. (Deut. 19:15-21; 17:6; Num. 35:30). Witnesses who give false testimony…perjury… are subject to the penalty attached to the crime under consideration. (Deut. 19:18-21). Justice requires good judges and leaders. The punishment must fit the crime. The Sixth Commandment affirms the sanctity of and the right to life. The lives of all people should be protected since all have equal standing before God and the law. God himself became a man and through the person of Christ paid the price to redeem mankind, thus showing how valuable man is. (Gen. 1:26-28; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7-14; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:9; Rev. 5:9). God says that He kills, and He makes alive, or gives life. (Dt. 32:39). We are to ‘make alive’ or bring life in our areas of responsibility, including bringing life to our neighbors, to widows and orphans, to the poor, to sojourners, strangers, and aliens, to the defenseless and needy, and to the aged. We are to be ministers of reconciliation.
Fighting a just or lawful war does not violate the Sixth Commandment. God affirms that war can be a legitimate means of defending a people against enemies who would take the life, liberty and property of citizens. God ordained civil government to use force if necessary to protect life. Jesus also taught that the use of force is legitimate at certain times, even instructing His disciples to buy a sword. (Luke 22:36-38). The Bible teaches that a just war in a defensive cause is sinless before God.
Next week we will start with the Seventh Commandment. We would probably have a much better society if our citizens knew this commandment, were committed to following it, and saw it as a path to peaceful existence. How many lives have been destroyed because this commandment has been ignored and violated? To have a free nation we need to have a citizenry free of the guilt of sin. External peace cannot be found until internal peace is found.
“It is impossible to stand firm unless we also hold to the traditions. A church that begins to forsake apostolic truth soon falls into error and weakness.” Hope in a Chaotic World by Ray C. Stedman