The last six of the Ten Commandments focuses on issues related to love for neighbor (which includes love for enemies - Matthew 5:43-48). This section has been divided into six topics, based on the general emphasis of each of these commands.
Three important things must be understood about these commands:
- Each represents an entire category of actions, attitudes and motives. The command "Do not murder" covers not only visible actions (such as murder), but attitudes (such as anger and hate).
- For each "negative" command ("do not..."), there is an implied "positive" command. The prohibition against bearing false witness (lying) also implies a command for truthfulness and integrity.
- Since God created people to reflect his character (having been created in God's "image" - Genesis 1:26-27), many of these commands have implications regarding our relationship and attitude to God. For instance, the concept of adultery (a sin prohibited in one of these commands) is used to describe the sin of turning from the true God to idols (Hosea 1:2-3), or of trying to be a friend of both God and the world (James 4:4). All of the "do not" commands are simply prohibitions against conduct (and attitudes) which contradict God's character and nature.
The required relationship of a child to a parent reflects the basic concept of respect for authority. Included in this category are all the issues related to both leaders and those being led, both "masters" and "servants" (the words being used in their broadest sense).
This includes "negative" actions that have a destructive impact on life (whether those actions actually kill the person, or just have a hurtful, destructive effect on him). The "positive" side of this command includes anything that enhances or builds-up other people.
A focus on purity. In this category belong the commands for sexual purity, as well as the prohibitions against all forms of sexual impurity and depravity. Implied also is the the general concept of purity, which has implications that extend into all areas of life.
Issues related to the way we treat possessions (including non-tangible possessions, such as gifts and abilities) - whether they are our possessions, or the possessions of others. This topic covers a broad number of issues. Take note that even the way we use our gifts and abilities is related to this issue; for God gave us our gifts and abilities, and requires us to use them for his glory and for the good of our neighbor. (If we don't do this, we are guilty of stealing something that God intended to be used for the good of all.)
Issues related to truthfulness - which includes not only in what we say, but also how we live. Integrity and faithfulness are related issues.
This command overlaps some of the others. (Having sinful desires - coveting - leads to many of the other types of sins people commit.) Here we focus on the attitudes of the heart, both good and bad. Included are implied "positive" obligations, such as the obligation to have contentment - which seems almost non-existent in modern society.
The Bible says...
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not give false testimony," "You shall not covet," and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love doesn't harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)