When you look at the Ten Commandments, they are pretty straight forward all the way through up to the last one. John was right when he said, “…His commandments are not grievous (too hard, too difficult, not a burden)” (1 John 5:3).
His Commandments are,
1 – Have no other gods
2 – Do not worship idols
3 – Do not take His name in vain
4 – Remember the Sabbath day to keep in holy,
5 – Honor your parents
6 – Do not kill (murder)
7 – Do not commit adultery
8 – Do not steal
9 – Do not lie
10 – Do not covet.
Everything is fairly plain and simple until you get to the last one. The last one is very interesting. It says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:17). Think about that for a minute. To covet something is to want something you do not have. God had already said, in laws seven and eight, not to take your neighbors wife or anything that belongs to him. Now He says, don’t want (even desire) them.
What if I told my children, “Don’t touch the glass of apple juice on the table.” That would be a fairly simple law to obey as well as to enforce. But what if I said, “Don’t even WANT to touch the glass of apple juice.” That is an entirely different scenario. I can ask my children not to touch something, but how can I expect them not to WANT to touch it. That is entering into a realm that neither I nor my children are able to enforce. For this to happen (to be achieved), our desires—likes and dislikes—would have to change.
So why did God put such a command in His Ten Commandments? I believe it was to show the utter inability for anyone to keep His law without having a transformed heart. Of Jesus, the Bible prophesied that He “…will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (Isaiah 42:21).
note: And “a new (renewed) heart also will I give you ________ (your name), and a right spirit (mind) will I put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh (soft, yielding, surrendered). And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you (work within you both to will, and to do of My good pleasure) to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them . . .”
Ezekiel 36:25-27 and ref: Philippians 2:13
“Written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God . . . not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart . . . !”
II Corinthians 3:3 and ref: Zechariah 7:8-12
True to this prophecy, Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:…” (Matthew 5:21, 22). You may have thought you were keeping the Sixth Commandment because you didn’t kill anybody today, but according to Jesus, you are guilty even if you are angry with others without a cause. That brings it up to another level. He expanded more of the Ten Commandments later in that chapter, each time calling for changes that are not even possible on our own.
“Without Me, ye can do nothing . . .” But, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me . . . !” John 15:5-7 and Philippians 4:13
I believe the Tenth Commandment is given to remind us that we cannot keep these on our own. It requires a transformation that none of us can perform. I could tell my twelve-year-old son that I want him to build me a rocket ship so I can visit Mars in three months. I would know that he will not be able to perform my command. I could do this in hopes that he will realize his own weakness and ask for help. God never expected the unrepentant sinner to be able to keep His law (Romans 8:7). Instead, He wanted to point out his need, which would bring him to Christ !
note: “Here is the patience of the saints . . . yea, here are they that keep the commandments of God, and (through) the faith of Jesus !”
and ref: Hebrews 4:1-10
Original article written by Elder Lynnford Beachy