The Eighth Commandment

Exodus 20:15, the eighth commandment, says, “Do not steal.” Do you lock your doors? Lock your car?  Have a security system? What about use usernames, passwords, and pin numbers? All of these are to protect from theft. The eighth commandment teaches:

Property Rights

The sixth commandment protects life. The seventh protects marriage. The eighth protects people’s property. The Bible is clear about ownership. God owns it all. The earth is the Lord’s. We brought nothing in this world and it is certain we will carry nothing out. We are trustees. A trustee is legally and morally bound to manage property for a third party or for someone else. We are like an executor. An executor does not write the will but carries out the wishes of the owner. The Bible does not teach communism or socialism where all property or production is publicly owned or controlled by the Government. In the Bible people could own houses, land, livestock, personal and private property. God gave humans dominion over the earth and we are all stewards of what He has given us. Have you ever had something stolen from you? How did it make you feel?

Personal Responsibilities

A student is not to cheat in school. We are not to steal someone’s good name by gossiping or slandering. We are not to plagiarize or steal someone else’s identity. In James 5:4, James says that employers should pay their employees. Likewise, employees should not steal from their employers. Ephesians 4:28 says, “Let the thiefno longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest workwith his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.” You can work for something, someone can give you something, but you can’t steal. Work is a gift. Work is a calling. Work has purpose. We must do honest work, earn our money, and have enough left to be generous. It is better to give than to receive. “God is not going to flow to you if He can’t flow through you.” Some people rob other people, but more people rob from themselves and they rob from God. Look at Malachi 3:8-11. The tithe is the Lord’s. We should work for the Lord, work for ourselves, and work for others.

Proper Restitution

In Exodus 22:1-4 we read that when a person steals, he must repay. God must be first. We see it throughout Scripture with firstfruits and the firstborn. Remember what happened with Cain and Abel? Abel brought the firstborn of his flock. Cain brought somefruits. “…The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor” (Gen. 4:4-5). It is not that God won’t, it is that He can’t. God can’t lie, God can’t change, and God cannot be second. We are told to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37). “This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:38). Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….” God should be first in our lives.

The ten commandments point us to Jesus. Jesus taught us to pray, “Father, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Sin is a debt. The wages of sin is death. We all deserve hell. Hell is like a debtor’s prison and place of torment. But Jesus paid the debt of sin we owed in full on the cross! He was crucified between two thieves. One repented and He told him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). We are all thieves. We are all sinners. We are all debtors. The question is, has the righteousness of Jesus been applied to your account?