As mentioned in a previous post, I was sent to studying the New Testament by a dear brother years back to understand the believers relationship to the Ten Commandments.
This post will continue with
Commandment #8 – No Stealing
You shall not steal
- Is each commandment included in Jesus or the Apostles teaching?
- If so, was there anything different about the command as expressed by Jesus or the Apostles?
The NO STEALING command is included in Jesus and the apostles teaching, but primarily from the positive perspective, from the love angle, not the rule angle.
There is a difference.
Mat 15:19 – 20
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
Jesus is teaching the populace the upside down nature of His kingdom, or in other words, how backwards we have the truth when it comes to relating to God and His rule in our lives.
This teaching starts off seemingly innocently in my mind. Dietary laws are of little to no influence in the culture I live in, other than for the sake of appearance and health. Religious observance of diet are essentially non-existent.
What has dietary laws got to do with stealing you may ask? The teaching started out with correcting the teaching of defilement. How and what to eat were massive influences within the Jewish culture, and rules upon rules were established to perform these rites.
But Jesus is defining the source of defilement. It is in me. All the food restrictions in the world won’t change that.
And theft comes out of my heart, my inner person. This defiles me. I defile me.
O wretched man that I am. How could I find any hope other than in the person of Jesus. I need an external Savior, some one other than I.
Note how Jesus deals with the Pharisses offence.
Matthew 15:13 – 14
He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.
Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
How often do I get upset about those who are obviously teaching error, and the victims they are feeding off of. The mercy and love of God is ever extending to all of us who have that “self” in us, that destructive defiling “self” resident in us. Yet, Jesus seems to dismiss the Pharisees, and their followers as being destined to the pit.
This passage is difficult for me personally. We are all blind to varying degrees, completely blind to the Messiah prior to conversion, and yet mercy was displayed. How can He dismiss these when the gospel reaches out to all?
The only resolve I have, in my current understanding, was that at this specific time and topic, when Peter brought this concern to Jesus, it had become obvious that the die was set, and the Pharisees were doomed, as a religious and political party. It may take 40 years for the nation to fall, but fall it would. The teaching of the Pharisees would evaporate, and those who clung unto their falsehoods would also be finished.
It is interesting that the Lord used the “root up” symbology, which hearkens back to the days of Jeremiah, when he was prophesying of the first destruction of Jerusalem.
Does Paul re-frame this commandment? I think this particular commandment is the one that helped me turn a corner on how the New Testament does not abandon the moral code of the ten commandments, but exalts the law, re-framing the code in the light of the gospel.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Paul is most likely addressing a problem within the Ephesian church, that is, a possible thief that has not understood the ramifications of the gospel call on his life. God’s nature has not changed and His people, in reflecting that nature, need / want to conform to that nature.
Some times it is just a matter of teaching, that will provide the information to the believer in order to direct his/her life properly. I like to think this is what is happening in this passage.
Some young believer is still swiping stuff, having had the habit for possibly years, and yet now having acquired the new nature, is informed of the higher life. Provide for others, instead of taking from others.
It is encouraging to see lives changed by the gospel. This is a concrete response to the gospel .
Give don’t take – Its kinda a no brainer, since He gave and gave and gave.
Hey thanks for giving some of your time to consider the Bible with me. I look forward to your comments and will respond to each one as the day affords.
May God bless you and your loved ones.
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