Ten Commandments and Repentance

On Sunday, we took time to read God’s law in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and repent of our sin in the light of each of God’s commands. Below is a summary of the commands as well as an explanation of each, to help us better understand what God calls us to (and how we should repent!). 


1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.

God commands us to sincerely acknowledge the only true God, trust him alone, look to him for every good thing humbly and patiently, and love him, fear him, and honor him with all our heart. In short, we are called to give up anything rather than go against God’s will in any way.

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

God commands us not to make any image of God nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his Word. We are forbidden to worship any earthly thing, but should devote ourselves to God alone.

3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

God commands us to use his holy name only with reverence and awe, so that we may properly confess him, pray to him, and praise him in everything we do and say.

4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

God commands us to regularly attend the assembly of God’s people to learn what God’s Word teaches, to participate in the sacraments, to pray to God publicly, and to bring Christian offerings for the poor. Every day of our lives we should rest from our evil ways, let the Lord work in us through his Spirit, and so begin already in this life the eternal Sabbath.

5. Honor your father and your mother.

God commands us to honor, love, and be loyal to our father and mother and all those in authority over us. We should obey and submit to them, as is proper, when they correct and punish us; and we should be patient with their failings—for through them God chooses to rule us.

6. You shall not murder.

God commands us to not belittle, insult, hate, or kill our neighbor—not by thoughts, words, looks or gestures, and certainly not by actual deeds—and we should not be party to this in others; rather, we should put away all desire for revenge. We should not harm or recklessly endanger ourselves either.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

God commands us to keep ourselves sexually pure; the married to remain faithful to their spouse; the unmarried to remain chaste before God.

8. You shall not steal.

God commands us to do whatever we can for our neighbor’s good, treating others as we would like to be treated; working faithfully so that we may share with those in need; giving our material possessions generously to God and to those in need.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

God commands us to love the truth, speak it candidly, openly acknowledge it, and live lives of honesty and integrity before God and others.

10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

God commands us to be content in our hearts with what he has given us, to not envy or put ourselves above our neighbor, but to consider others better than ourselves.