The Ten Commandments:
- You shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make for yourself an idol
- Do not take the name of the Lord in vain
- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
- Honor your father and mother
- You shall not kill/murder
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall not steal
- You shall not bear false witness
- You shall not covet
Is it possible for anyone to perfectly keep any of the 10 Commandments, much less all 10? In this series, I will be examining each of the 10 Commandments, to show how they cannot be kept, and why they point to the need for Jesus Christ as Savior.
You shall have no other gods before me
1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
Exodus 20:1-3 NKJV
It is certainly true that most people in America today are not polytheistic. Few of us worship many gods, like the Greeks, Romans, or Hindus. Most Americans recognize the God of the Bible as the true God, although some worship another god, or no gods at all.
I certainly recognize the Biblical God as the only true God. All other gods are made-up figments of human imagination. So, I have Commandment #1 down perfectly, right?
First, none of us can actually comprehend God. The infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, holy God of the Bible is far beyond anything our puny, finite minds can truly grasp. One cannot put infinite knowledge into a finite mind. Therefore, our understanding of God is limited. What I understand as God is a limited shadow of the actual infinite God. Therefore, I actually worship a false God, not by choice, but by the limitations of my own mind. I worship God as I understand Him, not as He truly is. It is impossible for anyone to worship the true God, because we cannot comprehend Him truly.
Second, we all have things other than God that motivate us. Some are motivated by money; for others, it’s power, friends and family, or physical needs. Whatever motivates us or gives us a sense of worth is our god. Whenever I do something for any reason other than that it will draw me or others closer to God, I have placed something else ahead of God. Ultimately, I make myself my own god. I call the shots, not God. I’ve broken the first Commandment.
I’ve broken the first Commandment. So what?
God doesn’t grade on the curve. He doesn’t take the top X percent of good-deed doers to Heaven. He doesn’t put our good deeds on a scale, to see if they outweigh our bad deeds. God compares us to Himself. God is morally perfect; we are morally imperfect. We all fall short of God’s standard. We all fail, and we all deserve to be eternally separated from God.
The good news is that even though we are all sinners, Jesus Christ died for us.
I don’t always keep God first. I cannot perfectly keep the first Commandment. It’s impossible for me to do so. But, despite the fact you and I cannot keep God first, God still wants a relationship with us. That’s why He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to take the penalty for your sin and mine upon Himself on the cross. Our debt has been paid. All we have to do is to accept forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ and give our lives over to Him. When we receive Jesus as Savior, He begins a process of change from within us. Although the process won’t be completed until we are laid to rest and see Jesus face-to-face in eternity, God will begin the process of making Himself first in our lives from the moment we are saved. A relationship with God through Jesus Christ isn’t about getting my ticket punched to get into Heaven; it’s much more about allowing God to make Himself first in my life in the here and now.