NCC 11 – What Does God Require in the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Commandments?

Question: What does God require in the sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments?

Answer: Sixth, that we do not hurt, or hate, or be hostile to our neighbor, but be patient and peaceful, pursuing even our enemies with love. Seventh, that we abstain from sexual immorality and live purely and faithfully, whether in marriage or in single life, avoiding all impure actions, looks, words, thoughts, or desires, and whatever might lead to them. Eighth, that we do not take without permission that which belongs to someone else, nor withhold any good from someone we might benefit.

Scripture: Romans 13:9

Sixth Commandment. The sixth commandment instructs God’s people not to murder. The Old Testament command itself does not forbid all forms of killing, but only the intentional killing of another human being for personal reasons (i.e. murder). However, Jesus reframes the command in the New Testament to include, not just the act of murder, but also the murderous intent of the heart. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches that “everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire (Matthew 5:21-22).” The Greek word translated “whoever insults his brother” is rhaka, meaning “empty or worthless.” When one person treats another person as if they are worthless, then they have murdered them in their heart. Therefore, the the sixth commandment is not just a prohibition against the physical act of murder, but also a call to see the value and worth in others.

Seventh Commandment. The seventh commandment instructs God’s people not to commit adultery. The Old Testament command focuses on acts of physical adultery, specifically a sexual relationship with a married person. Once again, however, Jesus reframes the command in the New Testament to include, not just acts of adultery, but all forms of lust toward another person. Therefore, the seventh command is both a constraint against unfaithfulness in marriage and a requirement of marital purity.

Eighth Commandment. The eighth commandment prohibits God’s people from stealing. The Apostle Paul demonstrates both the negative and the positive aspects of this commandment in Ephesians 4:28, “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.” According to Paul, the opposite of stealing is not the absence of stealing but rather the sharing of possessions with others in need. Therefore the eighth command is both an injunction against stealing and an appeal to do good to others.