Tenth Commandment = Lust not after ---


Does this Commandment really have a connection to lust? Some may not make this connection as quickly as they would to another commandment, so let us begin by reading in the epistles of John in order to connect this 10th Command to our = “Lust not after” for all our readers to understand.

I Jn 2:15-16  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world-- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-- is not of the Father but is of the world.”  (NKJ) How many today who claim to be “Christian” really understand this? John just as easily could have said “do not go about coveting things of the flesh that your eyes are drawn to or you will reject the ways of the Father. You and your desires to have so that you take it from another does not come from the Father”, --because that is practically the same thing and is the way of the world and Satan. But that is not the way it is worded and very likely because John has a broader view or application in mind when writing this. I am dealing with “Lust” in this article as it relates to covetousness and the 10th Commandment.


What does the 10th Commandment actually say, do you remember?

Exo.20:17   "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." So to covet something that someone else has possession or ownership of or even part ownership in is also a “Lust of the flesh”, and that is one example. But surely you can see that many of the things listed in this commandment ARE things being lusted after, by many in today’s society.

However, we also read this from the apostle Paul in Col 3:5     “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (NKJ)

Now perhaps there is a better translation of this; for example, the NAS and the NIV word this closely, saying; “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly (Carnal) nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (NIV) We should notice right away that Paul puts this “Evil desire & covetousness” in the same category as Idolatry, and right along with committing adultery which deals with the 2nd & 7th Commandments, but those are not our subject and have already been covered. Let us get some word definition that will give us further clarity of what we are dealing with in coveting, as it relates to lust. COVET, COVETOUS, COVETOUSNESS (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, has; 1. epithumeo NT:1937, "to fix the desire upon" (epi, "upon," used intensively, thumos, "passion"), whether things good or bad; hence, "to long for, lust after, covet,"---)

Prov.11:6 says;    “The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.” (RSV)  the NKJ words that a little differently by saying the last part this way; “but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.” So God may bring something out into the open, that is secretly going on in the mind of the unfaithful, through their own lust—which ends up being the inner-most “fruit of their doings”. (Jer,17:9-10) In the NT we find Peter telling true Christians that they have become; “-- partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  (NKJ)


So it is important to understand how lusting and coveting are connected and leads to breaking the tenth command. There are many ways of coveting thru lust and one very well-known Biblical example is how David Lusted (Had a strong desire) for Bathsheba. (2 Sam.11) This brought on even more sin of committing audultry and murder! Remember, part of the 10th Command is; “you shall not covet your neighbor's wife,”— which is exactly what he did, to begin with! Many other things lusted for, ends up breaking the commandment on coveting, as well as many other Commandments. James 1:14 “But every man (or human) is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (KJV)  This word, a slight variation of #1937 is #1939  epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah) from Strong’s Greek/Hebrew dictionary or Concordance has this; “from 1937; a longing (especially for what is forbidden): KJV-- concupiscence, desire, lust (after).” So coveting can be lusting and goes on all the time in our world today. People lust after or covet automobiles, houses and other properties, prestige and fame, certain women or men and so on. 


James, (or God does thru him) also puts these two words in the same category of sin in Ch. 4:2-3;  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  So these are things the unrepentant and unconverted would have as their nature, but true Christians can also be affected by this and should be able to see by these and so many more passages of Scripture, that it is both lusting and coveting that leads to various other sins—but most assuredly violates the Tenth Commandment. According to word definition and the KJV, these two words, “Ye lust” are from the same as seen above; “1937 epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh'-o); KJV-- covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).”—which is also found for the word “covet” in Rom.7:7, from the same source or Bible help.

1 Tim 6:6-10 “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” NKJ


When people are willing to lie and cheat or go to other wrong means just to gain something monetary or for bodily satisfaction, they are also lusting for or coveting that thing, which is breaking the 10th Commandment. This kind of mindset is also putting that person or “thing” lusted for or coveted after, before or above obeying God and therefore breaks the first Command and the first great commandment, as well as the seventh, if it is another person’s mate. So when people lust for something that someone else may also have a relationship with or ownership of—such as in a business, property, joint partnership or even marriage, they are also coveting. Where the “thing” is joint owned such as a house, cars or other financial means—but one begins to lust or covet and decides to have whatever it is all for themselves—“You shall not covet your neighbor's house”—or any of his possessions, it is sin!  (This can & does happen through divorce courts, when one mate decides to take something away or “get” all they can from the other, as an example because this seems to happen very often.) These things are most likely lusting and coveting in God’s eyes, which will lead to other sins and curses as well. People who do this today and still put on a pretense of being Christian may deceive some or even themselves, however their fruits prove otherwise for those who are paying attention to them. (Matt.7:15-21)

James 2:8-10        If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9         but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10          For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”

We all do stumble from time to time, even getting caught off guard and perhaps pulled into sin by someone else and have to repent. Those coveting or lusting and never really seeing a need to repent are obviously not being led by the Spirit of God. Until that true repentance happens, there can be no real reconciliation with God. We cannot knowingly continue to break the commands of God through LUST OR COVETING and stay in the grace of God.

Heb.13:5 tells us to; “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.” (NKJ) We can have a Spiritually prosperous life by overcoming the tendency to lust and covet, by keeping the 10th Commandment and all other Commands of God!       


(Editor for TCOGMSO)


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