The devotional/study today is only loosely connected to the 10 commandments, but I think it's an important matter for us to think about.
We have mentioned previously the fact that one violation of "the law" makes one guilty of breaking it in its entirety. That one sin makes a man a sinner of need of God's salvation. The basis for this statement is found in James 2:10 and Galatians 3:10.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Galatians 3:10)
The cross reference for the Galatians passage is Deuteronomy 27:26, Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Today, I'd like us to draw two different applications from these verses and others.
one sin is often equal to another
one sin (un-confessed and un-forsaken) always leads to another
As to the first point, there are a couple of passages that clearly point out the fact that one sinful act violates multiple commandments.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
Remove me far from vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. (Proverbs 30:9)
[let me know if you can come up with any more that equate committing one sin with committing another]
God equates covetousness with idolatry. He equates theft with blasphemy. Why? Because their root is the same. I think that so many times we think we're OK because "well I do that, but I'd never do THAT." And we don't realize that the fact we commit that sin is proof that the root of THAT sin is down in our hearts.
Faithfulness to certain commandments does not give us an excuse to break any others. You're not free to have a heart full of pride just because you don't deceive your parents like your friend does. You're not free to entertain and indulge your ungodly thoughts just because you're not as immoral as some other people you know. You're not cleared from your responsibility to witness for Jesus Christ just because you don't drink and party. You're not free to covet just because you haven't stolen anything (yet). You get the point?
Building on this principle, we can find an example of the fact that one sin leads to another in the story of David and Bathsheeba in 2 Samuel 11. If you read the chapter carefully, David broke at least 8 of the 10 commandments (some of which are capital offenses) in the matter of one chapter. He coveted what did not belong to him. That led him to commit adultery with Bathsheeba, after which he dealt dishonestly with Urijah and had him killed so he could steal his wife. It is obvious that throughout this course of events, he failed to put God first, dishonored his parents, and cast reproach upon the name of God.
Where did it all start? What sin caused David to take such a great fall (and if you read about the rest of his life, he paid dearly for his actions)? It all started with yielding to a simple temptation. It all started with the decision to take a second glance at what he knew he shouldn't look at. "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see!"
Now, though we are not "under the law" and though we are governed by the indwelling Christ and not by rules and regulations, we are given specific commandments in the New Testament (very close to the same 10 in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5). And we are not at liberty to pick and choose which we keep and which we ignore.
God wants us to keep them all…only because He wants our lives to be blessed in so doing. Ask God to pluck out whatever root of sin is in your heart because if you don't, that plant will grow…and it will be ugly.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)