Jesus said, even if someone “breaks the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 5:19.
He was also questioned by the Pharisees concerning the “greatest” commandment. Jesus responded with ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” Matthew 22:37, Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 6:5
It is clear that there are significant “greatest” and “least” commandments that are not specifically mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
Which is why I find it interesting when I hear “teachers” proclaim to their followers that they ONLY need to obey the Ten Commandments from Law.
So here are the Top Ten Commandments and how they are essential daily practices for anyone who chooses to follow Jesus.
- Love God
- Love others
- God exists
- No other gods
- God is One
- Fear God
1. Love God
Found in Deuteronomy 6:5 , Matthew 22:37:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength /mind.”
This commandment is the greatest and most important commandment.
Because of its importance though, it comes with the highest penalty for breaking it. The bigger the law, the bigger the penalty.
Everyone has broken this one. Simply because we, as humans desire pretty or shiny things.
Even a second of desiring a yummy meal (Esau), or a shiny bike means we have not loved God with ALL our hearts, all our Soul, all our Mind and all our Strength. Mark 12:30.
Because we have broken this really big commandment, God had to give us a way to avoid the punishment. He freely gave us a redeemer who took that punishment and paid the price for us failing to love Him with ALL our hearts, soul, mind and strength.
So now, we love God as best as we can as a response to His Mercy and Grace, not as fearful slaves who has been commanded to love their master, or suffer the consequences!!
So how do we do that? What is God’s definition on how He WANTS to be loved; because everyone has different ideas or motivations about how to love someone.
Well, God explains how He wants to be loved and how we can respond to His freely given Mercy and Grace in all of the other commandments.
That is why we read, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the FREE gift of God”. Ephesians 2:8
And, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
And our RESPONSE is to love Him in the way that He wants to be loved, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” I John 5:3.
2. Love Others
Found in Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39
“”Love your neighbor as yourself”
This is the second greatest commandment because humanity is created in the image of God.
It has been said that these verses promote self-love. After all, surely we must begin by loving ourselves before we can love others? But self-seeking and self-indulgence has never been completely successful in loving others.
These verses, however, simply mean that we should wish upon our neighbour the same benefits and success that we wish upon ourselves!
We want to be fed, clothed, successful, fulfilling our wildest dreams and we expend all our energy to “make it happen”; how much energy do we use to help our neighbour reach their hopes and dreams, or even just their basic daily needs?
The beauty of these verses ( Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39) is discovered by remembering that God is our neighbor. And He is ready to expend all His energy for us, even giving His own Son who also denied Himself to the point of death on a cross as a man.
When read in proper context, we find that all commandments in the Bible are centred around loving God and loving each other. Even the supposedly “nasty” commandments, they too are focussed on freeing humanity from the cancer of wickedness that easily spreads and destroys families, people’s lives and communities.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
3. God Exists
Found in Genesis 1:1, Exodus 20:2:
“In the beginning God…”
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage”.
Whilst loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength is the greatest commandment, and loving others is the second, we must begin with acknowledging that a higher power exists. After all, why should we make such an effort to love others if “love” has no greater value than just feelings, or why make any attempt to connect with our Creator if there is no Creator “for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 6:12.
Some spectators demand that proof of God’s existence be provided on a silver platter; this is certainly possible, but will it be convincing?
There is a plethora of evidence which upon careful examination could only lead to the conclusion that indeed a Supreme Creator exists; evidence such as:
1. Something cannot come from absolutely nothing – never been duplicated by observable science. Where did the quark-gluon plasma come from?
2. Life cannot just happen to inanimate objects (unless you believe in Pinocchio) – never been duplicated by observable science.
3. Universe temperature is uniform. – if there were “older” parts of the universe the temperature would vary.
4. Complex single cells must appear in a collective state (all at once) and not bit by bit.
“If evolution were true it required DNA evolving in parallel synchronization with cell operation, an impossibility without intelligence.” Dr. Dean Kenyon
5. Where did the original DNA coding come from? Where did additional DNA coding come from to “upgrade” it to another type of taxonomy.
6. Which “Vital Organ” or body part wasn’t vital until it evolved- or did they need to all apear in a collective state?
7. Where is this “common ancestor” that nobody has ever seen or been able to successfully duplicate by observable science – see point 20.
8. First and Second Law of Thermodynamics.
(if energy cannot be created or destroyed it has no beginning or end and thus must be connected to an Eternal Source – not nothingness).
9. Newton’s Third Law.
(there must be an “actioner” to begin the universal reaction).
10. Chromosome Biology.
(nothing can be biologically improved unless the “improvement” already exists – where did the DNA coding come from?).
11. Time itself.
(Time does not begin in any direction or dimension unless an event occurs – an event only occurs with energy) – includes multiverse. You honestly can’t have nothing and the nothing starts something.
12. Not to mention the numerous professors of science who believe in the existence of God.
13. Kalam Cosmological Argument (debated but never debunked).
14. Ontological Argument (debated but never debunked).
15. The Morality Argument (debated but never debunked).
16. Properly Basic Argument (debated but never debunked).
17. Fine Tuning Argument (there was nothing and then nothing had multiple amounts of factors occur at once to start everything pertaining to life – debated but never debunked).
18. No ancient trees older than approx. 6000 years.
19. Even astronomy has the Orion and Pleiades argument.
20. The complexity of the cell wall – it is not a “simple cell”.
21. Despite millions of dollars of research (maybe billions), there is no experimental evidence for evolution in the strict sense, empirically showing that “A led to B led to C”. It is only observable adaption.
4. No other god’s before God.
Found in Exodus 20:3:
“You shall have no other gods before Me”
With the acknowledgement of God’s existence, it is rudimentary that human nature begins to inquire of the possibility that other gods may be more appealing to follow; especially when the subject of suffering is explored.
Why does God allow suffering? Is God evil? Are there other “god options”?
This same development unfolds in Joshua 24:15, ” And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served……But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
This is God’s call to His people. It is an exclusivity clause not unlike marriage vows.
It would be effortless to view the commandments as a “do and don’t do” list, but the Jewish people understood that the commandments were a “ketubah”: a marriage agreement.
In any Jewish wedding, the Ketubah is read aloud and the bride and groom affirm their agreement in front of all the witnesses present at the wedding. It is a promise to be faithful. It is a commitment to not place another person before their spouse.
Likewise, God is asking for the same devotion:
- no other god’s before Him; He must be first in our lives
- no other god’s before Him – remove other gods from His sight.
In Exodus 24, the people of Israel affirmed their Covenant with God. He would be their spouse placed before all others.
And just like any marriage, there are “ground rules” and expectations to be a respectable spouse. Each partner is expected to RESPOND in a suitable fashion.
Any good spouse will seek ways to grow and develop the relationship through their actions. Breaking the rules does not immediately cancel the marriage but given enough time it corrodes the relationship.
When we place God first in our lives, we develop, grow, honour and respect that agreement by loving Him in the way He desires to be loved.
This call to spousal exclusivity is also found in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My
commandments.” In modern terms Jesus was simply asking, “Will you be my bride?”
The question is still relevant today. Will you place your heavenly spouse before others?
5. God is One.
Found in Deuteronomy 6:4:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One!”.
The “Shema”, found in Deuteronomy 6:4, is the centrepiece of the morning and evening Jewish
The premise of God’s singularity is a congruent theme amongst the three major world religions,
however, there is a vast difference in how Christendom explains this dynamic.
Without using specific terms, it is abundantly obvious to any scholar that God is multi-dimensional, if not “super-dimensional”.
From the very beginning of Genesis, and throughout Scripture, God is called “Elohim”, which is a plural word – NOT singular.
Even in the Shema (Deut 6:4) God is called “echad” (one). Echad is a plural word. Some would say it means “compound unity”.
In simple terms, it is a multiple one.
Echad is a plural word and nowhere in Scripture is God ever called the singular “Yachid”. He is
always referred to in the plural form. “The Lord is echad”.
Could an expression of God, one of His multi-dimensions, ever include being a man? Is anything to hard for God?
We read that Elohim appeared on earth as a “Man” (Hebrew word “ish” – אִישׁ) to wrestle Jacob in Genesis 32:24, “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.”
Not an angel, a Man, which Jacob identifies as Elohim, God, in verse 30. “I have seen God face to
face and my life is preserved”.
That mysterious “Man” then declared that Jacob’s name shall be changed to Israel. Only the Almighty has the authority to name the nation of Israel – thus Elohim and the Almighty are One as per Genesis 1 and the Shema (Deut 6:4).
Joshua also confronts a “Man” in Joshua 5:13 who allows Himself to be worshipped; definitely not an angel, and then associates Himself with Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush many years earlier, “‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:15
At least twice in Torah Scripture we learn that a Divine being was clearly called a “man”. Not an angel; a man.
There are possibly other times also.
Elohim is always called “echad” (not yachid). “Echad” is a plural one. “Yachid” is a singular one.
When Numbers 23:19 is mentioned (God is not a man that He should lie), this must be taking in context that God is not like man and is high above all things – He does not lie like men do.
God can not be limited, and as such may have indeed revealed himself as a “man” to Jacob and Joshua – potentially others.
It shouldn’t be surprising that God can do and be whatever He deems necessary, including the
plan for His Word, the Elohim who created the universe, to intervene and save humanity as a
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalms 2:12
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in
the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made
that was made…He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did
not know Him”. John 1:1 – 3,10
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life”. John 3:16
The Lord is truly One; He is not limited to your understanding of that.
Kiss the Son…
6. Fear God
Found in Deuteronomy 10:20:
“You shall fear the Lord your God”.
The commandment to fear God is often met with hesitation or confusion. This is where context, proves its essential requirement in understanding Scripture.
Make no mistake, the Hebrew word for fear, “tirah” is quite unrelated to love. It literally means
to fear and be in awe of.
The commandment to fear God is distinct from the command to love Him.
Even Jesus made it clear that loving and fearing God are two different issues. “But I will warn
you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell
you, fear Him!” Luke 12:5
Paul said to, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” in Philippians 2:12.
Why is there a command to fear God; because to fear God means we don’t fear anything else.
When taking in consideration that the Bible says “fear not” over 100 times, the only sensible
conclusion must be that we should only fear God. It is that exclusivity in marriage clause again.
Which is wonderful! Because God deeply loves us!
A fireplace is dangerous and should be feared, but it is also a place of warmth and preparing
meals for sustenance. Fire should be enjoyed but also taken seriously. Ignoring the dangers of
fire may have dreadful consequences, not unlike God, who is called a “consuming fire.” In Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire.”
God does not change his nature: then, now or ever for anyone.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by
which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming
fire.” Hebrews 12:28 – 29
He is the fire of all fires; He is the all-consuming fire, which, by definition, makes Him “hotter than
A proper reason we need a Saviour to save us, a Messiah to anoint us, a Redeemer to pay
for us, Atonement to cover us and cleanse us and in such a powerful way that we can live in His
presence and belong to Him – without burning up!
The dichotomy, the duel nature, of the command to fear God, is that the only One we should fear
is also the One who loves us most.
God Almighty is inexplicably dangerous and fearsome, and Judgment Day will be a terrifying
ordeal, yet for those who belong to Him it will be overwhelmingly safe and joyous because they
have “boldness in the day of judgment…There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” I
John 4:17 – 18
Fear God now so you won’t fear Him then.