Summary and Application
The Tenth Commandment
“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.” Exodus 20:17
This is the commandment that opened Paul’s eyes to his need for a Savior. “I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet’” (Romans 7:7).
The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God's law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow man. If we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, we won't covet that which belongs to him. This commandment is well expressed by the principle of true contentment. “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Paul had truly learned this principle, for he wrote: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11). “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1Timothy 6:8). “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).