The Intent of the Ten

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (I Timothy 1:5).

The commandment” here is a reference to the ten commandments, commandments which God sees as one (James 2:10,11). The “end” of the commandment refers to the goal or intent of the ten commandments. We use the word “end” that way when we ask, “To what end are you doing what you are doing?” God’s goal in giving the ten commandments was charity, a Bible word for love. God’s goal in giving the commandments was to get men to love God and their neighbor. If you love God, you won’t take His name in vain, and if you love your neighbor, you certainly won’t bear false witness to him or steal his stuff!

But the intent of the ten commandments wasn’t just to get people to love God and their neighbor. It was to get them to love “out of a pure heart,” and the only people who have a pure heart are saved people (Ps. 24:3,4). That’s why the Lord said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8). So God’s goal in giving the ten commandments was to get everyone saved and obeying them out of a pure (saved) heart.

Now don’t get me wrong, God approves when unsaved people obey His commandments. We know this because that’s what will happen in the millennial kingdom! The kingdom will begin with the deaths of all of earth’s unbelievers at the battle of Armageddon. No one but the pure in heart will enter the kingdom that Christ will then establish on earth. But the saved people who enter the kingdom will then bear children who must themselves choose to be saved.

And the majority of children in the millennial kingdom will choose not to be saved, just as has always been the case with the children of men. This will eventually result in the Lord ruling in the midst of His “enemies” (Ps. 110:2), “with a rod of iron” (Rev. 19:15) “in righteousness” (Isa. 32:1), the righteousness of the ten commandments. In that day, everyone on the planet will obey the ten commandments, including the unsaved, who will obey the commandment out of an impure heart.

The problem with obeying the commandment out of an impure heart is that it doesn’t change a man’s heart. We know this because after the millennial kingdom, the enemies that God will have to defeat at the battle of Gog and Magog will number “as the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:7-9). Clearly, 1,000 years of obeying the ten commandments with an impure heart will not have changed the hearts of the vast majority of men!

That’s why God’s goal in giving the ten commandments was never to have men obey them outwardly while inwardly seething, just waiting for their chance to rebel against Him, as will be the case in the millennial kingdom. No, God’s goal in giving the commandments was to get people saved and obeying them out of a pure heart. That was the intent of the ten.

The process starts when the unbeliever hears the commandments and gains “the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20; 7:7). He then can see his need of a Savior and believe the gospel. This then enables him to obey the ten commandments out of a pure heart and out of “a good conscience.” Unbelievers cannot obey the ten commandments out of a good conscience, for “even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Tit. 1:15).

But when a saved man obeys God’s commandments, he does so out of “faith unfeigned.” The word “feign” means to pretend (I Sam. 21:13), so unfeigned faith was genuine faith, the kind Timothy himself had! (II Tim. 1:5). In the millennial kingdom, the unsaved will have to feign faith, but the goal of the commandment in the dispensation of grace is “charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” Are you living up to God’s intent?

To the Reader:

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