What Did Jesus teach about the 10 Commandments?

All throughout the Bible, we are frequently warned against the dangers of sin. We are taught that it displeases God and brings forth death (James 1:13-15). What is sin and why does God treat it so seriously? How are the 10 commandements related to sin and what did Jesus say about them?

Simply put, Jesus used the 10 Commandments to teach that sin is any action or even thought that goes against God's law. This sin rightfully placed us under God's wrath and puts us in desperate need of a Savior.

Sin is lawlessness.

1 John 3:4 (ESV) - everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

In this verse, sin is defined as violation of God's moral law. It means that we are choosing to reject God's standard of righteousness and live according to our own standards. When we sin, we rejected him as the sovereign Lord and King and have rebel against him and his law. When we sin, we forsake all that is good and just to pursue that which God hates and abhors.

God's moral law is represented in the 10 Commandments.

In Exodus, we see God reveal His law to Moses in the 10 Commandments. Let's look at three of those commandments.

Exodus 20:7 (ESV) - 7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Have you ever said the name of God out of anger, with no actual intent to speak to him? You are guilty of breaking the 10 commandments.

Exodus 20:15 (ESV) - 15 You shall not steal.

Have you ever stolen anything such as money? Even small things like a pack of bubble gum, a pencil, or a toy counts. If you have taken anything without permission, anything at all, you are a theif in God's eyes.

Exodus 20:16 (ESV) - You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever slandered or made false accusations against another? Have you "stretched the truth" to protect your reputation, escape from trouble, or to hide from punishment? Have you ever misrepresented an opponent's argument If so, you have violated this commandment and are a liar in God's eyes.

After looking only at three of the ten commandments, the prognosis doesn't look good. Yet, it gets worse.

Jesus said that God looks at the heart.

The people of his day considered sin to be only external actions. They thought that if you never physically murdered or commited adultry, then you were innocent.

When Jesus Christ came, he gave a fuller revelation of the Law in the Sermon on the Mount. He taught that it wasn't merely actions that made us guilty, but even our thoughts could cause us to break the 10 Commandments.

For example, he taught that being unjustly angry with our brother made us guilty of murder, one of the 10 Commandments. Anyone who has ever been angry at another person is in danger of eternal condemnation.

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) - 21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.

Jesus also taught that lustful thoughts were the same as commiting adultry, another one of the 10 Commandments. Notice how severely He treats this sin: losing a part of our body is worth nothing compared to the loss of our souls.

Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV) - 27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Jesus taught that God requires perfection.

At the end of Matthew 5, after Jesus had demonstrated that one only has to think wrongly to break the 10 Commandments, Jesus said this,

Matthew 5:48 (ESV) - 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

God requires absolute perfection. Any action or thought that is not perfectly in line with his law makes us guilty and worthy of hell.


In summary, Jesus taught that we need to be absolutely perfect in our actions and in our thoughts. He showed that all have broken God's law and that sin of is a grave offense towards God. He treats so seriously that those who commit sin will be subject to eternal death in hell.

Here is the importance of understanding our sin: if we have broken God's law with even our imperfect thoughts, we are guilty and desperately in need of a Savior. If we understand this, then we understand our need to repent of our sins and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. If we have a repentant heart and call out to him in faith asking him to forgive us and cleanse us from our sins, he will do just that.

1 John 1:9 (ESV) - 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Iglesia Ni Cristo members, please ask yourselves how often the INC teaches this message of repentance and forgiveness through Christ vs a message of salvation through the church.