What does God require in the ninth and tenth commandments?

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Ninth, that we do not lie or deceive, but speak the truth in love. Tenth, that we are content, not envying anyone or resenting what God has given them or us.

James 2:8

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

Commentary

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbour. Now dost thou, most gracious Lord, instruct me in this commandment, how I should use my tongue towards my neighbour, and behave myself concerning his name, forbidding me to bear false witness; in the which thou forbiddest me all kinds of slandering, lying, hypocrisy, and untruth. And why? Because, as "members of one body," thou wouldest we should "speak truth one to another," and be careful every one to cover other's infirmity, and with our tongue defend the names of others, even as we would that others should defend ours: so that in this commandment, as thou forbiddest me all kind of evil, perilous, calumnious and untrue speaking, so dost thou command to me all kind of godly, honest, and true report and talk…. 0 how great a good thing is this unto me! If we consider the hurt that cometh by untruth, and by words wherethrough many are deceived, easily may we see a wonderful benefit and care of thee for us in this commandment.

Thou Shalt Not Covet…. Here, 0 most gracious Lord God, thou givest me the last commandment of thy law who having taught me what outward actions I shall avoid, that I do not thereby offend or undo my neighbour, as murder, adultery, theft, and false witness, now thou teachest me a rule for my heart, to order that well, from the abundance whereof all our works and words proceed, that I shall not covet any thing that is my neighbour's. I know hereby that, if he have a fairer house than I, I may not wish for it; if he have a more beautiful wife than I, I may not desire her…. I may not desire to take from him his ox, nor his ass, no, not his dog, no, not the meanest thing he hath in his possession. So that, in the other commandments as thou hast forbidden all injuries and evil practice against my neighbour, so now thou chargest me to beware of thinking any evil thought against him…. The apostle said well, when he taught us, saying, "Cast all your care upon God, for he careth for you." It is true, I find it true: thus thou "carest for us," and wouldest have us to "care one for another."

John Bradford (1510–1555). An English Protestant Reformer, Bradford studied at Cambridge University and was made royal chaplain to King Edward VI. When Catholic Mary Tudor came to the throne he was arrested along with Latimer, Ridley and Archbishop Cranmer. Bradford had a great reputation as a preacher and a vast crowd came to his execution. He is most remembered for his statement, “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford.” His works, some of which were written from prison, include letters, exhortations, eulogies, meditations, sermons, and essays.

From “Godly Meditations: A Meditation upon the Ten Commandments” in The Writings of John Bradford, edited by Aubrey Townsend (Cambridge: University Press, 1868), 170–172.

Further Reading

“Oaths and Vows” and “Antinomianism” in Concise Theology, by J. I. Packer.

Prayer

Almighty God, who art the Father of lights and who has promised by thy dear Son that all who do thy will shall know thy doctrine: give me grace so to live that by daily obedience I daily increase in faith and in understanding of thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963). A fellow in English literature at Oxford University as well as chair of English at Cambridge University, Lewis wrote literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, as well as theology. His most well known works are Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Chronicles of Narnia. A member of the Church of England, his conversion to Christianity was influenced by his Oxford colleague and friend J.R.R. Tolkien.

From a letter to Mrs Sonia Graham who had asked Lewis for a prayer, written from Magdalen College, 18 March 1952, in Letters of C. S. Lewis , edited by W. H. Lewis (Orlando: Harcourt, 1966), 419.