I have been thinking a lot about the ten commandments lately and have some observations:
First, as I have mentioned before, I believe the ten commandments line up beautifully with the two great commandments. As Jesus said,
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:40
The first four of the ten commandments involve our relationship with God, and so relate to the first of the two great commandments:
…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Mathew 22:37
The last six of the ten commandments involve our relationship with others, and as Christ taught, the second great commandment relates to the first:
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22:39
Second, it is interesting to me that dispensation and restoration of truth is always away from complexity and toward a profound, beautiful simplicity that is God’s way and existence. Men, such as the leaders of the Jews at the time of Christ, as they move away from God, multiply rules and requirements, procedures and practices, and build up cultures and traditions that effectively replace God and the welfare of others. In contrast, the account of the mortal life of Christ, among other things, is a study in the power of profound simplicity. His words and responses are radical and revolutionary, from the cleansing of the temple, to the rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s, etc., etc. Each time these actions and words are both obviously true to most after the fact, while not contemplated by those within the culture before the fact. The basic commandments that He gives in all dispensations from the beginning fit into this principle of simplicity. They are few, but complete; they enable progression with full regard for agency, focusing on inward intent and fidelity to God and others rather than outward appearances and rewards.
Third, and related, there is great meaning and power in the basic commandments—meaning and power that are often watered down and eventually lost as a culture and its traditions move away from God.
In the coming weeks I plan to write many more thoughts about the ten commandments, the individual meaning and power associated with them, and how they fit together so beautifully.