Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Was the 8th Commandment given to protect "private property"?

Many Christians think that the 8th Commandment, 'do not steal', was given to protect private property. They think it means that it is given for this purpose. Is this really the case? To answer this, one must understand why God gave the Moral Law.

Galatians 3:19 says: Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. It was given to reveal sin - to show humans how vile, evil, wicked and abominable pieces of filth they are. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). It was to show that no person can keep it.

The Law of God emanates from His very character Himself. It is based on His character of love. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16). The Law of God is the Law of Love. The Law shows the sin nature of humanity which does not love, nor can love since it is hostile against God since the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Romans 8:7). Only the true Christian can love because of the love of God in him or her:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:7-12).

No one can love in their own human flesh. 1 John 4:19-21 makes it clear:

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

So, the Law which brings knowledge of sin was NOT made to please humans, or FOR humans. It was made by God, for God and from God alone. It is NOT made for humans. The 6th commandment was made because murder is against the NATURE of God, and likewise, the 8th commandment was made because stealing is against the NATURE of God, not because it is to protect human interests.

Thus, the interpretation that the 8th Commandment protects property is a humanistic one, one of the flesh. Just as no one has a "right" to life, or any "rights" at all, the 8th Commandment was not made to protect or correspond to any "rights".