(Exodus 20:15), “Thou shalt not steal.”
In looking at the Ten Commandments we learn the first four commandments protect our relationship to God; the fifth, sixth, and seventh commandments protect our relationship to family; and as we begin the eighth, ninth, and tenth commandments, we learn these protect our relationship to our fellowman. We are living in a thieving world. A look at the statistics of crime in our world teach us there are billions of dollars lost each year as a result of stolen vehicles, credit card fraud, bank robberies, identity theft, home invasions, shoplifting, employee stealing from their companies, and the list is endless. The truth is, all of us are subject to being a victim of theft and there are some ways we can protect ourselves from thieves but there is no 100% way that we can fully protect ourselves. However, we can protect ourselves from becoming a thief by observing the eighth commandment, “thou shalt not steal.”
- THE CHARACTER OF STEALING
The word “steal” means “to take feloniously what belongs to another without their consent.” Some obvious forms of stealing, some of which I have already mentioned, and others include robbery, burglary, mugging, pick- pocketing, embezzlement, extortion, and scamming. Then there is stealing from God through tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8-10a), “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” Stealing is an act the can be done toward God or our fellowman.
- THE CONSEQUENCES OF STEALING
Stealing as all other sins have consequences. Firstly, there is the Biblical consequence of sinning against God for in our text we read, “thou shalt not steal.” When one disobeys the Word of God, it is sin and stealing disobeys the Word of God. Secondly, there are Spiritual consequences in that stealing breaks one’s fellowship with God, grieves the Holy Spirit, and stops answered prayer. Thirdly, stealing has Personal consequences in that when a person steals the face prosecution, fines, jail time, a criminal record, loss of employment opportunities, financial disaster, just to name a few. Fourthly there are Eternal consequences because a person will have to face God in judgment after they die and will have to give an account to God for this sin. For the saved, they will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ and for them it will be a time of losing their rewards. For the unsaved, they will appear at the Great White Throne judgment and this sin will be part of determining their degree of hell and punishment.
- THE CURE FOR STEALING
What does a person need to do if they have committed the sin of stealing? For the unsaved, you need regeneration, which is, you need to be saved and forgiven not just of this sin but for all your sins. What you need to do is to admit you are a sinner and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. If you are saved and have committed thievery, you must confess and repent of this sin before God. Then you must make restitution by restoring to the person whatever it is that you have stolen. And then live righteously by becoming a person of integrity and trustworthiness, a person of industry by working for what you get, and a person of investment by giving to others.
Pastor Allen Jackson