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The Basis Of Most Sin
by Wayne Blank
I live and work in a zoned semi-rural area (along with farms, there is an industrial park, a golf course and a major freeway all within a mile of where I live) in which mail is still delivered to individual roadside mail boxes, and it seems that some thieves were following a few minutes behind our mail delivery lady and stealing letters and packages from mail boxes. The very friendly and helpful police officer was here with some letters addressed to both me, and the company that publishes Daily Bible Study, that had been recovered from the thieves. Although my personal mail continues to be delivered the same as before (the mail delivery lady's job depends on having rural mail-delivery customers!), Key-Way Publishing / Daily Bible Study mail is now delivered to a Post Office box for greater security.
Theft Is The Basis Of Most Sin
While the Eighth Commandment specifically prohibits stealing, all of the Ten Commandments are based on not stealing - not stealing obedience and worship from the only True God (Commandments One to Four), not stealing the honor away from parents (the Fifth Commandment), not stealing someone's life from them (the Sixth Commandment), not stealing someone's spouse (the Seventh Commandment), not stealing the truth from someone (the Ninth Commandment) and not planning to steal a possession from someone (the Tenth Commandment).
"The Commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other Commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law." (Romans 13:9-10 RSV)
There is no such thing as "petty theft" in God's sight - the character of those who steal a little is the same as those who steal much:
"He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at Him." (Luke 16:10-14 RSV)
The only recorded incident in which Jesus Christ resorted to violence is when He was driving out "white collar" thieves from the Temple:
"And Jesus entered the Temple of God [see "My Father's House"] and drove out all who sold and bought in the Temple, and He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, "It is written, 'My House shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers." (Matthew 21:12-13 RSV)
Unrepentant thieves, as well as all unrepentant sinners, will not enter the Kingdom of God. But with repentance, true repentance, comes forgiveness, as evidenced in the early church where former thieves were among those who became people of God:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 RSV)
Fact Finder: When the totally-innocent Jesus Christ was crucified, two others were also executed on crosses, one on each side of Him. What were they executed for?