Tag Archives: second use of the law

“Coveting Is All Everyone Does”

Occasionally sermon illustrations are handed to you on a plate. Here’s a gift for any pastor preaching on the Tenth Commandment:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17)

From today’s edition of The Telegraph:

With her culinary wizadry, [sic] melt-in-your mouth voice and Rubenesque figure, Nigella Lawson has made a career out of turning heads.

But while many husbands might resent such flirtatious behaviour, Charles Saatchi yesterday revealed his pleasure at his television chef wife’s appeal — declaring “who would want to be married to someone who nobody coveted?”

In extracts from his new book, the outspoken adman turned art collector also described the Ten Commandments as an “overrated lifestyle guide” which only succeed in “making people confused and guilty”.

Mr Saatchi, who has been married three times, insisted that the tenth commandment in particular was “obviously a no-hoper” because “coveting is all everyone does, all the time, every day.”

No kidding. Saatchi makes the right observation, but draws entirely the wrong conclusion. Let the apostle Paul set the record straight:

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Romans 7:7-12)