Thou Shall Not Steal: The Many Ways We Break This Commandment

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Most of us are not thieves and do not steal, we might be surprised how we can steal without even being aware of it.

Robbing God of Glory

Most of us are not thieves and do not steal, but we might be surprised how we can steal without even knowing it. One of the greatest things we can rob from someone of is robbing God of His due glory. We can boast of our own accomplishments because it is God Who gives us the power and ability to make wealth (Deut 8:18). When someone pats me on the back for doing something good, I must deflect it back to God because nothing good really dwells in us (Rom 3:10-12, 3:23) except for the Holy Spirit, so the source of any good we do is from God. We bear fruit, yes, but we can’t bear anything without abiding in Jesus Christ the Vine (John 15:5), so all glory must go to God for anything we do that is good (Psalm 115:1). Even in our salvation, all glory must go to God because there is nothing we can do to save ourselves (Acts 4:12). It is entirely an act of God (John 1:13-14, 3:3-7) and His kindness toward sinners (Eph 2:8-9). The moon is a dark, ugly chunk of rock that is lifeless and is a hostile environment…but, when the sun shines on it, it is beautiful. Now, do you think the moon has any right to boast about it’s beauty? No, the moon can only boast about the sun. In similar fashion, we too must boast about the Son if we do anything worthy of merit or anything that is commendable.

Robbing Ourselves of Blessings

I have been guilty of this very thing. I’ve robbed God and myself by not giving back to God at least a portion of what He’s blessed me with, but no more! God doesn’t only own the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10-12)…He owns the hills too! Christians generally give less than 3% of their income to the church they attend. That’s compared to about 15% a century ago. I have learned that clinched fists cannot be open to receive blessings. When you’re holding on hard to something, you cannot open your palms to receive from God. The laborer is worthy of their wages (1 Tim 5:18). I love to listen to John MacArthur, the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, and the late Adrian Rogers. I get a lot out of their preaching, so I feel I should give back to those ministries what I can because I too need fed and I feel they should share in some of the blessings because these ministries bless so many with free resources.

Robbing People’s Thoughts & Ideas

I have been guilty of this sin. Someone thinks of something that’s a very good idea and I bring it up at the next opportunity. I should give the original author credit and if I don’t, I’m stealing credit from this other person. Some have some great biblical sayings and I’ve copied a few, but when I do, I feel obligated to share the fact that I didn’t come up with this saying. If I don’t, by my silence, I am claiming it for myself. I have actually had people copy and paste my articles and put their own name to them. This has happened at least a dozen or more times. Copying someone else’s material and claiming that they wrote it is stealing. Colleges expel students for plagiarism and that is stealing as far as God is concerned.

Robbing Paper Clips

Why would I even bring up robbing paper clips? That’s hardly worth mentioning, is it? But Jesus said “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10). If we steal even one penny, is that not still theft? Does the command to not steal set a limit on how much or little we steal? No, because it’s an internal issue and stealing is evidence that we are coveting other people’s possessions. Even if our employer has thousands of paperclips, the point is, stealing…small or great things…it is sin. We can’t condone it just because our employer is making “millions of dollars.” There’s no justification for it. Of course, stores suffer theft, very frequently from their own employees, driving up costs for consumers, but no matter the value (a pen, pencil…whatever), it is breaking God’s commandment to not steal.  Those who love God will not break the commandments of God (John 14:21).  They will never be sinless, but they will sin less.


It is so easy to steal, isn’t it? It is so tempting. Eve stole something that didn’t’ belong to her and we see the result of that original sin. We can steal other people’s credit, we can steal other people’s ideas, and we can steal property (small or great), but worst of all is stealing or robbing God of glory. He is not going to share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8).  Stealing includes using someone’s password for a movie network or copying something that is copywritten, or copying music, or…you get the idea.

In closing, let me say that it is my prayer that you have already trusted in Christ and are baptized. That means you are commanded to go into all the world to make disciples (Matt 25:35-36; 28:18-20), however, if you have still not trusted in Jesus Christ yet, your judgment will be more than we can describe with words (Rev 20:12-15; 21:8). This is why I plead with you today (2 Cor 6:2) to repent and trust in Christ right now…at this very moment because He could return in the next blink of the eye, and then, it would be too late for you to be saved (Rev 1:8). If you fail to do so, you will surely face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Jesus Christ’s appearance someday (Rev 20:12-15), which could come at any moment.

Here is some related reading for you: You Shall Not Steal Bible Lesson and Life Application

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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