28a Let him that stole steal no more.
This is a prohibition against stealing. The word “stole” in Greek is a present participle verb, which has durative force. Thus, it denotes ‘he who used to steal’ or an actual thief. Whatever form of stealing there had been in a person’s life, once he becomes a Christian, he must stop it utterly.
Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19 that thefts proceed from the heart and defile a person. Stealing is an unrighteous act that does not befit the followers of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the apostle Paul listed thieves among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. He said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Theft was regarded as a serious sin in the Old Testament and prohibited in firm words – “Thou shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 19:11; Deuteronomy 5:19; Isaiah 1:29; Jeremiah 7:9). Jesus cited the commandment, “Thou shall not steal”, in Mark 10:19, and so did the apostle Paul in Romans 13:9. Stealing is a violation of God’s commandment; it is also a social evil that disrupts the peace and progress of every community.
Stealing is taking another person’s property without permission or legal right, and without any intention of returning it. It is the illegal possession of anything owned by others. Many people practise various forms of stealing today – robbery, burglary, shoplifting, looting, petty theft, fraudulent business, profiteering, withholding employees’ promised pay, mismanagement of time and properties at work, cheating on taxes, refusal to pay debts, plagiarism, copyright violation, not giving tithes and offerings to support God’s work, etc.
Let us not engage in any form of stealing. Neither let us admire nor follow the pattern of those who become rich at the expense of others. Do not collaborate with those who covetously deal with others. Some may have committed certain form of stealing without realising the severity of the misdemeanour. Nonetheless, everyone should repent from the sin of stealing when the Spirit of God convicts him through His Word. And wherever possible, he should restore those things to the rightful owner.