This is a controversial topic! There are some that say that we should still be in obedience to the Ten Commandments, whilst others say that they are not for us as Christians. But what does the Bible say? Let’s investigate. Firstly, here is a summary of the Ten Commandments, if you want more detail read Exodus chapter 20:
- You shall have no other Gods but me.
- You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Respect your father and mother.
- You must not commit murder.
- You must not commit adultery.
- You must not steal.
- You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
- You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.
Why would anyone want to disagree with keeping the Ten Commandments?
That all sounds pretty good doesn’t it? So why would anyone want to disagree with keeping the Ten Commandments? Part of the answer is because if we are to keep the Ten Commandments, surely we then have to also keep rest of the Law. We know that this cannot be correct because the New Testament is clear that we are not under the law, but under grace. Let me give you an example: The Ten Commandments say not to murder, however if you don’t murder anyone, but still eat pork or shellfish, you are breaking the Law. You could argue that the majority of the Law was for the Jews, and that the Ten Commandments are different, that they for everyone for all time, but where does the Bible say that? It doesn’t! Look at Galatians 4:1-5 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:
“As long as the inheritor (heir) is a child and under age, he does not differ from a slave, although he is the master of all the estate; but he is under guardians and administrators or trustees until the date fixed by his father. So we [Jewish Christians] also, when we were minors, were kept like slaves under [the rules of the Hebrew ritual and subject to] the elementary teachings of a system of external observations and regulations. But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law, to purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons].”
God has allowed us to be partakers with the Jews in the New Covenant.
Up until the resurrection of Jesus Christ, when the New Covenant came into effect, the Jewish people needed the Law in the same way that children need rules, regulations and godly discipline within a loving environment. Once the New Covenant came into effect however, any Jew that accepted Jesus as the Messiah and as their Lord & Saviour was no longer bound by the rules & regulations of the Old Covenant, as the New Covenant had taken its place. They were now considered sons & daughters, rather than just children. For us who are not Jews, we were never under that Old Covenant, but instead God has allowed us to be partakers with the Jews in the New Covenant.
We now have the ability to resist sin.
Continuing with Galatians 4, verse 9-10 reads, “Now, however, that you have come to be acquainted with and understand and know [the true] God,…..how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly and worthless elementary things, whose slaves you once more want to become? You observe [particular] days and months and seasons and years!“. Paul was warning the Jewish Christians not to return to the Law. How much less should we as Christians, who were never under the Law, decide to adhere to rules & regulations that were never intended for us. Verse 10 puts paid to any silly arguments about whether we should have church on a Saturday or Sunday – it really doesn’t matter! Some people would argue that if we are not under the Law, lying, stealing, cheating etc are all fine. No, of course there aren’t! That is why Romans 2:15 says, “The essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts” (The Amplified Bible). If you think that doing things like that are acceptable, then to be blunt, you are probably not a Christian (or just trying to be awkward). Paul wrote in Romans 6:12-14 in the J.B. Phillips translation, “Do not, then, allow sin to establish any power over your mortal bodies in making you give way to your lusts. Nor hand over your organs to be, as it were, weapons of evil for the devil’s purposes. But, like men rescued from certain death, put yourselves in God’s hands as weapons of good for his own purposes. For sin is not meant to be your master—you are no longer living under the Law, but under grace“. Having been totally transformed by the new birth – becoming new creations – we now have the ability to resist sin. That’s not to say we never ever sin, but we do sin not habitually (or at least we have the ability not to) and even general sin will occur less & less as we grow closer to God. Paul continues in verses 15-16, “Shall we go on sinning because we have no Law to condemn us any more, but are living under grace? Never! Just think what it would mean. You belong to the power which you choose to obey, whether you choose sin, whose reward is death, or God, obedience to whom means the reward of righteousness“. You can read more about grace in my post, ‘Grace: Licence To Sin?‘.
Do the Ten Commandments still have relevance today?
What this means, is that as we walk in love, led by the Holy Spirit, we will know to do right and refuse to do wrong. We do not need a written law, we do not need anyone telling us, “Well, this law you have to obey, but this one only applied to the Jews“. Hebrews 8:10 explains it like this, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people“. Whatever we need to know about right & wrong has been written in our hearts. Yes I know this says, “The house of Israel”, but remember we have an equal share in the New Covenant. So do the Ten Commandments still have relevance today? The answer is yes, they have relevance as moral guidelines for those who are still in the world, but as Christians we do not require moral guidelines, and we do not need to bind ourselves to a law that even the Jews (who accept Jesus) have now been freed from.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.