Christians and the Ten Commandments

  • Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled [G4137]. Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
    (Matthew 5:17-20 MKJV)

Read Matthew 5:17-20 carefully. Note that the word “fulfill” is misunderstood. It is the simple verb for “fill.” Messiah came to “fill up” the law, not abolish it. Too many people make the word “fulfill” mean the same thing as abolish (clearly going against the intention of Yeshua’s saying). Yeshua then goes on to show us what his law is in the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. It is not just to avoid adultery, but lusting. Not just murder, but hatred. Messiah’s law is the Law of Moses interpreted in its fullest sense, spirit and letter, so that we imitate God by avoiding all evil.

Just recently, I read an article in the Christian Post by an author I generally always agree with, Mr. John Piper. The article was titled “Are Christians Under the 10 Commandments?” Quite frankly, I was in disbelief  at what I had just read.

  • And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
    (Matthew 22:35-40 ESV)

Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach) summed up all the Ten Commandments in two commandments. He taught us that if we love God (YHWH) as we should, we will always keep commandments one through four, and that If we love our neighbor as we should, we will always keep commandments five through ten.

  • And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “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 20:1-17 ESV)

So which commandments are invalid or obsolete? Honestly, I don’t see one commandment that I try not to keep every day of my life. Of course, I am human and as I result I do sin. However, I ask God to forgive those sins and He promised that he would.

  • Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.
    (Micah 7:18-20 ESV)
  • So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us
    (Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV)

Grace means that we are no longer under the jurisdiction of the law (which is death). It is not a license to sin.  The law is our definition of sin and an example of God’s Holiness Code, it defines how God wants us (expects us) to live our lives.

  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    (Romans 6:23 ESV)

Tradition holds that the commandments written on the stone tablets were burned all the way through the stones. In this way (written on stone and on both sides), nothing could be added and nothing could be removed from the Word of God.

  • You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.
    (Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV)
  • “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
    (Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV)
  • Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
    (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)
  • I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
    (Revelation 22:18-19 ESV)

If one reads and studies the B’rit Chadashah completely, they will notice that Yeshua and the disciples taught the Ten Commandments throughout the B’rit Chadashah. Not only did they teach them, but they also lived by them to the best of their abilities.

When you are ready as a Christian to accept and admit that the Law was never abolished, you will find it very useful to study the Tanakh (Old Testament). The first five bools of the Tanakh are known as the Torah and include an additional 603 laws for believers (some apply only to women and some apply only to priests). It is interesting that approximately 33% of the prophecies in the Tanakh have not been fulfilled yet, so how can the Tanakh be old? Likewise, approximately 85% of the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) is quoted from the Tanakh, so how can it be new?