Are the Ten Commandments still binding today?

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Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law. … I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. … Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18). Jesus specifically asserted that He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill (or keep) it. Instead of doing away with the law, Jesus magnified it (Isaiah 42:21) as the perfect guide for right living. For example, Jesus pointed out that “thou shalt not kill” condemns anger “without a cause” (Matthew 5:21, 22) and hatred (1 John 3:15), and that lust is adultery (Matthew 5:27, 28). And He added, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

If the Ten commandments could have been changed, God would have immediately made that change when Adam and Eve sinned instead of sending His Son to die in the sinner’s behalf to pay the penalty of the broken law. But this was impossible, because the commandments are not laws in the sense of rules or regulations that have been enacted. The commandments are revealed principles of God’s holy character that will always be true as long as God exists “All his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever” (Psalms 111:7, 8).

The Ten Commandments are God’s character in written form–written so we can comprehend it. Jesus came to show us what the law (which is the pattern for holy living) looked like when made up in human form. God’s character can never change “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” (Psalms 89:34). Jesus taught that the Ten Commandments are still binding today “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17).

Paul exhorted the believers, “For sin [breaking God’s law–1 John 3:4] shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin [break the law], because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14, 15). And he added, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).

The Scriptures teach that Grace is like the governor’s pardon to a prisoner. It forgives him, but it does not give him freedom to break one single commandment. The forgiven person, living under grace, is under double obligation to keep the law.

The good news is that God does the work of obedience in the heart. The Lord promised, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10). Then the believer can triumphantly proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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