Did Jesus replace the Ten Commandments with a “new” commandment?

It is sometimes assumed that Jesus replaced thew Ten Commandments with a new commandment. Rather, Jesus said that all God’s commandments are summed up by the principle of love. “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40 also Mark 12:29–34; Luke 10:27, 28). And He added, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another” (John 13:34).

Why did Jesus give the New Commandment of love?

The commandment of love was not new at all. However, it was new only to the legalists of Jesus’ time who did not practice in their lives the spirit of the law which is love. The Jews didn’t learn this basic truth even though Moses stressed it (Lev. 19:18, 34; Deut. 6:5; 10:12). They reduced God’s law of love to a heartless system of legal requirements. They were ready to tithe even the mint and anise and cummin, but did not do the weightier matters of the law, faith, judgment, mercy, and love to God (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42).

Those the truly worship God will reflect that they are His children by their love to one another (John 13:34, 35). Therefore, he who loves others has carried out the purpose of the law. As sin is breaking of the law (1 John 3:4), so on the contrary love is, “the fulfillment of law” (Rom. 13:10).

Jesus endorsed the keeping of the Ten Commandments

The rich young ruler asked Jesus, “what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:16-18).

Jesus also stated that all the commandments are still binding for the New Testament believers. He declared, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-19). God’s commandments didn’t fail or change for it “stand(s) for ever” (Isa. 40:8).

The Ten Commandments are summed up in love

Paul declared this truth, “…for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefor, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).

Therefore, if we truly love God with all the heart, soul, and mind, we will obey the first four commandments that deal with our relationship with God—we will not take His name in vain, worship other gods, we will keep the Sabbath holy, etc. And if we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, we will want to obey the last six commandments, that deal with our relationship with others—we will not steal from our neighbor, we will not distort the truth, etc. Love will lead to obeying, or fulfilling, all the law.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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