How does God regard the Ten Commandments?

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17) were given by God to His people. They can never change, for they are the absolute expression of God’s will and character (Matthew 5:18). For this reason, God personally gave them to His children both orally and in writing on stone (Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 4:13).

The Ten Commandments stand high above all other moral and spiritual laws. They are the manual of human conduct and covers the field of human duty to God and to man (Matthew 22:34–40). Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), made to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15, 16). The Ten Commandments are Heaven’s standard of holiness (Romans 7:7–25). Paul wrote, “I would not have known sin except through the law” (Romans 7:7).

The Ten Commandments don’t save or cleanse anyone. It only serves as a mirror that points to sin in the life (James 1:23-25) so that the sinner may go to Christ for cleansing and forgiveness (1 John 1:7). The Decalogue is not only the revelation of God’s holiness but also of His love (Matthew 22:34–40; John 15:10; Romans 13:8–10; 1 John 2:4). Whatever we give to God or man, if it be without love, then the law is not fulfilled.

Jesus and the Ten Commandments

When the rich young ruler asked Jesus, “Good[a] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus said to him … if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then the ruler asked Jesus, “Which ones?”

Jesus responded by referring to the Ten Commandments and 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 19:16-19, emphasis added).

In the last verse, Jesus summed up the commandments that deal with our relationship with our fellow men by the words ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ which He stated in Matthew 22:39, 40. Similarly, the first four commandments that deal with our relationship with God are also summed with the phrase “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37,38).

In Matthew 19, Jesus mentioned only the commandments that deal with our relationship with men because this was the sin of the rich young ruler. He did not love other men as much as he loved himself. Because when Jesus said to him “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me,” “the young man … went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:21,22).

Jesus stated that all the Ten commandments are still binding for the New Testament believers. For 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 5:17-18). God’s commandments didn’t fail or change for it “stand(s) for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Paul affirmed the binding nature of the Ten Commandments when he wrote, “…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).

Love the Foundation of God’s Law

It is love that guards us from breaking the Ten Commandments, for how could we worship other gods, take His name in vain, and neglect the observance of the Sabbath if we truly love Him? And how can we steal from our neighbor, testify against him, or covet his possessions if we love him? Love is the root of loyalty to God, and respect for men. It should ever be the great motive that prompts us to obedience (John 14:15; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Galatians 5:6).

All the commandments of God are built upon the one principle of love. Therefore, His law cannot be perfectly obeyed by only outward conformity to the letter. Genuine obedience is a matter of the heart and of the spirit (Romans 2:28, 29).


Do we need to keep the Ten Commandments to be saved?

The Ten Commandments confirm the truth of Christian freedom (James 2:12; 2 Corinthians 3:17). Though the letter of the law may appear to be narrow in scope, its spirit is “exceeding broad” (Psalm 119:96).

God’s Law vs. Moses’ Law

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17; Deuteronomy 4:13) are excluded from the law of Moses (2 Kings 21:8; Daniel 9:11). The Ten Commandments were the only commandments that were placed inside the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:21; 1 Kings 8:9), while Moses law was placed beside the ark: “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you” (Deuteronomy 31:26).

The ceremonial law of Moses was abolished at the cross because it was fulfilled by Christ’s sacrificial death (Colossians 2:16; Ephesians 2:15).

The Ten Commandments were placed under the mercy seat which signifies that the law is the foundation of God’s covenant. Nevertheless, over the law is the mercy seat, sprinkled with the blood which means there is forgiveness and cleansing from sin through the blood of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 John 2:2; John 3:16).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories Law

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