When Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments,” which commandments was He referring to? 

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The Ten Commandments

The commandments that Jesus was referring to in the verse, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” (John 14:15)  were ultimately the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20 3-17.  These Ten Commandments were the only document on earth that was ever written twice by God’s own finger to man. “He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God. …Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets” (Exodus 31:18; 32:16).

And Jesus affirmed that the keeping of the Ten Commandments, through His grace, are the basis of a person having eternal life as seen in the following passage: “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”So He said to 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 19:16-30 Luke 18:18,19). Here, Jesus Christ alluded to the Ten Commandment in reply to the ruler’s question.

The Ten Commandments are summed up into 2 commandments

Jesus said that the Ten Commandments are summed up into 2 commandments “‘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” (Matthew 22:38-40).

The law of love toward God and man was by no means new. Jesus was the first, however, to unite the thoughts of Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 and Leviticus 19:18 as summing up “the whole duty of man.” Matthew 22:37–40 commands us to love God and to love our neighbors, ending with the words, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Do these 2 commands replace the Ten Commandments?

No. For the Ten Commandments hang from these two commands as our 10 fingers hang from our two hands. They are indivisible. Love to God makes keeping the first four commandments (which concern God) a pleasure, and love toward our neighbor makes keeping the last six (which concern our neighbor) a joy.

Love fulfills the law by taking away the burden of mere obedience and by making law-keeping a joy (Psalm 40:8). When we truly love someone, keeping his requests becomes a delight. It is impossible to love the Lord and not keep His commandments, because the Bible says, “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

Did Jesus abolish the law?

Jesus upheld the moral Ten Commandments given to ancient Israel. 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. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”  (Matthew 5:17–19). And Jesus magnified the law (Isaiah 42:21). The commandments of Jesus were also the commandments of the Father, for Jesus spoke not of Himself (John 12:49; 14:10).

Jesus gave commands of His own, such as the new commandment (John 13:34), not to replace any of the Ten moral commandments, which reflected the character of the unchangeable God, but to set forth their true meaning and to show how their truths should be applied to the daily life.

 In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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