Why Should We Obey the 10 Commandments?
Some claim the Jesus did away with the 10 Commandments on the basis of the “new” commandments of love. But Christ Himself said,“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).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained the true meaning of its principles, and the way in which its morals, would be shown in the hearts and minds of citizens of the kingdom He had come to set (Isaiah 59:7). The divine Lawgiver Himself now confirmed the commandments of Sinai as binding upon those who would be His children, and stated that anyone who should attempt to cancel them either by word or by example would “in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). A change in the moral law is no more possible than a change of the nature of God, who changes not (Malachi 3:6). The morals of God’s law are as unchanging as He is.
The claim that by fulfilling the moral law Jesus canceled that law is not in line with the context of His words. Such a claim rejects the meaning the Lord clearly wanted to give. By fulfilling the law Jesus simply “filled” it “full” of meaning—by giving men an example of full obedience to the will of God, in order that the same law “might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:3, 4).
The Law Summarized in Love for God and Man
Jesus laid down two great laws of love as a summary of all the law. When the lawyer asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment in the law, he received the answer: “‘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 22:37-40).
These two love commandments simply summed up “all the law and the prophets.” They all hang upon these two principles of love. These new commandments were not really new. Jesus was simply quoting directly from the Old Testament when He gave those new commandments: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5); “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18).
The Christian’s relation to God is build on love (1 John 4:19), and love is the main foundation of His law (Mark 12:29, 30). To love perfectly is to obey fully (John 14:15; 15:10). Jesus wanted a love based obedience of the law instead of formalism. But the legalists of His time forgot the love principle and did not incorporate it in their everyday life.
If one loves Christ ultimately with heart, soul, and mind, he will obey the first four commandments that have to do with our duty to God. He will not take God’s name in vain, worship other gods, etc. (Exodus 20:3-11). And if one loves his neighbor as himself, he will obey the last six commandments which relate to our duty to our fellow men. He will not be able to steal from his neighbor, lie about him, etc. (Exodus 20:11-17). Love will lead to obeying or fulfilling all the law (Exodus 20). Paul affirmed this truth, “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
In His service,
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