Does God expect Christians to keep the 10 Commandments? This question has sparked heated debates within the Body of Christ ever since the earliest days of the Church. I, for one, cannot understand why. If one examines the totality of the Scriptures, it leads to a simple conclusion. So, are we bound to the Mosaic Laws of the Old Testament? My answer may surprise you, because my answer is YES… and NO. I say “no” because when Christ died to suffer the ultimate punishment for our sins (breaking of the Law), He placed us safely under God’s Grace so that we were no longer in danger of judgment under God’s Law. Yet, I also answered “YES” because the Commandments are God’s age-old checklist for Holy living, and Lord Jesus taught us to live HOLY for our Father in Heaven.
Officially, we are not bound to Old Testament Laws, but I truly believe that God is highly pleased when we strive to keep them. For The Father’s Grace, through Jesus, is not a license for us to break His Laws at will, but is instead our “get out of jail free” card when we fail to keep His Holy Laws. God’s Commandments are not suggestions, they are COMMANDS, and are written for the betterment of OUR lives, souls, and world.
There is not, nor has there ever been (except for Jesus Christ), any man who has kept every Commandment of God perfectly, as we all sin and fall short of His Glory. Sadly, many Christians today view this fact as an excuse to ignore the Law or discard God’s Commandments completely from their lives. They don’t want to shoulder the burdens that Holy living brings in this unholy world, so they live by the dangerous attitude that “Christ kept the Law for me so that I can BREAK IT every day”.
This method of thinking is twisting the Holy Bible to mean what sinful men want it to mean, while ignoring the true meaning of God’s Grace through Lord Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf. God (YaHWeH) did NOT send His Son to die for you so that you could break the Commandments which HE instituted for your wellbeing. He sent Jesus to free you from His just judgment when you are less than perfect at keeping His Laws.
God did not sacrifice His Only Begotten Son so that you can freely live a sinful lifestyle. Jesus Christ came to SAVE sinners. He didn’t die to MAKE MORE. The Ten Commandments are God’s blueprint for living a lifestyle that is pleasing to Him. How could anyone not want to do their utmost best to please our Creator, the Only One in the Universe Who can ever bless or curse you??
God has specifically promised numerous times in the Holy Bible that BLESSINGS will be upon His children who KEEP His Commandments. His Laws are referred to in His Holy Word of Truth as our “Schoolteacher”, and as a “mirror” in which we observe how dirty we are in this sinful flesh and in need of His cleansing. So, before I go further, let’s review His “Big Ten” Laws (Exodus 20:2-17):
1 – “I Am The LORD (YaHWeH) your God (ELOHIM = Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)… You shall have NO OTHER gods before Me.”
2 – “You shall not make unto you any carved image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them.”
3 – “You shall not take the Name of The LORD your God in vain.”
4 – “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it HOLY.”
5 – “Honour your father and your mother.”
6 – “You shall do no murder.”
7 – “You shall not commit adultery.”
8 – “You shall not steal.”
9 – “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”
10 – “You shall not covet ANY THING that is your neighbour’s.”
Most all Biblical scholars and theologians agree that the first 4 Commandments are meant to bring you into a closer relationship with God. They also agree that the latter 6 are meant to bring you into a closer relationship with your fellow man. Honestly, how any human being, believer or not, could have any problem whatsoever with any of these 10 Laws is beyond me. I would go one step further to say that if any man or woman today wouldn’t want to keep these commands, which benefit your life and the lives of everyone around you, then I don’t want to know you.
God’s Law is so perfect in every way. Not only do His commands, if followed, bring us into a closer more personal relationship with Him and His blessings, but they bring peace to the world around us. Jesus taught to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do unto others as we would want done unto us, and keeping the 10 Commandments is the best way that we can do that. Think about it… who would ever want to be dishonoured by their children?
Who would want to be murdered? Who would want to be cheated on by a partner? Who would want to be stolen from? Who would want lies to be spread about them? Who would want a neighbor that lives to take your belongings? The one answer to all of these questions is “NO ONE”. So by following Jesus’ commands to “love your neighbor as yourself” and to treat them as you would want to be treated, you are in turn KEEPING the Ten Commandments.
Though we are not “bound” to the Law in order to be saved, we ARE bound to it in order to live Holy peaceable lives in the world. God’s Commandments are not grievous, and they are not too hard to keep, yet so many believers write them off today as “Old Laws” that have no bearing on our Salvation. I disagree wholeheartedly with these ignorant Christians, because if you don’t have a desire to place God first in your life, or to honour your parents, or to not murder, not steal, not lie, not commit adultery, and not covet, then you are NOT SAVED in the first place.
Every God-fearing Christian and Jew should desire to keep God’s Commandments, as they are the only perfect, righteous, just, and Holy Laws ever given to mankind. If any so-called Christian teaches you to forget the Commandments, I highly suggest that you learn about your Faith elsewhere, because they are in no position to be teaching other believers. They themselves have a lot to learn.
These “New Testament Only” Christians say that we are not bound to any commands of the Old Testament because Christ nailed the Law to the Cross. Colossians 2:14 does say, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” While indeed our Lord did nail the laws that we break daily to the Cross, the reason He did so was not so that the Law would be thrown out, but rather so that we lawbreakers may find refuge under God’s Grace.
If we, like some Christians, throw away the Laws of the Old Testament and knowingly break God’s Commandments because Jesus bore our punishment for breaking the Law, then He suffered for us in vain. He suffered and died to reconcile us to God, and the Commandments deepen our relationship with The Father, so not even trying to keep them is like saying “thanks but no thanks” to Jesus Christ.
Listen to what Saint Paul said of Christians who think this way in Romans (Chapter 6) – “Shall we CONTINUE in sin (law-breaking), that GRACE may abound? GOD FORBID. How shall we, that are DEAD to sin, live any longer THEREIN?” The Apostle Paul, whom many of the “New Testament Only” Christians quote in their arguments against Law-keeping, minced no words here that being under Grace through Christ does not give you a license to break God’s Law.
John, the beloved disciple, wrote that “if we go on sinning AFTER knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice, then His sacrifice NO LONGER APPLIES.” What he meant was that after accepting Christ’s sacrifice, to reconcile us poor law-breakers to God, if you are still living in sin and breaking God’s Law with no conviction, repentance or lifestyle change then His sacrifice has NO EFFECT over your life. Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf is rendered null and void, but NOT BY HIM, by YOU.
When you choose to take His sacrifice for granted, and don’t seek to live a thankful and grateful life for Him and The Father by living to please God, then you are spitting on His Blood-stained Cross. Jesus Himself said, that if we loved Him and The Father, we would “KEEP the Commandments”. Are we going to be able to keep them all? No. I don’t believe that anyone but Christ could. Still, if we love God, we are to do our utmost best to keep His Law in a lawless fallen world. Doing so is an act of our love and loyalty toward Him.
Now, to be clear, I’m not at all saying that keeping the 10 Commandments or any of God’s Laws can get you into Heaven without faith in Jesus Christ. Christ is KEY. Without Him, you can live the most perfect, Holy, and sinless life in the world, and you would still fall short and be counted unworthy.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ.. for by the works of the Law shall NO flesh be justified.” – Galatians 2:16
Now, to all of you Ten Commandments-trashers who use this verse to nullify God’s Law, there are thousands of other verses in our Holy Bible that you may want to pay attention to. Like my favorite teacher, Dr. Jack Van Impe, says “When you take any verse out of context, you end up with a pre-text.” We must rightly divide the Word, and examine the entirety of the text to come to the whole truth of God Almighty.
While we are NOT justified by works of the Law, after receiving salvation through Christ Jesus, we naturally are drawn to KEEPING THE LAW, as James 2:20 says that our “Faith without works (of the Law) is DEAD.” John says that if we LOVE GOD, we will keep His Commandments –
“For this is the love of God, that we KEEP His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous.” – 1st John 5:3
Finally, if you don’t agree with me that Christians should strive to keep ALL of the Commandments of Almighty God (Old and New Testament), then maybe our Lord will convince you otherwise –
“Do not think that I Am come to destroy the LAW, or the prophets: I Am NOT come to destroy, but to FULFILL. For truly I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in NO WAY pass from the LAW, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall BREAK one of these LEAST Commandments, and shall TEACH men to do so, he shall be called the LEAST in the Kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall DO and teach the Commandments, the same shall be called GREAT in the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 5:17-19
So, that being said, will YOU be “least” in the Kingdom of Heaven or “great”? Are you teaching others to BREAK God’s Commandments, or are you teaching believers to DO THEM? Keep in mind that whenever Jesus forgave a sinner, He always told them, “Go, and sin NO MORE.” What is SIN? The Holy Bible defines sin as transgressing God’s Laws. So Jesus advocated KEEPING God’s Commandments, even after cleansing someone of their sins.
So, though we as Christians are cleansed of sin by His Holy Blood, we must still strive to keep God’s Law. We must go and “SIN NO MORE” to the best of our abilities. How can we Christians be obedient to worldly laws of men and governments everyday, yet live in ignorance and disobedience toward Almighty God’s Laws?? His Commandments have stood the test of time because they are perfect and, if applied, are beneficial to ALL societies.
Laws of men, which come and go, are increasingly becoming at odds with God’s Law. In an ever-changing lawless world, we Christians must set an example by obeying the commands of the Holy One Who never changes. Only then will our world get better. So, are we Christians BOUND to God’s Commandments? No. Should we Christians KEEP God’s Commandments? I offer a resounding YES.
“KEEP My Commandments, and DO THEM: I Am The LORD.” – Leviticus 22:31
“REMEMBER ALL the Commandments of The LORD, and do them; and that you seek NOT after your OWN heart and your OWN eyes, after which you use to go a WHORING.” – Numbers 15:39
“.. KEEP the Commandments of The LORD your God which I COMMAND you.” – Deuteronomy 4:2
“YOU shall KEEP therefore His Statutes, and His Commandments, which I command you this day, that it may GO WELL with you, and with YOUR CHILDREN after you, and that you may PROLONG your days upon the earth, which The LORD your God GIVES you, for ever.” – Deuteronomy 4:40
“Thus saith The LORD; O that there were SUCH A HEART in them, that they would FEAR ME, and keep ALL MY Commandments ALWAYS, that it might be WELL WITH THEM, and with their children FOREVER!” – Deuteronomy 5:29
“BEWARE that you forget not The LORD your God, in NOT keeping HIS Commandments, and HIS Judgments, and HIS Statutes, which I command you this day.” – Deuteronomy 8:11
“Therefore you shall LOVE THE LORD your God, and KEEP His charge, and HIS Statutes, and HIS Judgments, and HIS Commandments, ALWAYS.” – Deuteronomy 11:1
“There will be a BLESSING, if you OBEY the Commandments of The LORD your God. And a CURSE, if you will NOT OBEY the Commandments of The LORD your God, but TURN ASIDE out of the way which I command you this day, to go after OTHER gods, which you have NOT KNOWN.” – Deuteronomy 11:28
“May they set their HOPE IN God, and NOT FORGET the Works of God, but KEEP His Commandments.” – Psalm 78:7
“ALL His Commandments are SURE.” – Psalm 111:7
“You are near, O LORD; and ALL Your Commandments are TRUTH.” – Psalm 119:151
“JESUS said unto him, WHY do you call Me GOOD? there is NONE good except ONE, that is, YaHWeH (GOD The Father); but if you will enter into Life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” – Matthew 19:17
“JESUS said, If you LOVE Me, KEEP My Commandments.” – John 14:15
“And HEREBY we do know that we KNOW GOD, if we KEEP His Commandments. He that says, I know GOD, and does NOT KEEP His Commandments, is a LIAR, and the Truth is NOT in him.” – 1st John 2:3-4
“And the dragon (DEVIL) was wroth with the Woman, and went to MAKE WAR with the REMNANT of her Seed, them which KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God, and have the TESTIMONY of Jesus Christ.” – Revelation 12:17
“Here is the patience of the SAINTS: here are they that KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God, and the FAITH OF JESUS.” – Revelation 14:12
“BLESSED are they that DO His Commandments, that they may have RIGHT TO the Tree of Life, and may ENTER IN through the Gates into the HOLY CITY.” – Revelation 22:14