Hey Christian! Are we still required to keep the Ten Commandments today? Or is that tantamount to earning our salvation? In our previous episode, we saw 10 proofs that the Ten Commandments were already in force before Moses. However, some people are still not convinced they need to keep them. Here are five of the most common objections against keeping the Ten Commandments today. Let’s discuss.
Sadly, this is a simplistic and misguided understanding of the laws contained in the Old Testament. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as “Old Testament law.” In reality, the Old Testament contains hundreds of moral, civil, and ceremonial laws. To lump them all under the heading “Old Testament Law” is a big mistake.
Here’s proof that there is a distinction between the laws in the Old Testament:
1 Corinthians 7:19 — Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.
Wasn’t physical circumcision commanded in the Old Testament? It certainly was. However, in this verse, the apostle Paul is making a very clear distinction between physical circumcision and “the commandments of God.” Clearly, the Old Testament laws don’t fall into only one category.
It’s only the sacrificial system that Christ “fulfilled” and ended by His death, including the ritual of physical circumcision that was part of the ceremonial law that separated Jew from Gentile. But He never abolished the spiritual and moral “commandments of God” — the Ten Commandments — the permanent, binding part of the Old Testament law that New Testament Christians are still obligated to keep today.
Again, there is no such thing as “Old Testament law.” It is not one indivisible “package.” True, the ritual, sacrificial, ceremonial, and civil laws of the Old Testament were never intended by God to be the universal law for all people for all time. However, God's moral and spiritual laws, as expressed in the Ten Commandments, represent His universal law for all people for all time.
In fact, even the Gentiles who don’t have the codified Ten Commandments live by its principles:
Romans 2:14-15 — for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).
In several nations and cultures, there are laws against dishonoring parents, murder, adultery, stealing, and bearing false witness against your neighbor. Clearly, these are all universal laws.
This is a straw man argument. Strictly speaking, there were still no Christians in the Old Testament. So how could God give the Old Testament law to those who still didn’t exist?
But those who use this argument don’t understand the role of the nation of Israel in God's plan. Israel was God’s showcase nation to the world. Israel was chosen to be God’s special people so that He could bring both physical and spiritual blessings to the rest of humanity.
In fact, before there ever was a nation of Israel, there was only one individual — Abraham, the father of the faithful. God blessed Him tremendously because of his proven faith and obedience.
Here was God’s promise to Abraham:
Genesis 26:4 — “… I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”
But why? What was so special about Abraham? Notice!
Genesis 26:5 — because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
Notice again what the LORD (YHWH) prophesied about Abraham:
Genesis 18:18 — “…Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him”
Again, why? What was so special about Abraham?
Genesis 18:19 — For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."
God knew that Abraham would not only believe and obey Him, but he would also command his household to be faithful and obedient.
Those who are Christians today — the children of Abraham by faith — have the same Spirit of God and Christ — the same spirit of faith and obedience that was in Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. That’s why Christians are also considered spiritual Israelites (Galatians 6:16).
Therefore, all true Christians today will still be keeping the commandments of God:
Revelation 14:12 — Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus [Yahshua].
Revelation 12:17 — And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Clearly, commandment-keeping will remain a mark of true Christians until the end of the age.
When Christ died on the cross, He certainly ended the sacrificial system with its numerous ceremonial and ritual laws, NOT the moral law of God as enshrined in the Ten Commandments.
Matthew 5:17-20 — “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. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Clearly, Christ strongly upheld and defended those commandments that defined righteousness — the spiritual, moral law as expressed in the principles of the Ten Commandments.
To remove all doubt as to what Christ meant by “the commandments,” we read this verse:
Matthew 19:16-17 — 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, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
If you read further, you will see that Christ was clearly talking about the Ten Commandments.
Once again, there is no such thing as “Old Testament law.” The Old Testament contains hundreds of laws — containing moral, civil, and ceremonial elements. Certainly, Christians are not under the civil and ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. However, they are under the moral and spiritual laws given by the One who later became Yahshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) in the New Testament.
Those who suppose that the “law of Christ” is a “lite” version of the “Old Testament law” are mistaken. The law of Christ is not composed of only two commandments — love God and love your neighbor. Those are certainly the two greatest commandments — the “summary commandments,” if you will — but they don’t in any way replace or remove our obligation to obey the “detail commandments” that show us exactly how to love God and our neighbor.
After all, Christ was that very Being who gave the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament!
Hebrews 13:8 — Jesus Christ [Yahshua Messiah] is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
We have seen that these five common objections cannot be supported by Scripture. What we see instead is how the Bible consistently upholds obedience to God’s great moral, spiritual law as expressed in the Ten Commandments, from Genesis all the way to Revelation. While we are indeed saved by grace through faith, we are still commanded to live a life of obedience, following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah).
Until next time, this is Daniel Macaraeg of BiblicalTruths.TV, reminding you to always be growing, to always be giving, and to always be grateful.