The Ten Commandments

Another erroneous doctrine that has been adopted by some within the Church, is that God’s Ten Commandment law has been abolished, and nailed to the cross of Jesus. First, we’ll look at the scriptures presented by those in the Church who embrace this teaching. There are only a handful of biblical texts used to support their position.

They point out that the Apostle Paul said that the law of commandments contained in ordinances was abolished (Ephesians 2:11-16); moreover, they remind us that Paul also mentioned some handwritings of requirements that were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14-17). Furthermore, they refer to Paul’s statements that “we have been delivered from the law” (Romans 7:5-6); that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness” (Romans 10:3-4); that “we are justified by faith, not by the deeds or works of the law” (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28); and that “we are saved by grace through faith, and not by our works” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Proponents of the abolition of the Ten Commandments also quote Paul’s statement that the law is fulfilled by “loving your neighbor” (Galatians 5:14). And, they remind us of Paul’s reference to us not being “under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14); of his reference to “the law having been our tutor to bring us to Christ, but that we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:23-25); and, of his statement that “as many as are under the works of the law, are under a curse” (Galatians 3:10-13).

What about these scriptures? Are they telling us that God’s Ten Commandment law has indeed been abolished? Not at all!

In the first text cited, in Ephesians 2:11-16, the issue or context is eliminating the separation between Jew and Gentile, and making them one. Paul says that Christ abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that Jew and gentile could be one. Is Paul talking about the Ten Commandments? That is highly unlikely. Even the famous Protestant reformers, Martin Luther and John Wesley, agreed that this passage is not talking about the Ten Commandments. There were numerous civil, ceremonial and health statutes, ordinances and laws that distinguished Jew from gentile. All of these extra requirements, which separated Jew from gentile, ended at the cross. God still required adherence to the Ten Commandments, as will be proven from numerous Bible texts.

In the second passage, in Colossians 2:14-17, we are simply told that some “handwritings” of requirements which were against us, were wiped out and nailed to the cross. Some important points need to be made regarding this text. To begin with, it does not say that it was the Ten Commandments! It simply says that it was some type of handwriting of requirements. The entire Bible could be described as containing handwritings of requirements. Should we also assume that the entire Bible has been wiped out and nailed to the cross? Of course not! Neither should we assume that the Ten Commandments have been.

Additionally, whenever the Ten Commandments are mentioned throughout the Bible, they are referred to as the law, statutes, precepts, commandments etc. They are never referred to as handwritings of requirements. To apply this term to the Ten Commandments is unreasonable and unprecedented. In fact, the actual word used by Paul in the original Greek language, which is translated as requirements, code, note or ordinances (depending on your translation), is the Greek word “dogma”. This Greek word is never translated as law, laws, commandment or commandments in the entire New Testament, not even once! To attempt to use this text to eliminate God’s law is a brazen manipulation of Scripture.

Most of the other passages that I listed above, which are used by those trying to eliminate the Ten Commandments, simply state that we are not saved, justified or made righteous by the law. And, I wholeheartedly concur that this is true. We are saved only by God grace, and we are justified to receive God’s gift of salvation by our faith. The law was never meant to be our Savior, but rather to reveal God’s righteous standard of character and to point out our sin, thereby revealing our need of a Savior. These scriptures were never intended to be used to eliminate God’s Ten Commandments.

However, once again, it is clear from all of the aforementioned Bible texts, that our obedience to God’s commandments cannot and does not justify or save us. It is also evident that the Bible is emphasizing the point that we are not under the law. It makes it very clear that we have been delivered from being under the law.

It is significant to note that the Apostle Paul wrote all of these Bible verses. Why? Because we can, therefore, ascertain what he meant when he said that we are not under the law, by simply examining other biblical texts that were also written by Paul.

I believe it is clear from the following Bible verses that Paul did not mean that the law had been abolished or eliminated. Paul stated that God’s law is “holy, just, good and spiritual” (Romans 7:12-14). He said that “keeping God’s commandments is what matters or counts” (1st Corinthians 7:19). He declares that it is the “doers of the law who will be justified” (Romans 2:13). And, in Romans 3:31, he asks the question of whether or not we can make void the law because of our faith, and then answers it himself by saying, “God forbid” or “certainly not”!

Therefore, when Paul states that we are not under the law, we know that he is not saying that the law has been voided or eliminated, because he has already told us that this is not the case, in Romans 3:31. In fact, he’s also told us that keeping God’s law is what really matters, in 1st Corinthians 7:19. After all, why would God want to eliminate something that Paul himself said was holy, just, good and spiritual, in Romans 7:12-14?

What did Paul mean when he said that we’re not “under the law”? According to the gospel message, Jesus, God’s Son, took our place and lived a perfect life in our behalf. He also died to pay the price for our sins. And, according to the Bible, when we place our faith in Him, His perfect life is credited to our account. In other words, God views us as righteous because of what Jesus has done. Therefore, we no longer have to trust in our own obedience to God’s law in order to attain righteousness and to qualify for salvation. We are not “under the law” as a means of receiving these precious gifts.

Even more important than what the Apostle Paul has said, is what Jesus Himself said and did concerning God’s law and commandments. What did Jesus do? Jesus claimed that He had kept His Father’s commandments (John 15:10). And, the Bible says that we are to walk as Jesus walked (1st John 2:6). Therefore, we too should keep God’s commandments.

What did Jesus say? He said that, if we love Him, we should keep His commandments (John 14:15); furthermore, He declared that, if we want to enter into life, we must keep God’s commandments (Matthew 19:16-17). In fact, Jesus asks us why we would even call Him Lord, if we won’t do what He says (Luke 6:46). Moreover, Jesus stated that He did not come to destroy the law, and He added that heaven and earth will pass away before any part of God’s law does (Matthew 5:17-18). And, in Mark 7:6-9, Jesus proclaimed that it is “vain” (worthless) worship to set aside God’s commandments and to replace them with doctrines of men. Therefore, those who endorse or adhere to this doctrine, of declaring the Ten Commandments to have been abolished, are participating in vain or worthless worship.

The Bible clearly reveals that Jesus and the Apostle Paul did not believe that God’s law had been eliminated. But, is there additional biblical evidence? Yes! There are numerous other scriptures that also testify to the importance and perpetuity of the Ten Commandments.

The book of Psalms states that God’s law and commandments are “truth” (Psalm 119:142; Psalm 119:151). Why would God want to abolish truth? Psalms also declares that the law and commandments are faithful, righteous, perfect, and help to convert the soul (Psalm 119:86; Psalm 119:172; Psalm 19:7). Why would God want to abolish something that is faithful, righteous and perfect, and which helps to convert souls? The Psalms also proclaim that those who love and delight in God’s law will have peace and be blessed (Psalm 119:165; Psalm 1:1-3). Why would God abolish something that brings peace and blessing to His people?

The Apostle John said that keeping God’s commandments is proof that we know God and love Him (1st John 2:3; 1st John 5:3). In fact, John states that anyone who says that he knows God, but does not keep His commandments, is a liar (1st John 2:4). And, in Revelation 14:12, John describes God’s true people at the end of the world as those who have faith in Jesus, and who keep the commandments of God.

The Psalmist declared that he had inclined his heart to perform God’s statutes forever (Psalm 119:112). He stated that everyone of God’s righteous judgments endures forever, or, as translated in the NIV version of the Bible, that all of God’s righteous laws are eternal (Psalm 119:160). He added that God’s testimonies have been founded forever, or, as rendered in the NIV translation, that God has established His statutes to last forever (Psalm 119:152).

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 proclaims that man’s whole duty is to fear God and to keep His commandments. The Apostle James even states that we will be “judged” by the Ten Commandment law (James 2:10-12). All of these scriptures completely contradict the teaching that God’s law has been abolished. And, we’re still not finished presenting the scriptural evidence that refutes this unbiblical doctrine.

It is interesting that the Bible states that it is the “wicked” who forsake God’s law (Psalm 119:53). Do proponents of this doctrine want to be classified with the wicked? The Bible also declares that those who stray from God’s law are “cursed” (Psalm 119:21). Do advocates of the abolition of God’s law want to be classified with the cursed?

It is also significant that the Bible states that it is time for the Lord to act when His law has been regarded as void (Psalm 119:126)! Today, many theologians have regarded His law as void. They will be held accountable. God’s word is clear. What does it say? It says that His law is everlasting, holy, just and good. It also states that His law helps to convert the soul and to bring peace; furthermore, that it is the duty of man to keep God’s commandments. The Bible additionally declares that people who are truly saved will obey God’s law; moreover, that God’s people at the end of time will be distinguished by keeping His commandments, as well as by having faith in Jesus. And, finally, God’s word states that keeping God’s commandments actually proves that we know Him and love Him. This is what the Bible says about God’s law. It has not been done away with.

It is also noteworthy that the Bible defines sin as “transgression of the law” in 1st John 3:4. Why is this significant? Because, according to this New Testament text, if there would be no law to transgress anymore, then there would also logically be no sin anymore. This is an extremely dangerous and slippery, theological slope. The Apostle John obviously did not believe that the law had been abolished, because he stated that when you transgress it, you have sinned. And, it is important to remember that 1st John was written more than thirty years after most of Paul’s letters. Therefore, because we know that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, we also know that Paul never intended for us to believe that the law had been abolished either, because he would not be contradicting John’s inspired statement concerning sin as being transgression of the law. Furthermore, we have already documented several scriptures written by the Apostle Paul that contradict the modern theology endorsing the abolition of God’s law.

I will close with a few more scriptures that clearly reveal the perpetuity of God’s law. In view of the clarity of these passages, as well as the numerous texts previously listed, it is truly an enigma that preachers, within so-called “mainstream Christianity”, are still welcome to proclaim a message that so obviously contradicts Scripture.

In Psalm 119:111, the Psalmist stated that he had taken God’s “testimonies” as a heritage forever. The Hebrew word used for testimonies is “eduwth”. And, according to “Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance”, this Hebrew word refers to the “Ten Commandments” as being a solemn, divine charge or duty. In other words, Psalm 119:111 is literally stating that the solemn, divine charge of the Ten Commandments is a heritage forever!

In Psalm 119:44, the Psalmist declared that he would keep God’s “law” continually, forever and ever. The Hebrew word used for “law” in this text is torah, which according to “Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance”, especially refers to the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. So, according to this scripture, the Ten Commandments were to be kept continually, forever and ever.

It is time for today’s theologians, teachers and preachers to come into agreement with the vast majority of biblical evidence concerning God’s Ten Commandment law. The ministers, priests and preachers should be the ones upholding God’s law, instead of dismantling it. Probably never have the words penned by the prophet Malachi been more appropriate than at this time regarding this issue. God’s word declares that people should be able to seek the “law” (KJV and NKJV) from the mouths of the priests, but that the priests themselves had departed from the law, and were causing the people to also stumble at the law (Malachi 2:7-8)! That is exactly what modern preachers, who proclaim the abolition of God’s Ten Commandments, are also doing. They, too, have departed from God’s law, and are causing many others to also depart from it. The Hebrew word used by Malachi for “law” in this text is torah. Preachers have departed from the “torah” or law. As stated in the previous paragraph, the “Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance” states that the word, “torah”, especially refers to the “Decalogue” (The Ten Commandments)! The priests in Malachi’s day, as well as many contemporary preachers, bear the same guilt of departing from the Ten Commandments.

After documenting such an overwhelming amount of scriptural evidence, it is appropriate to quote the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 8:20, we’re told that: “To the law and to the testimony; if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Once again, in this passage the word used for “law” is torah, which the previously mentioned Strong’s Concordance states, “especially refers to the Decalogue” (The Ten Commandments). Therefore, Isaiah is literally saying that there is “no light” in those who do not speak in accordance or agreement with the Ten Commandments. In other words, preachers and teachers of this doctrine have no light in them.

As has been biblically documented in this article, God’s Ten Commandments have not been abolished. In fact, as Jesus stated, God’s law will endure longer than heaven and earth.

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3 Responses to The Ten Commandments

  1. Vesl says:

    Brother Hank, I’ve just read your views on the Ten Commandments. I would have to say that your approach to them leaves me wondering and puzzled to your end conclusion. I will just cover a few scriptures in an attempt to make what I believe is clear evidence that when the Bible refers “to the Law,” it indeed is referring to the Ten Commandments. I would first mention that I do agree with you regarding Pauls statement in Romans 7:12-”So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.” The statement that Paul makes here is clear and noticable as to why the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Because-as he stated in vs.9-11.”Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.” Now, what Paul means here in context is simply the fact that from the natural mind, man would believe that in keeping or observing the law (the Ten Commandments) he-i.e-man would believe that he would be considered alive-because he’s doing something good and righteous in God’s site by keeping or observing the law-The Ten Commandments. Yet, Paul states that when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and he died. He (Paul) states that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. How, well, Paul tells us,”for sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment; meaning that the commandment show’d Paul what sin really was from God’s perspective. How-because as Paul puts it, the commandment that he thought brings life-”deceived me and through the commandment put me to death.” Now, for the reader-if there was any question as to whether or not Paul was referring to the Ten Commandments as he stated,”that the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.” Just visit Romans 7:7. Paul states clearly, What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! He then tells us why the law isn’t sin-”Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” So, here we have Paul clearly stating a commandment found in the Ten Commandments. The point that Paul is making is clear. The reason why the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good is because it shows man his sinfulness from God’s view. Paul tells us that when he seen sin-in this case coveting as it really was- now that the law show’d him-that made it good because even though he seen that he didn’t have life from the commandment, but death-as well as that it deceived him-the result was good. It show’d him what sin is. It caused him to submit to God’s view versus his. You see, man tries to define things his own way. Even scripture. Yet, when we allow our opinions to not interfere-What God intended to use to show the world what sin is-actually shows a man his true nature-sinful. Another particular scripture verse, that I think makes it clear
    as to whether or not we are to follow or keep the Ten Commandments is when Paul gives the reader clarity on the Glory of the New Covenant that we have in Christ in 2Cor3:7-18. He states, “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? The first note, worthy of mention is that here Paul opens with a statement implying that there is a ministry that brought death. He informs us that this ministry was engraved in letters on stone. He also states that this ministry came with glory! So much glory that the Israelite couldn’t look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory. Now, here is another instance where Paul enables the reader to know what he is talking about by the information used to define our first subject-Ministry that brought death. The reader doesn’t have to wonder if Paul is referring to something else other than the Ten Commandments here in this verse of scripture. We know this because for anyone that has read the Bible can understand that the only time that this instance occured in which the Israelites couldn’t look steadily at Moses because of its glory was when he-Moses-brought down the Ten Commandments after he had recieved them from God. Notice what he calls this whole occurance-”Ministry that brought death.” This also confirms Pauls view of the law that I spoke of earlier in Romans.
    But in continuing my point, Paul states that if this ministry-although considered glorious-brought death is fading away-will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? He then states in vs.9,”if the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings rightousness! Notice what he states next! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! The reader can clearly understand that when Paul states,”ministry that condemns” knowing from the occurance of when the Israelites couldn’t steadily look at Moses because of how his face had a glow of radiance around it from being in God’s presence-when he brought down the Ten Commandments; this ministry brought death to all men-although it was one of glory-Now that we have Christ and with Christ comes the ministry of the Spirit which he tells us is more glorious because it brings righteousness, as well as the fact that the ministry that condemns-glorious as it is-it was fading away and compared to the ministry that Christ brings-isn’t glorious-why? Because it brought death and Condemnation. Yet, the ministry of Christ brings Spirit and life and righteousness. Now I know that these particular verses where mentioned up top in your presentation, yet what you failed to do was continue with many of them so that the context could be revealed. You see, in this particular section of the scritures in 2Corinthians Chapter 3-the context was that depsite what the Corinthian Church-New Believers in Christ had in this New Covenant-many of them were turning back to the Old Covenant-i.e. The Corinthians as well as many today who profess the Name of Christ have turned back to that ministry that has faded away or they continue to allow that ministry that was glorious and fading away which brought death and condemnation to be more glorious than the New and present ministry that we now have in Christ Jesus-which brings life and righteousness. You failed to see that Paul stated, “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.” You see that ministry was considered glorious because of how Moses appeared to the people after being in the presence of God. The Israelites didn ‘t want God to talk to them directly, they wanted Moses to tell them what God said. Paul states that we are bold. He then states, “but their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” What’s the point of what Paul is saying? Still today, when anyone looks at the old covenant and holds it up as glorious as the Israelites did, a veil covers their hearts from seeing the true glory found in Christ who gives us a New Covenant that is more glorious than that which was fading away. If you would like to continue this-please email me when you have the opportunity. ILUVNChrist Jesus.

  2. Henry Bechthold says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for your response. I basically agree with the vast majority of everything you’ve stated. The law does not and cannot save us. Only Jesus can, and praise God He has!

    The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ for salvation in Him. And, this is an extremely important function. By the law is the knowledge of sin, as Paul states. This aspect of the law reveals our need of a Savior, which is a need that we must recognize in order to be saved by Jesus.

    The main point of my article was to point out that the law has not been abolished, which is attested to by numerous scriptures. And, we know that God does not contradict Himself. People today still need God’s law to reveal their sin, and their need of a Savior. So, the law is still serving its function as being a schoolmaster to bring people to Christ.

    Thanks again for your comment. And, may God bless you.

    Henry Bechthold

  3. Frank Mitchell says:

    The Law is not restricted to the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments do not include the two greatest ones: “Love God” first appears in Deuteronomy 6: 5. “Love your neighbour” first appears in Leviticus 19: 18.

    Furthermore, “Do not lie” first appears in Leviticus 19: 11.

    So to refer to the Ten Commandments alone is misleading.

    Jesus actually said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 17-19 NIV)

    So the whole Law and the prophets are still in place.

    I believe that, when Paul preached freedom from the law he was actually stating that those whom Jesus had saved were free from its consequences but not that the laws (all of them) were no longer in force. If they were no longer in force we wouldn’t need Jesus, but we do!

    It’s the double jeopardy rule: All who belong to Jesus have sinned but have already paid for their sins in the person of Jesus Christ as He hung on the cross so they won’t have to be judged and condemned again on the Day of Judgement. Paul wrote “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2: 20)

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