Did Christ come to do away with or replace the Ten Commandments? Are all Ten Commandments taught and enforced in the New Testament? Did Paul teach them to the Gentiles? What about the book of James?
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Most who profess to follow Jesus Christ believe that all of the Ten Commandments were abolished by His sacrifice. They believe that Christ came to “do away” with those “harsh” commandments. Some believe He re-instituted some of them. Still others believe that He replaced the Ten Commandments with a new commandment.
Although these people may be sincere, they have been deceived by the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9), who has used his false ministers to spoon-feed them with doctrinal falsehood (II Cor. 11:13-15).
Instead of allowing the Bible to interpret itself, most people read into scripture whatever meaning they already have been handed and assume is correct. They gloss over what Christ said in Matthew 5: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am come not to destroy, but to fulfill” (vs. 17). This is the same Christ who prophesied in Isaiah 42: “The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honorable” (vs. 21).
What about you? Are you willing to let the Bible interpret itself? Are you willing to approach scripture with a teachable, open mind and allow God to “speak” to you—tell you His will—through His Word?
If so, you have already set yourself apart from most, of whom Christ said, “This people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).
On Pentecost, A.D. 31, God founded His Church on the teachings of His apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:19-20). Since then, those of the true Church have always continued to keep the apostles’ teachings (Acts 1:42).
The apostles Peter and John instructed Christians to walk as Christ walked—live the way He lived (I Peter 2:21; I John 2:6). The apostle Paul instructed Christians—both Jews and Gentiles—to follow him as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1).
So then, did Jesus Christ, the Chief Apostle (Heb. 3:1), teach the Ten Commandments? Did He command His apostles to do the same? In other words, are all of the Ten Commandments taught in the New Testament?
The first four of the Ten Commandments teach man how to love God. “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make unto you any graven image…You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:3-8).
In Matthew 22, Christ summarized these four, saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (vs. 37-38).
When Satan the devil tried to tempt Jesus while He fasted in the wilderness, Christ quoted the FIRST COMMANDMENT: “Get you behind Me, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Luke 4:8; Matt. 4:10).
In John 4:24, Christ was speaking about the SECOND COMMANDMENT when He taught that men cannot use physical objects, images or “aids”—in other words, idols—to worship a spiritual God. Since God is a Spirit, His followers must worship Him in spirit.
Paul also taught the Second Commandment: “Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them [the Israelites during the Exodus]; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (I Cor. 10:7). Carnal-minded Israel did not have the patience to worship a God they could not see, so they made a physical “god” to satisfy their carnal, physical lusts. But God knew this would happen. Throughout mankind’s history, man has always rejected his Creator in order to worship His creation (Rom. 1:18-25).
In Matthew 15, Christ taught against breaking several of God’s commandments, including the third: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders [SIXTH COMMANDMENT], adulteries [SEVENTH COMMANDMENT], fornications, thefts [EIGHTH COMMANDMENT], false witness [NINTH COMMANDMENT], blasphemies [THIRD COMMANDMENT]” (vs. 18-19). The Greek word used here for “blasphemies” is blesphemia, which means “evil speaking,” “railing” or “vilification against God.” In other words, taking God’s name in vain.
Paul also commanded Christians not to do this: “But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8).
The FOURTH COMMANDMENT—observing the seventh day Sabbath—is the one most professing Christians refuse to obey. Most assume that men have the authority to change the Sabbath to whatever day pleases them or is convenient.
Yet Christ kept the Sabbath on the seventh day. It was His custom: “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (Luke 4:16). In fact, the New Testament says that Christ is “Lord also of the Sabbath”—not the Lord of Sunday (Luke 6:5). Christ says that He “is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Paul followed His example. He taught in the synagogues on the Sabbath (Acts 17:2). And not just to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath… And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” (Acts 13:42, 44). In chapter 18, verse 4, Paul “reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Few ask why Paul would teach Gentiles (who were unfamiliar with Sabbath-keeping) to meet on the Sabbath. Why is there no evidence that he led them to keep Sunday—the supposed “Lord’s Day”?
Now notice Hebrews 4, verse 9: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.” In verses 1, 3, 4 and 8, the Greek word for “rest” is katapausin. It means “rest.” But in verse 9, the Greek word for “rest” is sabbatismos, which is a Hebrew word—Sabbat, which means “the Sabbath”—combined with a Greek suffix—ismos, which means “a keeping of” or “a doing of.” Put together, sabbatismo means “a keeping of the Sabbath.” When correctly translated, Hebrews 4:9 should read, “There remains therefore a keeping of the Sabbath to the people of God.”
This verse establishes the New Testament observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. For all of the available proof of the biblical basis and authority for Sabbath-keeping, read our free book Saturday or Sunday – Which Is the Sabbath?
The last six of the Ten Commandments instruct man on how to love his fellow man. “Honor your father and your mother…You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet…” (Ex. 20:12-17).
Centuries later, Christ said that anyone who wants to enter eternal life must keep these same commandments: “You shall do no murder [SIXTH COMMANDMENT], You shall not commit adultery [SEVENTH COMMANDMENT], You shall not steal [EIGHTH COMMANDMENT], You shall not bear false witness [NINTH COMMANDMENT], Honor your father and your mother [FIFTH COMMANDMENT]” (Matt. 19:18-19). Christ summarized these as “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” the second greatest commandment (Matt. 22:39).
Years after Christ’s sacrifice (which most religious leaders claim does away with the law), Paul taught these same commandments to Gentile converts in Rome: “For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Rom. 13:9).
In Ephesians 6:2, Paul commanded Christians to obey the Fifth Commandment by honoring their parents. (Eph. 6:2). He commanded them to obey the Ninth Commandment: “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25). He observed the Tenth Commandment, saying, “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet” (Rom. 7:7).
The apostle James also warned about the dangers of breaking the Tenth Commandment: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” (Jms. 1:14-15).
He continued in chapter 4: “From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts” (vs. 1-3).
As you can see, all of the Ten Commandments were preached throughout the New Testament.
No wonder the apostle John wrote, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:2-3).
After examining all these biblical proofs, some will still believe that the Ten Commandments were abolished, refusing to give up what they have always assumed. They may even claim that the Ten Commandments were “replaced” by the “new commandment” Christ and John had taught. But what is this “new commandment”? Does it supercede the Ten Commandments?
In John 13:34-35, Christ said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.”
In Matthew 22:37-39, Christ said we must love our neighbors as ourselves. But in John 13, Christ gives a new and higher standard—to love others as Christ loves us. Only those with God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them can love people the way Christ does. “Because the carnal mind is enmity [hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his…For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:7-9, 14). This is talking about true Christians—GOD’S CHURCH!
When Christ said, “love one another, as I have loved you,” He was talking to His disciples. Later on, they were baptized and received the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2), becoming the New Testament Church. Only true Christians—those with the Spirit of God in their minds—can hope to love others as Christ does. Carnal man cannot.
But what about the “new commandment” in I John 2:8? “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shines.” What is it that is both “true in Christ” and “in” Christians?
The answer is in John 16:13-15, where Christ encouraged His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion: “Howbeit when [it], the Spirit of truth, is come, [it] will guide you into all truth: for [it] shall not speak of [itself]; but whatsoever [it] shall hear, that shall [it] speak: and [it] will show you things to come. [It] shall glorify Me: for [it] shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore said I, that [it] shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.”
It is the Holy Spirit—the “Spirit of truth”—that is “true in Christ,” and in His servants, members of His Church. This same spirit sets God’s people apart from the world, converting their minds into the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers a Christian’s mind, enabling him to love the way Christ and God the Father do. Without it, no human being can perfectly fulfill I Corinthians 13: “Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (vs. 4-8).
In II John 5-6, John wrote, “And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.” This scripture does not replace or do away with the Ten Commandments. Instead, it reinforces them.
The Ten Commandments existed before Moses from the time of Creation. All ten were taught throughout the New Testament. They are still in effect today.