Are we supposed to follow the Ten Commandments today?
Published 2:06 pm Thursday, May 7, 2020
To help understand the Ten Commandments we must realize that they were for Israel and were a part of God’s Covenant with them (Exodus 20:1-17). Moses wrote, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” (Exodus 34:27-28 KJV). This passage is a restatement of what Moses had already taught concerning God’s laws and is for Israel. We read in Deuteronomy 5:1-3, “And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.” The covenant was made with Israel and them alone as they entered into Canaan Land. Just as a contract today between two individuals involves only the two individuals so it was with the “Ten Commandments.” While the “Ten Commandments” do not apply directly to us today many of the principles found in them do. Sin’s prohibitions such as murder, adultery, theft, lying, covetousness, and failing to honor father and mother are principles within the “Ten Commandments” that will never cease to be applicable as long as man lives on the Earth. Neither can mankind please God in worshipping idols and taking God’s name in vain. Each of these principles is prohibited for Christians as taught throughout the New Testament.
Some would ask, “But what about “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” This was the 7th day of the week and the principle of the command was for Israel. We must understand the underlying principle of the commandment. God’s principle was for the children of Israel to set aside a day out of the week to rest and to worship. This day was the Sabbath or seventh day; today we call it Saturday. However, Saturday worship is not binding nor is it acceptable for Christians today. We are commanded as New Testament Christians to worship on the first day of the week. What we carry over from the “Ten Commandments” is the principle of lying aside one day a week to worship God. Today, God commands that we worship upon the “first day of the week” (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2) or Sunday.
We must understand that the Old Testament Laws were nailed to the Cross (Colossians 2:13, 14). The “handwriting of ordinances” is a reference to the Mosaic covenant. To continue to worship under the Old Law system would mean that we would remain in our sin and such is unacceptable. Consider the following verses for further study: Hebrews 8:13, 9:15, 10:9, Galatians 4:1-7, 21-31; Romans 7:1-4, 4). These along with many other passages help us to see that God never intended for us to remain under any part of the Old Testament Law.
(Tony Hoss is minister at Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton.)