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James 2:8-13 teaches us conclusively that if we break any part of the Law we have, in a real sense, broken the entire Law. A helpful metaphor has been used to illustrate this concept. Imagine the Law of God as a large, flawless, and perfectly shaped piece of glass. If we intentionally or accidentally break that piece of glass to any degree in any spot, the result is a broken piece of glass. We cannot break a portion of the glass and still have an unbroken glass. So it is also, according to James, with the Law of God. The biblical truth that if we break any part of the Law, we are guilty and accountable for the entire Law seems to place all God's Law on an equal footing. However, this is a misperception since Jesus' teaching in Mt 22:36-40 clearly indicates a hierarchy within the Law. He gives us the "greatest" and second greatest commandments and tells us in verse 40 that "On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." These two "greatest" commandments come directly from the Decalogue giving the Ten Commandments, as a body of law, the highest status and priority. Also, the fact that God made special provisions for the Decalogue by personally engraving the commandments on stone tablets (they are literally "written in stone") and eventually directing that they be placed in the arch of the covenant indicates God's intentional emphases on these ten laws. They encapsulate the "moral law" of God that stems from His own perfect righteousness. Every other moral law mandated by God is based on and flows out of the Decalogue. I think it is crucial to always remember that while we can identify several reasons for God giving us commands, the overarching concept is that His commandments are for our benefit. Every command ever given to man by God is for the ultimate benefit of man, not God. God is absolutely perfect and complete and is therefore not improved, enhanced, or benefited in any way by our obedience. On the other hand, we greatly benefit from obeying His commands. He gives us His commandments as an act of His grace. Consider the kind of world we would live in if everyone faithfully kept the Ten Commandments. There would be perpetual peace, love and harmony with no lying, stealing, infidelity, etc. God's commandments are far from bourdon some, but instead, they exist chiefly for our benefit (Mt 11:28-30). So, to the extent it is possible, we should observe and obey "all" the moral commands of God, not to obtain salvation (Romans 3:20), but to bring honor and glory to God, to demonstrate our love for Him (John 14:15), and and to share in His grace through the benefits that naturally flow from obeying His righteous commands. Since all God's moral commands flow out of the Ten Commandments, it is most important that we faithfully observe them. To the extent we are able to obey the Ten Commandments, we will automatically be in obedience to all other moral commands from God. The moral law (Ten Commandments) as well as the civil and ceremonial laws have all been fulfilled by Jesus Christ on our behalf. We no longer have a mandate to sacrifice animals, be circumcised, restrict our diets to particular foods, etc. The civil and ceremonial laws in the OT were types and shadows that achieved their perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ. To continue observing those laws now would deny the efficacy of the redemptive work of Christ. But the moral Law of God as encapsulated in the Decaloque remains forever for our great benefit and as a constant reminder of the righteous character of Almighty God.
The Ten Commandments are the first and most important laws that God gave to the people who had come from being in total control through slavery. Their society was driven by the Egyptians, and they existed to serve, and depended upon their masters to provide order to their society. God knew the Israelites needed their own laws apart from the Egyptian laws, which probably revolved around polytheistic beliefs. Since they were now on their own, free from slavery, the people needed to have a form of order to their new society. The 10 Commandments serve as a base of laws to which most other laws, which were given to the Israelites later, are connected and adhere to. Jesus gives us a glimpse of this in the Sermon on the Mount- Matthew 5. In verse 21, he refers to it and says, "You have heard it said do not murder," (commandment #6, Exodus 20:13), but he goes on and says in verse 22 "but I say to you, anyone who is angry with his brother is liable to judgment," meaning the physical sin is the same as the sin of the heart. He also refers to lust in Matthew 5:27, saying, "You have heard it said you shall not commit adultery", (commandment #7, Exodus 20:14), then goes on to say in verse 28, "but I say to you, anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent, has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Again, Jesus connects the physical sin to the emotional sin of the heart- the sin is the same. So, in saying this, the Ten Commandments are important, but no more important than the rest of the commands that God gave, and in fact, are extensions of those original 10 Commandments. By observing the other commands given by God, you also observe the original 10 because they are connected to the original 10 in some way. Following the laws, however, merely helps guide us to be what God intended us to be, and they do not save us or give us spiritual life. Some of the physical laws given by God to the Israelites were for physical healing and sanitation for a people traveling in close company. Most of the spiritual laws that people are supposed to follow were given by God to show us how far apart from God we are- that we can never measure up to God's standards no matter how perfect we follow the laws or commands. Jesus, in Matthew 5 reiterates this by talking about the physical act and the emotional or spiritual act being the same. Physically we may be able to keep from committing adultery, but in our hearts, we can easily sin in lust. The laws and commands of God show us how much we are in need of Jesus, and in no way can we measure up to God on our own by following the law without the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. God's grace is what saves us, not just observing the laws.
We have been debating this important topic number of times. However, I would like to clarify once again. God gave the Law (Commandments, statutes and ordinances) to accomplish two objectives. Firstly, law exposes our sins. God gave His Law to confront with our sins so that we might repent and come to Him in faith. Secondly, Law exposes our sinfulness. Law rouses our rebellious nature into action which demonstrates our inability to help ourselves and proves our need for God to change our hearts. (Rom.7:5-6). Jesus becomes the end of the Law for those who place their faith ini Him. He achieved the the demands of the Law. He fulfilled the intent of the Law. He completed the purpose of the Law. He executed the covenant of the Law. He perfected the requirement of the Law. Finally He terminated the need of the Law. Paul says in Romans 7, that we have been relieved from our legal obligations to carry out the objective of sin. Our relationship with the Law has changed because we have a new nature. Paul called this new nature'Spirit'. It is God's 'Spirit' we allow the Spirit of God to live through us. Once the person abandon his futile attempt to keep the Law and receive grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Law has served its purpose (Rom.7:7-13). I reiterate once again that we are no longer under the Law but under grace in the love of God (6:14).
Matthew chapter 5 says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven, but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." So, the Law did not go anywhere. "Not one jot or one tittle shall pass away, till all be fulfilled." Has "all" been fulfilled yet? No. Jesus' second coming did not occur yet, so we are supposed to continue keeping the entire Law of the Old Testament! Not just the Ten Commandments. Not just nine of the Ten Commandments. We should work to keep the entire Law. Is that possible, however? No, we cannot keep the entire law. We are sinners by nature. That's why Christ came and died for us, so that we can share heaven with Him no matter how much we break His commandments.
The Ten Commandments were wonderful instructions for the Jews. But they were for the Jews before Christ died on the cross. Since the death of Christ we have a New Covenant. All of the commandments, one way or another, were issued again in the New Testament. That is except the one to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. The Sabbath law was given to the Jews only, and it was given at Mount Saini. The command to remember the Sabbath was given because in it GOD HAD RESTED. God chose that specific day because that was the one in which He rested from creation. No one before Moses observed the Sabbath. Since Pentecost Christians met on the first day of the week to worship and the remember the Lord's death (Acts 20:7). The Ten Commandments, along with the rest of the Law of Moses (which is also called the law of God in some places), were done away with the death of Christ. "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law" (Heb 7:12). "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Heb 7:18-19). "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt" (Heb 8:6-9). This was prophesied by the Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt" (Jer 31:31-32). I know that some will say that the 10 commandments were God's law while the rest of the Old Testament was Moses' law. They have to do this in order to fit other perverted doctrine. But if you study the Old Testament you will see that all the Old Testament (including the 10 commandments) is called the Law of Moses and it is also call God's law.
Two Timothy 3:16-17 says, Gary Creel and others, that all Scripture is "God-breathed (inspired) and useful". When Paul wrote this, He was referring to the Old Covenant. It includes the 10 Commandments as part of what is called the Hebrew Law. Old Covenant law, poetry, stories, etc. Can be "useful" as history, illustration, and/or for various purposes in the lives of Jesus Followers. However, their being useful is NOT the same as us having to obey them! What we now call the New Covenant, including 2 Timothy I reference above, was being God-breathed as Paul and the other Apostles were writing what are their Scriptures...later canonized as part of the Christian Bible. While Paul was still alive, his writings already were being considered "inspired Scripture" complementing the Old Covenant Ones as noted in 2 Peter 3:15-16. Some Christians maintain that Jesus' words and those of all his Apostles, the New Covenant, abrogate (replace, supplant) and fulfill (complete) all the Old Covenant writings in the lives of Jesus Followers. Others would say the latter is the case only when the Old Covenant Scripture involves the Law and/or there is a conflict without something said in or the sweep of New Covenant teaching. Jesus commands in Matthew 5:17-18 plus 22:37-40 and Paul's in Romans 3:19-20 plus Galatians 3:23-25, as well as others, seem to support both the above positions. Only Jews and other non-christians must obey the 10 Commandments as it says clearly in Romans 3:19-20. And, while many christians misunderstand this truth, nowhere in the New Covenant does it say that non-followers of Jesus must obey what is only commanded as applying to us. There is no such thing, Biblically, as the so-called "Christian Nation". Thats a myth. Blessings in Jesus all!
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