Is the Ten Commandments still relevant?
““Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus replied to him, “ ‘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 greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”” Matthew 22:36-40 AMP
Yes. Jesus teaches us that the entire law of the Ten Commandments rests on two important summaries, that is: loving God and loving our neighbours as we love ourselves. He would not bring attention to the commandments if it was not still relevant today. A lot of confused teachers (sometimes even our own pastors) are telling believers that the Ten Commandments (sometimes referred to as the old law) does not matter anymore or have relevance in our society today. This is false. Believers should chase the truth to ensure that they are obedient to God’s will. Believers who are bearing fruit should not follow the blind. There are believers who are not bearing fruit as their eyes are not spiritually open because they have tainted God’s word with their own.
“The Pharisee noticed this and was surprised that Jesus did not first ceremonially wash before the meal. But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and plate [as required by tradition]; but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” Luke 11:38-39 AMP
Be Careful of False Teaching on the Word
Jesus continuously disrupted false teaching in the church. False teachers were leading people astray from being spiritually awaken. There was a practice of strict religiosity where people claimed to love God, but only lived for the law alone and the comfort (the “no go” zones were laid out on a platter for them) that it provided. However, we should (we are saved by faith not works) be focusing on spirituality, not the law, because spirituality requires us to not be comfortable. It thrives in believers who reflect internally (due to conviction) and are led to love others and treat others as they want to be treated. This is not always easy or comfortable! Some believers are spiritually blind because they only focus on “religiosity” and think they are above others. Unfortunately, this is still happening today.
However, Jesus provided us with the truth so we are a chosen generation with a new covenant covered by grace and not the law. We cannot say that we do not know the difference between religiosity and spirituality because He showed us the true path to righteousness. So although the law (a covenant between Moses and the people of his times) does not play a huge role in today’s society we should not ignore it. Why? If we truly focus on our spiritually we would abide by them and take further steps to avoid doing things that feel consciously wrong. This is where the comfort of the law disappears because we start to think outside the box and not let the laws think for us. Our generation is blessed! This is what real free will looks like!
“For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith.And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;” Ephesians 2:8 AMP
Sprinkle Some Grace on Your Journey
The difference between now and then is that we have to learn to give ourselves grace and know that we are not perfect, so some of the laws (where you are not losing respect for God and others) do not need to be strictly adhered to. I grew up as a Seventh Day Adventist, but I am just a plain believer now seeking the truth (aka Christian). Honestly, sprinkle some grace here because if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and saviour, then you are saved. Period!
The rest is a daily journey. Labels do not matter! Your soul matters and that’s it. If you do not observe the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week you will not instantaneously combust into flames. Also note that we live in different times where work/life balance can be difficult because some employers expect us to work relentless days and hours, which we may not have control over. Take deep breathes and sprinkle some grace on this. You can find time to rest and worship God on whatever day that works with your schedule or that you feel comfortable with.
The first four commandments (Deuteronomy 5:7-15) address our love for God
1. No other gods before Me
2. No carved images to worship
3. No taking the Lord’s name in vain
4. Observe the Sabbath
The last six commandments (Deuteronomy 5:16-21) address our love for others
5. Honour your father and mother
6. No murder
7. No committing adultery
8. No stealing
9. No bearing false witness
10. No coveting
“For I do not want you to be unaware, believers, that our fathers were all under the cloud [in which God’s presence went before them] and they all passed [miraculously and safely] through the [Red] Sea; And all [of them] were baptized into Moses [into his safekeeping as their leader] in the cloud and in the sea; and all [of them] drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not well-pleased with most of them, for they were scattered along the ground in the wilderness [because their lack of self-control led to disobedience which led to death].” 1 Corinthians 10:1-2, 4-5 AMP
Religiosity versus Spirituality
The people living under religiosity ensured that they did no work on the Sabbath day, but neither did they feed the poor or help the needy. This is foolish as this behaviour is not of God because it only created hypocrisy in the church. This is why some church members were called Pharisees. A Pharisee is a self righteous and hypocritical person who was distinguished by their strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have “pretensions to superior sanctity” (see Pharisee).
As Christians we should be humble and not “self” righteous. Being Christ-like is not about self. It is about being God’s servant. God extended grace to us when Christ shed His blood on calvary. Everyone can have God’s grace because He loves each and every one of us. However, God only recognises us as His children when we obediently love him and share His love with others. Therefore, we are no longer slaves to the written law. Anyone who has faith in this has the authority through God’s Holy Spirit to understand it and share it with others.
“Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.]” 1 John 4:7-8 AMP
The Law is Interdependent on All Footings
Loving God and loving others is interdependent because we cannot have an either/or approach to love. If we want to be identified as God’s children we must love Him and love others. The two cannot be separated. When we have a relationship with God we must have a desire to respect His will which includes serving and loving others. Therefore we must not fall into the trap of labelling things as God’s work, yet at the same time refusing to love others. If we do not have the capacity to love others then we cannot say that we have a relationship with God because we can only maintain God’s love for us by learning how to show it to others. God sustains us with His unconditional (unwavering) love for us. We should extend the same to others. We all need love!
Conclusion: Sprinkle Grace on Yourself and Others
“No one has seen God at any time. But if we love one another [with unselfish concern], God abides in us, and His love [the love that is His essence abides in us and] is completed and perfected in us. By this we know [with confident assurance] that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given to us His [Holy] Spirit.” 1 John 4:12-13 AMP
No human is perfect and none will ever be perfect, except for Jesus, the living Son of God who came in the flesh. We cannot compare ourselves with God. Therefore, we have to be resourceful and learn how to abide in Him so that we can receive the Holy Spirit. God wants to live in us so that we can abide in Him. Imagine not calling or messaging your best friend for weeks? We have to willingly welcome God into our hearts and internally reflect on our behaviour towards others on a daily basis in order for Him abide in us.