One of the questions we often hear is, “Don’t I need to obey the 10 Commandments?” If you talk to most Christians, they are 100% convinced we must follow the 10 Commandments to please God. They have heard this from their pastors. I was a pastor for 10 years and for seven of those years I erroneously preached this same message, too. What does the Bible teach about this? Let’s look at a few of the many Scriptures.
Romans 7:4 tells us that we died with Christ on the cross to the law, that is to law-keeping. If you die to something, you no longer have a relationship to it. Instead, like a wife with a new husband, we have a new relationship because we are united with Christ. Here’s what it says. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. The idea here is that pleasing God means living from our union with Christ.
Hebrews is a book written to Jewish people who heard the gospel and were under persecution. They had responded in one of three ways. 1. Some believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and let go of all law-keeping. 2. Some believed the facts about Jesus Christ as the Messiah but were not ready to believe with their hearts to be saved. They were tempted to go back to the law and turn away from Jesus alone for salvation. 3. The others heard the gospel but wanted to continue law-keeping instead of Jesus as their means of being accepted by God. The writer of Hebrews is explaining throughout the entire book that Jesus and His New Covenant of grace are better than Moses and the Old Covenant of law. Here are just a few verses making it clear no one in Christ needs to keep the Big 10.
Hebrew 8:7, For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: (The writer goes on to quote Jeremiah 31:31-34 to show that God fixes that fault by giving a new identity, union with Himself and eternally forgiving those who believe in Jesus Christ alone.)
Hebrews 8:13, By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
2 Corinthians 3:5-10 compares the ministry and fading glory of the Old Covenant of law to the superior glory New Covenant of grace. What jumps out is that the law is a ministry of killing, death, and condemnation but the ministry of grace gives us life and righteousness from the Spirit. There is NO GLORY in law-keeping compared to grace-living according to verse 10!
5…for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 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, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
Some have argued that the 10 Commandments cannot save us but we need them to sanctify us, i.e. grow us in living a holy life. But look at what Romans 6:14 tells us. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. In other words, we who are in Christ are not under law but grace. The implication is that sin will not control us if we live by grace but will control us if we live by law. I can confidently tell you today, after 24 years of GLI counseling, discipling, and teaching the truths of the New Covenant, people who live by grace live much holier lives than those who live by law, just not legalistic ones.
A few years ago a few of my staff were confronted by their pastor as being wrong for teaching the message of grace. I met with each of them and after discovering what happened, I said, “I have one question for you. Compared to the way you used to live before you understood the grace message of the New Covenant, did you live a holier life then or now?” Not one of them hesitated in saying that they lived a much holier life now. That’s the superior power of living by grace instead of law. Grace leads to freedom. Law leads to bondage. Let go of the Big 10 and embrace grace fully. Then you will live a holy life through the truth of who you are in Christ along with the power of Christ in you. You’ll be so glad you did.
Live Free in Grace!