We have established in previous posts, in the ‘Exclusive Feature’ category, that the New Covenant is not the account of a Saviour that came to give man the power or liberty to sin, but a Saviour that came to empower man to overcome sin, and to liberate him from the bondage of sin. If anything, perhaps the most important lesson we learnt from our discussion on the Old Covenant is that when people say Jesus Christ nailed the Ten Commandments to the cross in an ill-informed reference to Colossians 2:14, they are likewise saying Jesus Christ nailed God’s character to the cross (compare Luke 18:19 and Romans 7:12; Isaiah 5:16 and Romans 7:12; Deuteronomy 32:4 and Romans 7:12; Matthew 11:30 and 1 John 5:3; John 4:24 and Romans 7:14; 1 John 4:8 and Jeremiah 9:24; Malachi 3:6 and Psalm 111:7, 8), because we know that the Ten Commandments is a perfect eternal law of love, righteousness and justice, which are the governing principles of God’s created universe and the very foundation of His throne. But unfortunately, this is the core doctrine of the New Age Movement; the doctrine that man can do as he pleases, and yet, enter into the bliss of eternity, because we are under the dispensation of grace. The doctrine that all our past, present, and future sins are forgiven in Jesus Christ, which is true, but that our eternal fate is not determined by how we live whatsoever. Yet, the Bible clearly teaches otherwise (Titus 2:11–14; Romans 6:1, 2).
All of the arguments of those who teach that the Law of God has been done away with in the New Covenant are often based on the writings of Apostle Paul. They claim we now live in the new dispensation of grace and we need not bother about the Ten Commandments, but should instead, focus on keeping the spirit of the law and bearing fruits of righteousness. While this is true, there is a subtlety to this viewpoint that is founded on lawlessness and a spirit to rebel against the eternal Law of God, the Ten Commandments, which is the foundation of the spirit of the law and the fruits of righteousness that Paul’s teachings often portray. In a solemn warning to those who make his writings the proof of their grace-cover-it-all teachings, Apostle Paul himself asks them an important question, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” “God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1, 2, KJV). Perhaps, Paul’s question is the clearest indication that the Ten Commandments, the law whose transgression the Bible calls sin (1 John 3:4), is to be kept by Christians. Even, the Holy Spirit, to whom many Christians excuse their refusal to acknowledge the Ten Commandments, calling the Holy Spirit their Teacher, is supposed to convict the world of sin (John 16:7–11). And sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, KJV); the law in question here being the Ten Commandments, which is the only law that defines sin; not any other law.Sin is the transgression of the law; the law in question here being the Ten Commandments. Click To Tweet
The other definitions of sin as found in the Bible such as unbelief in Christ (John 16:9), knowing how to do good and failing to do so (James 4:17), and the lack of faith (Romans 14:23) does not say anything different altogether. Jesus Christ said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), meaning unbelief in Christ is unbelief in His commandments. The Ten Commandments defines good and bad, meaning failure to keep it is failure to do good. Truly, the matter of sin seems to be broader than the Ten Commandments, with Jesus Christ Himself alluding to this through a number of statements in Matthew 5:20–28 where He says adultery begins in the heart and anger against others is as punishable as murder. However, Jesus Christ only went beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of the law, preparing us for the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth, and further interpret to us the commandments of God. The lack of faith as seen in Romans 14:23 is, perhaps, the only definition of sin that has to be understood in the context of the passage, yet, faith has everything to do with adhering to the commandments of God.
The challenge with many believers when studying Paul’s writings is that they do not have a solid foundation on the matter of the law or they choose to ignore it for reasons best known to them. And if the foundation is faulty, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:9). This is why Peter warns believers sternly on the writings of Paul, saying, ““and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”
A proper understanding of the matter of the law will open up the believer to the fact that whenever the Bible talks about doing away with the law, it is not the Ten Commandments, the eternal law of God. If you have any reservations at this point, it is perfectly understandable because a great majority of Christians are not even aware or have been made to believe the Ten Commandments is the only law given in the Bible. In the Old Covenant when God gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel (remember that we are spiritual Israel), He also gave them other laws known as the ceremonial law and the civic law.
Before going on to discuss the differences between the laws, it is important to note that the Bible does not use the term “moral law (which is used to refer to the Ten Commandments)”, “civil law (which is used to refer to the law detailing judicial actions and punishments)”, or “ceremonial law (which is used to refer to the law detailing ceremonies and festivals”. However, the Bible does show clearly that there are explicit differences between these laws, whereas the moral law entails the knowledge of sin (Romans 7:7; Exodus 20:1–17), the civil law describes judicial actions and the penalties for sin (Exodus 21–23; Leviticus 20; 24:10–22), and the ceremonial law depicts ceremonies and festivals, including the sacrificial offerings for sin (Leviticus 1–7; 8:1–36). In addition, the Bible uses the term “Law of Moses” (Joshua 8:31, 32; Luke 24:44) to describe the ceremonial laws God instructed Moses to write on parchment. In truth, there is no denying the fact that these categories are valid because the laws are not the same and they served different purposes. Some have argued that we ought not to give names to these laws or seek to make divisions of them since the Bible itself did not do so, but as good and sincere as those pleas are, it is not founded on the striking evidence that there is indeed a distinction between these laws, and the Bible itself did make divisions of them in the purposes they served. In addition, human beings, for the sake of understanding, have been giving names to things and concepts since Adam did the first taxonomy in Eden, and we find great examples of this in terms such as rapture, trinity, and millennium which are terms not used in the Bible, but refer to concepts within the Bible.
So when believers read the epistles of Paul, they fail to pause to think and pinpoint which law he was referring to. Was Paul referring to the same law when he said in Romans 7:22 that he delights in the Law of God and when he said in Galatians 5:1 and Galatians 4:3 that the law is a yoke of bondage? Was it the same law he called a yoke of bondage and regards as a curse in Galatians 3:10–14 that he now refers to as good in Romans 7:12? Was it the same law that he identified as making us to lose our liberty in Galatians 5:1 and 3 that James now calls the perfect law of liberty in James 1:25, as well as the Psalmist in Psalm 19:7? Was it the same law that Jesus came to magnify and establish (Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17) that was blotted out and nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14)? Was it the same eternal law that the Psalmist speaks about in glowing terms in Psalm 19:7–11 that came to an end at the cross (Galatians 3:19)? Was it the same law that Jesus Christ says its observance assures us the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15–17) that Paul says its observance doesn’t (Galatians 3:2)?Was it the same law that Jesus came to magnify that was blotted out and nailed to the cross? Click To Tweet
Certainly not, and this is obvious if the evidences are considered carefully. One good way to know which law is in question at any point in time is to read the whole chapter or at least the preceding verses before the place where the law is mentioned. This can be compared to a litmus test, because it has a very interesting way of revealing which law is being discussed or treated. This method is also helpful in understanding other seemingly difficult topics in the Bible. Some even go beyond chapters and verses to compare Bible books, and this is a great way to understand the Bible, by comparing scriptures with scriptures.
For example, consider in this light, Romans 4 and Colossians 2, two classic chapters about the law, and see for yourself which law is really in question; the Ten Commandments or the ceremonial law? A careful reflection on the whole chapter and the key verses will immediately reveal that the law in focus is the ceremonial law and not the Ten Commandments because the ceremonial law also had feast days known as Sabbaths (see Leviticus 23). In both chapters, the circumcision is also a central theme, giving the discussion the weight of a ceremonial law. In other scriptures such as Romans 7 and the first few verses of 1 John 2 and 3, it is the Ten Commandments that is being discussed. Sin is the central theme, thus, the moral law is the law in focus. Therefore, it becomes exceedingly crucial to know which law is the object of discussion at every point in time; otherwise, we will mix them up and have a problem understanding why Paul sounds so differently from James.
It is the failure to understand the peculiarities of these laws and the passages that depict them that has led many to think that Paul is contradicting Peter and Peter is contradicting James. Of a certainty, however, God’s Word cannot contradict itself. If there is anything that looks conflicting, it is because of our own failure to understand the what, the why, the how, and the when of the topic being discussed, and overcoming these hurdles usually takes patient study and prayers. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV). And rather than obey God’s command that “precept must be upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10), and rather than patiently study every possible scripture on the subject, many have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, saying our works have nothing to do with our eternal destiny. A careful look at Paul’s epistles suggest otherwise. All of his writings in Galatians and Ephesians on the fruits of the Spirit were his unique way of inviting the Christian to a life of faith and works, not a life of faith without works.
And if so, it all leads back to our love for God which cannot be separated from the keeping of His commandments. Obedience to the Ten Commandments, summarized in the two great laws of love to God and love to our neighbour (Matthew 22:37–40; Mark 12:29–31; Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18), is central to our belief/faith in Christ, and our salvation too (Hebrews 3: 18–19; John 14:15; Ecclesiastes 12:13). The new commandment Jesus gave (John 14:15) which is called the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) is not saying something different altogether, because the law of Christ is the same as the Law of God. Jesus Christ, showed in His words and deeds, the practical application of God’s holy law, and by following in His footsteps and bearing one another’s burdens, we automatically fulfill the purpose of the Ten Commandments. It is in doing this that we are not under the law, not otherwise! “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law (the Old Covenant) but under grace (the New Covenant)” (Romans 6:14; Parentheses Added) But when we continue in sin, sin has dominion over us, and thus we are under the law!
Having established the above, it remains ever interesting that the majority of Christendom, individually and corporately, break the commandments of God, and perpetually, the fourth commandment. This is as a result of the work of the Antichrist and the False Prophet who I have carefully identified in my new book (see below). The question of the Sabbath remains an ever unsettling question for those who truly want to have access to the tree of life and enter through the gates of the New Jerusalem. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Revelation 22:14). All of these are in reference to the Ten Commandments. Dogs and the sexually immoral are those breaking the seventh commandment; sorcerers and idolaters are those breaking the first commandment; murderers are those breaking the sixth commandment; and whoever loves and practices a lie are those breaking the fourth commandment by keeping Sunday, the first day of the week as God’s Sabbath instead of Saturday, the seventh day of the week, the true Sabbath, since antiquity.
Despite popular misconceptions, Jesus, in the spirit of the law, taught us to do good on the Sabbath; to save a soul from hunger and death; to engage in acts of eternal significance, but He never taught us to break a commandment that He Himself kept all His life (Luke 4:16). That Christians rest and worship on Sunday is one of the greatest hoaxes in history and one of the greatest attacks of Satan on God’s eternal law; a conspiracy which he has carried forward all through the centuries through the Antichrist, and even more today, through the False Prophet, amongst many other attacks on God’s Holy Law. However, as the second coming of Christ draws nearer than ever, the commandment at the centre of God’s Holy Law will be at the centre of a great controversy, even as it is now.
Friend, what are your thoughts? Kindly leave a comment below.
*The content of this post is based on my new book, “The Believer’s Dilemma: Questions that beg for answers” which is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N044LKV and Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/671686 and other major online retail stores.