If you’ve ever read the book of Leviticus, then you know the Old Testament law is extensive and complicated. Many of the Old Testament laws have to do with sacrifice and the appropriate sacrifice to make for different situations. I can never remember which sacrifice is appropriate for what situation. If there were a test on it, I’d fail.
The core of the Old Testament law, however, is the Ten Commandments.
When Jesus died, it was as the final sacrifice for sin. Because of His death, we no longer need to follow all of those Old Testament laws about sacrifice. Hooray!
Jesus’s death and resurrection also changed our relationship to the Law. Before His death, following the Law perfectly was the only way to be righteous enough for a relationship with God. Jesus’s death changed that for us; now our relationship with God is by faith and based upon the righteousness of Jesus. That is the best news!
The question comes up occasionally, though: If Jesus changed our relationship to the Law, do we still need to obey the Ten Commandments?
The answer is found in Matthew 22:36-40:
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said 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 great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (NASB)
Jesus never said that His death and resurrection would make the Law disappear. If you look closely at the Ten Commandments, you’ll see that the first four deal with our relationship to God:
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol to worship.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
The last six deal with our relationships with other people.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness (lie) against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
What Jesus said about the greatest and second greatest commandments was a summary of the Ten Commandments. If we love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, then we’re going to want to obey the first part of the Ten Commandments. If we love others the way we love ourselves, then we’ll want to obey the second part of the Ten Commandments.
Many people think that Jesus was giving a new command when He answered this question, but the truth is Jesus only summarized the commandments we already had. He only gave one brand-new commandment while He was here, and that was for us to love other people the same way Jesus Himself loves us.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Girls, do you think Christians need to obey the Ten Commandments?
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