Ok, maybe I just wanted to get your attention with that title, but there is a vital principle I would love for you to consider for a moment. Here is what the writers of the New Testament say about The Law of Moses. (Which includes the 10 commandments)
- By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. Hebrews 8:13
- He abolished, in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace. Ephesians 2:15
- So, my brothers, 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 to God. Romans 7:4
- Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14
Abolished? Obsolete? Canceled? It’s pretty easy to get the picture. For those who believe in Christ, the Law is gone. Bye bye, no more, splitsville. In the words of Taylor Swift, “and we are never ever, ever, getting back together… like ever.”
Why do Christians talk about the Ten Commandments so much?
The strange thing is, followers of Christ talk about the “Big Ten” a lot, which is odd if they are “obsolete.” Here is an inside secret: Christians only follow nine of them. Number four: “obey the Sabbath” is neglected. Some will say they keep it, but the truth is they don’t. At least, not in the way the Law describes it in Exodus 20:8-11.
It’s not just the ten, either. The Old Testament is filled with 613 commandments, and many followers pick and choose which ones they will follow. Quick example: Leviticus 19:28 , “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.” Also, Leviticus19:27 (the commandment before) states: “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” See? We pick and choose.
Now, let’s be clear: the Law is NOT bad. In fact, it is actually quite good. However, it is often misunderstood. More on that in a minute.
What the heck are the rules, now?
If the Law is just a guideline, what are the actual rules? This is an important point. The New Testament should not be turned into “The Law 2.0.” It is not just an updated, more relevant version of the Law. There is only one rule now. Are you ready? Just one. Here it is: believe in Christ – John 3:16.
Before we go on, take a moment to feel the freedom in that. You can make mistakes, and you get do overs. Instead of the crushing weight of sin pinning you to the ground, you can simply start over. Why? Because you believe that Jesus Christ has forgiven you. Here are a few brief descriptions of what happens when we believe:
- The Butterfly Effect – 2 Corinthians 5:7 – Just like a caterpillar that cocoons and is transformed into something new, God completely changes someone who believes.
- The New Born – John 3:3 – A baby has no scars and no past. Nothing but opportunity. Jesus said someone who believes is “born again”, but they are born of the Spirit of God. Which means they are something different. Something from God.
- Dead Man Walking – Galatians 2:20 – Someone who believes dies and is given a new life. Christ is now living and acting in the person’s life.
Is The Law Useless?
Is the Old Testament irrelevant? Not at all! 2 Timothy 3:16 To quote Captain Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean, the “Big Ten” have now become more like “guidelines than actual rules.” Someone who has been made new through belief in Christ, can find all kinds of guidance from the Law. Finding guidance from the Old Testament works like this:
- Behind every commandment is a principle.
- Behind every principle is a purpose.
- If you find the purpose, you can find a guide for living.
Much of the teaching in the New Testament is actually based on principles from the Law. However, it must be understood as “useful” not a “regulation.”
If the message of Christ is just the Law 2.0, what good is it? Christ didn’t give His life on the cross to cancel the “written code” (the Law) just to make another one. The power comes from what Christ now does in us through our belief, our faith in Him.