Most believers know that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by keeping the Ten Commandments.
But then after salvation, many believers try to base their lives on the Ten Commandments as their moral guide.
The problem is that we cannot break the Law into pieces. The entire Law of Moses is the 613 commandments that included various ceremonial, dietary laws and the Ten commandments. We cannot choose the Ten Commandments and ignore the 603 other laws.
Paul said that if we keep the Law, then we must obey everything otherwise we will be cursed.
Galatians 3 “10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.””
James echoed the same sentiment here:
James 2:10 “10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”
Moses also said that under the Law, the blessing of God is only for those who obey all 613 commandments:
Romans 10 “5 For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, “The one who does them will live by them.”
You see, we as Gentiles were never under the Law of Moses. (Although as unbelievers, Gentiles are convicted by the moral law on their consciences (Romans 2)
- God never commanded us to tithe 10% to the Levites.
- God never commanded us to circumcise our male children.
- God never commanded us to abstain from pork, shrimp and bacon, etc.
- God never commanded us to keep the Sabbath by refraining from all kinds of work from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
But some believers will say that we are only under the 9 commandments, excluding the Sabbath.
But Jesus laid out the true requirements of the Law here in Matthew 5-7, Luke 12, Luke 14, Matthew 19, Mark 19. He told the Jews who were trusting in the Law for salvation:
- If you only anger, you’re guilty of murder.
- If you only lust, you’re guilty of adultery.
- If you only love your neighbors but not enemies, then you cannot become God’s children.
- In the Lord’s prayer, He said that if you don’t forgive others, then God will not forgive you.
- If you want to enter the kingdom, then you have to love God with all your heart by selling everything to the poor, forsaking jobs, lands, families, etc. and following Jesus, carrying the cross as a martyr.
- You basically have to be PERFECT as Jesus if you want to be saved and/or guided by the Law.
You see, the Law was given NOT to guide us, but to convict people of sin. The Law was not meant to save anyone but to expose sin (Romans 3:19-21).
And yet many Jews who trusted in the Law didn’t believe in Christ.
The vast majority of Christians are Gentiles who believe in Jesus.
So then why do we Gentiles need to be guided by the Law after salvation?
Once we come to Christ, the believer is no longer under the Law.
Our source of righteousness is Christ Himself and not a moral code.
Romans 10 “4 For Christ is the END of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Galatians 3 “24 So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.”
So then how do we live our Christian life? Do we go back to the Law?
Not at all, we live the same way as we received Christ – by feeding on His grace and love!
Colossians 2 “6 As therefore you received Christ Jesus, the Lord, walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, even as you were taught, abounding in it in thanksgiving.”
- We did not get saved by keeping the Ten Commandments.
- We did not get saved by the 613 Laws of Moses.
- We did not get saved by keeping the Sermon on the Mount.
We got saved by GRACE through BELIEVING/trusting/relying in Jesus.
Therefore we continue the Christian life in the SAME WAY.
Galatians 3 “2 I just want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed in the flesh? “
Galatians 5 “18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. “
This is how we live the Christian life – by the New Covenant – in which there are only 2 commandments.
1 John 5 ” 23 This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded.”
Is loving one another the same as the Old LAW ?
- No, it’s a NEW WAY.
- How is it new? Didn’t the Law also command loving others?
- Yes, but the law also pronounced curses on those who broke the commandments.
- But in the new commandment, there is no curse because we are already forgiven before we love others!
Let us see how we are called to love one another in the New Covenant – it is only by first knowing His love! This is how it is NEW – we first receive Christ’s unconditional love that forgave all our sins and then love others without fear of anymore judgment.
John 13 ” 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. “
FIRST – we receive Christ’s unconditional LOVE and GRACE to be SAVED.
SECOND – The Holy Spirit bears fruit within us to love others.
This is effortless – and not like the Old Covenant.
In the Old Covenant, Jesus had not yet died, their sins were not forgiven – so they did not have the Holy Spirit in their hearts – they did not know the unconditional love of God as their Father.
Under the Law they had to love God and love others to be blessed – and they kept failing.
But in the New Covenant, God first LOVES us and SAVES us by GRACE and then God Himself writes His laws of love in our heart and bears fruit through the Holy Spirit. He does everything!
Romans 5 “5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
1 John 4 “19 We love him, because he first loved us.”
Hebrews 8 ““For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days,” says the Lord; “I will put my laws into their mind, I will also write them on their heart. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness. I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.”
The reason God does not judge our sins anymore is because we are not under the law.
If Christians are guided by the Law, then we would still be under the curse because none of us can obey it (Galatians 3). Only unbelievers are under the Law.
God fulfilled the law on the cross (Colossians 2:13-14, Hebrews 8:12-13) for believers so that we are set free from guilt, compulsion and condemnation without being under law. We are free to love others without fear of judgment.
We actually love others with the same love that we receive from God – this is why it’s not our effort but it is Christ within us.
Love is a person – it’s not a behavior modification – it is JESUS living in us.
Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead to fulfill the Law – He will not die again and therefore we are eternally forgiven – no longer under the law – the love in our hearts is not our effort but it is Christ working within us – we are led by the Spirit and not by Law.