Comfort & Counsel

Home  Articles  Site map

Pointers along the way #684

Ten commandments or more?

- Jacob Ninan

Some people say, "I keep the ten commandments and so I am sure God will take me to heaven." Some have questions, "Should I keep all the other commandments in the Old Testament? Hasn't Jesus added many more commandments? How is it possible for anyone to keep all the commandments? Doesn't the New Testament teach that we are free from the Law? Etc." It is very clear that keeping commandments as a way of receiving God's approval doesn't work, because no one is able to keep them all (Ga.3:10,11). Coming to Jesus through faith includes acknowledging this about ourselves and asking for forgiveness on the basis of His taking our punishment on the cross. Anyone who thinks he is good enough for God because of his good life is totally mistaken. Jesus is God's solution for helpless, sinful human beings.

But didn't God give the ten commandments and say that if anyone obeyed them they would be blessed? He did. But one goal of the commandments was to lead people to realise they were unable to do that. Paul who tried hard to keep the whole Law came to see that when he came to the last one, which was about coveting or lusting after things, he got exposed (Ro.7:7,8)! When Jesus came He explained how the real expectation of God was for us to obey Him in our inner being, and not just to be satisfied with keeping our external actions pure. He said how anger is at the root of murder (Mt.5:21,22) as lust with adultery (vv.27,28). At this point, anyone who trusted in keeping the ten commandments can see that he has no hope apart from seeking mercy from God as an unmerited favour.

Under the new covenant which God made through Jesus, He made it clear that His acceptance of men is only going to be on the basis of grace which we have to receive through faith (Ep.2:8,9). This frees us from having to struggle to keep all the law and always wondering if we would make it. But we come into the law of the Spirit of life in Christ (Ro.8:1,2) by which we get renewed in our heart and mind, giving us a desire to do what God really wants and an ability to do it (Php.2:12,13). When we come into this kind of life which God gives when we are born again, the other kinds of laws in the Old Testament that pertained to sacrifices, festivals, clean and unclean things, etc., become irrelevant for us, because they were only intended to prepare the people for the coming of the new covenant (Co.2:16,17).

Now, as born again Christians what we need to do is to be renewed in our mind and understand the finer aspects of what God requires from us (Ro.12:2) as we behold the life of God which is revealed in the life of Jesus as we read the word of God (2Co.3:18). As we see how different our own life is from that of God, we now have the opportunity to put away our old way of life and put on His way (Ep.4:22-24). That is how the requirements of the law will get fulfilled in us in reality (Ro.8:4), which have already been credited to our account in God's eyes when we believed in Jesus.


Subscribe to the 'Pointers along the way' mailing list