The Ten Commandments are STILL Commandments ... NOT Suggestions
It is both surprising and disturbing how many Christians there are that believe that because we are under the ‘Dispensation of Grace’ that we do not have to obey the commandments of God. If you even suggest that they must, you are immediately labeled a legalist.
A legalist though would be someone who might insist that you had to pray to God by kneeling beside your bed with your hands clasped together, or they might decide that you should pray standing with your arms raised to heaven ... whichever. The issue though is not what posture you take when praying to God, but what IS crucial is that you PRAY to God. Prayer is not an option for the Christian. It is a most vital ingredient for maintaining a relationship with God. This is not legalism, it is simple truth.
Jesus berated the terrible form of legalism that had evolved from the commandments delivered to Moses when He spat on the ground, made mud and then put the mud on the eyes of the blind man. He was thereby tearing down their man-made traditions and foolish customs because God had simply commanded, ‘Thou shalt honor the Sabbath and keep it holy’, but when that generation of Israelites died, the next generation added that you were to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy by not healing on the Sabbath day. Then when they died out, the next generation came along with their ‘Traditions of the Elders’ and added, ‘You shall honor the Sabbath and keep it holy by not healing a blind man on the Sabbath.’ It did not stop there. The ‘Traditions of the Elders’ then evolved to the point where this continuously mutating law stated, ‘You shall honor the Sabbath and keep it holy and you shall especially not heal a blind man on the Sabbath by putting mud in his eyes.’
Because these were merely traditions of men and not of God, Jesus showed His disdain by deliberately dismantling this form of religiosity and blatantly tearing down their manufactured ideas of holiness.
As for the actual commandments of God, Jesus declared, "I have not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it’ (Matt. 5:17) He never claimed that the laws of God had been abolished. He did emphasize though how mankind could not keep God’s laws and because ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,’ there needed to be a better way provided for us to receive eternal life. He Himself became that better way and it is by faith alone in His atoning blood that now completely washes and cleanses us from all sin. Notice though that after which, empowered by the Holy Ghost, we are to go and sin no more, thus becoming changed and transformed into the very image of the living God.
The scriptures make it very clear that Old Testament law commanded, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’, but now under grace we are commanded to not even THINK about committing adultery. Grace is a call to live by a higher standard. It is not a license to sin. Even though we receive eternal life based on faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, it does not mean we do not have to obey God’s laws. And yes, ‘we are saved by grace through faith’ (Eph. 2: 8,9) but scripture also says that ‘faith without works is dead’ (James 2:17)
Jesus’ own words confirm this in the scripture which portrays a rich young man coming to Him asking, "What must I do to have eternal life?" Jesus answered by telling him to keep the commandments and then proceeded to list six of them.
Those that think that because we are under a new covenant that we can ignore the old have obviously missed II Timothy 3:16 which states, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, (which includes the Old Testament and the Commandments) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’ (II Timothy 3:16)
So put away your misconceptions because God does still expect us to be a people, consecrated and set apart, ‘holy as He is holy ’ (I Peter 1:16) walking and living in obedience to Him.
Copyright Donna Martonfi www.psalm40ministries.com