Should We Keep the Law Today?

Question:

“Jesus said He came to fulfill the law, not destroy it (Matthew 5:17). We are told in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 that we are to keep the law. Why does the church teach that we do not need to keep the 10 commandments?”

Answer:

When Jesus fulfilled the law of Moses, its purpose ended. That is when the law was taken away. . .

“God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory. 

Don’t let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don’t let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real!” (Colossians 2:14 – 17; Contemporary English Version)

“That is how it is with you, my friends. You are now part of the body of Christ and are dead to the power of the Law. You are free to belong to Christ, who was raised to life so that we could serve God. When we thought only of ourselves, the Law made us have sinful desires. It made every part of our bodies into slaves who are doomed to die. But the Law no longer rules over us. We are like dead people, and it cannot have any power over us. Now we can serve God in a new way by obeying his Spirit, and not in the old way by obeying the written Law.

Does this mean that the Law is sinful? Certainly not! But if it had not been for the Law, I would not have known what sin is really like. For example, I would not have known what it means to want something that belongs to someone else, unless the Law had told me not to do that. It was sin that used this command as a way of making me have all kinds of desires. But without the Law, sin is dead.” (Romans 7:4 – 8; Contemporary English Version)

There are many other passages that show that the old law was taken away when Christ died on the cross. But did that include the ten commandments? Note the two passages I cited above. 

The Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16) was in the law that was nailed to the cross. In the law that no longer rules over us is the command that forbids wanting “something that belongs to someone else” (i. e. coveting) (Romans 7:7). Those two commands are part of the ten commandments. The law that was nailed to the cross (and from which we are made free) includes the ten commandments.

The two passages in Revelation do not refer to our keeping the law of Moses at all. In Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 14:12, we are told that we are to “keep the commandments of God”. That is not speaking of the commandments of the old law, but of the teachings of Christ.

We do not worship idols, commit murder or lie today. Not because it is in the law of Moses. But because these things are prohibited by the gospel of Christ. We are living today under the “New Testament” or “New Covenant”, which is ratified by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:15). 

If we try to go back to the old law (the law which God gave through Moses to Israel), we betray Jesus Christ. . .

“And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and his wonderful kindness. But the Spirit makes us sure that God will accept us because of our faith in Christ.” (Galatians 5:4; Contemporary English Version)

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