Are the 10 Commandments Still Valid Today?

 In Christian Faith

You’d think that this question really shouldn’t be up for debate. Yet it seems to be a popular topic amongst Christians: ‘Are the 10 commandments still valid today?’.

Some would say they’re not. Others say they are. And a third group seems to doubt, believing that some commandments still stand, but not all of them. This group mostly states there are only 9 out of 10 commandments that still stand. The one done away with the most is the Sabbath requirement.

Why has this become such a discussion point? The Bible is pretty clear on this, and yet there’s still confusion about whether or not we should obey the ten commandments.

white cross in a field

Why Is There Confusion About Whether or Not We Should Obey the 10 Commandments?

I believe the main reason for this confusion is a statement made by Jesus, which I’ll discuss a little later in this post. But it may also be the result of people being unsure about what God’s law actually is.

Now, I’m not an expert in Jewish law at all, but as far as I’m aware there were two major laws in the OT: the moral law and the ceremonial law. I believe this is where the confusion begins.

Which law still stands and which one was – as they say – nailed to the cross?

The Moral Law

What exactly is considered as the moral law of God? Well, the moral law is more or less a fancy word to describe the 10 commandments.

In these 10 commandments we behold ‘the goodness of God’ {1SM 235.1}. Keeping the moral law ‘lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin’ {1SM 235.3}.

So, God’s moral law show us what’s right and wrong, and reveals our sins to us. It makes us see that we desperately need Jesus.

The moral law even existed before God gave the commandments to Moses. Think about it: if there was no law at the beginning of creation, Adam and Eve couldn’t have sinned. There wouldn’t have been a law to break.

We also read in the Bible: ‘Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law‘ {1 John 3:4 KJV}.

If the law would have been nailed on the cross, there wouldn’t be any more sin. I think we can all agree that’s not the case.

Paul also said: ‘…for by the law is the knowledge of sin‘ {Romans 3:20 KJV} and ‘…I had not known sin, but by the law…’ {Romans 7:7 KJV}.

Even Jesus proclaimed: ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’ {Matthew 5:17-18 KJV}.

Some people say that the gospel of Jesus has done away with the commandments of God, but Jesus Himself even said that He only did the Father’s will. Not His own! You can read these precious words in the following verses: John 7:16, John 8:28, and John 14:24.

Finally, we can then answer Paul’s question ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law‘ {Romans 3:31 KJV}.

The Ceremonial Law

This law was created as a result of sin, the transgression of the moral law. The rites and ceremonies God’s people had to keep, all pointed to the ultimate atonement of Jesus Christ.

Paul referred to the law as a shadow of good things to come {Hebrews 10:1}. It was a shadow of the sacrifice Christ would give. Our Saviour gave His own life, His own blood to safe us.

The transgression of the moral law demanded atonement. The ceremonial law showed how the atonement could be made. However, because the moral law is perfect, the atonement needed to be perfect too. Only Jesus Christ provided this true atonement as He gave His life, not for His own sin (for He was sinless), but for the sin of others. {also see TWL 5.3}

Every sacrifice that the Jews offered until then, pointed straight to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. This offerings were as acceptable in the sight of heaven as what today’s Christians do. They show their faith in the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ by baptism and the Lord’s supper. {see also LAGO 4.3}

So, the ceremonial law was contained in ordinances {Ephesians 2:15}. The moral law was given in God’s own voice and written with His own finger. It’s the duty of every man to keep these commandments {Ecclesiastes 12:13}.

Are the 10 Commandments Still Valid?

Can we now say that Christians should keep the 10 commandments, or not?

I believe it’s quite clear, but just in case there’s still some doubt within you, let’s look a little further.

Besides there being confusion between which law still stands and which one not, there seems to be confusion about a statement Jesus made in Matthew 22:36-40.

There, a question was asked to Jesus: ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?’ {Matthew 22:36 KJV}.

Jesus answered:

‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ {Matthew 22:37-40 KJV}

Most Christians who argue that we shouldn’t keep the 10 commandments anymore seem to base their statement on the above verses. They say we only have to love God and our brothers and sisters.

But how do you show that you love God? By obeying Him. Right?

How do you show love to your fellow brothers and sisters? By being kind and caring. Right?

Don’t the 10 commandments command you to do just that?

Just have a think about this for a second: If it would be true that Christians no longer need to keep the 10 commandments, then there would be no more sin.

For John clearly wrote that ‘Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law‘ {1 John 3:4 KJV}. If every aspect of God’s law had been taken away and nailed to the cross, how could we then possibly still sin? Why would we then still need Jesus in our daily life? It wouldn’t make any sense.

So, what did Jesus mean with this statement. Well, the first 4 commandments refer to ‘thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind‘.

If you truely love God, you’ll automatically:

  1. have no other gods
  2. make no images and bow down to them
  3. won’t take the Lord’s name in vain
  4. remember to keep the Sabbath day holy

The last 6 commandments then refer to His words: ‘thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself‘. Basically, you’ll treat them the way you want to be treated.

For if you truely love your neighbour (aka others), you’ll automatically:

  1. honour and respect your parents
  2. won’t kill
  3. won’t commit adultery
  4. won’t steal
  5. won’t bear false witness
  6. won’t covet

Jesus also said: ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil’ {Matthew 5:17 KJV}.

So, our question was: Are the 10 commandments still valid today? My answer is simple: yes, we do still have to obey God’s 10 commandments. All of the 10 commandments! Not just the ones that suit us and our life style. All!

What do you believe? Do you think we still have to obey all the ten commandments?

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Showing 6 comments
  • Aryn the Libraryan
    Reply

    I never doubted the need to still obey the 10 commandments, it just seems obvious to me.

    But I now understand the arguments of those who disagree. I can see how they came to their conclusion now. Thank you for showing me the connection.

    I now have a better idea of how to explain my stance on the topic!

    • Ann
      Reply

      Hi Aryn, I never doubted obeying them either. It just makes sense to me, but I’ve had people around me giving all these arguments. Happy to hear that you might be able to defend the ten commandments better, in case you ever have too. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  • Heather
    Reply

    I like the way you put the 10 commandments into the verses in Matthew. Well done! Honestly I was a little hesitant to read this wondering which stand you were going to take on the issue of the 10 commandments being valid today. I’ve heard heated discussions from both sides. You did a wonderful job explaining this!

    • Ann
      Reply

      Hi Heather, happy to hear you enjoyed reading this post. Yes, unfortunately there are heated discussion regarding the ten commandments. It’s such a shame because it really is very clear in the Bible. Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment! Much appreciated. 🙂

  • Marie-line
    Reply

    Hello, I’m french but I grew up in an English speaking country so I learnt the 10 commandments in English.Now it’s been 40 years that I speak only french and I had somewhat forgotten some commandments so that’s why I checked them up on this site and I fell upon your post. Thanks for enlightening your fellowmen on godly issues like this. Despite all the evil which surrounds us all over the world many of us remain attached to pleasing The Almighty God by doing what he recommends us to do. Thank you and may God bless your family and keep on inspiring you .

    • Ann
      Reply

      Thank you very much for visiting and leaving a comment! I too believe there are many people wanting to please God and keep His commandments. But as you said, there’s a lot of evil out there and it’s so easy to be tempted in doing the wrong thing. I’ve come across a few people that believe we don’t have to keep the commands anymore, so I felt called to write about it. I pray it may inspire a lot more people to obey God’s moral law. May God bless you on your way!

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