Christians who proclaim that the ten commandments have been abolished usually quote the writings of the apostle Paul. The favorite quote being the one where Paul says… “we are no longer under the law, but under grace.” Many Christians take this literally in thinking that God’s commandments have been replaced with grace and we no longer need to keep God’s “Old Covenant” law. The problem is, many Christians misunderstand what Paul was saying.
If Paul really said that the ten commandments are no longer binding upon Christians, then why did he say in Romans 3:31 that we are to “establish the law”? This just makes no sense if God’s commandments have been done away with. So let’s look at what Paul was really saying.
What does it mean to be “under the law”? Well, what did the Old Testament law require for breaking it? Death! The penalty of sin is death. But what happened when Christ Jesus died for our sins? He took that penalty from us, and if we repent of our sins and accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, then we come under grace and are no longer under the “penalty” of the law. Now this makes sense, and ties in with Paul saying that we are to establish the law. The ten commandments haven’t been abolished. We are just no longer under the penalty of the law, because Christ paid the penalty for our sin! Praise God!
Another point where many Christians are in error is to do with how many sets of laws were there in the Old Testament. Many believe that there was just one law and all the ten commandments, plus the ceremonial laws come under that one law. This cannot be so, because the ten commandments were written by the finger of God Himself on stone. Representing the eternal nature of them. And the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament priestly service were written by Moses on paper. The ten commandments were placed inside the ark of the covenant and the ceremonial laws were placed outside the ark. This shows a distinct difference between the two laws.
You see, the ten commandments are God’s moral law of love, which point out sin and have been binding since the beginning. And the ceremonial laws written by Moses were only introduced after man sinned. The ten commandments define sin, and the ceremonial commands were a remedy for sin. And Jesus became our remedy for sin, taking away the ceremonial laws and nailing them to the cross. But God’s commandments STILL define sin today and therefore must still be relevant for us, and still binding.
This also makes sense when you read in Revelation 14:12 that the saints living in the end times are those who keep the commandments of God AND the faith of Jesus. This verse shows that grace and law working together. We accept that we are only saved by the grace of God through faith, and we keep the commandments of God as a result of that faith.
Grace is the root and works are the fruit of faith.