Bible-based | Christ-centered | Family-focused | Mission-minded
One subject at the heart of much religious confusion is a deficiency of fully comprehending the distinction between the Old and New Testaments. If you don’t believe it, just try making this statement to one of your religious friends, “Did you know Christians are not under the Ten Commandments?” and wait for their reaction. Most will become rather upset with you, very quickly. In fact, some of our own brethren within the church get upset! Expect to hear something like, “What do you mean we aren’t under the Ten Commandments!? Are you saying it’s okay to murder?” Of course, murder is still wrong, but not because the Ten Commandments say it. Why do people get so upset? It is usually because they don’t understand the Biblical concept of Old versus New Covenants.
Laws, Covenants, and Pacts
Look at the words of Jesus, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you,” (Luke 22:20). We should also consider Galatians 3:13,24-25. This illustrates that the “law” (that is, the Old Testament) has fulfilled its purpose and we are no longer under it. Several more verses, such as Colossians 2:14-17; Romans 7:6, 8:1-2; and Hebrews 7:22 explain that the Old Covenant, or pact, which is another word for Testament, has been replaced with the “Law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). If Jesus has replaced the Old Law (Testament, Covenant) with a new one, then why hang on to things of the old?
God gave the Law to Moses for guiding the children of Israel. He didn’t give it to Adam, Noah, or even Abraham. He gave it to the Hebrews, the nation of Israel. Today however, God’s people are known as Christians – those who are of Christ, His Son. We are not Hebrews, or Jewish, nor Israelites. Therefore, we are not obligated or subject to that law – their law – in any way. The Old Testament (Covenant) was given specifically for them. Why then, would anyone want to use and apply things from that old law, such as tithing, or priestly clothing, or anything else that is not commanded of the Christian?
It’s interesting that many will appeal to the Old Testament as “approval” for their religious practices, such as musical instruments, keeping the Sabbath, or various ceremonial rituals. Yet, they don’t keep all of the law, which also includes practices such as animal sacrifices, returning to Jerusalem three times a year, and keeping all the Jewish holidays! Are these not reason enough that law is called the Old Testament?
What About Us?
The fact is, Jesus brought all of the laws from the Ten Commandments over into His new covenant, except one – keeping the Sabbath. Christians are not permitted to kill, to steal, to commit adultery, or to covet just as the Ten Commandments say. We must still worship God and only Him and we must still honor our parents. However, a Christian’s obedience must come from the heart, “You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30,31). Christians are not under the Ten Commandments, a part of that Old Law. We are under the Law of Christ.