The Myth of Lawkeeping
The Lie: “Jesus said He came to fulfil the law, therefore by His example, I must also make the Ten Commandments my standard for living a Christian life.”
The Truth: “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:6 NKJV
When Jesus said He came to fulfil the law He meant it, and He did it (Matt. 5:17-18). The Old Testament law, all of it, including all the Commandments, has been fulfilled once and for ever. Though Jesus often challenged the religious leaders on their interpretation of the law, He never broke it. “Fulfil” in this case does not mean to continue to repeat something over and over, it means to fill to the top, to carry through to the end, to make complete and perfect in every detail.
The Old Covenant law, or Torah, cannot be divided into parts we must keep and parts we can disregard. The Ten Commandments are just a small part of what Paul and James both referred to as the ‘whole law’ (James 2:10, Gal. 5:3) The ‘whole law’ contains about 613 commandments. Do we really believe we can fulfil the law as Jesus did? Are you ready to give up eating pork or bacon? Are you willing to take part in animal sacrifices? Are you ready to refrain from any semblance of work on the Sabbath, including driving your car, walking the dog or taking the kids to the park? Oh and while we’re talking Sabbath, are you ready to change your day of worship from Sunday to Saturday, the seventh day according to Torah law?
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with God’s law. In fact the law is good, holy and just (Romans 7:12). But lawkeeping never fixed the problem in man. Under the law, yes including the Ten Commandments, a high priest still had to enter the Holy of Holies once every year with the blood of animals to atone for the sins of the people. Why? Because even though the law is good, humans in their natural state are carnal. The law was given to reveal God’s attributes to us and to convict us of our lost state. That’s why trying to keep the Commandments will actually minister death to us in the form of false religion, because sin grows stronger under lawkeeping (Romans 5:20) Hey, I didn’t say it, Paul did!
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 2 Cor. 3:5-8 NKJV
Any attempt to fit our lives around a list of ethical rules, even the Ten Commandments, is doomed to failure because it leaves out our need for a Saviour. Does that mean we can throw away the Old Covenant part of our Bibles? No, we need the Old Covenant to teach us about God, and about ourselves…….but it’s the New Covenant that saves us from ourselves.
The Commandments haven’t been discarded, they’ve just evolved into the rule of love. And we cannot truly love except through Christ.
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 NKJV
Don’t seek to keep the Ten Commandments because you will fail and bring yourself under condemnation. Then you will have to become a Pharisee, pointing out the sins of others, in order to hide your own condemnation.
Seek only Christ and His grace and you will find God’s law being fulfilled in and through you.
Related Articles: Law and Spirit
By the way, your comments are always welcome, but please do me the favour of at least prayerfully reading the scriptures I give before hurling your objections at me. In that case I am happy to respond. Someone once wisely said “God will offend the mind to reveal the heart.” Check why you’re offended before throwing stones.