The Ten Commandments

Are the Ten Commandments still relevant today?

John 14:15
“If you love me, keep my
Matthew 7:21-23

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

What does James say about the Law?

A quick look will reveal that it’s obvious we aren’t going to get James to give us any fire-power to diminish the Christian’s duty to the law. He is unyielding on his stance of loyalty to the Ten Commandments. From his viewpoint, we are all duty-bound to keep every single Commandment, “the whole Law.”

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” (James 2:8-12).

In fact, he speaks of the law in a very upbeat way. James calls the commandments the Royal Law and the Law of Liberty. Why shouldn’t the Law be our glory and joy? We have laws in America. They are obligatory for everyone. Sometimes some lawbreaker is able to avoid the punishment of his misdeed and we all groan when that happens. Equal protection under the law is what our judicial system stands for. And our laws are just; they have been hammered out by a large body of an honest judiciary, legislators, and President, therefore those laws are good for the liberties of all. America has a lot of laws. It is stricter here than many other countries, yet people are flocking to come here. They know our laws are right and fair. Those laws are built from a moral code. They are non-discriminatory. Though civil and non-religious, they represent love. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

James establishes the authority of the Ten Commandments, which at the time of his writing was circa A.D. 90, many years after the death and resurrection of Christ. A relatively modern and popular idea is that Christ abolished the law at His death, yet notice that James writes words oblivious to that notion. He uses the commandments given to Moses to “convince” or convict of immorality and to raise the spiritual atmosphere among the believers “scattered abroad.” He gave no hint that those commandments were ever repealed. Their perpetuity is the grand, underlying assumption of James, and a Spirit-inspired assumption at that.

The apostle understood that faith was the foundation of the new movement of Christ. But evidently there had come in some disturbing views into the church, which eroded the force of God’s Law and had a deadening effect on the conscience of the people. So he takes on the issue of faith in its relation to duty and the commandments of God. He is solidly loyal to obedience to the Law. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:17-26).

I realize that the KJV uses old language, and that “works” is almost an undefined word these days. That is why I substitute “duty” and “obedience,” etc. But as you see, the Bible admonishes us to be more than just moral in relation to an abstract, imaginary code, but obedient to that righteousness written by God in stone. To so many atheists God is dead, or a figment of imagination. To Christians, God is the living God, and Christ is alive for ever more. He has flesh and blood, He is tangible. Thus His law is real and tangible, inscribed no more tangibly than in non-effaceable stone. We have an obligation to walk as He walked, in allegiance to His Father’s Commandments.

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