New Covenant and Law/Commandments

While Jesus was on earth he lived under the Old Covenant.

Yet, using his authority as the Son of God, the Messiah/Christ, (Matthew 26:63-65; John 4:25-26; Matthew 11:27; 28:18; John 10:30; 12:49-50; 13:3; 14:10-11;) he gave us some insight into the New Covenant.

This is evident in the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11).

The prevailing view was that Moses law required her to be put to death (Leviticus 20:10).

Yet, Jesus short circuited that death penalty requirement of the law by not condemning her but allotting her grace.

Yet he did not discount her sin as not a serious violation of God’s will for he told her to go and sin no more (John 8:11).

In so doing he revealed the framework for the New Covenant of abundant grace (John 1:17). A covenant that withholds the death penalty but not necessarily chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11) with the understanding that he/she that receives such grace will strive to sin no more.

In 1 John 1:9 and Romans 6:1-2, respectively, John and Paul echoes this principle of repentant faith that Jesus sets forth.

Indeed, Jesus began his public preaching with the message of repentance (Matthew 4:17).

The New Covenant came in full force not just a precursor with Jesus death on the cross as stated in Hebrews 9:16-18.

Hebrews 8:7-13 and Hebrews 10:16-18 quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34 some details about the New Covenant.

That with Hebrews 9:16-18 establishes that the New Covenant is in effect.

Hebrews 8:10 speaks about the law of God being put in the believers mind and written on his heart. Titus 2:11-15 speaks of the believer under grace living godly lives zealous of good works under Christ. 1 John 2:27-29 speaks of the anointing [of the Holy Spirit] abiding in the believer and that the believer is to abide in the Father and the Son to include doing righteousness.

Therefore, it is clear that God under the New Covenant holds obedience to his law/commandment to be important to him even under the covenant of grace. This is the essence of Jesus telling the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. This is the essence of Paul saying God forbid that we should continue in sin just because we are under grace (Romans 6:1-2).

Hebrews 9:9-10 speaks of a reformation. Acts 6:14 speaks of the Jewish authorities saying they had heard Stephen say Jesus will change the customs that Moses had delivered unto them. The fact they said customs which Moses had delivered them means they were not talking about things Sadducees and Pharisees had added. What is the difference between a law and a custom? Was circumcision a law or a custom since certainly the provisions for circumcision were changed from what it was under the Old Covenant?

Certainly a reformation took place regarding the priesthood (Heb 7:11-12; 9:11) where verse 11 says there is a change of the law. Is this change of the law limited to the priesthood service at the temple (Heb 9:1-4, 12-14).

So then let me for sake of brevity only deal with the ten commandments as points of obedience though there are other points in the Bible.

First let me say that in Matthew 22:34-40 in his answer to the question of what is the greatest commandment, Jesus speaks of the spirit of carrying out the commandments. He does so when he says on these two commandments of love hang all the law and the prophets.

The point is every disciple of Christ should strive to surrender to the Holy Spirit to obey and repent if one fails to obey (Matthew 4:17; 1 John 1:9).

Also, between them John, James, and Paul write about how disciples of Christ should obey the principles set forth in the Ten Commandments such that obedience to the Sabbath commandment being about spirit (Rom 7:6; 2 Cor 3:6) more than letter.

They write about this after Jesus death on the cross and resurrection. Therefore, it is illogical to say obedience only applied prior to Jesus death.

For the true disciple of Christ (John 3:16; John 8:31-32; Ephesians 1:6-7), the Bible indicates that failure to always obey the Ten Commandments including the spirit of the Sabbath will not result in lost of salvation.

The point of Matthew 19:16-30 is not that we should not strive to keep the commandments for they are good to keep; but, it is that none other than Jesus have kept them to God’s standard.

I do not speak here as to getting saved. I only speak here saying those who are saved should strive to be obedient.

Praise God for the blood Jesus shed for remission of sin; yet let us strive for obedience to his will for our individual and collective lives.

My list of Ten Commandments in the New Testament/ Covenant is given below to include correspondence between the Old Testament and New Testament:

Here are the Ten Commandments and some examples of where they are found in the New Testament.

Note that John, James, and Paul writings of the Holy Spirit occurred after Jesus death on the cross.

Therefore, it would be illogical to say they only applied before Jesus death on the cross.

1) Do not worship any other gods — Exodus 20:3 — Matthew 4:10; 22:27; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5

2) Do not make idols — Exodus 20:4-6 — 1 Cor 6:9; 10:14; Eph 5:5; 1 John 5:21

3) Do not misuse the name of the LORD — James 5:12; Exodus 20:7 — 1 Timothy 6:1

4) Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. — Exodus 20:8-11 — see below

5) Honor your father and your mother — Exodus 20:12 — Matthew 15:3-6; 19:16-21; Ephesians 6:1-2

6) Do not murder — Exodus 20:13 — Matthew 5:21-22; 19:16-21; Romans 13:9; Gal 5:19-21; 1 Peter 4:15

7) Do not commit adultery — Exodus 20:14 — Matthew 5:27-28; 19:16-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

8 ) Do not steal — Exodus 20:15 — Matthew 19:16-21; Ephesians 4:28

9) Do not give false testimony — Exodus 20:16 — Matthew 19:16-21; Col 3:9; Eph 4:25; Revelation 21:8

10) Do not covet — Exodus 20:17 — Romans 7:7; Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:5

Except for the 4th commandment having to do with the Sabbath, all of the Ten Commandments are brought forward into the New Covenant to be obeyed by disciples of Christ both in spirit (Rom 7:6; 2 Cor 3:6) and in letter.

For an article on the Sabbath Commandment Question see the reference section below.

Let me briefly address the 2nd commandment. The 2nd commandment is about idolatry. It says one shall not worship a graven image that is the likeness of anything in heaven above, in the earth or under the earth. Now it cannot say one cannot have an image of such things for then one could not even have an image of a car or a picture of ones children for they are certainly in the earth. The idea is clearly one is not to worship such things; it is all about idolatry.

Some people wear a cross that symbolizes the sacrifice of Jesus in shedding his blood for the remission of our sins. Wearing such a cross does not violate the 2nd commandment; the cross does not represent some false god one is worshipping.

Now let us look is a more generally way and ask the question what commandments are we to obey after getting saved through our faith in and acceptance of what Christ did on the cross on our behalf. Clearly the question is about what to do after accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah, Lord, and Saviour.

Indeed to a large extent the different answers to that question is what divides Christians including Christian denominations, divides Christians from non-Christians who believe in the God of Abraham.

To began with let us start with start with Matthew 22:34-40 where Jesus says the dual laws of love for God and the almost equal law of love for others as one loves one’s self form the foundation for the law and the prophets. Then move from the general to the more specific:

  1. The Ten Commandments of Exodus 20:1-17, all of which are brought forth into the New Testament/Covenant
  2. The host of commandments given in the New Testament
  3. The host of commandments given in the Old Testament that are not rendered void by the New Testament.

All of the above of course is to be done under the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit (e.g., John 16:13-14; Gal 5:17).

All of the above is to be done with the understanding that keeping the commandments perfectly are not required to get saved or stay saved but the spirit of obedience in repentant faith is required.

And finally certainly the question assumes the understanding that this is not about the commandments Jesus gave to follow him and not deny him and similar statements he made. For of course they must come first.


New Covenant and Law/Commandments – The Sabbath Question

When is the Sabbath Controversy

Sabbath Rest and Sabbath Day

About the Christian Sabbath and Lord’s Day

Christianity Bible Basic Christian Doctrine Christian Sabbath/Holidays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *