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Particulars of Christianity:
305 Liberty in Christ

Liberty, the Law, and the 10 Commandments

Liberty in Christ: Extended Introduction
Liberty in Christ: Introduction

Definitions and New Testament Survey
Synonyms for Liberty in Christ
Liberty and Death
Liberty, the Law, and the 10 Commandments
Origin of the Law of Liberty
Liberty and Yet Prohibition
Incorporating Pagan Practices in the Old Testament
"Christianizing" Pagan Practices
What is Observing Times?
Liberty, Bondage, and Righteousness
Liberty and Meat Sacrificed to Idols
Liberty and 1 Corinthians 8
Liberty, 1 Corinthians 10, and Idolatry
Liberty, 1 Corinthians 10, and Your Neighbor
Summary and Practical Applications
Addendum: Romans 14, the Conscience, and Morality

The second of our threefold conclusions about what it means to have "liberty in Christ" was that "in Christ" we are "at liberty" from the vast majority of the Law of Moses, BUT NOT all of the Law of Moses. As we will now demonstrate, the new law of liberty did incorporate the moral aspects of the Law of Moses. Or to be more precise, the law of liberty included obedience to the famous 10 Commandments.

It is easy enough to establish that the New Testament authors considered the 10 Commandments to be still binding on Christians. The 10 Commandment are recorded first in Exodus. For comparison, the 10 Commandments given by Moses are:

1. Thou shalt have no other gods BEFORE God.
2. Thou shalt not make idols or serve them.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord God in vain.
4. Thou shalt keep the Sabbath.
5. Thou shalt honor thy father and mother.
6. Thou shalt not murder.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. Thou shalt not covet.

Now, let's see how many of these commandments the New Testament writers upheld as binding for Christians.

1. Acts 15:5-6,19-20,23,29 and 21:25 - idolatry is forbidden by the Jerusalem Council.
2. Ephesians 6:1-3 - Paul upholds the command to obey parents, referring specifically back to the 10 Commandments.
3. 1 Corinthians 5:10-11 and 6:9 - Paul forbids fornication, coveting, and idolatry.
4. 1 Corinthians 10:7,14 - Paul forbids idolatry.
5. Ephesians 5:5 - Paul forbids idolatry.
6. Galatians 5:19 - Paul forbids adultery and fornication.
7. Revelation 21:8 and 22:15 - John condemns those who practice murder, sorcery, idolatry, lying.
8. Ephesians 4:28 - Paul forbids stealing.
9. 2 Peter 2:4 - Peter condemns adultery and covetousness.
10. James 2:7 - James condemns blaspheming the name of Jesus Christ.
Out of the original 10 Commandments given by Moses, the New Testament still upholds the commands regarding 1) idolatry (which covers the first 2 commands), 2) coveting, 3) stealing, 4) murder, 5) lying, 6) honoring our parents, 7) taking the Lord's name in vain, and 8) adultery. The only 1 of the 10 commandment that was not upheld as binding on Christians is the commandment regarding keeping the Sabbath.

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Colossians 2:16 demonstrates that Christians were free to practice Jewish Holy Days including Sabbaths. However, Romans 14, particularly verses 5 and 6, demonstrates that Christians were not to condemn each other for whether or not they kept these Jewish Holy Days including the Sabbath.

Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

...13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

Therefore, it is clear that the New Testament upheld all but 1 of the 10 Commandments as binding on Christians. Yet, the New Testament also clearly upheld that Christians were free from the Law of Moses. This is perhaps most clearly articulated in Hebrews 7:12,17-19, 8:6-9,12-13, 9:15-16, 10:9-10,16-17.

Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Hebrews 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old.

Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

The priests of the Old Covenant were the Levites. But in the New Covenant, Jesus was the high priest. Not only was he of a different tribe, the tribe of Judah, but also he was of a different order of priest, the order of Melchizedek. Thus, as the author of Hebrews states, "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." From Hebrews we can see that the death of Christ established the New Covenant and, in turn, the establishment of the New Covenant "disannulled" the Old Covenant and made it obsolete. In short, Jesus replaced the Old Covenant with the New Covenant.

So, if the Law of Moses was no longer in effect, how was it that Christians were still obligated to observe 9 out of the 10 Commandments?