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Bible verses about The Ten Commandments
(From Forerunner Commentary)

The spiritual law of God works much like the physical laws of the universe. Like the invisible law of gravity, the law of God is always in effect, working at all times. When we keep it, God blesses us. If we do not, we bring its penalty upon us. To think that God has abolished His inexorable spiritual law is like telling people the law of gravity has been done away, so they may freely jump off tall buildings with no ill-effects!

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5) are not laws devised by Moses and given only to Israel. They were binding before Moses' time, as well as during and after Jesus Christ's life. In fact, the Ten Commandments have been in full force and effect since creation. They are still binding on us today! They are not just "church rituals" or "good suggestions," but the very code of conduct of our God!

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

Those who do not want to submit to God quote verses that seem to say that faith has replaced the requirement of keeping God's law. They mention such verses as Romans 3:20, "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight"; Romans 7:6, "But now we have been delivered from the law . . . so that we should serve in the newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter"; and Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes." On their face, these scriptures seem to support their argument.

However, they will not quote balancing verses in the same book! Paul also says, "[F]or not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified" (Romans 2:13), and "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. . . . For we know that the law is spiritual" (Romans 7:12, 14). Invariably, they leave out Paul's emphatic statement in Romans 3:31: "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law."

They will note that "the law is not of faith" (Galatians 3:12), but they generally avoid Romans 3:27, where Paul says that boasting about righteousness is excluded "by the law of faith." How can a "law . . . not of faith" at the same time be a "law of faith"?

It seems to be quite a paradox! In their ignorance and disobedience, the deceived fail to ask the question Paul does in the first part of Romans 3:27: "By what law?" They fail to perceive that Paul was trying to save the true brethren from wolves in sheep's clothing, Judaizers who were contradicting the faith of Christ. Their purpose was to convert the brethren to their philosophy of salvation that centered on the rituals practiced under the Old Covenant law of Moses.

In reality, then, the paradox dissolves. Paul contrasts the spiritual, Ten Commandment "law of faith" with the temporary law of physical, ritualistic duties, the keeping of which required no faith. This is vital to understand: The apostle Paul describes two distinct sets of law. When reading his arguments, we must always discern "what law" from the context.

He writes of this ritual law in Hebrews 9:9: "It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot [and were never intended to] make him who performed the service perfect in regard to conscience." These temporary laws were "concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation," which Christ inaugurated (verse 10). This law, only "a shadow of the good things to come, . . . can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect" (Hebrews 10:1).

The spiritual "law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul . . . and in keeping [it] there is great reward" (Psalm 19:7, 11), if we believe it and do it. Unlike the ritual law, our keeping God's law of faith produces the attitudes, behaviors, and character that truly please Him. It is partially by our keeping of His law that we "work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

Perfection comes by submitting to God's wisdom and believing in His eternal, spiritual law, as Abraham did. Notice James' argument, so reviled by the anti-law Martin Luther: "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" (James 2:21-22). The faith of Christ in us is perfected by our works. Abraham believed God enough to keep His commandments, and that lawkeeping faith in him was imputed to him for righteousness (James 2:23).

He continues with the example of Rahab: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?" (James 2:24-25). Paul agrees with James when he writes, ". . . the doers of the law will be justified" (Romans 2:13). The doers of what law? The eternal, spiritual, Ten Commandment law!

Staff
Works of Faith (Part 2)


 

Psalm 19:7-9   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A commandment is a specific instruction or law from God that we are to obey forever. Commandments have no precedents because they establish original, divine law.

A statute designates a law that one engraves, meaning a lawgiver establishes it unchangeably unless he alone changes it. A religious statute sets rules for worship. Secular statutes have the force of a royal decree. A statute is formulated like a law: "You shall (not) do so-and-so" (Exodus 22:18-23:33). A synonym for statute is "oracle."

A judgment is a decision based on an established law. A judge takes associated factors into account to decide appropriately for the specific situation. It takes the form of a case-law: "If you do so-and-so, you will pay so much" (Exodus 21:1—22:15). A synonym for judgment is "precedent."

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

Matthew 5:18-19   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In Matthew 5:19, He mentions "the least commandment." It is parallel to verse 18 where it says, "not one jot or one tittle," the least things that are part of the law of God. Using this principle, consider that there can be no doubt that, of all the Ten Commandments held in respect and honor by the people of the world, the Sabbath commandment is the least of the ten. It is the least in terms of the world's regard and respect when compared with the other nine.

The Catholic Church thinks so little of it that it believes it has the authority to disregard it altogether. Even though officially admitting that the day is commanded in the Bible, the Catholic Church thinks it has the authority to change it. The Protestant churches' justification is to argue around it on twisted technical, legal grounds, but they ultimately reduce it to being merely ceremonial in nature.

Now we must add James 2:8 to our thinking. The fourth commandment is just as much a part of the Royal Law, the Ten Commandments. If not one jot or tittle, not even the least commandment, is done away until everything is fulfilled, the conclusion has to be that the Sabbath is still in effect—regardless of what men say—and to break it is immoral. It is just as immoral as adultery or fornication, lust, or lying.

The world does not think of immorality in terms of the Sabbath commandment, nor in terms of breaking the first, the second, the third, or the fourth commandment. How many people in the church think of breaking the fourth commandment in terms of immorality? Nevertheless, it is immoral to break the forth commandment.

James also refers to the Royal Law as being the Law of Liberty. Clearly, if people keep the seventh commandment, it keeps the world free from adultery and fornication. If people keep the eighth commandment, it keeps the world free of stealing. If people keep the ninth commandment, it keeps the world free of deceit. Keeping God's commandments keeps people free. If one keeps the Sabbath, like the other commandments, it leads to freedom. It produces freedom. God's is a law that liberates.

In our carnality, human nature tends to make us think that keeping the Sabbath constrains us, holds us in, and keeps us from doing things. In some cases, we feel almost imprisoned by it. That is human nature's thinking, not God's thinking. It helps us to understand what our thinking has to become. The Sabbath is a day, the breaking of which is immoral, the keeping of which will produce liberty.

There was a time that a group of people, the Pharisees, contrary to most of the rest of the world, believed that the keeping of the Sabbath was the most important of the commandments. They produced hundreds of laws in a vain attempt to try to keep people from breaking it, but they missed the point altogether. Because they understood Ezekiel 20, and other sections of the Bible as well, they knew that a reason for the Jews' captivity was Sabbath-breaking. So the reforms that were begun under Ezra were taken to radical extremes by people after he died. Their conclusions, though begun with good intentions, were worldly, and their keeping of the Sabbth, in that way, was just as wrong as the liberal tendencies that most of the world has toward the Sabbath.

Neither the Pharisees nor most of the people who have lived on this planet have ever grasped God's intent for the Sabbath. Because so much of this world's thinking carries right on into the church, some of us are thinking in much the same way the world does.

The Ten Commandments are a unity. To break one breaks them all, regardless of what level men think each commandment is on. To break the fourth commandment makes us just as guilty and worthy of death as breaking any of the others. This is where we have to begin. This is not a commandment that can be just shoved aside; it cannot be taken for granted any more than any of the other nine. God's intent for it is very important to our lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sabbathkeeping (Part 1)


 

Matthew 18:33   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In the New Testament, the Greek word eleeo occurs only once (Matthew 18:33, "pity"), and it means "to be kind," "tender." In contrast, self-pity is the opposite—not tenderness to oneself but an abusiveness that causes great stress and harm. It shows faithlessness by breaking the first commandment in placing oneself higher in importance than the Creator God. This obsession with self interferes with God's development of righteous character in us.

In essence, self-pity is excessive love of oneself. Thus, a simple cure for self-pity is caring for someone else's welfare more than self—in a word, selflessness. Outgoing concern, love toward others is outlined by the Ten Commandments, for they show love toward God and love toward neighbor. The saints who overcome Satan and the world are known by the trait that "they did not love their lives to the death." They are willing to lay down their lives for their friends (John 15:13).

Martin G. Collins
Overcoming (Part 10): Self-Pity


 

Matthew 19:17   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus tells him he must do something, not just believe, to gain salvation. By this, He also tells us what works He expects of us, if we would live forever with God.

We must do good works to be blessed with eternal life, and all who have eternal life do such works. Our Savior expects us to become coworkers with Him in our salvation, as well as the salvation of all mankind. Paul writes, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

God's great law is His way of life! God chooses to live by the Ten Commandments, and they reveal His excellent character. To enter His Family, we also must live by God's law, which helps us to develop godly character. This is how closely eternal life is linked to keeping the commandments.

Staff
Works of Faith (Part 1)


 

Matthew 22:36-40   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus Christ's response to the Pharisee's question shows that He divided the Ten Commandments into two sections or tables. He covers the first four by saying, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment" (verses 37-38). This supersedes all other commandments; none is greater. The second, covering the last six, is similar to it. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (verse 39).

God also arranged each section to begin with the most important command. He placed first the commandment, which, if kept, will ensure the greatest benefit to our lives, both physically and spiritually. On the other hand, if we break this commandment, it will cause the most damage to our worship of God or to the community by virtually ensuring that we will break others. In the first table of the law, this commandment is, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:2). In the second, it is the fifth commandment: "Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you" (verse 12).

Just as the first commandment governs our relationship with God, the fifth commandment is first among those that govern our relationships with men. When we keep it or break it, it affects those relationships. Not only is it chief in this section, it also acts as a bridge between the two tables of the law. When we keep the fifth commandment properly, it leads us to revere and obey God Himself.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment (1997)


 

Matthew 22:37-40   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Ten Commandments can be summarized in two overall principles: love toward God (Deuteronomy 6:5) and love toward neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God, and the last six commandments expound on our relationship with fellow man.

What does it mean to have a relationship with God? An analogy is frequently used to describe the relationship between Christ and the church is that of a groom and a bride (Revelation 21:1-4). Likewise, Paul writes in II Corinthians 11:2: "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." The word "betrothed" seems somewhat archaic; today, we would say the church is "engaged" to Christ. By making the New Covenant with Him, we have agreed to spend all eternity with Him, but at present, we are within the period preceding the marriage described in Revelation 19:7-9. Following the analogy, we are to be preparing ourselves for this future relationship. During this preparation time, the parties involved are getting to know each other. God the Father has handpicked us for this relationship, and now is the time we need to make ourselves ready.

How does this fit into the Sabbath and the concept of ownership? God has already established a regular meeting time with us—a "date," as it were. Every week, that part of our schedule is already determined. Amos 3:3 asks, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" In other words, can a person meet with another if they have not determined a meeting time?

Sabbath time has been specially designated as the Bride's time with Jesus Christ. This does not mean that we should restrict our interaction with Him to this day; on the contrary, part of each day should be devoted to prayer and Bible study. Nevertheless, this is a primary reason the seventh day has been set apart and made holy.

What does this mean practically? Imagine a couple planning to marry. Being devoted to one another, they have set their wedding date and have agreed to meet on a weekly basis. It is easy to see that, if the young man shows up at the designated time, but the young woman suddenly decides that there is a more convenient time, a rift is going to develop in the relationship. Obviously, the correct day is vitally important. God has already established that day.

Suppose the couple gets the day right, and they meet and spend time together. What if the young lady, in the midst of this quality time she is supposed to be spending with the one she loves, pulls out a cellphone and begins talking to her friends, as if her fiancé does not even exist? What if the topic of conversation, either between her and her friends or between her and her fiancé, is little more than gossip or what she is planning on doing as soon as her weekly date with her alleged beloved is over? Or, what if their date, which her betrothed had made special for them, has become a mere ceremony to her? What if she just goes through the motions, doing the things required of her, showing little or no feeling about what this relationship really means to her?

On a spiritual level, we are commanded to assemble, if possible, and part of our Sabbath is intended to be for fellowshipping. What are the topics of our conversation? Do sports, entertainment, shopping, or business advance our relationship with God? Is catching up on the latest gossip and social news appropriate for this time that does not belong to us? During this weekly appointment, where do our thoughts wander? Do we think about our business interests or financial concerns? Do we think about or make plans for what we are going to do as soon as the sun sets? Do we esteem Saturday night more than the time God has set apart for us to meet with Him? Are our Sabbath services mere ceremonies? Are we demonstrating to God by our actions on this day that we are eagerly looking forward to spending eternity with Him?

These are points to ponder.

David C. Grabbe
It's Not Our Time


 

Luke 4:8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus Christ kept the Ten Commandments (Luke 4:8; John 15:10), and taught others to do likewise (Matthew 19:17-19). He elaborated on keeping them in Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28. Jesus emphatically says, "If you want to enter into [eternal] life, keep the commandments." Could anything be clearer? John writes, "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4). Paul instructs Timothy, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ [calls himself a Christian] depart from iniquity" (II Timothy 2:19).

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

John 14:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Having love does not nullify God's law. John, an apostle and close friend of Jesus Christ, emphasized love. However, not once did he say that love nullifies or supersedes the Ten Commandments. Indeed, by keeping the commandments, the love of God is perfected in us (I John 2:5). The Ten Commandments constitute a spiritual law that is inexorable and eternal, producing faith and happiness and righteous character that pleases God.

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

Acts 7:38   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The speaker, Stephen, is most specifically alluding to Exodus 19:3, where

Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel."

See also Psalm 147:19, where the psalmist avers that God "declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel."

The living oracles in Acts refers specifically to the Ten Commandments, more broadly to the Torah, which were to be given "to us," to the church of God. God's Old Testament utterances are for us today.

Charles Whitaker
The Oracles of God


 

Romans 13:10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Paul, apostle to the Gentiles, mentions the commandments frequently in his writings (Romans 1:18-25; 13:9; I Corinthians 10:7; Ephesians 6:1-2; Colossians 3:8; Hebrews 4:9). He summarizes the keeping of the last six as how to love our neighbor (Romans 13:10). If it is sin to break any of the last six that show love toward fellow man, most certainly it is sin to violate any of the first four that show love toward God.

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

2 Corinthians 3:7   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When Paul speaks of "the ministry of death," he refers to the administration of the Old Covenant rather than the Ten Commandments. The Levitical priesthood, a carnal priesthood based on physical descent from Levi, administered the Old Covenant. This covenant provided no promise of eternal life and no means for sinners to receive forgiveness because "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Therefore, the people lived and died under the condemnation of the law, and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

Another reason why Paul refers to the Old Covenant as "the ministry of death" is that God required the Levitical priesthood to execute those who transgressed certain laws. God's law mandates the death penalty for certain sins like murder and dishonoring parents (Exodus 21:12-17), Sabbath-breaking (Exodus 31:14-15) and certain sexual sins (Leviticus 20:10-13). The priests were responsible to enforce the death penalty by actually putting such transgressors to death in the proscribed manner. In this sense, the Old Covenant ministry was indeed a "ministry of death."

However, why did Paul say that the "ministry of death," the administration of the Old Covenant, was "written and engraved on stones"? Was it not the Ten Commandments that God wrote on two stone tablets? Even though the Ten Commandments were not the covenant itself (a covenant is simply an agreement between two parties), they were the terms of the covenant. Because the Ten Commandments constituted the part of the agreement between God and Israel that the Israelites agreed to keep, the Old Covenant became synonymous with the Ten Commandments. In Deuteronomy 4:13 Moses writes, "So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tables of stone." To put it another way, "keeping the Old Covenant" was the same as "keeping the Ten Commandments."

A paraphrase of the first eleven words of II Corinthians 3:7 helps to clarify what Paul means: "But if the administration of the Old Covenant, [the terms of which were] written and engraved on stones. . . ." The Ten Commandments undergirded all the laws that God gave to Israel—laws that the Israelites could not keep. The responsibility to teach these laws to Israel and enforce penalties for disobedience, including the death penalty, fell to the priests.

Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11)

When Moses went up Mount Sinai the second time to receive the Ten Commandments, he wrote God's statutes and judgments in a book, and God wrote the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone. This, in essence, finalized the "contract" that God made with Israel.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:27-28)

Verses 29-35 then describe how Moses face shone when he delivered the Ten Commandments and the book of the law to Israel.

So what is passing away? Hebrews 8:13 provides the answer: "In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." The Old Covenant and the Old Covenant ministry, the Levitical priesthood, are passing away, not the Ten Commandments!

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Have the Ten Commandments Passed Away?


 

Galatians 3:17-25   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Galatians 3:17 confirms that, when Paul was talking about the law, he was also talking about the entire Old Covenant. He uses "law" synonymously with "covenant."

The translators have difficulty deciding whether the "covenant" refers to the Mosaic covenant or the one made with Abraham. Most modern translations connect "covenant" to the one God made with Abraham. However, the more literal translations such as the King James version and Young's Literal Translation put the word "covenant" in the sentence so it refers to the Mosaic covenant. The Emphatic Diaglott translates it as, "Now this I affirm, that a covenant-engagement previously ratified by God, the Law, issued four hundred thirty years afterwards does not annul, so as to invalidate the promise." Thus, Paul viewed the law as the symbol and embodiment of the Old Covenant and used the terms "law" and covenant" synonymously.

This agrees with the way the covenant was sometimes referred to in the Old Testament. In II Chronicles 6:11, Solomon says, "And there I have put the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD which He made with the children of Israel." Only the two tables of stone upon which were written the Ten Commandments were in the ark (II Chronicles 5:10).

Moses writes, "So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone" (Deuteronomy 4:13; see Exodus 34:28). Even without this evidence, it is very clear that Paul refers to the two covenants, not just to what we would consider the law itself.

Further, notice how Paul uses the term "law" in Galatians 4:21-23. The births of Ishmael and Isaac are recorded in Genesis 16 and 21. Though this happened long before the Ten Commandments and the other laws were given through Moses, Paul refers to this portion of Scripture as the law! Obviously, Paul uses "law" to mean the entire Pentateuch or Torah (the first five books of the Bible), not just the Commandments. In Galatians 4:24, he specifically mentions the Old and New Covenants.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
What Was the Law 'Added Because of Transgressions'?


 

Colossians 3:1-2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A vital step to overcoming covetousness is to study, pray, fast, meditate, and obey. Consciously practice God's way of life. This takes sacrifice and discipline, but it fills the mind with God's thoughts. This will eventually make sin foreign to us because we simply will not think to do it!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)


 

James 1:25   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What is the law of liberty? Specifically, it is the Ten Commandments, but we can consider it broadly as the law of God. Israel had the benefit of the law of liberty, though they did not use it rightly.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 23)


 

James 2:8-10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

James presents a tall order for God's people to live up to—and one impossible to do that unless one has the Holy Spirit.

James speaks of the "royal law," meaning the Ten Commandments, since he cites the specific requirement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." In this, he parallels Christ and Paul, finding in love of neighbor the sum of the law and its true fulfillment. James confirms that respect of persons is a breach of this "royal law" and leads to those indulging in it being convicted by the law of transgression.

Then, he affirms the solidarity of the law: that a breach of a specific commandment is a breach of the whole, making the transgressor guilty of all. This is a far-reaching principle that Paul also suggests by quoting Deuteronomy 27:26 in Galatians 3:10: "Cursed is everyone who continues not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them." Paul also indicates it in Romans 7, where he explains that the conviction that he had broken the tenth commandment made him realize that he had broken the whole law.

Martin G. Collins
The Law's Purpose and Intent


 

Revelation 12:17   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

It is evident that the church that Christ built will teach obedience to the Ten Commandments. A sign of God's church, symbolized as a woman, is the keeping of the Ten Commandments. A church that does not teach and keep them is a church of the world.

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

Revelation 21:8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God's law will still be in effect once His Kingdom is established. Even after the Millennium, when New Jerusalem comes down, no lawbreaker will be allowed in the city. In Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, obedience to God's law is the central issue. This is very clear proof that the law of God, which reflects the holy conduct of the Almighty, will be the standard for all eternity!

Martin G. Collins
The Ten Commandments


 

 




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