Paul says so plainly that it is important to keep the commandments of God! There is no contradiction in the Scriptures. When Paul seems to write about a doing away with the law in Galatians 5, that perception is mistaken. These verses make it clear that it is very important for a person to keep God's commandments, but it is not important that he be circumcised. One changes the heart, and the other does not. The one builds character, the other does not. The one brings a person into the image of God, and the other does not. There is nothing wrong with the rite of circumcision, but do not expect it to have any spiritual impact.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 28)
Here the apostle Paul tells us that we are to keep the Ten Commandments under the New Covenant. It cannot be refuted. The Ten Commandments were part of the Old Covenant too. That part is not obsolete; we are still using it in the brand new model. The moral law is still in force and effect. To break the commandments is sin, while to do them is righteousness.
That includes all ten - not just nine. Remember Jesus' declaration that not one jot or tittle would pass from the law. If Jesus speaks the truth, how can people say that the fourth commandment is done away? They directly refute their Savior. It is really quite silly.
Most of the rest of the law, that is, part of the terms of the Old Covenant, still directly apply. How about tithing, part of the Old Covenant? We find that tithing supersedes the Old Covenant. What about the food laws, also is part of the Old Covenant? The New Testament records that they were still being kept by people who should have known better if they were done away. Many of those laws still directly apply.
Even those that may only indirectly apply are still applicable in their spirit, in their intent. Intent suggests "the stretching out." Those laws help to define sin and righteousness in specific situations. Their positive intent is always to bring us to holiness - to the image of God.
We need to discipline ourselves never to look at a law of God - whether it is civil or ceremonial - and assume it has no application for us, as if God just intended it for the Israelites back then. Far from it! God's law (and its intent) is always love and eternal, which is why Jesus says that none of it would pass until all is fulfilled.
Obedience to those laws can neither justify nor save us, but they are the wisdom and the love of God, given to guide us. We should be studying them to understand how to make our lives holier than ever before.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 29)
Verse 24, as a summary of the whole paragraph, states a general, overall principle: We should be content with where God has placed us. God wants us to be content with the circumstances of our lives, for God Himself seems to be satisfied with them for the time being. What really matters is not what position we have, not how highly regarded we are, not how much authority we have, or whatever—but it is keeping the commandments that matters. If we are in a position, and we keep God's commandments, then it is likely that God Himself will change our circumstances for the better. He will find a way to promote us in time.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing 1 Corinthians 7:19: