The Ten Commandments Taught in the New Testament
The obeying of all the Ten Commandments is endorsed and taught by Jesus and the New Testament. Jesus taught the obedience of, and summarized, the first four of the Ten Commandments in Matthew 22:37-38 where He said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." He summarized the obedience of the remaining six in verse 39 when He said, "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." In verse 40 He added, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Let us consider each of the Ten Commandments, as given in Exodus 20, and the way they are regarded by the teachings of the New Testament.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (v.3).
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon" [wealth personified and worshipped]. In Luke 14:26-27 He said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." In 1 Corinthians 10 we are taught, "Neither be ye idolaters" (v.7), "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry" (v. 14), and "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lords table, and the table of devils" (v.21). 2 Corinthians 6:16 says, "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; . . ."
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God . . ." (v. 4-5).
We are not to make any image or likeness of God, of Christ, or anything else for religious or worship purposes. There is no place for statues, pictures, or crosses in Christian worship. Romans 1 warns of "the wrath of God" (v. 18) against those who change "the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man" (v.23) and refers to it as "ungodliness and unrighteousness" (v. 18). Romans 1:22-25 says:
Acts 17:23-30 declares the worshipping of God with images "graven by art and mans device" to be "ignorance" and something of which God commands repentance. Revelation 13:14-18 shows that it is Satan, the Anti-christ, and false religion that encourage the use of images in religion. They that worship God "must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24), not with images.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain" (v.7).
Luke 11:2 tells us that the Lord's name is to be "Hallowed" [holy, special, set apart]. The names of the Lord, of God and of Jesus Christ, including abbreviations and slang references to them, should never be used vainly or irreverently. "Holy and reverend is his name" (Psalm 111:9).
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it" (v. 8-11).
The wording of verse 11 indicates that the time when "the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it" was at the completion of creation, not at the time of the giving of the commandments. The fact that Jesus said that the sabbath was made for "man" in Mark 2:27, rather than only saying that it was made for the Jews, is supportive of that. The wording of Exodus 16, where we find the first mention of a seventh day sabbath, suggests that the hearers were already familiar with the concept of a seventh day sabbath. Matthew 24:20 refers to the existence of a sabbath at the time of the seven-year tribulation period, which is yet future. Isaiah 66:22-23 testifies of a "sabbath" even further in the future, after the creation of "the new heavens and the new earth."
It is sometimes argued that if the Ten Commandments and the keeping of a sabbath are applicable to us today, that we would be bound to a seventh day sabbath. That is an error that is perpetrated in part by wrongly defining the word "sabbath." The definition of the word is not limited to the seventh day of the week. Sabbath is properly defined as an "intermission," a "rest," or a "special holiday." Besides the weekly Sabbath, the Bible also speaks of the Jewish Feasts as sabbaths. There was a sabbath year as in Leviticus 25. 2 Chronicles 36:21 speaks of a 70 year sabbath.
Hebrews 4:1-11 teaches of "another day" (v.8) wherein "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God" (v.9). The first day of the week should be kept holy in remembrance of Christ's finished work, as was the seventh day in honor of God's work of creation. Verse 10, speaking of Christ and His finished work, says, "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
In John 20:19 it is seen that on the first day of the week the disciples were assembled and Jesus came and met with them. According to John 21:14, Jesus did not show Himself to His disciples again until the next first day of the week, when, in John 20:26, "after eight days [after resurrection] again" He met with them. Jesus, who "is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28), had every right to change the day of its observance to the first day of the week, and I believe that that is one of the things He taught His church while He was "being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). In Acts 2:1, on the day of Pentecost (50th day after resurrection), which would have been the first day of the week, the Lords church was assembled "with one accord in one place" with the presence of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 20:7, "upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached . . . ." In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, the "order to the churches" was that "the collection for the saints" was to be made "Upon the first day of the week." Revelation 1:10 shows that the book of Revelation was given on the Lord's day. The precedent is set with the New Testament examples of Jesus and His followers assembling themselves together on the first day of the week. Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
According to Hebrews 10:26-29, the forsaking the assembling of ourselves together is to "sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth" and to do "despite unto the Spirit of grace." Still on the same subject, verse 30 says that ". . . The Lord shall judge his people" and verse 31 that "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." True Christians "are not of them who draw back" (v. 39). The Lord's day should be kept holy until after the evening meeting. It should not be a day of buying and selling nor of things that would clutter the mind or detract from worshipping God. It is the Lords day.
"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land . . ." (v. 12).
In Matthew 15:3-9 Jesus said of some scribes and Pharisees that "in vain they do worship me" because they were justifying a method of neglecting parents. Romans 1:29-32 says of those who are "disobedient to parents" that "they which commit such things are worthy of death." Ephesians 6:1-3 teaches to "obey your parents" and to "Honour thy father and mother." The statement in verse 2 to "Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise" strongly implies the relevance of all the Ten Commandments to the New Testament Christian. 1 Timothy 5:4 teaches that to "requite" [repay] "parents . . . is good and acceptable before God." 2 Timothy 3:1-5 includes those "disobedient to parents" with those described as "Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof."
"Thou shalt not kill" (v. 13).
In Matthew 5:21-22 the commandment is reinforced and added to. Romans 1:29-32 speaks against murder. Romans 13:8-12 proves that the Christian is to keep the last five commandments and that the keeping of them was taught by Christ as in Mark 12:31. Also see James 2:10-14. 1 Peter 4:15 says, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or . . . ." 1 John 3:15 says, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." Revelation 21:8 says, ". . . murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. . . ." Revelation 22:15 says, "For without are . . . murderers. . . ."
"Thou shalt not commit adultery" (v. 14).
This commandment, as are the others, is not only taught, but is made more binding and more detailed by Christ in the New Testament. In Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
According to Luke 16:18 divorce and remarriage is adultery. In that verse Jesus said, "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." Modern misinterpretation has made Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 to be very popular verses by alleging them to contain an "exception." A closer look at these verses reveals that the exception is "fornication," not adultery. Fornication refers to that which is committed before marriage. Adultery refers to that which is committed after marriage. The exception set forth in those verses refers to the putting away of an "espoused wife" as Joseph was minded to do with Mary who "was espoused to Joseph," when "before they came together, she was found with child" (Matthew 1:18-19). If the exception given in the previous verses was in reference to divorce after the consummation of marriage, the exception would be stated as being for the cause of adultery rather than "for the cause of fornication" (Matthew 5:32). In consideration of the husband and wife relationship being typological of Christ and church (Ephesians 5:22-33), the blood-bought believer should want to be especially diligent in marital matters. In Romans 13:8-12 this commandment is taught, as are others, and adultery is referred to as one of the "works of darkness" that are to be "cast off." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 teaches us that "neither fornicators . . . nor adulterers . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God." Revelation 22:15 says, "For without are . . . whoremongers. . . ." Ephesians 5:5-9 says "no whoremonger . . . hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."
In Matthew 19:18 Jesus said, "Thou shalt not steal." Romans 13:8-12 teaches "Thou shalt not steal . . . cast off the works of darkness." 1 Corinthians 6:10 says, "Nor thieves, nor covetous . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God." Ephesians 4, teaching that the believer is to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts" (v.22), and to "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (v.24), says in verse 28, "Let him that stole steal no more. . . ." 1 Peter 4:15 says, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief. . . ."
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" (v. 16).
This commandment is repeated in Romans 13:9, saying, ". . . Thou shalt not bear false witness . . ." and in verse 12, ". . . let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." Revelation 21:8 says, ". . . and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 22:15 says, "For without are . . . and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."
"Thou shalt not covet . . ." (v.17).
Romans 13:8-12 repeats this commandment saying, ". . . Thou shalt not covet . . . cast off the works of darkness. . . ." Ephesians 5:5-9 says that no "covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, the congregation was instructed "not to keep company" with the covetous. The covetous is listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 as among those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 categorizes the covetous as "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Peter 2:12-14, speaking of those who have "an heart they have exercised with covetous practices" (v.14), says that they "shall utterly perish in their own corruption" (v.12).