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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, October 03 2019

What commandments should Christians obey?

Most churches and denominations believe Jesus taught Old Testament laws are no longer binding on Christians today, and that He departed from Old Testament teachings especially in regard to law.

Do you think that Jesus’ instructions in the New Testament discounted or replaced the teachings of the Old Testament? There’s no doubt Jesus disagreed with the religious leaders of His day, but did He disagree with Old Testament Scripture? Jesus made a crystal clear statement about the law in the New Testament which is often overlooked clearly answering this question.

In the longest recorded statement of Christ’s teachings, often called the Sermon on the Mount, Christ’s view regarding the law of God recorded in the Old Testament is made very clear. Jesus states, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

Many think this verse is saying ‘fulfilling’ the law is finishing or ending it. But that’s not the case. When you look up the word translated into English as “fulfill” in a lexicon you will find it means “to make full, to fill up, to fill to the full” or “to complete” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2002, Strong’s number 4137).

What Jesus is actually saying here is He came to complete the law! The Amplified Bible translation puts it this way. “Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them” (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition AMPC).

This more accurate translation also ties in with what it says in Isaiah 42:21; “He [Christ] will magnify the law, and make it honorable” --- meaning Christ will make it perfect, or show its true meaning, by obeying it perfectly in thought and in action.

Notice how Christ magnified, or completed the law in Matthew 5:21-22: “As you know, long ago God instructed Moses to tell His people, ‘Do not murder; those who murder will be judged and punished. But here is the even harder truth: anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged for his anger’”.

In reviewing this important topic we also need to look at Colossians 2:14 which refers to Christ “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (NKJ) Is this verse really saying God’s law was wiped out or nailed to the cross and that the ten commandments are no longer valid?

If we read further we see the following: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians2:13). So in other words it’s our sin or trepasses that are the real issue. It’s not God’s law. Only our sins are wiped out and nailed to the cross, not the law of God.

This becomes clearer by looking at verse 14 ---“having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us” (Colossians 2:14). The requirements against us are NOT God’s law, but the penalty of the law.

Jesus Christ is our Savior and He paid our penalty for transgressing the law of God. We deserve death for our sins, but He died for us and through Him we can be forgiven. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

These passages show that the Old and New Testaments fit together in an amazing way and we are assured: “... I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).

So, Christ teaches God’s law revealed throughout the Bible is unchangeable. It can only be fulfilled, not revoked. All commandments, including the fourth commandment to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, are still valid for Christians today.