Have The Ten Commandments Been Done Away With?

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Have The Ten Commandments Been Done Away With?

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Have The Ten Commandments Been Done Away With?

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For followers of Jesus Christ, the Ten Commandments remain the foundation of ethical behavior and spiritual interaction with our Creator. Through the Ten Commandments, we learn what it means to love God and to love other human beings.

These commands were known by Abraham (Genesis 26:5 Genesis 26:5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
American King James Version×
); they were written on tablets of stone as the covenant made with Israel at Sinai (Exodus 20:3-17 Exodus 20:3-17 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make to you 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. 5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12 Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you. 13 You shall not kill. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s.
American King James Version×
) and they are now being written on the hearts of those who enter the new covenant (Hebrews 10:16 Hebrews 10:16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
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).

Most Bible believers and readers instinctively get this, but are often confused by teachers who proclaim that the Commandments have been done away with. Jesus gave us a stern warning about those who teach people that it is okay to break God’s Commandments (Matthew 5:19 Matthew 5:19Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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).

The writings of the New Testament speak frequently of something new replacing something old. The transition being discussed is the replacement of the Old Covenant with the New Covenant. However, the Commandments of God are central to both the Old and New Covenants and have not changed. 

Commandments that were once carved on tablets of stone are now to be written on our hearts, through the power of the Holy Spirit. This means we will live by them according to their true meaning.

How do we atone for sin?

The Ten Commandments provided the people under the Sinai covenant (the “Old Covenant”) with a definition of sin. After sin had been defined and the covenant confirmed (Exodus chapters 20-24), Israel was given many instructions pertaining to the maintenance of:

1. Sacrifices for sin: a way to atone or pay for violations of the commandments.

2. A priesthood: a way to properly administer such sacrifices.

3. Construction and regulation of a tabernacle: a place for these sacrifices to be brought before God’s presence.

These laws were added after the covenant was made to provide a way to deal with the ongoing uncleanness and sins of the people (Galatians 3:19 Galatians 3:19Why then serves the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
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). It was a way for people to atone for their inevitable mistakes and still be able to have a positive relationship with the most holy God.

What has really been done away with?

Through the death and resurrected life of Jesus Christ, the priesthood, the sacrificial system and the tabernacle have all undergone a significant change (Hebrews 7:12 Hebrews 7:12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
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).

1. Jesus’ death in the flesh has provided a sacrifice better, and more effective, than the sacrifices of animal lives (Hebrews 10:11-14 Hebrews 10:11-14 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From now on expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
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).

2. Christ now functions as our High Priest in a new and better way (Hebrews 7:23-25 Hebrews 7:23-25 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continues ever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Why he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.
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).

3. The tabernacle (or dwelling place of God) is the Church, which is called the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:22 Ephesians 2:22In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
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).

Just as has always been the case, the definition of what constitutes sin still begins with the Ten Commandments (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
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; Romans 7:12-14 Romans 7:12-14 12 Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death to me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
American King James Version×
). What has changed is the way people atone for their sins! A better sacrifice for sin is provided through the sacrifice of Jesus. In Him we have a better and more direct way to approach the most holy God. The old way involving animal sacrifices has been replaced with a way that is better and more effective.

For more information on the transfer from the old covenant to the new covenant, read this free Bible study aid: The New Covenant

For more information on the application of the Ten Commandments to your life, read this free Bible study aid: The Ten Commandments

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