Q & A: What’s the Role of the Ten Commandments Today?
Before Christ came, the Ten Commandments were a standard. If you wanted to be saved by works, that’s the route you would come. The Ten Commandments were a “ministration of condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:9): If you’re honest with them, they condemn you. Back in that day a man had to have a sacrifice – a sacrifice pointed to Christ. But of course they went through it as a ritual, and by the time Christ came the offering of a bloody sacrifice was nothing in the world but a ritual. It had no meaning at all for them at that time. And so the Ten Commandments became a great burden to people. It would be that today, but today we are not saved by our relationship to the Ten Commandments. We’re saved by our relationship to Jesus Christ who died to pay the penalty for our sins, because we are lawbreakers. The Ten Commandments, though, are just as much today the mind of God as they ever were. It was wrong before Christ came to steal; it is still wrong to steal. The Ten Commandments are enforced in that sense. They do present God’s standard, and no Christian today can go around breaking them. But by the same token, he can’t go around and boast, “I keep the Ten Commandments, and because I do I’m saved!” In the first place if he made that statement he’d be a liar, because the Ten Commandments condemn us. And secondly, he couldn’t be saved by keeping them. But that doesn’t mean we’re to break them or that they’re not still the mind of God.