The 10 Commandments in the New Testament

HomeChristianity and the BibleThe 10 Commandments in the New Testament

A lot of people, including many Christians, are confused about whether Christians should live by the 10 Commandments. There should be no confusion.

When God made a covenant with Israel in Exodus 20, the only people involved were Israelites and those who chose to live with them. This covenant, including the 10 Commandments, never applied to anyone else… ever. Christians were never under the Law.

When I explain this, I get complaints from people who don’t know what the Bible says about the Law. If we’re not under the Law, they ask, are we then free to steal and kill and worship other gods? They’re not asking it seriously, as if they’re wondering about the answer. They’re complaining that by pointing out that Christians are not under the Law, I’m telling people that God doesn’t care about their behavior.

Christians aren’t under the Mosaic Law, but that doesn’t mean we have no law at all.  Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” Just before going to Heaven, Jesus said to make disciples, and to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” That seems pretty clear. We have commandments, but they come from Jesus, and not from the Law.

Nine of the 10 Commandments are repeated in the New Testament. That means that Christians are not supposed to steal, kill, or worship other gods. It seems silly to have to say it, but people are confused… so it needs to be said. Below are a few of the many places where the 10 Commandments are repeated in the New Testament. We’ll address the missing commandment at the end of this article.

1You shall have no other gods before me.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Matthew 22:37
2Do not make for yourselves objects of worship.Dear children, keep yourself from idols.
1 John 5:21
3You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.Do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else.
James 5:12
4Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.Not Commanded
5Honor your father and your mother.Honor your father and mother.
Matthew 19:16-21
6You shall not murder.You shall not murder.
Matthew 19:16-21
7You shall not commit adultery.You shall not commit adultery.
Matthew 19:16-21
8You shall not steal.You shall not steal.
Matthew 19:16-21
9You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.You shall not give false testimony
Matthew 19:16-21
10You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5

Because these commands are in the New Testament, it’s clear that Christians are to obey them… not because they’re part of the old covenant that God made with Moses, but because they’re part of the new covenant that Jesus made with the whole world.

The Missing Commandment

There is no command in the New Testament to observe any sabbath days. All of the other commandments are repeated, but not that one. Why? Because, unlike the others, there is no longer any need for a sabbath. The sabbath was instituted as a remembrance of God’s work in Genesis, and pointed to God’s work of dying on the cross for the sins of the world. The sabbath was a shadow of a coming reality, and that reality has come. Here’s how the apostle Paul explained it:

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. Galatians 3:23-25

Read more about why Christians don’t observe the original sabbath.

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