Lessons From the Ten Commandments

While it is true that the Ten Commandments are no longer in force, being a part of that system which was removed at the cross, still many of its points are again taught within the pages of the New Testament.

1.  No other Gods before Him (Exodus 20:3). 

Paul told those at Lystra, “Ye should turn from these vanities unto the Living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” (Acts 14:15).  His teaching in Thessalonica motivated some to “turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

Nothing and no one is to come before Him.  This includes: Father, Mother, wife, son, daughter, or even self (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26).

2.  No graven image for worship (Exodus 20:4-5a). 

This would include not only the worship of other gods under these images; but also, the worship of Jehovah God under some created image.  See Deuteronomy 4:15-ff.

Idolatry is condemned under the New Testament system as well (1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 John 5:21; Acts 15:29; 21:25).  Idolatry can take many forms. Even covetousness is a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5).  If we place the wrong thing(s) first in our lives (examples: money, business, family, hobby, recreation, house, etc.),  we are committing idolatry.

3.  No taking of the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7).

Today we are still instructed to show respect towards his name (Matthew 6:9).

It is sad how flippant and profane some today use His name.  Let us make sure that we always show respect and awe when using His name.

4.  Keep the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8, 11). 

I find no equivalent in the pages of the New Testament.  The Sabbath commemorated Israel’s exodus out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15).  It is not a part of the New Covenant (Colossians 2:16-17).

The first day of the week is not a Christian Sabbath; However, we are taught that we are to take time to worship (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:25).

Moreover, we are still taught that man needs to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10); and, needs rest (cf.  Mark 6:31).  We should never get so busy that we fail to rest, relax, and spend time together with our families.

5.  Honor father and mother (Exodus 20:12). 

This same teaching is a part of the New Testament (Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20; 1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8, 16).  “Honor” includes obedient submission (Ephesians 6:1-2 cf. Colossians 3:20).  It also includes care and financial support when needed (1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8, 16).

6.  No killing (Exodus 20:13) /NKJV and NASB read “murder.”

God has authorized certain taking of human life (see Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 25:11).

But the unauthorized taking of life is forbidden under patriarchal times (Genesis 9:6), Mosaical times (Exodus 20:13), and today (Romans 13:8-10; 1 John 3:15).

7.  No adultery (Exodus 20:14). 

God created the institute of marriage.  He guards the sanctity of marriage with this legislation.

Adultery is wrong under the New Covenant system (Matthew 5:27-28; 19:9; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-ff).  And, yes we can control our behavior (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thesalonians 4:3 -ff)!

8.  No stealing (Exodus 20:15).

Stealing hurts society as a whole.  It harms business, closing up stores, cutting into profits, and stifling investments.  It harms individuals wronged by it, and each one by higher prices.  It is condemned in the Ten Commandments.

It is also taught against today (Eph. 4:28; Rom. 13:8-10).  It is an attempt to bypass the work ethic taught by God (2 Thess. 3:10).  It also violates the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).

9.  No false witness (Exodus 20:10).

Fairness and justice demands a hearing of the truth.  The Old Law had extremely strict punishment for perjury (Deuteronomy 19:18-19).  The Old Law not only condemned false legal testimony but lying in general (Leviticus 19:11; Proverbs 6:16-19).

Today lying is also forbidden (Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9; Revelation 21:8).  We are to conduct ourselves by The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12 cf. Romans 13:8-10).

10.  No coveting (Exodus 20:17).

The term ‘covet’ simply means to have desire for something or someone.  It can be used in a good sense (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:39); or, it can be used in a bad sense depending upon the object coveted and one’s right to that object.

The New Covenant also has much to say about wrongful desires (Matthew 5:27-28; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3, 5; Hebrews 13:5).  We can sin in our minds (Matthew 5:20-22; 5:27-28).  We need to be careful with our thoughts (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1-2).

An Illustration

The land called Texas has been under Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States, and the United States of America.  Six different flags!  I am sure that many of the laws we have today also existed under prior flags – murder, no doubt was illegal under each flag.  But murder is not illegal today in Texas because Spanish law is still on the books and in force today in the state of Texas.  It is in force because of what Texas legal system is today.

There clearly are similar teachings between the Ten Commandments and what the New Testament teaches.  However, we’re not bound to those because we’re under the Ten Commandments.  Instead, it is because we are under the New Covenant.

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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