Are there only Nine Commandments?
Discusses the controversial subject of whether or not the Sabbath commandment is any longer relevant.
Ten Commandments, Sabbath
One of the most controversial subjects among Christians today, is whether or not the Ten Commandments are still valid today. While many concede that Nine of them are still valid, but the 4th one concerning keeping of the Sabbath on the day ordained and sanctified by God is no longer necessary, some even go as far as to say that all Ten have been abolished and that we are now “Under Grace not the Law”.
How do these view points line up biblically?
Perhaps the best place to start is at the very beginning. After all it was at the time of creation that God implemented the Sabbath day, as a memorial to his wondrous work. The bible says, Gen 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made”.
When Moses was given the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, the fourth Commandment was written stating Exo 20:8-11 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it”. Using the word “remember” reiterated the fact that the Sabbath was already in existence, it was not created when the Ten Commandments were written as many seem to think.
What the people who are today of the view that none of the Commandments are valid anymore seem to fail to recognize is the fact that they are all about Love. The first four show us how to love God, and the last six how to love our fellow man.
For those who have forgotten them, here is a quick rundown of the Ten Commandments:
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…….
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy………
5. Honour thy father and thy mother:…….
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
It is easy to see from looking at these Commandments that they were all implemented for our own benefit. They show so beautifully how we should treat God (with all reverence and love) and how we should treat everyone else. How much better and safer would this world be if everyone obeyed these wonderful rules? There would be no more murders, rapes, robberies, unwanted pregnancies etc.
To obey these Commandments is the real test of our love for God. This is why they are so necessary in the experience of a true believer. Jam 2:20 “Faith without works is dead.” Jesus said, Mat 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”. Words and profession are not enough. The true evidence is our obedience.
I think the strongest evidence there is about the validity today of these Commandments is the words of our Lord Jesus himself. He said, John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
One of the most powerful texts in the Bible on this subject is found in 1 John 2:4. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” John could write this with such assurance because it is one of the most deeply established truths in the Bible. Jesus spoke of those who said, “Lord, Lord,” but did not do the will of the Father. He then described many who would seek entrance to the kingdom claiming to be workers of miracles in the name of Christ. But He would sorrowfully have to say, Mat 7:21-23. “I never knew you: depart from me.” This is serious because Jesus is saying is “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven”. God’s grace does not cover deliberate disobedience, because this shows that there was no genuine repentance of our sinful act, because had there been, we would not have kept on doing it.
To know Christ is to love Him, and to love Him is to obey Him. The valid assumption of the Bible writers is quite clear and simple: If you are not obeying Christ, you don’t love Christ. And if you don’t love the Master, then you don’t know Him. So we can see that knowing and loving and obeying are all tied closely together and are absolutely inseparable in the life of God’s faithful people. The beloved disciple John summed it up in these words: 1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
All Bible references are from the King James Version.