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The Ten Commandments, the Laws, and the Covenants

To whom was the Law given? Are we, living today, under the Ten Commandments? These and other questions will be addressed in this document.

What laws and covenants will be discussed and considered?

We will be discussing and contrasting the following:


What is the law of sin and death?

The law of sin and death is the principle, which states that if you sin, you shall die. This law has been in effect from the beginning and is applicable to all. Romans 6: 23; Genesis 2: 17;

Ezekiel 18: 20

What are the Great Commandments?

They are the commandments to love God with you whole being and to love your neighbor or your fellow man. These two commandments have been in effect from the beginning and are the basis of the Law and the Law of Christ. They also apply to all. 1 John 3: 11, 12; Matthew 22: 37-40;

What is the law of Christ and what other terms are used in reference to it?

The law of Christ is the law given by Christ associated with the new covenant. It went into effect as all wills do, upon the death of the testator, Jesus Christ. The law of Christ is also called the perfect law of liberty and the royal law, because it is the law of the King. James 1: 25; 2: 8, 12;

1 Corinthians 9: 20, 21; Galatians 6: 2: John 13: 34; 1 John 3: 23

What is the Law of Moses and what other terms are used in reference to it?

The Law of Moses is the law given by God through Moses at Mount Sinai (Horeb). In the Scriptures it is often simply called the Law but also the Law of the Lord. It includes the book of the law and the Ten Commandments and is associated with the covenant made at Sinai.

Romans 7: 7: 8: 3; Luke 2: 22,23, 27, 39; Psalm 19: 7; John 1: 17; Nehemiah 8: 14; Mark 7: 10

What is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ?

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ is the principle that states the Spirit gives life to those whom are in Christ. This is the law that frees the child of God from the law of sin and death because the penalty, death, for our sins has already been paid by the death of Christ. Romans 8: 1-3

What is the old covenant or the first covenant?

The old covenant is the agreement made between God and Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. This covenant was not in effect with the fathers who preceded Moses. The Ten Commands are a summary of the Law, which governs this covenant. Deuteronomy 4: 12, 13; 5: 2, 3; Exodus 19-24

What is the new covenant?

The new covenant is the new agreement that God has made with His people. It was promised hundreds of years before it was given. His law shall be in the hearts of the people and their sins will be remembered no more. It will not be like the first covenant; it is made for people that know God and is enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8: 6; 9: 7-13; Jeremiah 31: 31

How does the New Covenant contrast with the Old Covenant?

Old Covenant New Covenant

Levitical Priesthood Priesthood of Melchizedek

Many High Priest one High Priest, Jesus Christ

Inaugurated with animal blood Inaugurated with the blood of Christ

Continual offering of sacrifices sacrifice offered once

Remembrance of sins sins are forgiven

Sabbath rest rest in Christ

Law of Moses, Ten Commandments Law of Christ

Law of works law of faith

Made for the unrighteous made for those who know God

Letter of the law Spirit of the law

Written with ink, engraved in stone written on the heart

Ministration of condemnation and death ministration of life

Fading away Remains


What is the nature of the Law and the Ten Commandments?

We would not expect the holy God to give anything less than a perfect, righteous, holy and spiritual law to guide His people. Psalms 19: 1; Romans 7: 12

If you wanted to know the will of God for His children today were would you look?

You should turn to the epistles of Romans through Jude in the New Testament. They were written specifically to Christians to exhort, direct, and encourage. The first four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the synoptic account of Jesus, His ministry, death burial, and resurrection. The book of Acts is a history of the establishment of the church through the work of the Apostles Peter and Paul primarily. The Revelation is an account of the victory of Lamb of God over His enemies in highly symbolic language.

To whom was the Law of Moses the Ten Commandments and the covenant of Sinai given?

The Law was given to the nation of Israel who came out of Egyptian bondage. Deuteronomy 4: 8, 10-13, 44; 5:1; Exodus 20: 2; Romans 9: 14; Malachi 4: 4

Did the Gentiles have the law?

Moses said that no nation has a law as good as the Law and Paul says that the Gentiles do not have the law. Deuteronomy 4: 8, 10-13, 44; Romans 2: 14

Did the fathers, those that lived before Moses have the Law?

The Ten Commandments are called His covenant and this covenant was not made with the fathers. Deuteronomy 4: 12, 13; 5: 2,3

Do the Scriptures identify the Ten Commandments as the moral law, the Law of the Lord, and the remainder as the ceremonial law, the Law of Moses?

No the Scriptures do not, but some men do. The Scriptures do not distinguish between a moral and a ceremonial law and the Ten Commandments are not specifically called the Law of the Lord. The Law of the Lord is sometimes used in reference to rites of purification. The law is a unit referred to as the "whole law." This "whole law" includes all the commandments in the Law, including circumcision and the Ten Commandments. Matthew 22: 37-40, Galatians 5: 3;

James 2: 10, 11; Luke 2: 22-24, 39

What are the greatest commandments in the Law?

Jesus answered by saying that the command to love God is the first and great commandment and the second is to love you neighbor as yourself. These two are the basis of the "whole law and prophets" including the Ten Commandments. Matthew 22: 37-40; Romans 13: 8-10

What law, if any, were those under who lived before Moses?

They were under the law of love, God’s fundamental law. 1 John 3: 11, 12

What is the primary difference between the law of Christ and the Law of Moses including the Ten Commandments?

Both laws are based on love, but the law of Christ is a law of faith, while the Law of Moses is a law of works. Galatians 3: 10, 12; 2: 16; Romans 3: 27; 1 John 3: 23; Leviticus 18: 5;

Nehemiah 9: 29

To whom were the Law of Christ and the Law of Moses made?

The Law of Moses was not made for the righteous man. It was given to demonstrate right and wrong and to control the rebellious man by imposing a penalty. On the other hand the law of Christ was crafted for those that know God. It is fitted for the new covenant. 1 Timothy 1: 8-11; Galatians 3: 19; Hebrews 8: 10-12

For how long was the Law to serve?

The law always in God’s eternal purposes a temporary arrangement and was to serve as a tutor to Israel until Christ. When Christ came they were no longer under the tutor, the Law.

Galatians 3: 22-25

What is the curse of the Law?

"For as many as are under the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, to perform them."’ The Ten Commandments are twice written in the book of the law, as are many other commandments of a ceremonial nature. The person who keeps circumcision is obligated to keep the whole law. The whole law includes the Ten Commandments. Galatians 3: 10; 5: 3; Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5; James 2: 10,11; Matthew 22: 37-40

How is grace received?

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17

Is the law of Christ and the Law of the Lord compatible with grace?

The Law is based on works, which are not compatible with grace; the law of Christ is based on faith, which is compatible. Philippians 3: 9; Romans 11: 5,6

How is the Spirit received?

The Spirit is received by the hearing of faith, not by works of the law. Galatians 3: 2

What was the Law unable to do?

There is now no condemnation in Christ because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ can set you free from the law of sin and death. This is the law that states if you sin, you shall die. The Law of Moses was unable to do so. Romans 8: 1-3

Was the Law ever intended to be the instrument through which life would come?

No, the Law, including the Ten Commandments, will give life only if kept perfectly; the Law can only condemn and impose a penalty. The Ten Commandments, engraved on stones, are called a ministry of death and condemnation. Galatians 3: 21,22; Romans 7: 7-10;

2 Corinthians 3: 3-7, 9

What will judge us?

The words, which Jesus spoke, not the law, will judge us at the last day. John 12: 48-50

Which gives liberty and which produces bondage?

The Law and the covenant from Mount Sinai produces bondage and slavery while the Law of Christ and the Covenant from Jerusalem produces liberty and freedom. Galatians 4: 21-31;

James 1: 25; 2: 12

What was the purpose of the law?

The Law was not given to save but to prepare a people through whom Christ should come. The Law made the will of God known to the nation of Israel and imposed temporal penalties. It was added because of transgressions. It severed as a national, civil and religious law. Galatians 3: 19; Romans 5: 20; 9: 4,5

Are the Ten Commandments identified as the old covenant?

Yes the Ten Commandments, as the most prominent part of the covenant, are often called the covenant; they are the tables of the covenant. Exodus 19-24; 31: 18; 34: 28; Deuteronomy 9: 9; 4: 12,13; 1 Kings 8: 9, 21; 2 Chronicles 6: 11

Are the Ten Commandments, the Law, and the old covenant to remain?

2 Corinthians 3: 7, 11, 13

Hebrews 8: 13

Hebrews 10: 9

Did Christ come to destroy the law?

Hebrews 8:5

Romans 3: 31

When would the Law and Prophets pass away?

When Christ fulfilled them. Matthew 5: 17, 18

How can we fulfill the righteousness of the law?

We can fulfill the righteousness of the law not by the meticulous keeping of the law but by loving one another. Romans 13:8-10

Are we under the Ten Commandments?

No we are not. Those who advocate keeping the Ten Commandments don’t realize what they are saying. The Ten Commandments was given to Israel and severed until Christ came. The Ten Commandments are not of faith but works and if you keep one part of the Law you are responsible for all.

Does this mean that there is no law against murder, stealing, etc.?

Of course not, the Law was changed not destroyed. We are under law to Christ: a law of faith and love. You can read the specifics of that law in the New Testament epistles to the brethren, Romans through Jude.


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Last Update   09/26/12