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The Ten Commandments, Pt. 5

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8, Romans 6:15, 1 John 3:4
What does the Bible say about keeping the law? Are we not "under grace?" Is the law valid? This talk discusses the attack on God's law and distorting of the gift of salvation which empowers us to keep the law. The devil wants us to break God's law, but the Lord's true people seek to obey God's law out of love.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts, Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry, as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned, because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hello again, and welcome to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Gary Gibbs. We are so glad you are with us today. On Bible Talk, we talk about the Bible and what the Bible says to us today.

Gary, we have been studying on Bible Talk about how God has for us, and wants us to keep, the Ten Commandments, his holy law. We want to quickly point out, though, that of course the Bible isn't telling us that we are saved by our works or by our adherence to law of any kind. How are we saved?

Gary Gibbs: John, we're saved solely by God's grace. Ephesians 2, Verse eight says, "By grace ye have been saved through faith. And that not of yourselves, but it's the gift of God." So, we're saved by what Jesus did for us on Calvary.

John: Now, Romans six says, "You're not under the law, you're under grace." Does that mean then that law doesn't matter anymore? Grace somehow excuses us from obedience to God?

Gary: Not at all, because Paul says there in Romans 6, "Shall we then make void the law through faith? God forbid, ye we shall establish the law." In other words, once we're saved by grace, we want to obey God's commandments. And we're enabled by his grace to now keep his commandments.

John: And I think that's an encouraging point and a key point is that the Bible makes it very clear that the power of Jesus, his presence in a person's heart, is able to keep a person in right relation to him, and is able to give a person the ability to obey God.

Gary: That's right, John. You know, it's interesting, when you look at this topic of the law and grace, you wonder why is it under such contention within the Christian church? Why would we even have to discuss the necessity or the role of obedience?

John: I think once upon a time, that was just a given. Christians get the Ten Commandments. Give us an answer there. Why is it? And this is a tragedy, I think. It's understandable that non-Christians might say, "Oh, why keep the Ten Commandments?" Why has the law come under quite an attack from within Christianity?

Gary: I believe it's all part of the Devil's strategy. You see, if the law points out sin, or the law defines sin, then the Devil wants to obscure the instrument that God has designed to point out sin.

John: Firstly, why has the law, how does the law define and point out sin?

Gary: Oh, it's God's definition of sin. Romans three says, "By the law is the knowledge of sin." First John 3, Verse four says, "Whoever commits sin, commits lawlessness." Sin is the transgression of the law.

John: OK. So, there's a role for the law of God in pointing out and defining sin, therefore, showing us the way of righteousness. You were mentioning.

Gary: Yeah. Now, the wages of sin is death. Now, the Devil doesn't want any of us to be saved, John. So, he wants us to sin, therefore he has to get us to break the law. Now, very few of us would go out and intentionally say, "I'm going to go break God's law today so I can sin, so I can die in the fires of Hell." None of us are going to do that, are we? So, what the Devil has to do is he has to make us unintentional sinners. And so he tries to give us rationalizations so we accept them and we believe that the law is not valid anymore. It doesn't matter whether we keep the law or not and, therefore, we become sinners. We continue willfully in sin and, therefore, he traps us in death.

John: The Devil has this plan then to lead people into sin. And down through the ages, he's systematically attacked this law of God, which is the foundation of the government of God.

Gary: Certainly. In fact, this is even prophesied in the scripture. In Daniel Chapter 7, Verse 25, we read about the little horn which was a political, religious entity. And it says here that this little horn would think to change times and laws. And as you study this out, you discover that through this power, teachings have entered the church that diminish the role of the law of God.

John: A lot of people who claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ have been led to a place where, instead of giving Jesus all of their heart, they are giving him perhaps halfhearted service as they have been convinced that to sinners OK to dishonor God really isn't so bad after all.

Gary: It's all part of this strategy of the Devil to destroy God's people. Revelation 12, 17 says, "The dragon," the Devil, "is angry with the woman," and the woman represents the church, "and goes and makes war with the remnant of her seed." Now, the remnant represents the last day people. Remnant is always the last part. So, the Devil is angry with God's people in the last days. And it says, "They are the ones who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus." So, he attacks those who love God and who are seeking to follow him.

John: So, there's this antagonism between the Devil and the law of God, because obedience to Jesus and right relationship to Jesus prevents the Devil from getting somebody and causing that person to be lost.

Well, let me pick up on a verse here, then. We've laid quite a foundation as we've found the Bible says the law of God ought to be kept, it's a good thing, has good purposes. We're saved by grace through faith, and that salvation leads you to love Christ enough to do his will.

Having said that, a lot of people will object to everything we've said on Bible talk so far about this subject based on one verse written by Saint Paul. He wrote to the church in Colossae. And he said to them that, at least in the words of some, the law has been nailed to the cross. And that sounds like he's saying the Ten Commandments have been obliterated.

Gary: Yeah. In fact, John, you will find that in Colossians 2, 14. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us."

John: OK. So, something is gone.

Gary: Something is gone. It says that he took it out of the way, nailing it to its cross. But, John, does that say the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross?

John: Well, I'm telling you in the minds of many, that's exactly what it says. So, how does it say anything differently?

Gary: Well, it says, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us." It doesn't say, "Blotting out the Ten Commandments." So, we have to allow the Bible to define what is this handwriting of ordinances that was against us, that was nailed to the cross.

John: Where does the Bible define that?

Gary: Well, let's continue reading. And I want to point out a couple other things that indicate that it's not referring to the Ten Commandment laws, but it's referring to some other laws.

John: OK. Let's hear this, because a lot of people have been taught that this very verse attacks the Ten Commandments.

Gary: Verse 16 of Colossians 2. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days." Now, John, right there is where people say "See there, it doesn't matter how we live or what we do."

John: Sure, because this thing about the Sabbath, that's part of the Ten Commandments.

Gary: Or what you eat or what you drink or anything else in the Bible.

John: Blotted out and nailed to the cross.

Gary: And if that were true, then that means that as soon as I accept Christ, then I can go out and commit adultery. And it's not going to count against me.

John: Well, if you take it to its logical conclusion it must mean that and...

Gary: Or I could go steal.

John: Furthermore, it means that as soon as Jesus died on the cross, up until that point you had to obey Him. As soon as He died, you were free to disobey him.

Gary: That's right. But, if you keep reading, you find out that's not what this text is saying. In Verse 17, it qualifies these things that were nailed to the cross, we read there, "which are a shadow of things to, come but the body is of Christ."

John: Well, explain that, this business about something being a shadow.

Gary: The laws that were nailed to the cross, the handwriting of ordinances, notice it was against us, it was temporary, it was a shadow. It dealt with new moons, holy days, and Sabbath days. Now, you did not find in the Ten Commandment law anything that deals with new moons, eating and drinking and all that type of stuff.

John: Well, you've got something that deals with the Sabbath.

Gary: The Sabbath. But you have to recognize - and I'll show you this in a moment - that there are different types of Sabbath. There was the Seventh Day Sabbath, which is mentioned in the Fourth Commandment of the ten. But then there are also the Angels Sabbath that happen once a year.

John: And we don't have to keep them anymore?

Gary: Those are the ceremonial Sabbaths. Let me show you what the Bible says which law had to do with shadows. It says "these are shadows of things to come." If you could go in your Bible over to Hebrews Chapter 10 Verse 1, we read there in Hebrews 10 Verse 1, "For the law..." notice it's talking about a law.

John: Sure.

Gary: "... having a shadow of good things to come." So here's a law that's a shadow. That pointed forward to something good that was to come.

John: Well, let's find out what law this was that had the shadows. It might be the same laws in Colossians 2.

Gary: In fact it is. It says, "Not the very image of the things..." - though the shadow, a shadow is not the thing itself - "... can never with those..." What's the next word John?

John: The next word is sacrifices.

Gary: "... and never with those sacrifices make the comers thereunto perfect." So this is a law that was a shadow and it had to deal with sacrifices.

John: Well, that cannot be the Ten Commandments.

Gary: No, this is what is called, commonly called, the Ceremonial Law. That outlined this system of Old Testament sacrifices. You see they were shadows of what Jesus was going to do. When they brought a lamb and they killed a lamb that represented the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ who one day would come and die for us.

John: The Ceremonial Law then, you're contending is that which Paul was talking about in Colossians Chapter 2, it pointed forward to Christ. That meant that when Christ came, well, what would happen to that law?

Gary: That law then comes to an end because you no longer need the shadow. You can go to the reality of Christ, himself.

John: Well, can you show us that this Ceremonial Law in fact was shadowy and temporary and distinct from the Ten Commandments. Maybe all this law is lumped together and when one part of it was gone, it was all gone.

Gary: Well, I like what it says in Deuteronomy 31 because it distinguishes between the Ten Commandment Law and this law that was against us.

John: Now, it shows that clearly, does it? Because a lot of people want to say it's all in together and gone together.

Gary: You see the Ceremonial Law was written by Moses hand and the Ten Commandment Law was written by God's own finger. In Colossians two it's talking about a handwriting of ordinances or laws that was against us.

Let me read to you Deuteronomy 31:24. "And it came to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book." So Moses wrote this law, put it in a book. Verse 25, "Then he commanded the Levites and told them..." Verse 26, "... take this book of Law, put it in the side of the Ark." Now, the Ark of the Covenant held the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were contained in the center container of the Ark. But there were side pockets on the Ark. The law that Moses wrote with his own hand was put in the side containers and not where the Ten Commandments were.

John: That differentiates it from the Ten Commandments.

Gary: But then I have to read the last part of this phrase here, this sentence, "... that it may be therefore a witness against thee." So the law written by Moses was the one that was against them. It was against them in the sense that it did not provide salvation in and of itself to them. Only Jesus could provide that. As long as they depended upon the Ceremonial Law for salvation, it always testified to them that they were incapable of being victorious in and of themselves.

John: Now, in Colossians two you had handwriting, that's the Ceremonial Law, and it was against them, Colossians Chapter 2, that's the same Ceremonial Law.

Gary: It is. It definitely is the same law there. It has nothing to do with the Ten Commandment Law. It's the law of shadows was the law of sacrifices, which is the Ceremonial Law.

John: And how was it made clear when Jesus died that this Ceremonial Law was no longer to be kept?

Gary: Well, as Jesus hung on the cross, the veil in the Temple was torn in two. That symbolized the end of the sacrificial system.

John: And today, Christians who want salvation, who want to repent of their sins need only common contrition and penitence to Jesus Christ and ask for their forgiveness. There's no system of lambs and shadows and sacrifices now. Jesus, the true sacrifice, has died for every one of us. I'm John Bradshaw. Join me with Gary Gibbs next time right here on Bible Talk.

If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know.

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