Is the Decalogue the rule of life for Christians?

The beloved Puritan, Thomas Watson, described the Decalogue as a golden chain hung around the necks of the saints, a rule of life for God’s children. And he called all who disagreed with him, antinomians.

One can search the Scriptures to see if YHWH describes these tablets in such terms, but that search will be in vain. He describes the Decalogue as the Tablets of Testimony of the Mosaic Covenant; as the ministry of death. His Word tells us the law was given to INCREASE sin.

Laws given to natural, carnal, unregenerate man are normally written against certain behaviors – do not murder, do not steal, etc. The Decalogue is MAINLY such law: do not make idols, do not worship idols, do not murder, do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not covet what ain’t yours.  8 of the 10 words on the Decalogue are against something. The two positive words command people to rest in their homes and to obey their parents. Which of these commands require faith in God to perform? None of them. They are fit for the unregenerate community (yes, there were some believers therein, but only a few) to which they were given.

What instructions are given to the saints? We read that we are to worship God in spirit and truth; love one another as Christ has loved us; bear one another’s burdens; be humble; weep and rejoice with one another; etc. Against these things, Paul said, there is no law. Such commands CANNOT be kept by those without the Holy Spirit. New Covenant, new priesthood, new law.

The Spirit’s law of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8). The Law of Moses could not bring about obedience because it was limited by the flesh. The Spirit of God brings obedience, willing and equipping us to do what is pleasing to Him.

Contrary to Andy Stanley’s view, we do not throw away or “unhinge” the Hebrew Scriptures. All of what was written is for our benefit (Romans 15, 1 Cor 10). Contrary to Thomas Watson’s view, the apostles declared it was contrary to the faith to require the saints to keep the Law of Moses (Acts 15).

I do not understand why so many people claim we must go back to the Mosaic Law to know what morality is, to live by it as rule for life. Paul had perfect opportunity to make it clear, if living by Mosaic Law was our charge:

Titus 2 gives qualifications for elders, encouragement for godly living to young men, exhortation to slaves to be faithful, and finishes with this:

Titus 2:11-15 (HCSB) For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works. Say these things, and encourage and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Not a smidgen of Moses. It’s all grace. All the work of the Spirit in our lives. No written code of death that was given to an unregenerate community.

The right path is to fix our eyes on Christ, trust Him, seek wisdom to walk as Children of the light, and take care not to fall into the ditch on either side of the road.

4 thoughts on “Is the Decalogue the rule of life for Christians?

  1. Thanks for this my brother,
    After pointing out that indeed I do follow the law of God, that in fact the NT has hundreds of imperatives, I had one man argue that to leave the 10 words was to move to “just more complicated handling of life….I like the clear 10, you know…..” Hmmm, now there is a good reason to hold to a theological system!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is interesting that I’ve had some talks with my family about this specific subject. Some hold to the face that they follow the law to be closer to God and if they don’t follow it, their relationship with Him is hindered. Unfortunately, they do not listen and get very upset when the explanation by logic and what is clearly says in the Bible tells us differently. Even Paul said we aren’t bound by the law because it was completed! I thank God that I’m not bound by it and can have free will in Him!

    Liked by 1 person

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