The New and Improved Law (part 1)

Ten CommandmentsWhat product can you think of that has already been improved or even been replaced by a better one? I can think of a few.

The automobile models has seen constant improvements over the years.

The mouthwash brands are always being improved.

How about a laundry detergent?  I have seen advertised new yet improved detergents that get your clothes cleaner than all other detergents. Why, if you use this one particular brand your clothes will be cleaner than clean. They will
look newer than new and brighter than bright.

My wife and I still scratch our heads trying to
choose which toothpaste we should buy. On one
brand the carton would say that it will prevent
cavities, another one would say it will whiten
your teeth as never before. I saw advertised that
if your teeth look yellow compared with your napkin
you better buy this such and such  brand. Afterwards,
if you were to put the white napkin next to your teeth
the colors would match.

Question: What if the color of the napkin was
off white, then what? Anyway, whatever you choose,
expect that brand to be replaced by a yet a new and
improved product.

In a way, the same is true with what God did with His
law established in the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant,
with all of its laws and regulations, was replaced by a new,
improved and better one.

I am not advocating that public reminders such as this must be removed. But, please note: The early church did not grow and flourish because of plaques, billboards or monuments.

You may now be asking what is the big deal? And what is my point? Well, many of us Christians believe that the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant are still around. Many Christians become upset when a plaque or monument proclaiming the Decalogue is removed from a building by city, state or federal government officials. I say there is no need to get angry.

The fact is, if you believe in the Ten Commandments – that it is binding today and exactly to be kept – and you attend church services on Sundays, you have sinned according to the Old Covenant system of laws. According to the Ten Commandments as prescribed in the Old Covenant, if you, as a Christian, go to work on Saturdays, you have sinned. You have broken the Fourth Commandment about keeping the Sabbath Day holy because you earned wages on that day.

The truth is, you have not broken any law in this manner because the law of keeping the seventh day holy is no longer applicable to Christians as it was to the Israelites. Does that mean all ten laws do not exist? No, what I am saying is that all of the Ten Commandments have been replaced by a better law – a new and improved law. I call this law the commandments of Christ.

Jesus did not replace the Ten Commanments while He was alive before His crucifixion. Had He “done away” with the law before His death, then His accusers would have correctly stated that Jesus sinned by abandoning and disregarding the law. But He did not sin nor did He tell others to not keep the Old Covenant law.

It was not until He shed His blood on the cross that the New Covenant fully became established for the church and for all mankind. The Old Covenant, which includes the Ten Commandments, has been “done away” by a new and improved one that contains many of the elements of the old one – yet fortified and improved.

For example, the commandment that says, “Thou shalt not kill” has been removed and replaced by an improved and powerful one that says, “Thou shalt not hate.” The new one also says to love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, to give to those who take from you, etc. That law in the Old Covenant was replaced with a better one. The same is true with the law regarding adultery. The laws regarding coveting, stealing and honoring your parents are still to be found
in the Law of Christ, only fortified and enhanced and
etched in men’s hearts rather than just codified on
stone.

The Law of The Sabbath
Referring back to the sabbath law, the fourth commandment was redone by Christ for man to rest in Him not in the law. The restriction to not work on the seventh (Saturday) no longer applies. I used to believe so. I was a Christian who, for over twenty five years, belonged to a Sabbath, seventh-day keeping church. I strictly tried to keep this day holy as the Ten Commandment law required, but now I understand otherwise. The New Covenant law now is in effect, not the set of “The Ten”,  that was enforced by God for the nation of Israel (which was complementarily fulfilled by employing sacrificial offerings).

If some of you Christians, such as the Seventh Day Adventists believe you should keep the seventh day Sabbath holy by not earning wages on that day, then by all means do so. Do not go against your conscience. You are not less a Christian for doing so. But neither are you more righteous than the Christian who does not keep the seventh day holy – the seventh day which, I must add, begins on sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday. Please, let me be clear on that.

Those of you who attend worship services on Sunday or any other day of the week, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, who died for you, that is important. You are a Christian.

An old house

A House Rebuilt
An analogy I can give about the Old Law and the New Law of Christ is that of a house. Most houses have a kitchen area, a bathroom, and at least one bedroom. If a very old house is torn down and another one rebuilt in the same location, what would have happened? Well, the foundation would have been checked and reinforced as required. Then, new framing and roofing would have been built on it following all up-to-date city codes.  This new house would be constructed with better building materials with modern appliances installed. Yes, it would still have a kitchen yet not be the same as the old kitchen. It would still have a bedroom (but not exactly as the previous bedroom) and would have a new updated
bathroom (with new plumbing, electrical outlets, lighting fixtures,
faucets, sink, toilet etc. The old house has now been replaced by
a new one.

A new house

The new house would have a garage that the previous house never had. It would have central heating and cooling systems which the old house did not have. It would have additional rooms requiring new foundations underneath. As a matter of fact, the overall dimensions of the house would tremendously be expanded!

You may say, yeah, but it is sill a house. True, but it is not the same house. You cannot enter this new residence and say it is exactly like the old one. It is
not the same.

The New Covenant Law Improvements
Below are the laws of the Ten Commandments with the New Covenant restructuring and expanded applications underneath. These New Covenant verses that are indicated you can rearrange for your understanding.

I ) First Commandment Exodus 20:3
Revelation 14:7

II ) Second Commandment Exodus 20:4-6
Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-20; Ephesians 5:5

III) Third Commandment Exodus 20:7
1 Timothy 6:1; James 2:7

IV) Fourth Commandment Exodus 20:8-11
Acts 17:1-2; 18:4; Hebrews 4:9; 1 John 2:6

V) Fifth Commandment Exodus 20:12
Romans 1:29-30; Ephesians 6:1-3

VI) Sixth Commandment Exodus 20:13
Romans 1:29-30; 13:9

VII) Seventh Commandment Exodus 20:14
Romans 7:2-3; 13:9

VIII) Eighth Commandment Exodus 20:15
Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Peter 4:15; Revelation 9:21

IX) Ninth Commandment Exodus 20:16
Acts 5:3-4; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:25

X) 10th Commandment Exodus 20:17
1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3, 5

Where the “House Analogy” Falls Apart
Like many analogies used to explain a concept, my house analogy about the New Covenant law of Christ rebuilt over the Old Covenant Ten Commandments structure may still be insufficient to explain what I wish to convey.

A person living in the old house abides in it by cooking at a wood stove, for example. He may use a fireplace to heat his home along with a wood stove. He may bathe in an old cast iron bath tub. He basically goes about doing the chores that enable him to live
adequately (righteously, if I may) within it.

But within the new house construction which replaced the old one, you now have another Occupant living with you. His name is Jesus Christ. He abides with you as you desire to abide with Him. It is His way of living that you also incorporate. It is He who has you always be righteous – not you yourself.

I am not saying we can do whatever we want and never sin. No, but Jesus Christ, despite your flaws, your weaknesses, and struggles to be righteous, is now right there within you as your eternal sacrifice; within you keeping you clean and holy before the Father in heaven.

The house analogy breaks down even further since the new law is even more spiritual. It is within you, not you living (behaving) in it, toward it, as was done with the old Covenant law. The new and improved law is love personified. How so? Well, as God is love, so is the new law about being like God. It is not just about behaving in order to be blessed by God. Therefore, the new and improved law is infinitely more than the old one.

This concept is one that needs to be “caught in your mind” in order to understand and appreciate. The New Covenant way of living is not that of keeping righteous, score-points under the Ten Commandments, but living righteously in the Law of Grace which is the Law of Love, which is written in your heart, which is Jesus Christ.

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