This is the age of mass propaganda, the age of the big lie! Atheistic communists have deceived millions. People everywhere are being pressured to believe whatever is popular. Even in religion there is increasing pressure to take for granted and to believe what is popular, even though it is not true.
This is also an age when truth is said to be “relative” when there is supposedly no absolute truth. It is the age of man’s reason. This is an age of lawlessness. It is an age of rebellion against the laws of God and man.
The Great God, the God of the Bible, speaks of this age as “this present evil word” (Gal. 1:4).He also speaks of a personal Devil, Satan, which “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). In His Word God reveals that He has given this world 6,000 years to go its own way, try out its own ideas of religion, education, governments, society all under the deceiving influence of Satan the Devil.
Besides personally influencing and tempting the minds of men and women, Satan has deceived the world through false ministers! God speaks of them through the Apostle Paul: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his (Satan’s) ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:13-15).
These false ministers, like Satan himself appear to be the ministers of Christ, as these two verses clearly show. They call themselves “Christian” ministers. They use the name of Jesus Christ. But they don’t preach His (Jesus’) message! And they will be judged according to the very thing so many of the m deny! For this scripture says they will be judged “according to their works” (v. 15).
Whether you have realized it or not, the two greatest religious deceptions today involve the reality of God and the need for absolute obedience to Almighty God, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth!
The first deception involves the teaching of evolution, and makes God seem unreal and powerless to a deceived “Christendom.” The second major deception of our professing Christianity is more directly religious and doctrinal in nature. But is a tremendous deception!
Literally hundreds of books and articles have been published to propagate its false teachings. Many thousands of sermons have been preached to justify its false conclusions. In all of these, literally dozens of plain, clear statements of the Bible have been set aside or spiritualized away and not taken literally. Parts of verses are twisted and distorted out of context in a vain effort to support this deceptive argument. Wrong definitions are put on terms in the Bible having to do with this subject.
Minister’s faces grow red, the veins swell out in their necks, their eyes bulge, and they become viciously angry when they try in vain to defend this gross deception against one who understands. Why? Why all this rebellion and hostility against the plain statements of the Bible?
It is because Satan – the great deceiver will permit men to worship a “god” in many ways as long as they don’t obey the true God! “Attend the church of your choice,” the newspapers read! We are all going to the same heaven, we just have many different ways of getting there,” some say.
“Just believe and you’ll be saved,” is the modern saying. But is all this true? Notice what the great God of your Bible says: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20).
Yes, a person can “believe” all they want to, but if they don’t obey the true God that person’s religion is a vain thing. Whether you have realized it or not, the modern religious teaching is that you don’t have to obey the laws of God, the Ten Commandments, in order to enter the Kingdom of God. This doctrine of lawlessness is promulgated by literally thousands of professing Christian ministers. You have probably been influenced by it, yet without fully realizing what was going on.
Some may say, “But I was taught to memorize the Ten Commandments in Sunday school. Surely my church believes in their importance in the Christian life.”
The truth is that many sweet little old ladies (or men) Sunday school teachers do talk about the Ten Commandments and often have their classes commit them to memory. But the real question is: Does the minister teach the binding authority of the Ten Commandments over the lives of all true Christians? Does he exhort the congregation to practice them as a way of life?
Or, faced with the literal commandments of the Great God, does he try to imply that they were “done away” or “nailed to the cross” and therefore not binding on Christians? The truth is that very few professing ministers of Jesus Christ teach the authority of God’s law. Rather, there are now hundreds of arguments and reasonings abroad in Christendom attempting to justify the breaking of every single one of the commandments of God! And thus Satan has succeeded in deceiving literally millions of people into disobeying their Maker and their true God!
The only way to be completely certain of the answer to a problem like this is to be willing to take the time and effort to search the Scriptures. If you know that there is a personal God in heaven and that the Holy Bible is His inspired revelation to man, then you can study that Word for the real answer to any religious question. But you must study honestly, being willing to consider all the scriptures on any one subject. For Jesus said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).
Don’t just take parts of scriptures here and there, but read the entire chapter when in doubt about what a particular verse means. “Prove all things: hold fat that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21).
Our question is this: Regardless of the contradictory theories of men, does the Bible teach that Christians should literally obey all ten of the Ten Commandments? The real answer is found by considering all the scriptures on this subject. In this article, we will consider primarily the positive side of the picture. In another article to follow we will consider and thoroughly answer the arguments of men against the plain, clear teaching of the Bible on this subject.
But first, realize the importance of this subject. If it is true that God intends man to live by the Ten Commandments as a definite, positive way of life showing how to love God and neighbor, then we had better be doing it! And if we allow ourselves to be deceived about this very way of life our Creator intended, then we are rebelliously going contrary to God’s directions, and we are sure headed for suffering, heartache and ultimate disaster.
This is indeed a vital question. For it has everything to do with the very purpose for which you were created and placed on this earth!
In a prophecy foretelling what Christ would do in His earthly ministry, Isaiah states: “He will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (Isa. 42:21). Christ came to magnify the law of God, the Ten Commandments. He showed their full spiritual meaning and purpose.
In what is called the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). It is interesting that men seem to want to think the very thing Jesus said not to think, that He had come to destroy God’s law. For “fulfill” doesn’t mean to do away with, it means simply to do or perform. If you fulfill the traffic laws of your city all of your life, it does not do away with them for someone else, does it?
Would, then, the fact that Christ obeyed the Ten Commandments of God mean that His followers have freedom to murder, steal, and lie, commit adultery and break the other points of God’s law? The truth is that Jesus obeyed the Ten Commandments to set us an example that we should follow in His steps in all things (I Peter 2:21).
Jesus Christ said: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). Certainly this verse should be plain and clear, Jesus taught that we should not only obey but teach the Ten Commandments and laws of God to others, even whatever commandment might be considered “least by men.”
He went on to “magnify” the commandments to make them all the more binding. He said: “ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looks upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28). This principle of Christ certainly shows that to harbor hate, lust or deceit in our hearts is violating the spirit of God’s law as surely as literally breaking it. But, again, this certainly doesn’t do away with the law, but rather makes it more binding than ever!
The Christ of your Bible taught: “Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Is this talking about obedience, or isn’t it? Can you reason around these plain, clear statements of the living Jesus Christ? If anyone should really know how to be a true Christian, wouldn’t Christ be that One?
One great stumbling block which prevents many theologians from understanding the real truth about God’s law is that they think that forgiveness of past sins and salvation are one and the same thing. They fail to realize that forgiveness of sin is only a part of the process of true salvation.
Christ taught that ultimate salvation consists of “being born again” as a spirit being in the very family and Kingdom of God (John 3:1-8). It is an undeniable fact that Jesus Christ, the Christ of your Bible always emphasized the development of character as one of the prerequisites of eternal life. When a young man came to Him and asked, “Good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life” (Matt. 19:16)? Christ gave this young man a definite answer.
That answer was quite different from the answer that would be given by many professing ministers of this same Jesus today! So many of them would say: “Why, young man, there is nothing you need to do? Don’t you know that Jesus did it all for you? Don’t you know it was settled long ago? All you have to do is believe on Christ, profess Christ – give your heart to the Lord and you shall surely be saved.”
But notice the answer of the real Jesus of your Bible! He said: “Why call thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (v. 17). What commandments, many would ask at this point. But God has so inspired this scripture so as to leave us in no doubt whatsoever! Notice what the young man said. “He said unto him, which?”
“Christ said, thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness” (v. 18). And then Jesus proceeded to name some more of the Ten Commandments. Could anything be more clear?
Jesus Christ taught literal obedience to the Ten Commandments of God as a way of life which would prepare one to receive eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Commandment-keeping is not salvation in itself! For ultimate salvation consists of being born of God as a spirit being in His kingdom and family, finally saved from the penalties of past sins, from the weakness of the flesh, from even the possibility of death. This is what complete salvation ultimately involves!
But God requires that we learn to practice the way of life based on literally keeping the Ten Commandments so that we will have the holy, righteous character needed to enable us to have joy and peace through all eternity in His kingdom! Keeping the commandments does not “earn” this eternal life; we can’t earn eternity in a thousand years! And we do not keep the commandments perfectly. Rather, we “grow in grace and in knowledge” toward that goal, toward the very character of God revealed in His holy, righteous law.
The point is that Jesus should know what salvation really is, and He said that keeping the commandments was a vital part of this process. This was His message, His Gospel. Was a different message to be preached after His death?
After Jesus’ death on the cross, and His resurrection, after everything was nailed to the stake that was to be nailed there, Jesus commanded His disciples to go out now to all the world and preach. He commanded: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19-20).
The living Christ, now sitting as our High Priest at the right hand of God in heaven, commanded that the very same message which He preached be sent to all the nations of the world! He had “magnified” God’s law and made it all the more binding. He had obeyed it Himself as an example to us (John 15:10). He had taught obedience to the Ten Commandments as a vital part of the way to eternal life (Matt. 19:16-19). Now He sent this same message to all the world by His apostles, His called and chosen representatives. Any other message is a satanic counterfeit and is not Christian, for it is not of Christ!
One of the most twisted and perverted sections of the entire Bible are the writings of the Apostle Paul. Many theologians try to wrest Paul’s words into saying God’s commandments were nailed to the stake or in some way not binding upon Christians. God foresaw this, and inspired the Apostle Peter to warn: “Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned, and unstable wrest (or twist, or pervert), as they do also the other scriptures; unto their own destruction” (II Peter 3:15-16).
We are going to consider the wresting and twisting and silly arguments of men about Paul’s writings in an article to follow, but in this article, let us consider the positive teaching of the Apostle Paul regarding obedience to God and His law.
Paul was inspired to write in Romans 2:13: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Of course, keeping God’s commandments doesn’t justify or forgive our past mistakes. But if we have the character and willingness to obey God’s laws day by day, we will just naturally love God and His way enough to repent of our mistakes along the way as we “grow in grace and knowledge” toward perfection.
Notice how Paul described God’s law: “Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12).
Perhaps you remember that David, a man after God’s own heart had this same attitude. He said: “Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97). David loved God’s law. For God’s law reveals the very nature and character of God Himself, and we cannot love Him unless we love His way and His law.
Contrast this attitude with the natural, fleshly or carnal mind of a rebellious unconverted man as described by Paul in Romans 8:7: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The natural mind of man is antagonistic to God, for it hates any real authority from above, and therefore it hates God’s law! It wants to create a “god” in its own image, out of its own ideas and imaginations. It does not want the true Creator God telling it what to do?
The truly converted mind is just the opposite. It is a humble submissive mind. Its attitude is always to say: “Yes Lord,” and obey God even though it sometimes goes against the normal impulses.
Many today reason and argue against keeping the commandments by saying that we are not able to keep them because of human weakness and carnality. This is absolutely true! The answer to this dilemma is given by the very apostle so many claim did away with God’s commandments, the apostle Paul. He stated: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Do you see? Paul did not claim that he, personally, could keep the commandments in his own strength. But he showed that Christ was living in him. He stated that he was living by the faith not merely in, but the very faith of the Son of God! And we know that Christ obeyed all of the commandments of God! We also know that Jesus Christ has not changed! For God states “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
So Christ in us can keep the commandments! We need His faith and His love to keep the holy, spiritual law of God our Father. Paul shows that we receive the very love of God Himself through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). And what is this love? How does it express itself?
The Apostle John gives us the inspired answer: ”For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3). Through the Spirit of God imparting to us the very divine love of God, we are able to keep God’s commandments and become more like Him in character every month and year of our Christian lives.
Notice that if we love God and obey Him we will also have our prayers answered: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22). Notice also that John makes very plain the fact that God’s law reveals His nature, His character and what God is really like. “He that saith, I know him, and keeps not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4). In other words, you must actually obey God’s commandments in order to really know and understand who God is, what He is like, how He thinks, acts and speaks. To understand the nature and character of the true God, you must not only know about the laws of God, you must keep them! You must experience what it is like to exercise the kind of character required to obey the commandments of God.
Then you will really know the true God! And He will know you, and bless you and guide you into all truth and righteousness. If you reason and argue against obedience to God, you are simply cutting yourself off from real contact with Him and from His blessings.
As we will see in the next article, the false arguments of men against the commandments of God usually rest in employing wrong definitions for such terms as “saved,” justify,” and even the word “law” itself. But as we go along, the real truth about this subject lies in literally scores of plain, clear scriptures which state exactly what they mean and are actually very hard to be misunderstood by an honest mind!
James wrote: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the law. So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10-12). Here we see that God’s law has points. If we break even one of the commandments, we still break God’s law! This certainly shows we had better obey God! And James goes on in following verses to say that “faith without works is dead.”
In Revelation, the 12th chapter, John is inspired to describe the true Church during the Middle Ages as a “woman” who had to flee into a wilderness. Then he continues to describe how this woman will again flee before the great tribulation at the end of this age (vs. 13-14). Then John states: “And the dragon (Satan) was wroth with the woman (the true Church) and went to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). Here we find that the true Church of God obeys His commandments. That is one of its identifying signs!
Later, John identifies the character of the true saints who are accounted worthy to escape the great tribulation coming upon this age: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). Then right at the very end of the Bible, God inspired John to write this message for us: “Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
The example of Jesus Christ proves it. The teaching of Jesus proves it. The New Testament letters or epistles prove it and bringing the entire Bible to a close, the Book of Revelation makes it very plain, for it is the plain truth! Be sure to read the second article of this subject.