Are Christians obligated to obey the 10 commandments? Are these 10 something that Christians should follow?
The answer is not as straight forward as we would like, but the answer is not hard.
The answer is both yes and no.
The 10 commandments were give as part of the Mosaic Law, for a particular people, at a particular time, for a particular reason. It was the law of the Covenant with Israel.
So in this way, no we are not obligated to obey the 10 commandments because we are not under the Mosaic covenant, we are under the New Covenant.
To make the 10 Commandments obligatory, and to fail to see the distinction of the covenants, puts us in a place similar to not identical to, but similar to, the pharisees who sought to merit God’s favor through obedience to law (usually their numerous extra laws)
This is the way I understand the passage that we are no longer under law, but under grace. We are not under the Mosaic Covenant, as the means of our relating to God. We are under the New Covenant.
However, just because we are under the New Covenant does not mean there is no law.
If those under the New Covenant have the law written on their hearts, then regardless of how you identify that law, you have at least say, there is law in the New Covenant.
One example of the 10 Commandments specific application to the New Covenant is in Ephesians 6. Paul commands children to obey their parents. Paul takes right from the 5 th commandment and applies to Spirit-filled Christians both the obligating to keep the commandment and the promises for keeping the commandment.
That at least says that the 10 Commandments transcend the covenants in some way. (moral law, maybe?)
Paul doesn’t even hesitate to command of these believers (and there could be unbelievers there), to obey the law. He is following the pattern set down in the Mosaic Covenant.
- God’s people are in bondage
- God redeems his people by his own hand and blood
- God demands of his redeemed people a way of life.
So Yes, we are obligated to obey the 10 commandments, not to merit favor, not as though we are part of Israel trying to gain the land, but as redeemed Spirit-Filled people, who need to know how to please God and what our good works should look like.