Salvation by grace through faith has long been debated in Christian circles as either being a complete misinterpretation of the New Testament, or some kind of “get out of jail free” card.
God gave His Law to Moses, ten directives for men and women to follow for a happy and healthy life. Often regarded as a list of “do’s and don’ts” the real purpose of the Ten Commandments gets lost in the shuffle.
People try to avoid being held accountable
People will argue that because of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are not bound to the Law, but that is a narrow view. We are still accountable to God, but not able to live up to the absolute perfection required to gain access into God’s eternal Kingdom.
One of the purposes of the Ten Commandments is to communicate those requirements for salvation, even though God understands fully that we cannot do that. They are a way of proving our guilt, as it becomes apparent when we really look at each one and see that we have violated not just one small one, but all of them.
Rather than having the Law act as a standard for human behavior, or a mirror to give us a look at ourselves, their most important function is to point us to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We argue don’t need to worry about the law because I have Jesus
Here is where the misunderstanding and argument starts. We can argue that the Ten Commandments don’t count because of Christ. Christ, however, sheds light on that by one, simple statement.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus fulfilled the law
If Jesus fulfilled the Law, does that mean the Law is no longer necessary or relevant? Certainly not.
Jesus fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law. Compare His sacrifice on the cross to Moses displaying the bronze serpent in the desert. People were dying from snake bites. Moses was instructed to craft the serpent and place it on a pole.
All one needed to do was look to the serpent and they would not die. And so it is with Christ Jesus. We need to look to him for salvation, otherwise our sin (snake bite) will kill us. This simple act of faith is what God wants from us. Look to the cross.
Good works are a byproduct of faith
If faith is all that is required, should we not do good works? Good works are a byproduct of faith. Because we have been loved, because we have been saved, we desire to serve God. The Law has been fulfilled in Christ. But for those without Christ, it might appear to be like the Sword of Damocles hanging there above the head of the nonbeliever.
The law shows us how to have a perfect relationship with God
So, why the law in the first place? It is not limited to being a set of rules and regulations. It is a guideline for having a fulfilled and perfect relationship with God. But it was not intended necessarily for a test on our worthiness, because we are, by nature, sinful people.
The Law points to Christ, who fulfilled the Law. Because we cannot obey and do what the Law requires, we need to turn to the Lord Jesus, who did it for us. You see, nothing has changed since those days of Moses in the desert. The Law is very much in effect.