Q&A: Must we still keep the Ten Commandments?

Question: Are the Ten Commandments still binding in light of what the author of the letter of Hebrews says in Hebrews 7:12: “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.”

Answer:

First of all, we know for a fact that the Ten Commandments are still binding on all in the New Covenant. For example, Jesus tells the rich young man that he must keep the commandments in order to enter into eternal life (see Mt19:16-22). Secondly, St. Paul teaches us that love sums up the Decalogue in Romans 13:8-10. Now, if love sums up the Ten Commandments, and love is necessary for salvation, then it logically follows that observance of the Ten Commandments are still binding on the consciences of all. Thirdly, in John 15:10 Jesus speaks of His perfect obedience to “the Father’s commandments.” Think about that. What are the Father’s commandments? The Ten Commandments! So, if Jesus kept them, then it seems reasonable to conclude that we as Christians, which refers to those who follow the Christ, must keep them as well. Finally, St. James tells us in James 2:14-17 that feeding the poor and clothing the naked are necessary in order to have saving faith. Therefore, a failure to feed the poor and clothe the naked would be a failure in love, which remember is a failure to uphold the Ten Commandments. So, in conclusion, do we have to still keep the Ten Commandments? Yes!

Follow up Question: What about the fact that the author of Hebrews says that the “law” passed away? Does that not indicate that the Ten Commandments, which is a part of the law, passed away?

Answer:

What the author of Hebrews is referring to here is the law that is peculiar to the Aaronic and Levitical priesthood. Note how the author says, “for when there is a change in the priesthood, there is a change in the law.” What priesthood is the author of Hebrews speaking of here? The Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods! Now, what law is peculiar to these priesthoods? It is the Levitical law, which contained 600+ ceremonial precepts. It is this law that the author of Hebrews is saying passed away. The Ten Commandments are not precepts that peculiarly belong to the Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods. The Ten Commandments are moral precepts that belong to human nature and thus are universal and applicable to all human beings (see Rms2:14-16). Consequently, such precepts do not pass away with the passing of the old priesthoods and the advent of Christ’s priesthood. The only aspect of the Ten Commandments that has passed away in the New Covenant is the ceremonial precept that demanded observance of the Sabbath on Saturday. The moral precept of worship of God however still remains.