Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Commandments?

Does New Covenant Mean "New Commandments?"
By Jack Hertzog

God has ways to love Him, which He has revealed to Israel and humanity (Ex.20:6 ~ Ps. 78:7 ~ Matt.19:17 ~ John 14:15 1 John 2:3), and God says also "By this, we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome" ( 1 John 5:2,3).

All through the scriptures, from the earliest to the latter scriptures (Rev.22:14), the keeping of the commandments are heavily stressed as the way to love and please God; and we can not find any place that says anything different. Is any other commandment mentioned? Yes, but not any change from the original Ten Commandments.

The "New Commandment" (John 13:34) is, that we love one another, as Christ Loved us, and a New Commandment I give you" (1 John 2:8). But this commandment was not really new. It was just new to the church (1 John 2:7), who hadn't had much knowledge about the spiritual connotations of God and His Word. Remember, Christ said "Love one another, as I have loved you", and Christ was stressing love one another as I have Loved you. There was only one way that Christ Loved them and that was by the love and power of the Holy Spirit, which will always lead people toward the obeying of the ten commandments.

There is also a scripture that says "The Letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive" ( 2 Corr. 3:6 ), and "Not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit"(Romans 7:6). This says nothing about no longer keeping the Ten Commandments, which we've always been commanded to keep, from the earlier scriptures unto the latter scriptures, because Paul says in (Romans 7:7), is the Law sin? Certainly not! He was showing that he was serving the Law of God in His inward being (Romans 7:22), but he was showing also, that he fell down before God's law quite often, because of his human weakness.

The Scripture "The Letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive shows that though we are always expected to keep the Ten Commandments, we still need something else, and that is to love as Christ loved (John 13:34), and that is, to obey the commandments in the spirit of the law, with our heart (Very innermost being).

Under the New Covenant now, if we have the Holy Spirit, we now keep God's Commandments by the spirit of love shed abroad in our heart. Instead of the rituals of the law, we now do it of the heart, and also of our desire and intent. We obey the first commandment by certainly having a personal relationship with the Father. We know that He exists and cares for each of us, and so much, that He gave His only Son for our behalf; we also know that there are no other God's.

We obey the second commandment in the Spirit, as we know that our God created all things. All of the physical things will be dissolved in due time (2 Peter 3:11,12), and there is nothing else worth worshipping. Everything we do, should be done for our True God. We still need to fight to keep our minds from getting to involved in any physical pursuits, lest we even make an idol out of our time, and not devote enough time to God.

Then we can pray to our God, to give us more of His Spirit, so that our relationship will be closer. We keep the third commandment, by holding in great reverence the name of God, and realizing just how great, and just who He is. We realize that our eternal life depends upon Him. Also we need to realize that we can become His literal children, and He expects us to speak to Him, as a literal child of His, calling Him "Abba" Father, and yet speak to Him and tell Him everything, that troubles us, or to ask for faith, mercy and understanding.

God does not tell us not to use His name, just not to use it in vain. If we are breaking the other commandments, we could very well be using His name in vain, until we repent of breaking His other commandments.

We keep the fourth commandment, a day of a special rest, where we rest from normal labors, and even forsake our normal thoughts, so that we can have much extra communication with our Father, that we do not have on other days. God has blessed and sanctified the Sabbath, so that His presence is upon the Sabbath.

We honor our human parents, as our life givers under God, and by honoring our fleshly parents, we do indeed honor God.

We do not murder, and to avoid this we do not even hate or think ill of our brethren. We can sometimes be leery or wise and discerning toward our brothers and sisters, but we do not hate them, because hatred can lead to the killing of our brethren. If we find ourselves thinking ill toward our brethren, then we should ask God to help us to have His very love for them, that we do not by nature have, and then God will give us love, instead of hatred.

We will think about no wrong sexual desires, because this could lead to literal wrong acts, and does not show God's love toward our brethren. We can ask God to purge any wrong thoughts from our minds.

We do not take from our brethren, or take holy time (The Sabbath) from God. We instead see just how much we can give to God and our brethren too, because God loves a cheerful giver, not a taker.

We tell the truth to our neighbor, because lying shows that we are hiding something, or planning some wrong deed. Yet, we can always be truthful in a way that is not trying to hurt our brethren. Sometimes even truth can be used in a hurtful way, but keeping the ninth commandment involves showing love toward our God and neighbor.

The apostle Paul learned to be content, in whatever state he was in, not that he didn't want to improve things. We can always try to improve things too, but not if our hearts are set on wrongs, or upon things that are beyond that which we need, or other people's things and possessions.

We keep the Tenth commandment, because, it helps keep our very thoughts in check. If we cannot keep our thoughts in subjection by not coveting, then we will fall down and break the other nine commandments. If we are living by the Spirit of God, then we will be thankful for everything God has given us, and we will not be consumed with lust for various objects, that will eventually perish.

Christ obeyed the Ten Commandments, having the Holy Spirit without measure. These commandments are living commandments of love, and Christ wants us to obey them in the same way He did and does (John 13:34). Happy are we, if we do these things as Christ commanded, and all will know that we are His disciples as well.

Jack Hertzog is a member of the Sabbath-keeping Church of God. He lives in New Mexico.