Question:

I love your web site! It has been very helpful to me in my studies. I have been studying with a friend of mine who still believes that we are under the ten commandments. He wants to use the verse John 14:15 "If you love me keep my commandments" as proof that we are still under the ten commandments. Can you help me and tell me how you would give an answer to that? I tried to explain that while Jesus lived, he lived as a Jew and was under the Old Law while teaching what was to come upon his death.

Thanks, John


Answer:

The key assumption your friend is offering is that Jesus' commandments are the Old Law and the ten commandments. Jesus said to keep his commandments. John 14:15 doesn't offer evidence as to what those commandments consist of.

An interesting point to then consider is that Jesus told his disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). The fact that Jesus called it a new commandment means that it didn't exist before. Understanding that, then here is evidence that Jesus' commandments are not the same as the commandments given prior. There are differences.

Paul stated, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory" (II Corinthians 3:5-9). Notice the contrasts:

(Old covenant - implied) New covenant
Letter Spirit
Kills Gives life
Written and engraved on stones (written on hearts - II Corinthians 3:3)
Glorious, but fading More glorious
Ministry of condemnation Ministry of righteousness

The two laws were not seen as the same or even compatible. Therefore, your friend did not make a proof that John 14:15 meant the ten commandments, which are the prolog to the Law of Moses.

Here is something to keep in mind. It is the person who makes the claim who has the burden to prove his claim.

Thanks so much for your quick response!