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RIGHTEOUS WORLD WITHOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Can you visualize a new world without the Ten Commandments? The very thought of such a thing would horrify many self-righteous religionists, as if it meant that all morality would be thrown to the winds. But you may be wondering, “Could there be a righteous world without the Ten Commandments? Would it be a better world than "this present evil world"?”
Of course, this world does not observe the Ten Commandments; in fact, the world in general was never under the Ten Commandments. This is recorded in Psalm 147: 19, 20: ” He (God) showeth … his ordinances unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation; And as for his ordinances, they have not known them. Praise ye Jehovah.
”But the mere absence of the Decalogue, as those Commandments are called, is not responsible for the world's wickedness. The mere presence and popular knowledge of the Decalogue would not keep the world from being sinful. Just recall that the Ten Commandments were a part of the law code which God gave to the Jews by Moses. The mere declaration and publication of that law code to the Jews did not make them righteous or keep them from sin and wickedness against God. The hearing of God's commandments declared from Mount Sinai did not remove the Jews from the sinful level of the rest of the world and transform them into a righteous nation. "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."- Rom. 2:13.
The Jews had been nine hundred years under that law code when Jehovah God said by his prophet Ezekiel: "I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and showed them mine ordinances, which if a man do [and not merely hear], he shall live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am Jehovah that sanctify them." (Ezek. 20:10-12, A.S.V.)
God forewarned the Jews that, for breaking his law covenant, he would deliver them over into the hands of their heathen enemies. But the Jews would not be warned. "'Wherefore," says Jehovah God, "I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord [Jehovah]." (Ezek. 20: 25, 26) This does not mean that God gave them a law that was not good. All of God's laws are good.
Then what does Jehovah mean by the words: ”I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live”? God here meant was that, after the Jews' persistence in disobeying his law (not just the Ten Commandments), he let them go their own way. He gave them over to the statutes and judgments of the heathen that were not good and by keeping which they could not gain life. Psalm 81:11, 12 declares: "My people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.'' And the apostle Paul writes: "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, ... God gave them up unto vile affections: ... And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient." (Rom. 1:24-28)
The Decalogue alone cannot produce a righteous world, despite the righteousness of the Decalogue. Thus the Ten Commandments did not transform the Jews into a righteous nation, nor convert the world.
That God's promised new world can be righteous without the reinstatement of the Ten Commandments is demonstrated by Christ's faithful footstep followers.
The Bible makes it plain that the old law covenant with the Jews, including the Decalogue, was taken out of the way by virtue of Christ's death on the tree. (See Ephesians 2:11-18 and Colossians 2:13-17)
Hence such followers of Christ are not under the law covenant and its Decalogue. Nevertheless, their righteousness with God is a fact. They are not trying to be righteous before God by doing the works of that old law covenant. They accept God's Word, namely: ''Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Gal. 2:16) "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." (Gal. 3:11-13)
Just because the covenant of law did not result in justice in Israel does not mean that the law was not good. Rather, the law made the Jews aware of the sin. If we look at the last five commandments of the Decalogue, we will see that they are formulated in a negative way. What does this mean? That they were addressing a people prone to sin, that is, inclined to the wrong things forbidden by those commandments. Therefore, people who try to persuade Christians to keep the Ten Commandments try to be teachers of the law without understanding the relationship between Christians and justice. This is highlighted by Paul when he says: „They desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully, as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine; according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." (1 Tim. 1:7-11). Therefore, these negative laws are intended for unjust people, such as those above. They were never addressed to Christians, nor did they apply to them.
However, it cannot be said that the Ten Commandments were not good and useful for their day. The purpose for which God gave the law to the people of Israel was to guide the Israelites on the path of truth until the promised Seed came, through whom they would receive the blessings. Without God's care, the Jews would have turned away from Jehovah and lost the privilege of being the genealogical branch through which the Seed would come. (Galatians 3:18, 19)
Some sincere people may wonder, “How can Christians refrain from improper practices without the restrictive commandments of the Decalogue? Are they not tempted to give in to sin and wickedness?”
The apostle Paul answers these questions as follows: "Moreover the law entered [by Moses], that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then! Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts [passions] thereof. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." - Rom. 5:20, 21; 6:1, 2, 12, 14-18.
Being free from the yoke of the law covenant and being made free in Christ, his followers are acting under the "law of liberty" and are manifesting in a positive way their love of Jehovah with all their mind, heart, soul and strength. This they manifest by following the course of righteousness and rendering to him the service that he requires of them as His witnesses.
That the "law of liberty" does not mean license for unrighteousness, Paul shows, saying: "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfil1ed in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. ... Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh ... if ye be led of the spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh [the law of Moses was against such works] are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, ... envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: ... they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Gal. 5: 4, 6, 13-23)
There are no Ten Commandments against producing such fruitage of God's spirit. His spirit in his consecrated people is powerful enough to produce this legal fruitage of righteousness without the Ten Commandments. - Rom. 13:8-10. Thus, it can be rightly said that a world made up of such faithful creatures, who produce the fruits of the spirit, is a righteous world without the Ten Commandments.