Saturday, December 18, 2004


Which of the Ten Commandments Did Jesus Repeal?

Was there something wrong with the Ten Commandments? Were they weak legislation in the first place? Or did they somehow become obsolete with the passage of time? If, as some suppose, the time came for the Ten Commandments to be abolished, there must have been a reason for it. The idea of the abolition of law is not foreign to us. We "abolish" or repeal laws often enough. But when we do repeal laws, why do we do it? There are many reasons. The law may be unenforceable. It may be unpopular with the people, and because of massive disobedience ("They can't put all of us in jail"), the law simply can't be maintained. The classic example of this was prohibition.

On the other hand, we may repeal legislation because it has become obsolete. There may have been a time when it was a good idea to require a flag man to walk ahead of an automobile as it passed through a town, but not anymore. Changes in technology, changes in population density, economic trends, natural disasters, can all make good legislation turn sour.

We could point to dozens of examples, but there is still only one fundamental reason for the repeal of a law: It is not a good law. It was either (1) a bad law in the first place, or (2) it became a bad law in time.

For which of these reasons did Jesus repeal the Ten Commandments?

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