There is, and has been a movement afoot among some churches and
preachers to ABOLISH the 10 Commandments. They tell you that
there are verses in the NT that say the LAW(which to them means
the Ten Commandments) is DONE AWAY in Christ. They say the
old 10 were only TILL Christ, since then we are no longer under
obligation to observe these ten laws. These preachers of NO LAW
use just a few of, not Jesus' teachings, not Peter's teachings,
nor James' or Jude's, or John's teachings, but a few verses of
Paul. Two of these verses they say, that show the 10
commandments are ABOLISHED in Christ, are EPHESIANS 2:15; COL.
When reading and studying the writings of Paul, we do well to
heed the warning and advice of Peter, who wrote, "And account
that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as
our beloved brother Paul also....has written unto you. As also
in all his epistles.....in which are SOME THINGS HARD TO BE
UNDERSTOOD which they that are UNLEARNED and UNSTABLE WREST, as
they do also the OTHER SCRIPTURES, unto their own destruction.
You, therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before,
BEWARE lest you also, being LED AWAY with the ERROR of the
wicked, fall from your own steadfastness " (2 PET.3:15 - 17).
Peter calls these people who wrest and pervert the writings of
Paul and other scriptures THE WICKED! Now let me give you a
BIBLE definition that clearly shows who the wicked are.
The Biblical wicked are described in PS 119:53, "HORROR has taken
hold upon me because of the WICKED that forsake your LAW."
Plainly, those who FORSAKE, DO AWAY WITH, ABOLISH the 10 point
LAW of God are called the WICKED! Peter called their teaching
ERROR. He said it would lead them to "their own destruction."
Peter said these teachers were not only unstable, but UNLEARNED.
Oh yes, some may have gone to the THEOLOGICAL schools of their
day as some have today, but as far as UNDERSTANDING the word of
God, Peter said they were unlearned.
Why are these LAW ABOLISHERS indeed unlearned in the word?
Because that which they are willingly ignorant of does testify to
Let's put a few simple verses together and ask a few simple
Are Christians to freely sin?
Answer, "My little children, these things I write unto you, THAT
YOU SIN NOT...." (1 JOHN 2:1). John wrote this to Christians
years and years after Jesus died on the cross:
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in SIN, that grace
may abound? God forbid...."(ROM 6:1). Paul wrote this to
Christians years after Jesus died on the cross.
What is SIN?
Answer, "All unrighteousness is sin...." (1 JN 5:17).
What is RIGHTEOUSNESS?
Answer, "....for all they COMMANDMENTS are righteousness" (PS
What is sin?
Answer, "Whosoever committeth SIN transgresseth also the LAW; for
SIN is the transgression of the LAW " (1 JN 3:4).
What LAW is it SIN to transgress?
Answer, "....I had not known sin, but by the LAW: for I had not
known lust, except the law had said, YOU SHALL NOT COVET " (ROM
Which LAW says, You shall not covet?
Answer, the law found in EX. 20 and DEUT. 5.
THE TEN COMMANDMENT LAW!
Is SIN accounted for anyone if there is NO LAW?
Answer, "....SIN is not imputed WHEN THERE IS NO LAW" (ROM.
Using simple logic and reasoning power with the verses we have
just read, we should be able to deduct that:
1. If the 10 commandment law was abolished when Jesus died on the
cross - if the ten commandment law was only until Christ, then
there has been NO SIN since the cross.
2. If there has been no sin since the cross, then there have been
NO SINNERS either.
3. If there have been no sinners since the cross, because there
has been no law to define what sin is, then NO ONE since then has
needed a SAVIOR!
Now do you see why those who preach and teach that the 10
commandment law was abolished with Christ are indeed UNLEARNED,
men who wrest the scriptures unto their own destruction!
So what about COLOSSIANS 2:14 and EPHESIANS 2:15? Was Paul
really teaching that God's spiritual, holy, just and good 10
commandment law (ROM. 7:12, 14) was abolished at the cross of
Christ? Many of the early Protestant theologians and Bible
Commentators (who taught obedience to the Commandments of God)
never understood these verses and sections of Paul's letters to
the Ephesians and Colossians to mean that Christ did away with
the 10 Commandment law. They were not unlearned, as many are
today. They even upheld the 4th commandment, but taught it was
changed to Sunday. Quite frankly, even today MOST Protestant
churches teach the Ten Commandment law is still in effect, it is
a relatively small group of North American fundamentalists (I
call them funny-mentalists, as their theology would be funny if
it wasa not so mentally serious) who teach grace abolishes law.
Three of the most famous Bible Commentators of yesterday were
MATTHEW HENRY, ADAM CLARKE and ALBERT BARNES. Here are their
comments on EPH. 2:13-16.
"We are now come to the last part of the chapter, which contains
an account of the great and mighty privileges that converted Jews
and Gentiles both receive from Christ. The apostle here shows,
that they who were in a state of enmity are reconciled. Between
the Jews and the Gentiles there had been a great enmity; so there
is between God and every unregenerate man.
Now Jesus Christ is OUR PEACE, v. 14. He made peace by the
sacrifice of himself; he MADE BOTH ONE, by reconciling these two
divisions of men, who were wont to malign, to hate and to
reproach each other before. He BROKE DOWN THE MIDDLE WALL OF
PARTITION, the ceremonial law, that made the great feud, and was
the badge of the Jews' peculiarity; called THE PARTITION-WALL, by
way of allusion to the PARTITION in the temple, which separated
the court of the Gentiles from that into which the Jews only had
liberty to enter. Thus HE ABOLISHED IN HIS FLESH THE ENMITY,
v.15. By his sufferings in the flesh, taking away the binding
power of the ceremonial law, so removing that cause of enmity and
distance between them; which is here called THE LAW OF
COMMANDMENTS CONTAINED IN ORDINANCES, because it enjoined a
multitude of external rites and ceremonies, and consisted of many
institutions and appointments about the outward parts of divine
worship. THE LEGAL CEREMONIES WERE ABROGATED BY CHRIST, HAVING
THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN HIM. By taking those out of the way,
he formed one church of believers, whether they had been Jews or
Gentiles. Thus he made IN HIMSELF OF TWAIN ONE NEW MAN. He
framed both these parties into one NEW SOCIETY, or body of God's
people uniting them to himself as their common Head; they
being RENEWED by the Holy Ghost, and now concurring in a NEW way
SO MAKING PEACE between these two parties who were so much at
2. There is an enmity between God and sinners, whether Jews or
Gentiles; and Christ came to slay that enmity, and to reconcile
them both to God, v. 16. Sin breeds a quarrel, and to bring it
to an end, by reconciling both Jew and Gentile, now collected and
gathered into one body, to a provoked and an offended God: and
this BY THE CROSS; or by the sacrifice of himself upon the cross:
HAVING SLAIN THE ENMITY THEREBY. He, being slain or sacrificed,
slew the enmity that there was between God and poor sinners. The
apostle proceeds to illustrate the great advantages which both
parties gain by the mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ"
".......YE WHO SOMETIMES WERE FAR OFF] to be FAR OFF, and to be
NEAR, are sayings much in use among the Jews; and among them, to
be NEAR, signifies, 1. To be in the APPROBATION or FAVOUR of God;
and to be FAR OFF signifies to be under his DISPLEASURE. So a
WICKED Jew might be said to be FAR OFF from God when he was
exposed to his DISPLEASURE; and a HOLY MAN, or a genuine
PENITENT, might be said to be NIGH TO GOD, because such persons
are in his FAVOUR. 2. Every person who offered a SACRIFICE to God
was considered as having ACCESS to him by the BLOOD of that
sacrifice: hence the priests, whose office it was to offer
sacrifices, were considered as being NIGH TO GOD; and all who
brought gifts to the altar were considered as APPROACHING the
Almighty. 3. Being FAR OFF, signified the state of the GENTILES
as contradistinguished from the JEWS, who were NIGH. And these
expressions were used in reference to the tabernacle, God's
dwelling-place among the Israelites, and the sacrifices there
offered. All those who had ACCESS to this TABERNACLE, or were
NIGH TO IT or encamped about it, were said to be NIGH TO GOD;
those who had NO ACCESS to it were said to be FAR OFF. Hence the
latter phrase is used to distinguish the GENTILES from the
JEWISH people; and this appears to be the meaning of the prophet,
Isa. lvii. 19: I CREATE THE FRUIT OF THE LIPS; PEACE, PEACE TO
him that is FAR OFF, AND TO him that is NEAR, SAITH THE LORD;
i.e. I give cause of PRAISE and REJOICING to the GENTILE as well
as to the JEW. And to this scripture, and to this thing, the
apostle seems here to allude. You Gentiles, who were UNACQUAINTED
with God, and were even WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLDS, are brought to
an ACQUAINTANCE with him; and are now, through Christ Jesus,
brought into the favour and fellowship of God. And as the Jews
of old APPROACHED God by the BLOOD of their SACRIFICES, so YOU
APPROACH him BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
FOR HE IS OUR PEACE] Jesus Christ has died for both Jews and
Gentiles, and has become a PEACE-OFFERING .....shalom, to
reconcile both to God and to each other.
WHO HATH MADE BOTH ONE] Formed one Church out of the believers
of both people.
THE MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION].......Some think it refers to their
ancient manner of living among the Gentiles, as they always
endeavoured to live in some place BY THEMSELVES, and to have a
RIVER OR A WALL between them and their heathen neighbours........
When, at the death of Christ, the VEIL of the temple was RENT
from the top to the bottom, it was an emblem that THE WAY TO THE
HOLIEST WAS LAID OPEN, and that the people at large, both Jews
and Gentiles, were to have ACCESS to the holiest by the BLOOD OF
JESUS. Some think there is an allusion here to the wall called
CHEL, which separated the COURT OF ISRAEL from the COURT OF THE
HAVING ABOLISHED IN HIS FLESH] By his INCARNATION and DEATH he
not only made an atonement for sin, but he appointed the DOCTRINE
OF RECONCILIATION to God, and of LOVE TO EACH OTHER, to be
preached in all nations; and thus glory was brought to God in the
highest, and on earth, peace and good will were diffused among
The ENMITY of which the apostle speaks were reciprocal among the
JEWS and GENTILES.
The FORMER detested the GENTILES, and could hardly allow them the
denomination of MEN; the LATTER had the JEWS in the most
sovereign contempt, because of the peculiarity of their religious
rites and ceremonies, which were different from those of all the
other nations of the earth.
THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS] Contained in, or rather CONCERNING,
ORDINANCES; which law was made merely for the purpose of keeping
the Jews a DISTINCT people, and pointing out the Son of God till
he should come. When, therefore, the END of its institution was
answered, it was no long NECESSARY; and Christ by his death
TO MAKE IN HIMSELF] To make one Church out of both people, which
should be considered the BODY of which Jesus Christ is the HEAD.
Thus he makes ONE NEW MAN - one new Church; and thus he MAKES and
THAT HE MIGHT RECONCILE BOTH - IN ONE BODY) That the Jews and
Gentiles, believing on the Lord Jesus, might lay aside all their
causes of contention, and become one spiritual BODY, or SOCIETY
HAVING SLAIN THE ENMITY THEREBY] Having, by his death upon the
cross, made reconciliation between God and man, and by his Spirit
in their hearts removed the ENMITY of their fallen, sinful
nature. Dr. Macknight thinks that ABOLISHING THE ENMITY is
spoken of the removal of the HATRED which the Jews and Gentiles
mutually bore to each other because of the DIFFERENCE of their
RESPECTIVE RELIGIOUS WORSHIP; and that SLAYING the ENMITY refers
to the REMOVAL of evil LUSTS and AFFECTIONS from the heart of
man, by the power of Divine grace.......
AND CAME AND PREACHED PEACE] Proclaimed the readiness of God to
forgive and save both Jews and Gentiles" (emphasis Clarke's).
"BUT NOW, IN CHRIST JESUS. By the coming atonement of the Lord
Jesus, and by the gospel which he preached. YE WHO SOMETIMES WERE
FAR OFF. Who were FORMERLY - (he gives the Greek - Hunt). Tindal
translates it A WHYLE AGOO. The phrase FAR OFF - (he gives the
Greek - Hunt) - means that they were formerly far off from God
and his people....... ARE MADE NIGH. Are admitted to the favour
of God, and permitted to approach him as his worshippers.
BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. The Jews came near to the mercy-seat on
which the symbol of the Divine Presence rested, (Notes on Rom.
ii. 25,) by the blood that was offered in sacrifice; that is, the
high priest approached that mercy-seat with blood, and sprinkled
it before God. Now we are permitted to approach him with the
blood of atonement. The shedding of that blood has prepared the
way by which Gentiles as well as Jews may approach God, and it is
by that offering that we are led to seek God.
FOR HE IS OUR PEACE........The PEACE here referred to is that by
which a UNION in worship and in feeling has been produced between
the Jews and the Gentiles. Formerly they were alienated and
separate. They had different objects of worship; different
religious rites; different views and feelings. The Jews regarded
the Gentiles with hatred, and the Gentiles the Jews with scorn.
Now, says the apostle, they are at peace. They worship the same
God. They have the same Saviour. They depend on the same
atonement. They have the same hope....... Reconciliation has not
only taken place with God, but with each other. THE BEST
WAY TO PRODUCE PEACE BETWEEN ALIENATED MINDS IS TO BRING THEM TO
THE SAME SAVIOUR....... WHO HATH MADE BOTH ONE. Both Gentiles
and Jews. He has united them in one society.
HAVING BROKEN DOWN THE MIDDLE WALL. There is an allusion here
undoubtedly to the wall of partition in the temple, by which the
court of the Gentiles was separated from that of the Jews. See
Notes and the plan of the temple, in Matt. xxi, 12. The idea
here is, that that was now broken down, and that the Gentiles had
the same access to the temple as the Jews. The sense is, that in
virtue of the sacrifice of the Redeemer they were admitted to
the same privilege and hopes.
HAVING ABOLISHED. Having brought to naught or put an end to
it.......IN HIS FLESH. By the sacrifices of his body on the
cross.......THE ENMITY. Between the Jew and the Gentile.......
The idea is, that the ceremonial law of the Jews, on which they
so much prided themselves, was the cause of the hostility
existing between them. That made them different people, and laid
the foundation for the alienation which existed between them.
They had different laws; different institutions; a different
religion. The Jews looked upon themselves as the favourites of
Heaven; and as in possession of the knowledge of the only way of
salvation; the Gentiles regarded their laws with contempt, and
looked upon the peculiar institutions with scorn. When Christ
came, and abolished by his death their peculiar ceremonial laws,
of course the cause of this alienation ceased.
EVEN THE LAWS OF COMMANDMENTS........ This does not refer to the
MORAL law, which was not the cause of the alienation, and which
was no abolished by the death of Christ, but to the laws
commanding sacrifices ....... These were the occasion of the
enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles, and these were
abolished by the great sacrifice which the Redeemer made; and of
course when that was made, the purpose for which these laws were
instituted was accomplished, and they ceased to be of value and
to be binding.......
HAVING SLAIN THE ENMITY. Not only the enmity between Jews and
Gentiles, but the enmity between the sinner and God. He has by
that death removed all the obstacles to reconciliation on the
part of God and on the part of men" (emphasis Barnes').
Do you see? It was the peculiar ceremonial laws of the Jews,
those rules that kept the Jews and Gentiles separated, laws such
as that which pertained to the TEMPLE, where the Jews(not God)
had enacted a dividing wall that if a Gentile crossed, it would
cost him his life.
Notice also, this ENMITY (the law of commandments in ordinances)
was abolished by the FLESH of Christ, by the CROSS (death) of
Christ. This enmity was upon BOTH Gentile and Jew - both were
under the power of this enmity that had now been slain by the
death of Jesus. What was this enmity as expressed in "the law of
commandments in ordinances" ?
The Greek word for "ordinances" is "dogma." It is used only FOUR
other times in the NT. In ALL FOUR places it is expressing the
DECREES OF MEN, not of God's commandments!
It is with the fourth scripture that we want to specifically take
note, for this verse actually explains and says the same thing as
EPH>2:15 but in a clearer way. This Greek word is again used by
paul in COL.2:14.
Notice the CONTEXT! In verse 8 Paul tells the Colossians to
BEWARE lest any MAN through PHILOSOPHY, DECEIT, TRADITIONS OF MEN
and THINGS OF THE WORLD, should SPOIL them - TAKE THEM AWAY FROM
For, he tells them in verse 11 that through Jesus they had PUT
OFF the body of SINS, whereas (v.13) they had been DEAD in their
sins (they were found to be sinners by the law of God, as we have
seen in 1 John 3:4; and Romans 7:7 and so under the death
sentence, see Rom.6:23). God, through Christ had given them LIFE
(by removing the death sentence in their stead), having DONE
WHAT? Removing the 10 Commandment law so there would be
no sin henceforth? NO! ".......having FORGIVEN YOU ALL
TRESPASSES" and "blotting out" WHAT? God's spiritual, holy, just
and good, ten point law? NO! "Blotting out the HANDWRITING of
ORDINANCES (dogmas) that was AGAINST US, which was CONTRARY to
us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (v.14).
What is the context? What has Paul been speaking about? Has he
been talking about the "terrible ten" or that "ten point law of
bondage" as some like to call the Ten Commandments today? NO!
He has been talking about SIN! He has been talking about
PHILOSOPHY, DECEIT, THINGS OF THE WORLD, the TRADITIONS (decrees
- dogmas) of MEN, that the Colossians had been guilty of
practicing, and in so doing, had SINNED! They had built
up a WALL of enmity between themselves and God the Father.
But now, Jesus had come - taken their sins upon Himself - taken
their DEATH sentence upon Himself. Taken the ENMITY that stood
between man and God, upon Himself, died on the stake for the sins
of the whole world, that all men, both Jew and Gentile (for ALL
have sinned - Rom.5:12) might "reconcile both unto God in one
body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (v.16).
Jesus slew the enmity that stood between man (Jew and Gentile)
and God the Father. That enmity was SIN and DEATH!
The "handwriting of dogma (decrees) that was against us" (v.14)
that Jesus took away by His death on the tree, were the
DOGMATIZOMAI (akin to the Greek "dogma" - a verb, of which
"dogma" is the noun), the decrees of the world, the ordinances,
philosophies, traditions "AFTER the commandments and doctrines of
MEN" (verses 20-22).
All persons have been, at some time in their lives, guilty of
following the dictates, opinions, and traditions of the society
around them. Many of those customs, philosophies, and teachings
of mankind have been CONTRARY to the WAY of the Lord God. They
have been the way of SIN and DEATH (Prov.14:12; Mark 7:7;
Those sins were written down, so to speak, in a book. They stood
AGAINST US (Col. 2:14).
We had a DEBT to pay to the heavenly Father, which debt was
DEATH! The holy law of God showed us we were sinners and it
condemned us to death. It was powerless to FORGIVE sins. What
was holy, just and good, what was ordained to bring life, joy,
blessing and happiness, was as Paul said, "found to be unto
death" (Rom. 7:10). The righteous law of God, and the word of
God, could only be, as James wrote, a MIRROR - showing us that we
have sinned, that our sins have been recorded, written down and
STAND AGAINST US. All have incurred ENMITY between themselves and
God, by sinning. All have followed at some point in their life,
the laws, commandments, traditions and philosophies of MEN as
contained in DECREES or Dogmas of those men and societies and
have so broken the perfect law of God. The 10 commandment law
cannot blot out those sins written down. The word of God as
such cannot blot them out. We, of our selves cannot blot them
out. We stand before God as good as SLAIN men - the enmity
between us and the Father - SIN, says we must pay our debt - we
must DIE! But, "God so loved the world, that he gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should NOT PERISH,
but have EVERLASTING LIFE " (Jn.3:16).
Jesus came to take our sins upon Himself, to take the death
penalty that was upon us and to die in our stead. His death on
the cross BLOTTED OUT, the bond of debt (sin and death)
that was written down against us. His death took it out of the
way. The enmity was SLAIN so we could have our trespasses, our
sins FORGIVEN. As we stood as good as dead in our sins, we who
were FAR OFF are now made nigh - now reconciled to the Father by
the blood of Christ, having dissolved - broken down the wall of
SIN that stood between us and God and having rendered powerless
(abolished) the dogmas, philosophies, traditions and doctrines of
men which led us to sin. He, having slain this enmity of sin
that both Jew and Gentile had incurred, came and preached peace
to those who were far off (Gentiles) and to them that were
nigh (Jews). For through Jesus all peoples have access by one
Spirit unto the Father. All have sinned, but all can be made near
or reconciled to the Father through the blood, dead, and cross of
For further reading on Col. 2:13-15, I recommend the comments of
As for the phrase "Blotting out the handwriting" in Col. 2:14,
there is an illuminating comment concerning this in the FOREWORD
(page 9) to VINE'S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NT WORDS (old
Neither Jesus, Peter, Paul, John or any other apostle of the NT
ever taught, wrote, or preached that God's 10 commandments were
ABOLISHED at the cross or any time after.
For further in depth study on what the word of the Lord says
regarding SIN, REPENTANCE, LAW, GRACE and SALVATION, see the
other studies on those subjects on this Website.
Written in 1984
All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published,
e-mailed, and distributed as led by the Spirit. Mr. Hunt trusts
nothing will be changed without his consent.