Deuteronomy 6:17 says, “Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.”
A command is an order given by someone who has authority, but a commandment is a “divine command.” And who has more authority than God? No one.
Wait a minute! That’s the Old Testament. That’s the law. We’re not under the law. We’re under grace.
That’s true. But does that mean that the Old Testament is invalid? No. Sixty-nine times in the New Testament, you will find the words, “it is written…” It’s written where? In the Old Testament. Even Jesus quotes the Old Testament several times. Why would He quote the Old Testament if it no longer applied to New Testament believers? Instead, He reminds us of the importance of God’s commandments when he says in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” In giving us a new commandment, Jesus did not nullify the Old Testament commandments, but rather, He simply added one more.
In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus said, “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5. Then He added, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:39-40)
If believers strive to honor God by obeying these two commandments, Jesus wouldn’t have to command us to love one another. We wouldn’t steal from our neighbor or lie and gossip about him or cheat him (or her). We wouldn’t misuse or abuse others in anyway. We’d be quick to forgive others as we desire God to forgive us. That is what He means by “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Read the story of the good Samaritan for Jesus’ definition of ‘neighbor.’ Luke 10:27-37)
So, then, what does God want us to do?
I John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”