The Law Written on Our Hearts is not the Ten Commandments

Law in our hearts

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,” says the Lord. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Heb 10:16)

“This is obviously a reference to the law of Moses,” says the law-preacher. “The Ten Commandments were written in stone, now they’re written in the hearts and minds of God’s people.”

Not true. Here are seventeen reasons why God has not written the Ten Commandments on your heart:

1. The law inflames sin (Rom 5:20) and the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor 15:56). Why would God want to stir up sin in your life?

2. The law condemns (2 Cor 3:9), yet there is no condemnation to those in Christ.

3. The law ministers death (2 Cor 3:7), but God wants you to enjoy abundant life.

4. Law and grace don’t mix. You are under grace, not law (Rom 6:14).

5. Living by the law will alienate you from Christ (Gal 5:4).

6. Living by the law is cheating on Jesus (Rom 7). Why would God do anything to encourage spiritual adultery?

7. We’re to live by faith but the law is not of faith (Gal 3:12). The law encourages us to depend on ourselves instead of Jesus.

8. Those who live under the law are under a curse (Gal 3:10). Why would God curse those he has blessed?

9. The law binds and enslaves (Rom 7:6), but Jesus wants you free.

10. The law keeps you immature for it makes nothing perfect or complete (Heb 7:19).

11. We have died to the law so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and “not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6).

12. When there has been a change of priesthood, the law must be changed also (Heb 7:12). For God to write the old law on our hearts would be like saying Aaron is greater than Jesus.

13. God found fault with the law-keeping covenant and made it obsolete (Heb 8:7,13). Why would God insult his Son’s sacrifice by giving you the very thing his sacrifice rendered obsolete?

14. The law is a shadow of the good things to come and not the reality (Heb 10:1). Why would God give you the shadow instead of “the good thing”?

15. The Jews considered the law to be ordained by angels (Heb 2:2). If so, says the author of Hebrews, then it is inferior to the gospel of Jesus (Heb 1:4). Why would God give you an inferior gift?

16. Some Christians think that God gives them the law as a guide to live by, but why would God want you to repeat the mistake of the Galatians (Gal 3:2)? Why would God do anything to make you fall from grace?

17. The old law-keeping covenant required an accounting or remembering of sin, but the new covenant is characterized by God forgiving and forgetting on account of Jesus (Heb 10:17). If the law that God writes in our hearts is the law of Moses, then Jesus died for nothing.

If God has written the Ten Commandments on your heart and mind, you should be able to list all ten with no trouble. Can you? What’s the seventh commandment? You can’t do it because it’s not there, and a very good thing that is too! If the law that God writes in our hearts is the law of Moses, you’re in big trouble.

The good news is that God has written in us a far better law. What is this new and better law? We’ll find out in the next post!

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32 Comments on The Law Written on Our Hearts is not the Ten Commandments

  1. momzilla76 // July 21, 2017 at 12:13 am // Reply

    The division between old testament and new testament exists for a reason. If you are not yet at a place where you can discern that then you may not as spiritually old as you think you are. The key is found in the word testament itself which scripturally uses the same Greek word for covenant. All believers should be fully grounded upon the knowledge and wisdom of the covenant that Christ ushered in with His own blood, His new testament-covenant. Without that grounding well meaning people blend up what God Himself has clearly separated. Jesus Himself distills everything previously written down to two commands. Miss that and the risk is great to place a yoke upon necks that even the fathers could not bear.

  2. How about I John 3:23 for the laws that he places on our hearts? And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he has commanded us. That that is not law that kills but gives life.

  3. The Ten Commandments are Gods Law written in his own hand on tablets of stone. The other Laws are written on paper by mans hand and are call the Mosaic Laws. These are the ones that no longer apply. God’s Law (The Ten Commandments) are the ones that are put in our minds and written in our hearts.

    • There are seventeen problems with this interpretation, as I outline in the article above. I know many law-minded people believe the Ten Commandments were not part of Moses’ Law, but this is not what the Bible teaches (see John 1:17, Hebrews 2:2). Jesus plainly referred to the Ten Commandments as Moses’ Law. When speaking of the sixth commandment he said, “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill me?” (John 7:19).

      • How could anyone say the Ten Commandments are not the Mosaic Law when, yes it was God that put them on stone but, it was Moses that brought the stones down from the mountain which is why they are referred to as the Laws of Moses. That’s crazy.

    • If you notice on Deuteronomy 4:13 and 9:9 The ten commandments on stone are called the covenant. Hebrews 8 tells us that the first covenant has been replaced(because Jesus fulfilled it to completion) by a new covenant based upon better promises. If the ten commandments were truly what is written upon our hearts no one would argue about which day of the week we came together for church on. It would be a non issue as our hearts would spiritually lead us to choosing the Sabbath(Saturday). Yet the majority of genuinely saved people choose a different day. Those two things stood out to me when I went to study this out for myself. The 10 are called the first covenant and we Jesus believers are under a new and better one. Plus no one except one scant denomination holds services and rests on Saturday..

    • I John 3:23 are the new laws I believe God is referring to when he says this. Sinners are convicted of sin, Christians are convicted of their righteousness in Christ.

    • tatjana virant kramar // October 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm // Reply

      on STONE…. but God promised us aNEW heart of flesh.. Law is NOT for the just, says ap. Paul. We are just(ified) in Christ. Stone- flesh, not just – justified…SEe the difference?

  4. Breaking which law is a sin? And by keeping which laws we come UNDER LAW?

    • Roshan J Easo // September 30, 2017 at 9:14 am // Reply

      Break one you break them all. The law says “Thou shalt not”, but the new covenant of grace God says, “I shall”. Law says, “Do not covet”. Grace says, “Love your spouse” and “Freely accept others as Christ accepted you.” The only law that counts is the law of faith and love: of rest in Christ Jesus as a saint dearly loved along with all the saints everywhere. Law says don’t sin and sin increases. But grace increases all the more. Keep your gaze upon Christ with whom you are seated in heavenly places above all rule and authority and every name that can be named. In Grace to Transformation, “we are not against the system, but against a dead idea in favor of a Living Savior.” You can be blessing-conscious because Jesus died and rose again to be our curse in our place. If it sounds like a curse it’s not for you. If it sounds like a blessing, you can have it.

  5. LOL, I hate cliff hangers but it’s okay because I already know what laws God has written on our hearts and your right, there is no way it is the 10 Commandments.

  6. Tito Agustin // October 20, 2017 at 5:39 pm // Reply

    .if we read the text in Hebrews 8:10: “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Verse 10 clearly says it is for the nation of Israel only…

    • The new covenant forged in Christ’s blood is for everyone Jesus died for; i.e., it’s for all. If it was only for the Jews, why would Paul preach it to the Gentiles in Corinth (1 Cor 11:25)? The old covenant with its laws was for Israel, but that covenant was a shadow of a better covenant with better laws written in better blood for all (Heb 7:22, 8:5-6, 12:24).

  7. The Scriptures are in harmony with themselves, Paul wouldn’t contradict himself, or any other part of scripture. Romans 3:31- Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not yea, we establish the law.

    • The law was established for it’s God given purpose which is mentioned earlier in chapter 3. Verse 19 says the Law was to show the that the world was guilty before God. I challenge you to compare Deuteronomy 4:13, 9:9 and Hebrews 8:8-13.

  8. Such a good article and such good points. It is sad that so many in christianity today are not taught this. All we hear is a mixture of law and grace. We have such good news but are so mixed up and confused on the truth. Thanks for the article.

  9. Paul, you are overreaching, IMHO.
    The Decalogue, as it functioned under the Old Covenant to the Jewish people, has been done away with. No question about that. And of course it has no justifying properties. That said, as the Decalogue represents and articulates natural/moral law and reflects the enduring character of God Himself, it has not been done away with (Matthew 5:17-20). To pit the Royal Law of Christ against the moral law of God is to try to start a war where there is actually infinite affinity.

    • Hi Jeff, this is not Paul, this is Juan, but I would like to tell you something, the Decalogue is called the ministration of condemnation and death as we can see:

      2Co 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

      2Co 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
      2Co 3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

      Ministration means service / aid, the commandments are good at killing us that is why Paul said:

      Ro 7:9 when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

      That is why we live under grace, not under Law; we live by faith, not by works; we are led by the Holy Spirit, not by the commandments.

      Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

      Grace and Peace!

    • I would also add to Juan’s comment that the did not simply “function under the Old Covenant” it was the old covenant. Check out the wording in Deuteronomy 4:13 & 9:9.
      Jesus summed up the moral law as love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself. If you love you are fulfilling it all. One can also “follow”(outwardly) the 10 commandment and not have one drop of love in their hearts except for themselves.

  10. You touch all the bases Paul and sew up all the loose ends!

    You should be a star player for the New York Yankees!

    D.L. Moody said of R.A. Torrey that you couldn’t get a razor blade between his theology—that’s the way I see you!

    I am so glad you are on my team! 👌😊

  11. Paul, I love you and respect all you have written. I thank God for you. However, I do think you missed it on this one. Reading with the eyes of Grace, I see this scripture as meaning that what God has written on our hearts is the spirit and not the letter of the Law. With the new birth we now can love God and our fellowman and this is what inclines us toward not doing the dont’s and doing the do’s of the decalogue. For your consideration.

  12. There are so many things that I would disagree but I would touch only 2 points to represent my views. I wish you would elaborate on all your points since that would be more a good Bible study and discussion.

    You said:
    1. The law inflames sin (Rom 5:20) and the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor 15:56). Why would God want to stir up sin in your life?
    2. The law condemns (2 Cor 3:9), yet there is no condemnation to those in Christ.

    Response: Your implication, as I understand it, is that stirring up sin in one’s life is horrible and that comdemnation should never happen, Therefore the law is not a good thing. But this implication is so opposite of what the Bible says about the 10 commandments… Not understanding this leads us to disregard the law and leads us to lawlessness. To be shown that what is done is really sinful and to be condemned will really hurt us and that we will die because of it, but not knowing that we are in a precarious condition is worse.

    Love drove God to give those commandments in order to give us life (Rom_7:10  And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.) but because of sin He died to save us. That says a lot about the value of His laws. And he will not save us so we can continue sinning but He will save us from sin. That is why the law had to be in the heart, not external (in tablets of stone) and it will take God to do it. (the new covenant, (Heb 8:10; 2Cor 3:3)

    • The scriptures are very clear that the law is good, for all the reasons you mentioned. It is a common misperception that we who preach grace are somehow opposed to the law or that our message promotes lawlessness. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Excellent question! Why would God want to stir up sin in our life with the Law? To prove to us that we cannot rely upon our own abilities to be right with Him, that no amount of being super good and obedient can let us not cast ourselves on Christ.
      I see your confusion about the 10 commandments. A brief comparison of Deuteronomy 4:13, 9:9 and Hebrews 8:8-13should clear that confusion up. The 10 C’s are the old covenant according to scripture.

  13. God never wrote a ‘weak law’. The weakness (fault) was in the people…they had no faith in the Word of God. The law shows us what sin is, and all have sinned. This is where grace comes in to those who repent. Jesus clearly was speaking of the Ten Commandments in Matthew 19:17-19. Love to God is what brings faith (Gal 5:6) and faith will always produce good fruit.
    (Obedience). This is what Jesus taught…the greatest commandment is to LOVE the Lord God with ALL your heart! Blessings

  14. The law is written on your heart because you naturally understand that these things are to be done…and the law does not convict because we are under grace, this does not mean the law was abolished. Jesus came to fulfill the punishment of the law and add to it, not to abolish it. The bible also says that Jesus will know that you love him if you follow his fathers law. The ten commandments show us that none are without sin because we all broke one of these at some point in time. The law shows us we need Christ because without him we would be going to hell as law breakers and disobedient stiff necked people.

    Grace is not an excuse to disobey God we still must obey God’s laws. Which makes me laugh when people say we don’t need them…you’re right, because naturally you should already know them because they are written on your heart and mind. “dont steal, dont kill, dont covet, honor your parents, keep the day of rest, dont gossip about people, dont practice idolatry, dont commit adultry, dont lust after your neighbors wife, and don’t take the Lords name in vain.”…all of which we naturally know to do or not do.

    • Yet unless they are taught by people to do otherwise no Jesus follower naturally observes the Sabbath. By your explanation all honest believers should in their hearts feel compelled to observe it. Jesus never divorced the Sabbath commandment from the other 9. I suggest checking out Deuteronomy 4:13 & 9:9 and see what God’s word call the 10 commandments. Then check out Hebrews 8:8-13.
      Believers do avoid stealing, lying, idolatry and do honor their parents but not because of the 10 C’s but because if the law of love.

    • larissahamel // November 12, 2018 at 3:24 pm // Reply

      Yes, momzilla76 exactly! Also, read Romans 7:6-7. Notice that Paul says we are to serve God in the new way of walking in the spirit instead of the old way of obeying the letter of the law. And then see which law he refers to in the next verse, he uses “Do not covet” as an example of the law we are no longer under. A “moral law” and part of the 10 commandments.

      But you are right, the law is still in use to bring people to Christ. But it is not for those of us who are in Christ under the New Covenant. See 1 Timothy 1:8-11.

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