"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His Commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments; and His Commandments are not burdensome." 1 John 5:2-3
In modern Christianity it is common for Churches to teach that the Ten Commandments were fulfilled in Christ and are no longer required for Christians. However in Matthew 5 Jesus told His followers that though He had come to fulfill, to never imagine that He had come to abolish the Law saying not even a comma shall pass from the Law until heaven and earth pass away.
Jesus went on to give a warning, saying that whoever relaxes even the least Commandment and teaches others to do the same will be ranked least in the Kingdom of God.
Rather than take away, later in the same chapter He went on to magnify two of the Commandments saying to hate is to murder and to lust is to commit adultery. These are not sins according to the letter of the Law but are sins of the heart and violate the spiritual intent of the Commandments. -"Who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (vs.28)
The Christian Covenant is a spiritual Covenant but in regards to the Commandments the Spirit magnifies the letter rather than abolishes it.
For example, the truth that lust in the heart is adultery does not nullify the letter of the Law which forbids the acting out of the lustful thought. The Spirit does not change the letter but gives deeper insight into the meaning of the Commandment.
Concerning the Fourth Commandment, I have heard some say that they donít believe that keeping the Sabbath is necessary because Jesus is the true Rest and that He is the real spiritual meaning of the day. They reason that the letter of this Commandment is abolished in Christ therefore they can break the letter as long as they obey the spiritual magnification. This would be like saying that you can commit adultery in the letter as long as you donít have lust in your heart, or you can murder someone as long as you donít have hatred in your heart for them.
Interestingly, Jesus gave a Sabbath Commandment in His Olivet Prophecies, saying, -"Pray that your flight (from Anti-Christ) will not be in the winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be Great Tribulation." (Matt.24) In giving this command Jesus confirms that the seventh day is unlike other week days and is holy.
The Second Commandment forbids the practice of idolatry which to the Jew would simply mean to not worship a graven image. But in the New Testament, rather than abolish the letter, the Apostle Paul magnifies the Commandment with the Spirit saying that greed is idolatry. (Col.3) In fact, the N.T. teaches that anything or anyone exalted above God is an idol. Clearly the Spirit magnifies the Commandments rather than annuls them.
Some embrace the thought that Jesus gave only one Commandment - that we are to love another. These often say that since all of the Commandments can be summed up in loving God and loving man that no specific details are needed.
Todayís text says that we come to know that we love God and His Children when we observe His Commandments. The letter of the Commandments are necessary for this to work, because without them it would be like saying,-"I know that I love God and the brethren because I keep the Commandment to love God and the brethren." Without the details of how this love should be expressed it is an empty Command. Any faith practiced without works is dead.