The Bible is clear that the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses were given exclusively to the Hebrew people. Yet evangelical Christians focus an inordinate amount of attention on these Old Covenant precepts. In the process of emphasizing the Old Law, these Christians end up sounding much like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. The message of those religious instructors was a litany of requirements which had to be met in order to please God.
The Ten Commandments per se are an interesting list. It contains requirements which were exclusively Jewish in nature- remember the Sabbath Day, requirements which seem obvious to the average human- Don’t kill, and other commandments which were not so obvious- Don’t covet.
Paul said in Romans that the Gentiles operated under a law of the conscience, adhering to the at least some of provisions of the law. I believe he said this in recognition of the fact that the basic issues of morality- don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie- were well known separate and part from Jewish law. Paul further stated in Romans that the principle of love covered all aspects of the law without further elaboration. By implication, once one embraces love as an operating principle, you don’t need specific laws to follow. Your conscience can be your guide. Finally in Galatians, Paul reiterates the limited purpose of the Law- it was preparatory to Christ and His ministry. In II Corinthians, the Law is called the ministration of Death. Perpetuating law observance is not life giving, so why would the church want to incessantly point back to the Ten Commandments as our guide today?
Given Paul’s statements about the Jewish law and its relationship to the New Covenant, any present day reference to the Ten Commandments seems totally out of place. The entire idea of right standing before God due to obedience to rules, laws, and precepts is Old Covenant theology, the way of death. If Jesus came to destroy death (Hebrews 2) and direct mankind to abundant living, then his message could not have been to obey the law.