It was God who gave Moses the Ten Commandments. They were given to guide the Israelites towards fulfilling the covenant they had with God; Yahweh will be their God, and Israel will be God's people. God promised to love and protect Israel. In turn, Israel must worship only one God. Together with the ten commandments were other commandments that will further develop the love and covenant relationship between Israel and God. The fulfillment of the commandments lies in the faithfulness and obedience of the Israelites. It is a sign of Israel's continuous recognition of God. The goal is to establish a relationship that will later be governed by love and not just obedience of the law. God knew that man need to be guided in their relationship with each other and with Him. God hopes that man would recognize His own love in them. Having experienced being loved by LOVE Himself, God hopes that man would reciprocate in his full capacity to love God too!
The above is the spirit of the commandments. Following the commandments alone does not bring into fulfillment the purpose of God. Mere practice of the laws may bring man to righteousness. To set the laws as the only standard not only limits what man can not do but also what he can do. The laws are no doubt still the Word of God. But Jesus saw that they had enslaved rather than freed the Israelites, in our case, us. Obeying the laws should help us open more ourselves to the riches and depth of human relationship. Spiritual perfection is our ultimate destiny and not just fulfillment of given laws. Words are not enough to capture everything about human relations, much more our relations with God. After obeying all the given laws, we are expected to finally enter the law of love. The law had become love. The letter of the law evaporates into the aroma of love that consumes the lover and inebriates the beloved. The words of the law are not spelled anymore but lived.
The case of the rich young man comes into mind. He approached the Lord Jesus asking what good must he do to attain eternal life? The Lord answered that if he wishes to enter life, he must keep the commandments. The rich young man confidently answered that he had observed them all. Jesus then commanded the young man to sell all that he had and give them to the poor. We know the story. He went away very sad for he could not what Jesus finally wanted. He could not let go all his possessions. His possessions were more important for him than following the Lord. It turns out that he was not really following God, but merely doing the laws. He stopped at the laws. But the law could not save. The law could not bring him eternal life. It is God! It is Jesus. Afterwards, Jesus said to the apostles that it is easier for a camel to enter the needle's eye than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. The rich young obeyed all the laws but he realized that it was not enough. Jesus gave him the opportunity to go beyond the laws by following Him. Sadly, the young man did not take it.
This is what Jesus meant when He said that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He is the fulfillment of the law. The law should lead us to the love of God above all things. Having experienced and tasted the beauty and goodness of human love, we should ache for the bliss and glory of divine love. Having realized the joy of being with God, we should aspire not anymore for the graces from God but for God Himself who is the source of all graces. In Jesus, all laws come second. In Jesus, all laws are fulfilled. In Jesus, all laws become love!