Dear Kallos: Do the Ten Commandments still apply to us today? If so, how do we apply them in our lives?

Issue 54  //  · 

Do the Ten Commandments still apply to us today? If so, how do we apply them in our lives? -Curious 

dear Curious,

Yes, the Ten Commandments written in Exodus 20:1–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21 definitely still apply to us today. In fact, the whole Bible’s teachings about the right way to live apply to our lives even till this day. The Bible is God’s given Word to us. One of the New Testament letters teaches us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16) — that includes the ten commandments! Another letter states that the Word of God is “alive and active [and] sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Our heart can be deceitful about what is right and wrong, and God’s Word is there to keep us on the right path. 

A useful way to think about the Ten Commandments is to anchor them to what Jesus calls the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39). The first four commandments are concerned with how to relate to God, while the rest of the commandments are about how to relate to others. If we keep these commandments, we are choosing to live in God’s ways and creating a community that rightly represents Him to others.

Let’s see how we can apply one of the commandments to our lives. The last commandment states, “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour” (Exod 20:17) This commandment warns us against excessively desiring something another person has. Simply put, we are to be content with what God has given to us and not be preoccupied with or seek after what does not belong to us. 

But what’s wrong with wanting what we don’t have? Today, there are many things that we can covet — certain brands of clothing or accessories, a vacation that your friends are going on that you can’t afford, a different body type, a better family… but when we strongly desire what we do not have, we lose our joy and contentment. Worse still, it leads us to sin, in despising what we do have, or ruthlessly striving to attain yet more and more. 

God’s commandment that we do not covet does not mean that we will not experience feelings of dissatisfaction. Rather, it encourages us to banish the sin of envy from our hearts, and turn to God, the only one who can truly satisfy our every need. It also urges us to be content with what God has given us, trusting that what He has blessed us with is more than enough for our needs. And those who don’t know Him might be drawn to ask us why we have such contentment (1 Tim 6:6).

The other nine commandments can equally be applied to our life, and continues to be relevant in every age. Dear sister, let’s live out our special calling as God’s children by obeying His Word and being a light in this dark world. 

Alina Teo
I am a mother of two littles. Some things that I love — vintage florals, mountains, cooking, sewing and writing. I have a heart for the broken and I take comfort in knowing that Christ can be our hope.

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