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The Ten Commandments in the 21st Century

by Stephen Davey

You may be surprised to know that most Americans, regardless of their religious identification, believe the Ten Commandments are still important principles to live by.

The only commandment to receive less than 50 percent approval by people surveyed was the fourth command, to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. The other nine all received majority support, with bans against murder, theft and lying receiving over 90 percent approval.

When you listen to the news, or see immorality corroding our culture, it may come as a surprise to read these statistics, but it makes sense why the Ten Commandments are as relevant today as they were back when God gave them. These universal principles of life are popular because, deep down inside, we all know what right and wrong is. We have a standard of morality, given to us by God.

As we conclude this study, I want to share two important reminders that bridge Mount Sinai and the 21st century.


Moral standards apart from belief in God is, ultimately, empty and meaningless. A “good” moral person who hasn’t accepted Christ will go to the same hell as the worst person you can possibly imagine.

Our desire to obey God’s law is built upon the foundation of a relationship with God through Christ. Apart from that personal relationship, all the good things a person can do will not get them any closer to winning God’s favor or earning His salvation.

Turning over a new leaf is not the same thing as experiencing a new life.


God told the prophet Isaiah, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

In other words, God’s laws are not subject to man’s interpretation. You may hear people attempt to justify their sin by changing the meaning of words in the Bible; or you may hear someone say, “Well, that activity was banned back then, but times have changed.”

God makes clear that His objective standard for morality is not up to the interpretation of a changing culture.

Furthermore, a depraved culture is not an excuse to abandon God’s law. God originally gave His commandments to a nation that had been surrounded by the polytheism of Egypt; the apostles declared God’s absolute truths in the shadow of Greek and Roman pantheons, not to mention the anti- Christian dictator Nero.

No matter how hostile a culture is to God’s law, and no matter how disobedient the world is to His commands, our obedience should be consistent.

Finally, God’s law can be used as an effective evangelistic tool. The gospel depends on people recognizing that they are sinful and completely unable to save themselves. A twisted moral compass can trick a person into believing they are not sinners, which is why the average person thinks they can repair their own “bad habits.”

When you can share God’s objective standard of morality with a person, and they accept that standard to be true, they immediately see how far they’ve missed the mark, and how much they need something—or Someone—to save them.

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