Of all the things in the Bible the 10 Commandments are among the most well-known. Until recently you could find them displayed in many courthouses and public schools (still can in some areas). The American founding fathers knew and quoted them. The 1956 film with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner won the Oscar for best effects (although if you watch it now they seem pretty low tech).

So how do these commandments, given around 3,500 years ago apply today to you as a follower of Jesus?

1. God’s Covenant

A covenant is an agreement between two people or groups of people that spells out what each side will do and what each side will provide. For example a parent and their 16 year old driver might make a covenant. The driver is expected to drive safely, follow the laws, and pay for the gas they use. In return they get the use of the family car. The parent is expected to help the driver learn how to drive and keep the car maintained. In return they don’t have to drive the 16 year old around everywhere anymore.

In this covenant God tells His people, “I am your God and you are My people. So this is how our relationship will work:  I’ll bless you and care for you and you’ll keep My laws. This is how we’ll stay connected. And it’s how everyone will know that I am yours and you are mine.” That was true for the Israelites then, and it’s true for us today, too.

2. Against and for

Most of the commandments are God saying, “Don’t do this.” A good question to ask is, “If God is against this, what is He for?” When God tells us not to do something it’s usually because He wants something else that’s better for us. Sure, God is against stealing. But He’s also for generosity and being satisfied with what He’s given us. Looking at the commandments as asking, “What is God for?” gives us a much more mature understanding of God and what He wants for us.

3. Fear, love and Trust

These three words come up frequently in the meanings for the commandments. Think of them like this…

Fear: not being afraid of… but considering God as the most important thing, as the one to devote my life to

Love: to cherish and adore God, to want to please and serve Him

Trust: to rely on God to take care of me and keep His promises

4. They point us to Jesus When you read the 10 Commandments you should be struck at how you fail to keep them. Part of the job of the commandments is to point out our shortcomings. Why would God want to make us feel like failures? To remind us of how desperately we need Him. When we recognize how far we are from being able to keep God’s laws on our own it’s then that we understand why we need a savior. Jesus kept the commandments perfectly and He gives us His perfection because we can’t rely on our own.

The above materials is taken from our current Confirmation Journal with materials written by various individuals.