Think about what kind of world it would be if everyone obeyed the Ten Commandments. No one would steal from another or cheat on a mate. Everyone would honor and respect their parents. No one would kill or harm anyone intentionally. We could forget about the need to lock our doors or guard our possessions because everyone would respect our property. The world would be a safe place, where absolutely no one would be afraid of anyone doing them harm. And everyone would worship God in a manner that is pleasing to Him.
Today, you can apply the Ten Commandments in the same way Jesus showed us. Live your life striving to not only keep the letter of the Commandments, but also to fulfill them in spirit through a life of service and love for others
Of course, this is not the way the world is today. The Ten Commandments are not being applied in people's lives. Yet that does not prevent you from applying them in your life. With God’s help, it is possible for you to obey every one of the Ten Commandments. If you do, you will be a forerunner of a coming age when all people will keep them.
So, how do the Ten Commandments apply today? They apply not just to your external behaviors, but also to your heart. In fact, God has always intended that His law be kept in its fullness within the human heart. This is what Jesus Christ meant when He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets? I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
Christ explained the full application of the law of God should be in our heart. For example, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).
The Ten Commandments are the guidelines of the behavior God intends you to have toward Him and toward all people. Each of them applies in a deeply personal way. Jesus explained that the full intent of the commandments is love: love toward God and love for our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). He demonstrated this by His actions. He loved His Father so much that He did all He commanded. He loved us—His neighbors—so much that He laid down His life for us.
How can you apply them yourself?
Today, you can apply the Ten Commandments in the same way Jesus showed us. Live your life striving to not only keep the letter of the Commandments, but also to fulfill them in spirit through a life of service and love for others. To help you keep them fully from your heart, God promises to give you His Holy Spirit. He gives His Spirit “to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32)—that is, to those who have a desire to keep His commandments.
When God gave His commandments to ancient Israel, He realized they didn't have what it took to obey. God lamented, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29). The sad story of Israel is that they did not want to obey God. Their unwilling heart caused them to forfeit the blessings that come from obeying God’s commandments.
It is sad that ancient Israel, to whom they were given—and almost all of mankind in all history—did not apply the Ten Commandments in the way God would wish. Yet that is going to change. One day, in His coming Kingdom, God will fix what is wrong with the heart of mankind. After Jesus Christ returns to Earth, people will learn to develop a heart that loves God’s commandments. God says that in this coming time, “I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10). This is the kind of world that is coming. You will play a key part in it if you begin now to apply the Ten Commandments in their fullness to your heart. (To learn much more about this subject, read our free booklet The Ten Commandments.)