he Seventh-day Adventist Church applauds interest in the role of the Ten Commandments in public life. The Decalogue, as given on Mount Sinai, is a reflection of God’s character. It contains universal and unchanging principles of morality and describes our relationship to God and our fellow human beings.
For Seventh-day Adventists, obedience to the Ten Commandments represents the foundational expression of love and gratitude to God for His gift of salvation. We obey the law, not as a means of salvation, but as a response to God’s grace demonstrated most convincingly through the death of Jesus Christ in our behalf.
The Ten Commandments provide a moral compass in an age of relativism. Through God’s law, the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and brings us to a sense of utter helplessness. The law of God is the instrument by which the Spirit calls us to repentance. It also has a teaching function, revealing eternal principles of righteousness that contribute to the development of our character in the likeness of our Savior. Consequently, we comprehend more clearly how to serve others and our God.
Seventh-day Adventists see the embodiment of God’s law in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. They respect, honor and submit to it as God’s will for all people. By dealing with our thoughts, desires and motivations the Ten Commandments address more than external behavior. They challenge us to moral, spiritual and ethical purity.
Seventh-day Adventists believe the law of God features prominently in the controversy between Christ and Satan. In Satan’s final attack against God just prior to the second coming of Christ, the believer’s obedience to God’s law provides the best evidence of commitment to Christ.
Governments establish laws to preserve and protect the well being of their citizens. While civil law defines what is legal, God’s law defines what is moral. The first four commandments relate to our relationship with God. Any attempt to legislate these commands requires the state to interpret and apply God’s will, an act that is beyond its sphere of competence and jurisdiction. The final six commandments pertain to our relationship with one another. Laws in keeping with these principles of human conduct are common in civil societies. It is the duty of Christians to obey these laws, insofar as they are in keeping with God’s law, and to actively support efforts to improve them.
Seventh-day Adventists hold the Decalogue in highest esteem and appeal to men and women in all societies to live in harmony with its principles as a foundation for lives of loving service to humanity. At the same time, they recognize the need for tolerance, Christian humility, and respect for the rights of others in making application of these principles. Consequently, Seventh-day Adventists uphold the fundamental principles of religious liberty and the separation of church and state.
This statement was voted during the Spring Meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee on April 12, 2006 in Loma Linda, California.