Knowledge of Sin and Misery

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 2

3.Question: From where do you know your sins and misery?

Answer: From the law of God.[1]

[1] Rom. 3: 20;

4. Question: What does God’s law require of us?

Answer: Christ teaches us this in a summary in Matthew 22: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.[1] This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.[2]

[1] Deut. 6:5. [2] Lev. 19:18.

5. Question: Can you keep all this perfectly?

Answer: No,[1] I am inclined by nature to hate God and my neighbor.[2]

[1] Rom. 3:10, 23; I John 1:8, 10. [2] Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:23; 8:7; Eph. 2:3; Tit. 3:3.

Ten Commandments: Lesson 1, The Law of God

From my new book, The Way of the Lord: A Study of the Ten Commandments. Click here to buy the book and Bible study so you can use it devotionally or work through it with a small group of Christian brothers and sisters… or to even give away to someone who desires to learn more about the way of the Lord.

God’s moral law is abundantly set forth in Scripture, the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments), other Mosaic statutes, sermons by the prophets, the teaching of Jesus, and the New Testament letters. It reflects his holy character and his purposes for created human beings. God commands the behavior that he loves to see and forbids that which offends him. (J.I. Packer)

…the Ten Commandments represent the pathway out of our own self-orientation and into a whole new orientation that puts God, ourselves, and others in their rightful places. (Timothy Tennent)

I should understand the Ten Commandments as God’s righteous rules for life in his kingdom: basic standards for loving God and my neighbor. In upholding them, I bear witness with the Church to God’s righteousness and his will for a just society. (To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism)

Introduction

Jesus commands us to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This, he declares, summarizes the law and the prophets. The Apostle Paul, too, taught that obeying God’s commandments was an expression of love for God and others. In other words, Christian love has a shape to it. It is not a mere feeling. That shape is a way or pattern of life that reflects the very character of God because it comes from him and is commanded by him. Not only does the Law of God reveal God’s character to us but it is also for our good and the good of society.

In this lesson you will discover and meditate upon what the Law of God is and why we have it. God’s Law is not a list of arbitrary rules and regulations designed to oppress our freedom. Instead, these commands are life-giving because they are given by One who loves us and desires the best for us.


Bible Study (Each chapter in the book is followed by an in-depth Bible study)

Faithfulness in Marriage

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 41

108. Question: What does the seventh commandment teach us?

 Answer: That all unchastity is cursed by God.[1] We must therefore detest it from the heart[2] and live chaste and disciplined lives, both within and outside of holy marriage.[3]

 [1] Lev. 18:30; Eph. 5:3-5. [2] Jude 22, 23. [3] I Cor. 7:1-9; I Thess. 4:3-8; Heb. 13:4.

 109. Question: Does God in this commandment forbid nothing more than adultery and similar shameful sins?

 Answer: Since we, body and soul, are temples of the Holy Spirit, it is God’s will that we keep ourselves pure and holy. Therefore He forbids all unchaste acts, gestures, words, thoughts, desires,[1] and whatever may entice us to unchastity.[2]

 [1] Matt. 5:27-29; I Cor. 6:18-20; Eph. 5:3, 4. [2] I Cor. 15:33; Eph. 5:18.