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In this section of the Baptist Larger Catechism, we continue our discussion on Ch. 19 in the 1689 London Baptist Confession on the moral law. This section provides an introduction of the Ten Commandments, which is the summary of the moral law. This section consists of an expansion of questions 47-50 in the Keach Catechism and the Baptist Catechism. An additional question has been added to discuss the general guidelines of understanding and applying the Ten Commandments, which is similar to question 99 in the Westminster Larger Catechism.
As before, feel free to comment on the additional questions added and the expanded questions below.
Q. 91: Where is the moral law summarized?
A: The moral law is summarized in the Ten Commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God on Mount Sinai and written down by Him on two stone tablets.1 The first four commandments establish our obligations to God and the remaining six our obligations to human beings.2
Q. 92: What is the sum of the Ten Commandments?
A: The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.1 The sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man is, to love our neighbor as ourselves,2 and to do to others what we would have them to do to us.3
3. Matthew 7:12
Q. 93: What is the preface to the Ten Commandments?
A: The preface to the Ten Commandments is: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.1 In these words God reveals His sovereign being as LORD, in and of Himself,2 eternal, unchangeable, and almighty God,3 who gives being to all His words4 and works.5 God also points here to His covenantal relationship with the Israelites in ancient times and with all His people,6 so that just as He brought the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt, He delivers us from spiritual enslavement.7 Consequently, we are bound to accept only Him as our God and to keep all His commandments.8
1. Exodus 20:2
2. Exodus 3:14
3. Isaiah 44:6
4. Exodus 6:3
7. Luke 1:74-75
Q. 94: What are the guidelines for the proper understanding of the Ten Commandments?
A: In order to understand the ten commandments properly, these guidelines should be followed:
- The law is perfect and binds the whole person to observe it completely, and according to its standard, to be completely righteous, and perfectly obey every one of its obligations forever. Moreover, the law forbids even the slightest or partial commission of any sin.1
- Since it is spiritual, the law involves our understanding, our will, our emotions, and all the other faculties of the soul, as well as our words, actions, and self-expressions. 2
- Different aspects of one and the same thing may be required or forbidden in several different commandments.3
- Where a duty is commanded, the opposite is forbidden;4 and, where a specific sin is forbidden, its opposite is commanded.5 In the same way, when a requirement of the law adds a promise of blessing for obedience, that promise also includes a warning for disobedience.6 When a warning is added, an opposite promises is included.7
- What God forbids must never be done at any time or under any circumstances.8 What he commands always remains an obligation,9 although every particular obligation of the law does not apply in all circumstances or at all times.10
- The prohibitions against specific sins and the commandments to observe specific obligations are typical and so cover not just those particular sins or obligations but all others of the same kind. They similarly include all the contributory causes, means, opportunities, and appearances related to these sins and obligations. 11
- Since the provisions of the law apply not only to us but to everyone else, we must try to help others keep those provisions, in the context of our position in life and theirs.12
- Similarly, we must support others in keeping what the law commands them to do or not to do and particularly by not joining them in doing what is forbidden to them.13
10. Matthew 12:7