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In this section of the Baptist Larger Catechism, we continue our exhaustive discussion on the Ten Commandments, which is the summary of the moral law. This section consists of an expansion of questions 63-68 in the Keach Catechism and the Baptist Catechism on the Fourth Commandment. Because of the essential agreement between Reformed Presbyterians and Reformed Baptist on the use and function of the law, the extended answers are very similar to questions 115-121 in the Westminster Larger Catechism.
As before, feel free to comment on the additional questions added and the expanded questions below.
Q. 107: What is the fourth commandment?
A: The fourth commandment is: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.1
Q. 108: What is required in the fourth commandment?
A: The fourth commandment requires all men to sanctify or set apart to God the times He has established in His Word, and specifically one whole day out of every seven. This was the seventh day from the creation of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, which will continue until the end of the world. This is the Christian Sabbath,1 in the New Testament called the Lord’s day.2
Q. 109: How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
A: The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting for the whole day,1 even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days.2 Except for necessary works or acts of mercy,3 we should joyfully spend all our time publicly and privately worshiping God.4 To that end, we must prepare our hearts and carefully plan ahead so that our worldly business is taken care of beforehand in order that we may more readily spend the day the way God requires.5
Q. 110: What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A: The fourth commandment forbids failing to do anything required by the commandment;1 or doing it carelessly, negligently, or in such a way as not to benefit from it, and being tired of keeping it;2 also treating the day as unholy by loafing, by doing anything in itself sinful,3 and by all useless works, words, and thoughts about our worldly affairs and recreations.4
Q. 111: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A: The reasons added to the fourth commandment to emphasize its importance are first of all implied by its inherent fairness; God allows us six days out of every seven for own affairs and reserves only one for himself, in these words: Six days shall you labor and do all your work.1 God also insists that this day belongs to him, The seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.2 And there is the example of God himself, who in six days made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested on the seventh day. Finally God put a blessing on that day, not just by making it a holy day for serving him but also by establishing that our keeping the Sabbath holy will be a blessing to us as well, Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.3
1. Exodus 20:9
2. Exodus 20:10
3. Exodus 20:11
Q. 112: Why does the word Remember begin the fourth commandment?
A: The word Remember begins the fourth commandment1 in one respect, because it is highly beneficial to remember it: the word helps us prepare ourselves to keep the commandment,2 and when we do, it helps us to do a better job keeping all the other commandments;3 and the word also reminds us to remain ever thankful for the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain the essence of true religion.4 In another respect, the word “remember” reminds us how easy it is to forget to keep the Sabbath,5 for several reasons. First, keeping the Sabbath is not obvious to our natural, human understanding,6 while it additionally restricts our freedom from doing things that are lawful on other days.7 And, coming only every seventh day leaves plenty of time for us to become so engrossed with our own worldly affairs that we forget to prepare for the Sabbath or keep it holy.8 Finally, Satan himself with the tools at his disposal is hard at work to blot out the glory and even the memory of the Sabbath and so promote the neglect of religion and irreverence.9
1. Exodus 20:8
7. Exodus 34:21