From Your Pastor: A Gracious and Holy God (WSC 43-44)

WSC 43: What is the preface to the ten commandments? A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exod. 20:2).

WSC 44: What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us? A. The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, That because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments (Luke 1:74,75; 1 Pet. 1:15-19).]

Memory Verses: “…That we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (ESV Luke 1:74-75).

An Explanation: Zechariah’s song of praise in Luke 1:74-75 summarizes how we are to think of and live out our lives before God as His beloved children: God has delivered believers “from the hand of our enemies” so that we might serve Him without fear “in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days”! Believers are to live out their lives before the face of God, in fearless, courageous, holy, and righteous obedience to His commands. Why? Because God is Lord and King, and in Jesus Christ, He has become our Redeemer and Father!

Before God reveals the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, He reveals His saving love, grace, and power for believers, so that we might remember that we need His love, grace, and power from His Spirit in order to live the holy and righteous lives He has called us to in Christ. Without grace, not one sinner could ever please God and perfectly keep God’s commandments in our words, thoughts, and/or deeds.

Yet the Law revealed in the Ten Commandments is a revelation of the character of God and the will of God, and because we are God’s creatures, we should all seek to honor Him by glorifying Him and enjoying Him through obedience. Because of our sinfulness, we need God’s effectual call by His Spirit to make us alive and bring us by His grace into the light, granting us His immeasurable power so that we might truly desire to obey and enjoy Him!

In the preface to the Ten Commandments, we see, as Dr. Joel Beeke has written, that in the time of the law there is grace; in the time of grace, there is law. In justification, law and grace are opposed; in sanctification, law and grace are friends (Rom. 8:1-4). God teaches believers that our deliverance is all because of His grace—nothing that we have done, merited, or earned—all of grace: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you…out of the house of slavery” (Ex. 20:2). Salvation is a deliverance from slavery, and not merely a slavery of the real, physical bondage of Egypt, which was typical for the Old Covenant Church, but of the spiritual bondage and oppression of sin and the evil one. Once delivered from that terrible bondage, believers are brought into a state of grace (Col. 1:13-14), so that we are obligated (privileged!) to live holy and righteous lives before God, displaying to the world how man was created to live. This way of freedom in Christ is a life of holiness and righteousness that is particularly revealed in the Ten Commandments.

As we go through the Ten Commandments in the next few questions and answers from the Shorter Catechism, let us keep an illustration in mind. The Law of God can be likened to an enchanted mirror. The mirror can be seen in, but it can also be seen through. We look through the mirror of God’s commandments to see the wonderful and perfect character of our God, and His perfect holiness and righteousness. We look into the mirror and see the reflection of how we are living in light of His character and righteousness. As we look through the mirror, so we see a gracious and forgiving God who provides all the grace and power we need to live holy lives. As we look into the mirror and see our own reflection, we learn where we specifically need to repent of our sins and seek in Christ the grace and power to live holy lives. We look through the mirror to behold the happy and joyful life we were created to live, and in the mirror to behold both the progress we may be making in living before Him and the ongoing need of repentance and forgiveness in Christ Jesus!

Prayer: Father and God, thank you that you have delivered me from slavery and bondage to sin and Satan. Let me live before you all the days of my life in holiness and righteousness, serving you without fear.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: Law and Love (WSC Questions 41 & 42)

WSC 41: Where is the moral law summarily comprehended? A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments. (1) (1) Deut. 10:4; Matt. 19:17

WSC 42: What is the sum of the ten commandments? A. The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves. (1) (1) Matt. 22:37-40


An Explanation: The Bible teaches us that God is love (1 Jo. 4:8). Everything that God does is loving (Ex. 34:5-7). All that He commands to His people is loving. The moral law that is revealed in the ten commandments is an expression of God’s love to His people. The moral law is a summary of what real love looks like (Note how often love is defined by the doing of God’s commandments throughout the scriptures: Exo. 20:6; Deut. 11:1; Neh. 1:5; Psa. 119:47, 127; John 14:21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3). When our Lord Jesus was asked, what was the most important part of the moral law, He responded by teaching that it was love for God and neighbor that was most important (Matt. 22:39-40). God revealed the moral law in the ten commandments to teach his redeemed people how to live in a loving way before the world.

Each commandment is useful in teaching God’s people how to live in a loving way as His dearly beloved children (cf. Eph. 5:1-2). The preface to the ten commandments teaches that God chose His people and has released them by His grace from slavery and brought them into His most glorious light to bless them and make them like Him (Exo. 20:1-3; cf. Lev. 19:2). The first commandment teaches us how to love God first, before all other persons and things, so that we might realize the purpose and enjoy for which we were created. The ten commandments are made up of two tables. The Holy Spirit wrote one part in commandments one to four to teach how to love God; He wrote a second part in commandments five to ten to teach how to love others as ourselves.

Though we are fallen and sinful, and most unloving by nature, the Father uses the commandments to teach us of our need of a loving and forgiving Savior. One important use of the ten commandments is to teach us of our need for Christ, and thus to turn us in repentance from our unloving natures to seek by faith the grace and power that is held out for all who believe in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:19-29).

Jesus is the perfect manifestation of God’s love; Jesus teaches us how to love (1 Cor. 13:4-8a). In fact, the Apostle Paul says that the moral law is fulfilled when believers, living in union with Christ, love God and neighbor as themselves sincerely by faith (Rom. 13:8-10). Our Lord Jesus says to us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). This means that when we seek to be obedient by faith in Christ to God’s commandments, in dependence upon His grace, we glorify God, experience Christ’s joy (John 15:9-11), and realize the purpose for which we were created.

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).

Prayer: Teach us to love, dear Heavenly Father. Teach us to love like Christ Jesus. Teach us to love you with all of our beings, and our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us for our selfish, unloving hearts. Thank you, Jesus, for demonstrating such love for sinners by laying down your life for us to grant forgiveness for our unloving ways. Now, by your grace, we will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge our hearts, O LORD (Psa. 119:32)!

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs