The Commandments of God and How to Apply Them to TodayGood Morning,
Next in our walk we will be taking up WLC #99. It’s unique in that it’s one of the few examples of direct commands of particular application to be found within the catechism. Part of the reason for that is the catechism is not in the business of being a church government manual, the way that the Westminster Directory of that name was designed to be. That being said here is the Q/A:
Q. 99: What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments?
A. For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed: 1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth everyone to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience for ever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin. 2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures. 3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments. 4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included. 5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times. 6. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto, 7. That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.
The reason why the Divines felt that we needed to hear explicit instructions on the Ten Commandments is that they lived in a time of great need of clarification on this issue. We are in no different place than them. Much of the division found in the Reformed world centers around the question of the law in its role as both an agent of sanctification and its relationship to the Christian life in general. To help provide assistance for all of us we’ll take each of these seven in paragraphs of a bite-size nature.