Westminster Shorter Catechism Q & A #39-42

June 14, 2017

Dear Friends,


We continue our journey through the Westminster Shorter Catechism with Q & A #39-42:

39. What is the duty which God requires of man?

The duty which God requires of man is obedience to his revealed will.

40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?

The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience was the moral law.

41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?

The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments.

42. What is the sum of the Ten Commandments?

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.


Imagine never having seen or heard of the game of basketball and being plopped down on a court and told to play – not only told to play but told that you were fashioned to play, that your Creator’s greatest joy is that those He made to play the game of basketball play in such a way that His good intentions for them are made known and his glory is revealed. 


Perhaps, if this happened, you’d have a couple of questions.  One, what is basketball?  Two, how does one play basketball?  Three, what are the rules of basketball?  Four, how am I supposed to get this ball through that hoop from way over here?  Five, do I get a pair of those awesome Air Jordans to wear while I play?


If we’re going to play a game, we need to know the rules.  Without the rules, the game falls apart.  Imagine a basketball court with no boundaries or a basketball game in which there were no fouls.  It just wouldn’t work.  The game would be chaos. 


Oftentimes we chafe under rules and boundaries.  We don’t like other people telling us what to do and when to do it and how to do it.  Yet, life without boundaries is just like the imagined game of basketball described above – chaos. 


Life isn’t a game, but it is a gift to us given by our Creator who reveals His will to us and desires our obedience.  The sum of his moral will for us is found in the 10 Commandments, and Jesus sums those commandments up in Matthew 22 with his teaching on the greatest commandments.  As we come to know and love Jesus, the desire to fulfill his will grows within us, and we come to see God’s commandments not as a chain around our necks but as boundaries within which we live in the pleasure of the One who made all things.


Even better than imagining being plopped down on a basketball court without knowing anything about the game is imagining a world in which every human being lives within God’s will.  Think of the trouble and pain that would be avoided.  Think of the joy of our Creator.


Jesus has established just such a kingdom, and at just the right time we will know it in all of its fullness.


Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!





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