August 28: WSC Q. 40

This Day in Presbyterian History:

The Moral Law

Presbyterians must have still been on vacation during the latter days of August as there is very little national Presbyterian history recorded on these last days, including today August 28!  So following up our recent post in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we look at another catechism which really goes along with it, namely, question and answer number 40.  It reads, “What did God at first reveal to man  for the rule of his obedience?”  And the answer reads, “The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.”  The next answer in the Catechism tells us that this moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.

The moral law, definition wise, is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding every to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience. (See Larger Catechism no. 93)  As such, it applies to every part of our being, body and soul.  It instructs us to perform duties of holiness to God and righteousness toward man, especially those of the house of faith.

Now it is easy for us — for you and for me — to glibly say those words in the above paragraph.  And yet, we immediately understand that it is utterly impossible for us to fulfil this moral law personally, perfectly, and perpetually.  If anything, this law immediately convicts us of our sinfulness.  And yet it clearly reveals the person and work of the Lord Jesus who kept this law personally, perfectly, and perpetually.  It was this which was imputed to us, even as our sinfulness was imputed to Jesus on the cross of Calvary.  We then seek to conform our lives to this moral law, not to gain salvation, but rather with a thankful spirit to all He has done for us.

Words to live by:  The moral law is summarized up for us in Exodus 10:1 – 17.  Choose any faithful Bible version you wish, and make it your aim to memorize the Ten Commandments, or review them from memory if you have done so before.  All Christians should have on their hearts and tongues an understanding of the moral law of God.

Through the Scriptures:  1 Chronicles 24 – 26

Through the Standards: Lawful and unlawful subjects of prayer in the catechisms       

WLC 183
“For whom are we to pray?  We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth; for magistrates, and ministers, for ourselves, our brethren, yea, our enemies; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.”

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