September 1: School & Family Catechist WSC Q. 39-40.

by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 39 and 40.

Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?

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


Duty. –See Explication, Q. 3.

Obedience. —A doing cheerfully what God commands, because he requires it.

Revealed will. —God’s commandments, designs, and intentions, made known to us in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.


In this answer we are taught two things :

  1. That God requires obedience of man. —Jer. vii. 23. This thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice.
  2. That the rule of man’s obedience is God’s revealed will. —Micah. vi. 8. He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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

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


Obedience. —See Explication above for Q. 39

Moral Law. —That law which directs us in the performance of our duty both to God and to man, and which is therefore a rule of conduct for all mankind.

In this answer we are taught,

That the moral law was prescribed by God to man, at the very first, or at the creation, for directing his conduct. —Rom. ii. 14, 15. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law; these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts.


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