The Ten Commandments or the Law of God Series
CONTEXT: Psalm one is all about choosing Godly wisdom over our own. If we are to have any hope of being successful in this life, we must follow the instructions given to Joshua, book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth.
Having gone through all Ten of the Commandments what more can be said, much actually. I will begin again with Keach’s final thoughts on the matter:
87. Is. any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
88. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
89. What doth every sin deserve?
90. What doth God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life,174 with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.175
Let me for a moment simplify Keach even further:
Man is incapable of keeping these commandments in whole
Some sins are worse than others
All Sins deserve God’s Wrath
Only Christ can save us from God’s wrath
Let us look at the first issue. If we know in advance a man is incapable of keeping these commandments what are we to do? Looking back at Psalm 1, it tells us we are to delight in the Law even though we are incapable of fully keeping the Law. So a right understanding leads to delight leading to better obedience.
John Colquhoun, in his A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel, beginning on page 68 lays out these rules for our help in understanding the Ten Commandments:
Understanding rightly the perfection, spirituality, and great extent of the divine law is necessary to qualify believers for delighting in it after the inward man, and for performing acceptable obedience to all its precepts. The holy Psalmist, therefore, prayed thus: “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:34). “I am a stranger in the earth; hide not Thy commandments from me” (Psalm 119:19).
The Ten Commandments contain very much in a few words, which cannot but render it more difficult to apprehend their full meaning. Therefore, the rules to be carefully observed for understanding them rightly are chiefly the following:
RULE 1. Where a duty is required, the contrary sin is forbidden (Isaiah 58:13); and where a sin is forbidden the contrary duty is required (Ephesians 4:28).
RULE 2. Where a duty is required, every duty of the same kind is also required; and where a sin is forbidden, every sin of the same sort is prohibited.
RULE 3. That which is forbidden is at no time to be done; but that which is required is to be done only when the Lord affords opportunity.
RULE 4. Whatever we ourselves are commanded to be, do, or forbear, we are obliged to do all that it is possible for us to do, according to our places and stations in society, to make others around us to be, do, or forbear the same.
RULE 5. The same duty is required and the same sin is forbidden, in different respects, in several and even in all the divine commands.
RULE 6. Where a duty is required, the use of all the means of performing it aright, is required; and where a sin is forbidden, every cause, and even every occasion of it, are prohibited.
RULE 7. No sin is at any time to be committed in order to avoid or prevent a greater sin. We must not “do evil that good may come” (Romans 3:8) The very least sin ought not, on any account whatever, to be committed.
RULE 8. The commandments of the second table of the law must give place to those of the first when they cannot both be observed together.
RULE 9. In our obedience, we should have a special and constant respect to the scope and final end at which the Lord aims by all the commandments in general, or by any one of them in particular.
If man were capable of full obedience then there would have been no need for Calvary. The “Good News” would be that we would all be living in Eden and Adam would not have failed. But alas, given the choice man always fails and so here we are needing a Crucified Savior.
Getting to that place of acceptance in the need of a savor requires knowledge of our sinful nature. Thus the need for understanding of the Ten Commandments.
Do you delight and meditate upon the Law of God?
Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5, The Ten Commandments
Keach’s Baptist Catechism of 1677 – Modern #44-92
Thomas Watson’s classic The Ten Commandments
Systematic Theology, Charles Hodge, Chapter XIX, The Law
The Ten Commandments, by A. W. Pink
The Doctrine of Law and the Grace Unfolded – John Bunyan
A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel by John Colquhoun, D.D