Heidelbasics: Brief Weekly Reflections on the Heidelberg Catechism by Chuck Muether
92. What is the law of God?
“And God spoke all these words, saying:”
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.”
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
“You shall not murder.”
“You shall not commit adultery.”
“You shall not steal.”
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
93. How are these commandments divided?
Into two tables: the first of which teaches, in four commandments, what duties we owe to God; the second, in six, what duties we owe to our neighbor.
Ten words. God, Idol, Name, Day, Honor, Murder, Adultery, Steal, Lie, Covet. The beauty of the law is that it is theological, pedagogical, and ethical. As theological, it reflects the holiness of God. As pedagogical, it restrains evil by instructing us of our sinful nature and informing us of our need for His grace. As ethical, it reveals to us what is pleasing to God, and that would be our obedience.
We are no longer under the curse of the law, but we stand in a new relationship to it because our blessed Redeemer fulfilled every jot and tittle, and He took on the punishment for our disobedience. So we now can hold every thought, word, and deed to the captivity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflects, restrains, and reveals–this is what His law does. May His law be your