X-Nupop-Charset: English Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 09:25:15 +0100 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Catechism, 16 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Q. How are the ten commandments divided? A. Into two tables. When the LORD wrote the ten commandments on stone, He wrote them on two tables, as Scripture testifies: "And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." (Exodus 31:18) Q. Which is the sum of what God requires of thee in the four commandments of the first table? A. That I love the Lord my God, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength: this is the first and great commandment. The love of the Lord our God is the sum of the first four commandments. The four commandments are: 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any image to serve God by it. 3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Not a common love is required, nor a feigned love, but "thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." (Deuteronomy 6:5) Moses, sometime later, repeats this. "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?" (Deuteronomy 10:12) That is required of us. No more and no less. When it is required of us, that does not imply that we are also able to do that. The mere command does not mean, that we therefore can do it. Moses himself also says this afterwards, when he said that the LORD will circumcise our hearts, to love him in truth. Hear to Moses: "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." (Deuteronomy 30:6) Jesus teaches the same as Moses, and let we therefore listen to Him. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matthew 22:37) Some have the idea, that they love God. When we, however, love and cherish our flesh, we are so much blinded by that, that we have the wrong idea that we love God. Some good feeling is taken by many men as love of God. But when you ask them, when their heart was circumcised, as Moses said, then they don't know. See, this is impossible: loving God with our natural, uncircumcised heart. When there is said that the fulfillment of the first four commands is the love of God, that does not mean that the literal observance of the commandments is superfluous. Some think so, and deceive themselves. Let we keep in mind, that the commandments must be kept in love; not that the love is a substitution of the doing of the commands. When is said, that this first table, the love of God, is the first and great commandment, that means that the love of God ought to have preference over the love of men. When we are put before the choice: either to leave our family and to love God, or to leave God and love our family, we ought to choose the first: the love of God is of a higher importance then eny other love or connection. Q. Which is the sum of what God commands thee in the six commandments of the second table? A. That I love my neighbour as myself: on these two commandments hang the whole law and the prophets. The love of our neighbour is the sum of the second six commandments. These six commandments are: 5. Honour thy father and thy mother. 6. Thou shalt not kill. 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 8. Thou shalt not steal. 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's property. We ought to love our neighbour as ourselves. We know that we love ourselves. Everyone feeds his body, takes well care for it, looks out that it is not hurt, gives it sleep enough, clothes it, and in short, we show in all our doings that we love ourselves. Well, in the same manner we ought to love our neightbour. But who so much loves his neighbour? When he is hungry, it doen't matter us so much as if we were hungry ourselves. When he is sick, we feel not as miserable as he does. Yet, when we loved him as ourselves, we should also have compassion with him. When he is glad, sometimes we are unhappy. When we loved our neightbour, we would be glad when he is glad. When our neighbour prospers mor then we, sometimes we envy him. Is that a sign of love? I think no. We see that we daily fail in these six commandments. Maybe, we steal not in deeds, nor we kill; but yet, this is not enough. Sometimes we steal in our hearts, or wished that someone was dead. Not to speak about our failure in loving our neighbours as ourselves. Q. Can't you keep all these things perfectly? A. In no wise: for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbour; and to transgress the commandments of God in thought, word, and deed. Concerning keeping the law, the Scripture says that there is none on earth, who does good. "There is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalms 14:1-3) When one objects, and says that he does perfectly good, he makes God a liar, Who said that none did good. He looked down from heaven, and saw that they all were gone aside, and that nobody seeked Him. When one of you thinks that he does good, I answer that it is but thinking. Through the blindness of your heart, and through the hardening thereof by much sinning, you cannot discern the truth. Many, half sleeping, think to to good, but they see not the spots, wherewith their work is defiled. Therefore, can you keep all these commandments perfectly? In no wise, we can. The prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) He was right in saying: "who can know it?" We know not our hearts, and therefore we think that we do some good. Let we therefore open our eyes, awake, and see the truth of Jeremiah: the heart is deceitful above all things. It is desperately wicked. We are prone by nature to hate God and our neighbour. We transgress the commandments of God in thought, word, and in deed. The apostle Paul, being an faithful interpreter of the Old Testament, testified the same as Jeremiah: "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7) Paul said that the carnal mind cannot be subject to God's law. It is time for the sleeping sinners, to awake. Many thought, and still think, that they are able to do God's will perfectly. They boast on their observance of the law. They glory in their flesh, thus taking away the glory of God, thus showing that they do not love Him. "God and I work together", they boast. Besides hating God, they also do not love their neighbour. Wherefore I say: Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Bible to Israel Editor: Teus Benschop - email@example.com Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands End of Catechism, 16 -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub./resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-016.txt .