X-Nupop-Charset: English
Date:         Thu, 11 May 1995 09:25:15 +0100
Reply-To: t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl
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
  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  -  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl
  Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands
     End of   Catechism, 16

file: /pub./resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-016.txt