Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 40

The Lord wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me.

  • Deuteronomy 10:4

(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

  • Romans 2:14-15

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”

  • Romans 10:5

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

  • Genesis 2:17

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

  • Matthew 19:17-19

The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”
So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.

  • Exodus 34:1–4

Q. 40. What did God reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
“A. The rule which God first revealed to man for his obedience is the moral law (Deut. 10:4, Matt. 19:17), which is summarized in the Ten Commandments.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

“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.
“Q. 41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
“A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments.”

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

“Q. 92. What did God at first reveal unto man as the rule of his obedience?
“A. The rule of obedience revealed to Adam in the estate of innocence, and to all mankind in him, besides a special command, not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was the moral law.
“Q. 98. Wherein is the moral law summarily comprehended?
“A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God upon Mount Sinai, and written by him on two tables of stone; and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus; the first four commandments containing our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man.”

  • The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

Note that the Shorter and Larger Catechisms have two questions to cover what the Spurgeon Catechism covers in a single declarative statement.  While the Shorter Catechism breaks it into two parts, the Larger Catechism goes into a philosophical discussion for five questions (not included here) that delve into the concept of what moral law is.

With five detailed questions and answers as to what the moral law is, without ever mentioning the Ten Commandments, you would think the Larger Catechism has completely covered the topic.  But in light of yesterday evening’s post on God’s Timing, I am reading an ethics textbook, Ethics, Theory and Practice, tenth edition, by Jacques P. Thiroux and Keith W. Krasemann.  They start with the biblical concept as described basically in the Larger Catechism, questions 93-97, and they even copy the Ten Commandments. But…

They discuss how modern man is not satisfied with that.  They then discuss consequentialist theories of Morality, but much of the chapter discusses the problems with how those theories fail.  They even mention novelist Ayn Rand’s Rational Ethical Egoism, a branch of consequentialism, in other words, what is in it for me.  When we get down to the nitty-gritty, they all fail, and even moderate success is destroyed if the other party realizes that you are only playing nice for what you get out of the deal (how egoism fits in, and for that matter the consequences of being nice).

Ah, well if consequential theories of morality fail, then nonconsequential theories might work.  You know, the opposite.  Immanuel Kant is discussed in great detail and then William David Ross.  Again, nothing but failure in tying everything together.

I would go on, but I made it past Aristotle’s virtue ethics and I am presently in the same thing by Confucius.  Yes, I am bogged down.  After all, this is a college textbook.  Again, how their systems work, but not really.  In one way or another, they fall apart and fall short.

Odd, the only reason why God’s explanation of moral law does not work is that people either do not believe in God or they don’t want to listen to Him.  Otherwise, the biblical explanation of moral law is the only flawless explanation.

Jesus summarizes the Ten Commandments in two statements.  To love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (a big reason why egoism fails).  But in making mankind sentient to the point of being aware of moral law and our purpose on earth.  We have a conscience that differentiates good versus evil.  Yet, not all humans have a conscience that they listen to.  Thus, God defines and explains what we “should” have in our core being in terms of the Ten Commandments.

It is one thing to make certain rules “self-evident.”  It is another entirely to have those rules written down and clearly stated.  Of course, the Ten Commandments are not all the Law that God passed down.  Further explanations are found in the second half of Exodus, all of Leviticus, and scattered throughout Numbers.  Then Deuteronomy has a summary.

And now let us sing.

The following hymn, God of Grace and God of Glory is sung by the Grosse Pointe (Michigan) Memorial church virtual choir.  None of us wish to relive the COVID lockdown, but having these great hymns on video is nice.  To live by the Ten Commandments we need God to grant us wisdom and courage,

1. God of grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power;
crown the ancient church’s story;
bring its bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the facing of thls hour,
for the facing of thls hour.

2. Lo! the hosts of evil round us,
scorn thy Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us,
free our hearts to love and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.

3. Cure thy children’s warring madness,
bend our pride to thy control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal,
lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal.

4. Set our feet on lofty places;
gird our lives that they may be
armoured with all Christlike graces,
pledged to set all captives free.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
that we fail not them nor thee,
that we fail not them nor thee!

5. Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the search for thy salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving thee whom we adore,
serving thee whom we adore.”

  • Henry Emerson Fosdick, God of Grace and God of Glory

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We need You.  Give us wisdom. Give us courage.  We understand the Ten Commandments, at least in part.  Help us to know them thoroughly and be guided by them.  And within such knowledge, let us find the love that You have for us.
In thy Name we pray.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

One Comment

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  1. Thanks for sharing this idea. It definitely caught my attention. Anita

    Liked by 1 person

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