What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." (Rom. 7:7 ESV)
Question 40: What did God reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
Answer: The rule which God first revealed to man for his obedience, is the moral law, (Dt 10:4; Mt 19:17) which is summarized in the ten commandments.[i]
To refer to the Decalogue (the Ten Commands) as the moral law is a bit misleading. All of God’s laws are moral laws because all people have a moral duty to obey them. Anything which God commands is a moral law. However, is it true that the Decalogue is the foundational basis for all of God’s commands. Every law God issues can, in one way or another, be traced back to one or more of the Ten Commandments. And all of the Ten Commands are found, in one way or another, in the New Testament. Thus, the Decalogue is still binding upon the New Testament believer today. Not in the same sense or to the same degree as it was under the old covenant, but binding nonetheless. Martin Luther, the 16th century German Reformer, once said, “The Law is like a stick which God used to beat me with. Then afterward, I learned to walk with.” Though we are saved by grace alone and not through law-keeping, the Law of God, specifically the Ten Commandments, still serve as a moral compass by which to direct our lives. Thus, I always encourage believers to commit them to memory and to train your children to memorize them. It is tragic how many Christians I have come across over the years who cannot recite the Ten Commandments. Most cannot even cite one. That is, if you ask the average Christian what is the third commandment or seventh commandment or tenth commandment, most have no idea. If you have not already, I encourage you to begin memorizing and meditating on the Ten Commandments. They will serve you well.
[i] A Catechism with Proofs by Charles H. Spurgeon.
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