Back to the basics: The Ten Commandments

August 6-12: Introduction to the commandments

The Ten Commandments are a summary of God’s will for us in our lives. Many people think of the commandments as out-of-date rules that take away our freedom to do the things we want and should have the right to do. But the more we study the commandments, the more clearly we see that they are given to us to bless us. They remain important. We have every reason to want to learn what they mean, and we have every reason to obey them.

*Note: When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, he did not assign numbers to individual commandments. Luther chose to keep the numbering used by the ancient church and the church of his day. Others have numbered the commandments in a different way, keeping the number at ten but changing the way they are numbered.

God’s will for our lives

20. To understand why the Ten Commandments are blessings for us, we first have to grasp the condition of our relationship with God. At birth what is wrong in our natural relationship with God?

Genesis 2:16,17; 3:6 (When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they brought sin and death into the world.)

John 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Romans 5:12 Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

Psalm 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Adam and Eve sinned when they chose to disobey God. Their sin brought them guilt along with many other consequences, including death. Because “flesh gives birth to flesh” (John 3:6), their descendants have been born with that sin and, therefore, are guilty and subject to death. Psalm 51 makes it very clear that at the moment of conception in our mother’s womb, we each became guilty of sin. The consequences of sin were devastating for Adam and Eve. The consequences we inherit from them by birth are devastating to us also.

23. How do we come to the realization of our sin?

Romans 7:7 I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

Romans 3:20 No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Some people try to avoid medical tests because they fear the results, but medical tests can uncover diseases that, without treatment, could kill us. God’s commandments uncover the truth about the evil thoughts and deeds that spring from our old Adam and earn death for us.

25. Who alone kept God’s law?

Romans 3:12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Hebrews 4:14,15 Since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 7:26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

26. Why is it important to us that Jesus kept the law for us?

Galatians 4:4,5 When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

30. Some people think of the commandments as rules that take all the fun out of life. In Genesis 3:1-6, we see how Satan deceived Eve into thinking that disobeying God would bring happiness. The results of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, however, were misery, slavery to sin, and ultimately death. These things are always the results of sin. Obedience to God’s commands, on the other hand, does bring blessings. What blessings are ours as we obey his laws?

Psalm 19:7,8,11 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 119:14,35,45 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Matthew 5:3-10 (In this section of blessings, Jesus teaches that obedience to God’s will is the way of true happiness.)


Sometimes unpleasant experiences are actually blessings. Even pain can be a good thing. Pain can be the signal that tells us something serious is happening inside of us so that we get help from the doctor. Pain can also cause us to pull away from something that is hot and could burn us and do permanent damage. God might also use pain to lead us to his Word for hope and comfort. The result is a stronger faith.

The experience of looking into God’s law is not always pleasant. Sometimes it is downright painful. God’s law shows us that we fall short of what he wants us to be. It reveals the painful truth that we are sinners who deserve God’s everlasting punishment. As unpleasant and painful as those truths are, they are blessings because they show us that we need a Savior. God shows us our sins and what we deserve because of them, but then he graciously points us to the forgiveness we have in our Savior.

August 13-19: Commandments 1-3

Honor God above all else: The First Commandment

With the First Commandment, God plainly teaches us that we should have no gods other than him, the only true God. As Christians, we may think that it will be easy to keep this commandment. After all, we believe in the true God who tells us about himself in the Bible. But as we study this commandment, we will see that we often break this commandment by honoring other gods. We often place more importance on something or someone other than God, making that something or someone our god. We need God’s strong reminder to fear, love, and trust the true God above all things.

32. The greatest blessing we have, our most prized treasure, is to know the true God. Why is it so important for us to know the true God?

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

1 Peter 3:12 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

John 16:23 Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 67:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us.

Psalm 145:15,16 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

35. We understand what the words love and trust mean. However, when we speak of loving and trusting God, those words take on special significance. To love God means to treasure him and his Word above everything else. To trust him is to be confident that his Word is true and that he always provides everything we need, keeps us safe, and gives us everything he has promised. Unfortunately, our actions often reveal that the sinful nature lives within us and leads us to love and trust in other gods instead of in the true God. What are some of the ways that we may be guilty of sinning against God by breaking this commandment?

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Psalm 62:10 Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

Proverbs 11:28 Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

Matthew 10:37 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Our material possessions, our families, and our friends are all blessings from God. We thank him for them. But when they become too important to us, they begin to take God’s place in our hearts; they become our idols. We love them more than we love God.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”

God has blessed us so we can learn many things. We know more about this complex world than previous generations did. We develop medicines and invent technology that can do amazing things. But if we trust our human knowledge so much that we believe we do not need God’s care, love, and forgiveness, we make gods of our understanding, knowledge, and technology.

John 5:23 Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

1 John 2:22,23 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Many people claim to believe in the God of the Bible but don’t believe that Jesus is true God. They really believe in a god created by human imagination. In reality, they are following an idol.

Use God’s name properly: The Second Commandment

39. We are very blessed that God has revealed his name to us. His name is so important that God gave a commandment to warn us against misusing it. Why did God reveal his name to us?

Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 54:6 I will praise your name, LORD, for it is good.

Psalm 50:15 Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

Psalm 20:1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

Psalm 22:22 I will declare your name to my people.

God’s name is very important to us. Through it, God calls us to be saved. He protects those who believe in his name. He reveals his name to us so that we might trust in his power and pray to him in every need. He teaches us his name so that we might praise him and tell others of the great things he has done.

With all of these blessings coming to us through his name, one might think that we would always honor his name and treat it with the highest respect. However, our sinful nature opposes God and leads us to misuse God’s name—the very thing God forbids in the Second Commandment.

41. We often sin by the things we do, but we also sin when we don’t do the things we should. When we do what God forbids (commit sinful acts), we call those sins of commission. When we fail to do what God commands, we call those sins of omission. How do we sometimes dishonor God’s name by our failure to use it?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray continually.

James 4:2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

Isaiah 43:21 . . . the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

Psalm 105:1 Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Psalm 118:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Ephesians 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

Hear and learn God’s Word: The Third Commandment

45. Why aren’t we required to observe the Sabbath Day in the way the Old Testament people were?

Colossians 2:13,14,16,17 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Matthew 11:28,29 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath. The Old Testament day of rest was a shadow of the perfect rest for our souls given to us through the Savior.

46. What does the Third Commandment then mean for us in the New Testament?

Romans 10:17 Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Luke 10:16 Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.

John 8:47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.

Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Acts 17:10-12 (The Bereans were eager to hear God’s Word, and they studied it diligently.)

God’s Word brings rest to our troubled hearts and lives through its comforting message of forgiveness. In the Third Commandment, God warns us not to despise his Word but, rather, to consider it sacred and hear it and study it gladly.

August 20-26: Commandments 4-7

Honor and obey God’s representatives: The Fourth Commandment

The first three commandments speak of our personal relationship with God. The Fourth Commandment begins a new focus: our relationships with one another. Each of the remaining commandments addresses a specific aspect of our relationships with others. In the Fourth Commandment, God directs our attitudes and actions toward those in authority. The authorities we are most familiar with are our parents, but, for our own good, God also has placed representatives over us in the government and the church.

52. How does God bless us through those he has placed over us?

Representatives in the home

1 Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Proverbs 1:1,3,8 The proverbs of Solomon son of David . . . for receiving instruction in prudent behavior. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Deuteronomy 11:18,19 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your fore- heads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Representatives in the church

Hebrews 13:7,17 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. They keep watch over you as those who must give an account.

1 Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Representatives in the government

Romans 13:1,3,6 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities. . . . For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.

1 Peter 2:13,14 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

56. God’s representatives are charged with disciplining us when we do wrong. Why can we consider such discipline to be a blessing for us?

Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.

1 Samuel 3:11-14; 1 Samuel 4:10,11 (Eli didn’t discipline his sons. As a result, they died young, having fallen away from God.)

Matthew 18:15 If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

A closer look

We often think of discipline as something that hurts us or takes away something good. Perhaps we remember the discipline of our parents. God has given parents the duty to discipline their children, but parents are not to abuse their children. Christian discipline in the home is ideally done in love to correct and train. Though discipline is generally unpleasant at the time, it is important training for life.

Discipline is not limited to the home and children. The government must also oppose bad behavior. This means police and judges correct or punish crime and disobedience to the law. At work, we have supervisors who also must discipline and train. In the church, leaders must oppose and discipline those who teach and act contrary to God’s Word.

Protect God’s gift of life: The Fifth Commandment

61. Who alone has the right to end a person’s life?

Psalm 31:15 My times are in [God’s] hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.

Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life.

Romans 13:4 The one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

God alone has the right to end a person’s life, but he delegates that right also to his representatives in government. A person serving under the authority of the government as God’s representative—a government official, a soldier, or a police officer—may carry out capital punishment, take life in a war, or take life in order to protect the lives of others.


Most people would acknowledge that the Fifth Commandment is correct. It is wrong to murder. However, our sinful nature bristles at the suggestion that our thoughts and words can make us guilty of breaking this commandment. But if we hate someone, we wish harm for that person. We may be pleased if the person were dead. Thoughts of hatred are murderous thoughts. Read the story of Cain and Abel, and see how sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions.

Genesis 4:1-16 Genesis 4 tells the account of how Cain killed his brother Abel. Cain obviously was guilty of murder. But hatred was there even before he committed the murder. Explain the image of “sin is crouching at your door” (Genesis 4:7). First John 3:15 shows us that Cain was guilty of murder even before his brother was dead.

What passage or example from the Bible can help you when you are tempted to hate someone or to hurt another person?


Therefore, [here is] the entire sum of what it means not to murder. . . . In the first place, we must harm no one, either with our hand or by deed. We must not use our tongue to instigate or counsel harm. We must neither use nor agree to use any means or methods by which another person may be injured. Finally, the heart must not be ill disposed toward anyone or wish another person ill in anger and hatred. . . . Second, a person who does evil to his neighbor is not the only one guilty under this commandment. It also applies to anyone who can do his neighbor good, prevent or resist evil, defend, and save his neighbor so that no bodily harm or hurt happened to him—yet does not do this [James 2:15-16]. If, therefore, you send away someone who is naked when you could clothe him, you have caused him to freeze to death. If you see someone suffer hunger and do not give him food, you have caused him to starve. (Large Catechism, I, par. 188,189)

The Ten Commandments Are the Law (Stanzas 6,11,12)

“You shall not murder, hurt, nor hate;

Your anger dare not dominate.

Be kind and patient; help, defend,

And treat your foe as your friend.”

Have mercy, Lord!


God gave these laws to show therein,

O child of man, your life of sin,

And help you rightly to perceive

How unto God you should live.

Have mercy, Lord!


Our works cannot salvation gain;

They merit only endless pain.

Forgive us, Lord! To Christ we fly,

Our mediator on high.

Have mercy, Lord!

Honor God’s gift of marriage: The Sixth Commandment

67. Marriage is a special relationship because of the many unique blessings God gives through it. What blessings does God intend to give through marriage?

Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

1 Corinthians 7:2-4,9 Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Song of Solomon 1:15,16; Song of Solomon 4:1-7; Song of Solomon 5:10-16 (Describes the physical attraction between a husband and wife. It is natural, beautiful, and pleasing.)

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

Psalm 127:3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.

1 Samuel 1:1-20 (For years, Hannah wanted a child and had endured the sadness of having no children. Then God blessed her with a son.)

Through marriage, God blesses a husband and wife with companionship, the opportunity to express love in a very special and intimate way in their sexual relationship, and the possibility of children.

69. The Sixth Commandment speaks to all: young and old, male and female, married and unmarried. As we study how God established marriage, what do we learn about the blessing of the sexual relationship?

Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

God connects the sexual blessings of marriage to the leaving of a person’s father and mother and uniting with a spouse—a permanent marriage relationship. If a couple has not publicly declared the promise to establish a permanent marriage, the blessing of the sexual relationship is not to be enjoyed.

70. God designed the sexual relationship to be a blessing of marriage. In what way, then, do some who are not yet married sin against the Sixth Commandment?

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.

Genesis 39:6-12 (Potiphar’s wife tried to entice Joseph into a sexual relationship with her, but he refused. He acknowledged that it would be wicked—a sin against God.)

The unmarried sin when they enjoy blessings designed only for marriage. Living arrangements that involve enjoyment of the blessings of marriage without the commitment of marriage are contrary to God’s will.

Use possessions as God’s gifts: The Seventh Commandment

80. Our money and possessions are blessings that we can use in many ways. For what purposes does God give these blessings?

1 Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 John 3:17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

Romans 13:6,7 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Mark 12:41-44 (A widow gave all she had.)

81. Because of our sinful nature, we aren’t content with the abundant blessings God gives to us. Our lack of contentment leads us to sin against this commandment. What are some ways people sin against God in the way they use the gifts that he gives?

Luke 15:11-20 (The lost son wasted his possessions by sinful selfish living.)

Luke 10:30-37 (Several men beat and robbed a traveler.)

Leviticus 19:35 Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity.

Proverbs 11:1 The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.

Proverbs 22:16,22 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty. Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court.

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.

1 Corinthians 6:8 You yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.

1 Timothy 6:9,10 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

James 5:4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

Malachi 3:8 Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, “How are we robbing you?” In tithes and offerings.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 Even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

James 2:15,16 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

August 27-September 2: Commandments 8-10 & conclusion

Defend and protect the reputation of others: The Eighth Commandment

85. When God forbids false testimony, he reminds us that anything that hurts a person’s good name is sin. How does the Eighth Commandment serve as a mirror, showing us that we also sin against God when we fail to respect our neighbor’s good name?

Leviticus 19:16 Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.

Proverbs 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.

We sin by lying to or about someone. This includes everything from lying in our daily conversations to lying as a witness in court (perjury).

Proverbs 11:9 With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.

Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 17:19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin.

2 Samuel 15:1-6 (Absalom said bad things about his father in order to give David a bad name and turn people against him.)

1 Timothy 5:13 They get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.

We sin by spreading gossip or by saying anything that will give a person a bad name.

Proverbs 11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

Proverbs 25:9 If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence.

We sin when we betray a person’s confidence (reveal private information that could hurt the person).

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

We sin against the Eighth Commandment when we use our words to cause pain or trouble for others.

88. Though our sinful nature is hostile toward God, Jesus kept this commandment and all others perfectly in our place. Because of his love for us, we want our words to others and about others to honor God. How does the Eighth Commandment guide us in the way we speak about others?

Ephesians 4:15 Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

1 Peter 3:8-10 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”

Proverbs 31:8,9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

1 Corinthians 13:5-7 [Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Matthew 26:6-13 (Jesus defended Mary and modeled what it means to take someone’s words and actions in the kindest possible way.)

Keep the desires of the heart pure: The Ninth and Tenth Commandments

Many sins we commit can be seen or heard by others: a child hits his brother or we speak an angry word. But sin is not always so obvious. We can offend our perfect God simply with our thoughts. Consider God’s warnings in the Ninth and Tenth Commandments. Both commandments warn us that sin starts with the thoughts and desires in our hearts. God knows what we think, but he also forgives us fully so that we can turn away from sin and live as his children.

92. By giving two commands that address coveting, God impresses upon us that even if we haven’t actually stolen something, a sinful desire to have something that is not ours is wrong. How do the Ninth and Tenth Commandments serve as a mirror, unmasking the sin of coveting within our hearts?

Romans 7:7,8 I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.

James 4:1,2 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

1 Timothy 6:9,10 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Mark 7:21,22 It is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

These commandments convict us, exposing our sinful desires to have things God has not given to us.

93. Coveting is a sin. We want something that is not his will to give us. Coveting also leads to many other sins. How might coveting lead to other sins?

James 1:14,15 Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

1 Timothy 6:10 The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Deuteronomy 27:17 “Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

James 5:5,6 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

2 Samuel 11:1-17 (David’s sin of coveting Uriah’s wife led to sins of adultery and murder.)

95. Contentment is the opposite of coveting. Why can we say that contentment is a gift from God?

Psalm 145:15,16 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God.

1 Timothy 6:6,7 Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Psalm 37:25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Contentment comes with the realization that we can trust God to give us the things we need.

The conclusion

103. What does God threaten will happen to all who break his commandments?

Genesis 3:16-19 (God told Adam and Eve that the consequences of sin which they brought upon themselves and all humankind would be felt in their work, their relationships, and all of life—even in giving birth to children.)

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

Isaiah 57:21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble.

1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 18:16-18 (God subjected the people of Israel to a severe famine because they followed Ahab in worshipping Baal.)

God threatens all who disobey his commandments with his wrath (anger) and with trouble.

Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death.

Matthew 25:41,46 Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

God threatens all who disobey his commandments with death and eternal punishment.

107. What is God emphasizing by promising to bless those who fear him and obey his commandments?

Deuteronomy 5:9,10 I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God . . . showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Deuteronomy 5:29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

God’s pledge to keep the covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments shows us how seriously he takes obedience.

110. Though we fail in our attempts to keep God’s commandments perfectly, why can we be confident that we are saved?

John 3:16 God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 3:28 We maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

Colossians 1:13,14 He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1 Timothy 2:6 [He] gave himself as a ransom for all people.

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This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series catechism-review

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