26 May 2009

Westminster: The First Commandment

Several days ago I mentioned Luther's illuminating tying together of the first commandment with justification by faith, and the way the first commandment is the umbrella under which all other commandments are subsumed. Since then I've discovered Luther explaining this in three different places: a sermon series on the ten commandments, his Treatise on Good Works, and his Large Catechism. This alone indicates how critical this insight was to Luther's thinking, and it is turning on all sorts of lights for me.

Anyway, here's how the Westminster Larger Catechism explains the first commandment. Though it does not make the explicit link with justification by faith, it's still wonderful and stirring.

Question 104: What are the duties required in the first commandment?

Answer: The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him; believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous for him; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended; and walking humbly with him.

If we were to do that, would there be any need for any other commandment? Luther recognized--no.

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