New City Catechism #7

Question 7
What does the law of God require?
Personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience; that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves. What God forbids should never be done and what God commands should always be done.

We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and by obeying his will, commands, and law. So, what does this law require? That’s the heart of question 7. What is the sum of the commandments of God?

“Personal,” – Not impersonal or indifferent (Revelation 3:15-16). God requires more than our wooden obedience but our joyful obedience (Ephesians 6:1-3), and that means that the whole of what it means to be us must be involved in this obedience (1 John 5:1-4).

“perfect,” – Not partial (Exodus 23:22, Luke 6:46). God is not glorified at our winking at his commands (2 Peter 3:1-7). He requires full subscription and obedience to his statutes (Deuteronomy 28:1). Not one jot nor tittle has passed away (Matthew 5:18). To disobey one commandment is to disobey them all (James 2:10).

“and perpetual obedience;” – Not occasional (John 15:10). Every moment that we live, we are under the commandment of God. There is not a single second of a single minute of a single hour in our lives which should not be lived out in obedience to the law of God (Luke 10:26-27).

“that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength;” – This is the First Great Commandment, the first five of the Ten Commandments (Luke 10:26-27). God created us to love him with all our heart — with our emotions and affections (Psalm 18:1). God created us to love him with all our soul — to be intensely delighted in him and of him (John 4:24; Isaiah 61:10). God created us to love him with all our mind — to know him intimately and to apprehend him in all of our thoughts (Hebrews 8:11). God created us to love him with all our strength — all our deeds should be in service to him and for his good pleasure (Psalm 28:7).

“and love our neighbor as ourselves;” – This is the Second Great Commandment, the last six of the Ten Commandments (Luke 10:26-27). How do we love our neighbors? Look at God’s law! God’s law is not oppressive, but upright and holy (Psalm 19:7). To deal rightly with our neighbor, we must follow the moral principles which extend from the moral character of God (Nehemiah 9:3; Psalm 93:5; Psalm 111:7)

“What God forbids should never be done and what God commands should always be done.” – God’s prohibitions and ordinances extend from his holy and moral character. What he forbids he forbids for our good and our glory. What he commands he commands for our good and his glory (Deuteronomy 30:11-20). The Ten Commandments are not only “you shall not” but are also “you shall” (Romans 7:14-20; James 4:17). Sometimes we commit evil; sometimes we omit good. Both of these are violations of the law of God, which is why we are called to flee from temptation, and to seek righteousness. It is not enough not to do evil, but we are required to do good — there is no neutrality (Matthew 12:30).