What is the law of God stated in the Ten Commandments?
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below—you shall not bow down to them or worship them. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. You shall not covet.
The ten commandments are the moral law, the revealed character of God. How do we love God? How do we love our neighbor? In the simplest terms: Obey these commandments.
God gives us his law, not just to prohibit us from committing or omitting sin, but to also reveal all righteousness. The commandment against murder is also a commandment to promote the welfare of one’s neighbor. The commandment against covetousness is also a commandment to be satisfied in the Lord’s provision for our neighbor. The commandment to remember the Sabbath day isn’t a bare remembrance — it is to remember the reason for which it was given as well.
As sinners, we have failed to obey this law by nature and by choice — in Adam all have died. As saints, we have fulfilled the law in Christ — in Christ all Christians have been made alive. Prior to justification, the law hung over us like the impending fall of the guillotine. Now we are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit unto obedience and conformity to the law, so that we walk with Jesus and grow into and attain the righteousness and eternal life that he has purchased for us.
Over the next few months as you study through the law of God in the New City Catechism, do not despair of your failure to keep it (NCC #13, #14). Remember Christ who is your righteousness, who before the throne of God is your strong and perfect plea.