WSC 41: Where is the moral law summarily comprehended? A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments. (1) (1) Deut. 10:4; Matt. 19:17
WSC 42: What is the sum of the ten commandments? A. The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves. (1) (1) Matt. 22:37-40
An Explanation: The Bible teaches us that God is love (1 Jo. 4:8). Everything that God does is loving (Ex. 34:5-7). All that He commands to His people is loving. The moral law that is revealed in the ten commandments is an expression of God’s love to His people. The moral law is a summary of what real love looks like (Note how often love is defined by the doing of God’s commandments throughout the scriptures: Exo. 20:6; Deut. 11:1; Neh. 1:5; Psa. 119:47, 127; John 14:21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3). When our Lord Jesus was asked, what was the most important part of the moral law, He responded by teaching that it was love for God and neighbor that was most important (Matt. 22:39-40). God revealed the moral law in the ten commandments to teach his redeemed people how to live in a loving way before the world.
Each commandment is useful in teaching God’s people how to live in a loving way as His dearly beloved children (cf. Eph. 5:1-2). The preface to the ten commandments teaches that God chose His people and has released them by His grace from slavery and brought them into His most glorious light to bless them and make them like Him (Exo. 20:1-3; cf. Lev. 19:2). The first commandment teaches us how to love God first, before all other persons and things, so that we might realize the purpose and enjoy for which we were created. The ten commandments are made up of two tables. The Holy Spirit wrote one part in commandments one to four to teach how to love God; He wrote a second part in commandments five to ten to teach how to love others as ourselves.
Though we are fallen and sinful, and most unloving by nature, the Father uses the commandments to teach us of our need of a loving and forgiving Savior. One important use of the ten commandments is to teach us of our need for Christ, and thus to turn us in repentance from our unloving natures to seek by faith the grace and power that is held out for all who believe in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:19-29).
Jesus is the perfect manifestation of God’s love; Jesus teaches us how to love (1 Cor. 13:4-8a). In fact, the Apostle Paul says that the moral law is fulfilled when believers, living in union with Christ, love God and neighbor as themselves sincerely by faith (Rom. 13:8-10). Our Lord Jesus says to us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). This means that when we seek to be obedient by faith in Christ to God’s commandments, in dependence upon His grace, we glorify God, experience Christ’s joy (John 15:9-11), and realize the purpose for which we were created.
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).
Prayer: Teach us to love, dear Heavenly Father. Teach us to love like Christ Jesus. Teach us to love you with all of our beings, and our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us for our selfish, unloving hearts. Thank you, Jesus, for demonstrating such love for sinners by laying down your life for us to grant forgiveness for our unloving ways. Now, by your grace, we will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge our hearts, O LORD (Psa. 119:32)!
In Christ’s Love,