Question 62


What do the ten commands show us?


The ten commands teach us that God is holy and good. They teach us how to show love for God and for our neighbor. They show us that we are sinful* and do not obey God. They show us that we need a Saviour*.

If I go to another country, I need to learn the laws* there. The laws tell me what is right and wrong. They also tell me something about the people who made those laws. They tell me what they think is important. The laws tell me what the people value. They tell me what they think I should do to be a good citizen.


Why did God give us the Ten Commands? What do the commands show us?


First, the laws of God show us what God is like. They tell me about the God who made those laws. They tell me what God loves. They tell me what he hates. The commands tell me that God wants people to love him. And he wants people to care for each other. God’s laws are wise because God is wise. His laws are good because he is good. God’s laws can be trusted because God always keeps his promises. His laws are true because he always tells the truth.


The commands also help us know how to show our love to God. Jesus said, ‘If you love me, keep my commands.’*[1] When we look at the Ten Commands, we learn what pleases God. We also learn what does not please him. If we love God, we will want to do the things that please him.[2] We show our love for him when we do what he commands.


The Ten Commands also protect us from evil.* In most places, when I break the law, I will be punished. So, laws protect us. Sometimes a person wants to do wrong. But they do not do wrong because they do not want to be punished. Some people will only do good if someone makes them do good. That is one reason God gave the Ten Commands to Israel.* The commands helped them live together in peace.*


The Ten Commands also help us to know things about ourselves. James* tells us that the law is like a mirror.[3] Look at it one way, and I see how perfect and holy God is. Look at it another way, and I see how much I am not like him. I can see what I should do. But I also see what I have not been doing. A mirror helps me see if my face is dirty. A mirror helps me see places that I need to clean. So, when I see myself in the mirror of God’s commands, I can see my sins.*[4] The law helps me see that there are things in my life that need to change.


The commands God gave Moses* are good and right. But there is one thing the commands could not do. The law could not change a person’s heart.* We cannot obey the law and become right with God.[5] We break the commands. We want things that do not please God. And we cannot seem to stop. It is like we have become slaves to our sin, and we cannot get away.[6]


How can we ever be right with God?


God must do something for us that we cannot do for ourselves. What we need is someone to save us. The good news is – God did send a Savior.[7]

[1] John 14:15
[2] Psalm 19:7-11
[3] James 1:22-25
[4] Romans 3:20; Romans 4:15; Romans 5:13
[5] Romans 3:20
[6] Romans 7:14; Galatians 3:21-24
[7] Luke 2:11; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 2:13; 1 John 4:14; Jude 1:24-25