Thursday, February 3, 2022

The First Commandment: No Other Gods

Q. 45: Which is the first commandment?
Answer: The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Q. 46: What is required in the first commandment?
Answer: The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly. (WSC)

In my previous post on the catechism, we examined the preface to the Ten Commandments. While the preface introduces all the commandments, it has a particular relevance for the first commandment. Because God is the Lord and our God and Redeemer, we ought to know and acknowledge him as such, worship him accordingly, and to have no other gods.

The commandment, by forbidding us to have any other gods, implies that we have a duty to have the Lord as our God. And to have him as our God includes knowing him, confessing him, and glorifying him. How do we know him? We know him through the order of nature, but especially and more clearly through his written word, as we receive it with faith. It is through the gospel that we know him as our God. Furthermore, we ought to publicly acknowledge him to be the true God and our God by a confession of our faith and obedience (Deut. 26:17) and by worshipping and glorifying him as such (Ps. 50:14-15, 96:7-9).

One such confession of faith can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4, “The LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” Because we have only one God, the LORD, who is one, he deserves our complete and undivided devotion (Deut. 6:5) and his words ought to be on our hearts, in our mouths, on our hands, between our eyes, and on our doorposts and gates (Deut. 6:6-9). In other words, our whole life should be directed by his word unto his glory.

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