Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #40 & 41

Doctrinal Standard #40 & 41 (1 of 4 weeks)

  • Q. What rules did God first reveal for man to obey?
  • A. The rules He first revealed were the moral law.
  • Q. Where is the moral law summarized?
  • A. The moral law is summarized in the Ten Commandments.

Memory Verses

  • “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17–18, ESV).


  • Study Passage: Matthew 5:17-20
  • Support Passages: Psalms 1, 19, 25:8-15, 119; Deuteronomy 6:4-9,11:18-32, 30:11-20
  • Bible Story: Matthew 10:17-31


  • Chapter 19.5-19.7 of the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 with notes from Peter Masters provides a good description on of how the moral law is an important part of the Christian life.
  • “5. The moral law ever binds to obedience everyone, justified people as well as others, and not only out of regard for the matter contained in it, but also out of respect for the authority of God the Creator, Who gave the law. Nor does Christ in the Gospel dissolve this law in any way, but [on the contrary] He considerably strengthens our obligation to obey it.
  • 6. Although true believers are not under the law as a covenant of works, to be justified or condemned by it, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, because as a rule of life it informs them of the will of God and their duty and directs and binds them to walk accordingly.

    It also reveals and exposes the sinful pollutions of their natures, hearts and lives, and using it for self-examination they may come to greater conviction of sin, greater humility and greater hatred of their sin. They will also gain a clearer sight of their need of Christ and the perfection of His own obedience [to the law on their behalf].

    It is of further use to regenerate people [in self-examination] to restrain their corruptions [sinful tendencies], because of the way in which it forbids sin. The threatening of the law serve to show what their sins actually deserve, and what troubles may be expected in this life because of these sins even by regenerate people who are freed from the curse and undiminished rigours of the law.

    The promises connected with the law also show believers God’s ­approval of obedience, and what blessings they may expect when the law is kept and obeyed, though blessing will not come to them ­because they have satisfied the law as a covenant of works. [To do this would of course require perfect obedience to every part all the time.] If a man does good and refrains from evil simply because the law encourages to the good and deters him from the evil, that is no evidence that he is under the law rather than under grace.

  • 7. The aforementioned uses of the law are not contrary to the grace of the Gospel [the Gospel of undeserved mercy and favour], but they sweetly comply with it, as the Spirit of Christ subdues and enables the will of man to do freely and cheerfully those things which the will of God, which is revealed in the law, requires to be done.” [1]

Discussion Questions

  • What is a moral?
  • Who decides what is moral? Why
  • Name each of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20).
  • Why are these considered to be moral laws?
  • Can you be accepted before God by keep these commands perfectly? Explain
  • How is someone accepted before God?
  • How do these laws play an important part in the life of a Christian? (see “Thoughts” section).

[1] Masters, Peter (1982). The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 – Notes by Peter Masters. Ashland, Ohio, USA; BookMasters, Inc.

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