Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #43 & 44

Doctrinal Standard #43 & 44

  • Q. What introduces the Ten Commandments?
  • A. These words introduce the Ten Commandments: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
  • Q. What does the introduction to the Ten Commandments teach us?
  • A. The introduction to the Ten Commandments teaches us that, because God is Lord and is our God and redeemer, we must keep all His commandments.

Memory Verses

  • “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Exodus 20:2, ESV).
  • “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities (Amos 3:2, ESV).


  • Study Passage: Amos 1-3
  • Support Passages: Isaiah 40:18-31, Malachi 3:6, I Samuel 8:10-22, II Chronicles 7:14
  • Bible Story: 1 Samuel 5


  • The introduction of the Ten Commandments reminds the Israelites and all believers that the Ten Commandments were given to God’s people after they were delivered from bondage in Egypt. Viewing this from a redemptive historical approach, this is rather significant. Prior to the giving of the Ten Commandments, God manifested his attributes and mission as redeemer in a real tangible way by miraculously freeing His people from Egypt. He reminds His people of this before giving them a Law that, in much the same way, will enslave people to sin requiring the redemptive work of God. Not in a physical sense, as in the land of Egypt, but rather in the spiritual realm requiring the blood and perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.
  • Whenever talking about the Law of God, I find it important to clarify the various uses of the Law. God’s Law has a “pedagogical use (usus elenchticus sive paedagogicus), it shows people their sin and points them to mercy and grace outside of themselves” (Lems). It is this use that I’m referring to when I say that God’s law enslaves all mankind. God’s Law also has a “normative use (usus didacticus sive normativus). Which means this use of the law is for those who trust in Christ and have been saved through faith apart from works” (Lems) The law cannot save people because they are unable to keep it. But God’s law does direct the behaviors of those who are part of the family of God. The law is what helps guide believers in becoming holy as God is holy. The commands of the Lord are an essential part in the sanctification process of a believer. The law also has a “civil use (usus polititcus sive civilis). That is, the law serves the commonwealth or body politic as a force to restrain sin. This falls under the general revelation discussion in most of the scholastics as well as natural law (cf. Rom 1-2)” (Lems). [1]
  • God has prefaced His Ten Commandments to remind His people that He is LORD – control and sovereign over all and as redeemer to teach his people that they are completely dependent upon him for everything.

Discussion Questions

  • What major event (story) took place before the Ten Commandments were given.
  • Why did the Israelites need a redeemer from Egypt?
  • Why do we need a redeemer from the commands of God?
  • What are the three nouns used to describe God in doctrinal standard #34?
  • What does it mean that God is LORD? Because of this why should we obey Him?
  • What does it mean that God is God?  Because of this why should we obey Him?





[1] Lems, Shane. Three Uses of The Law,

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