Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The First Commandment

"You shall have no other gods."

The first thing we come to in the Small Catechism is the Ten Commandments.  They will be followed by the Creed and the Lord's Prayer.

The first thing to notice about the Ten Commandments is that there are, no surprise, ten of them.  God gave us each ten fingers (and ten toes!), and He gave us ten commandments.  Let your fingers remind you of the Ten Commandments!

The first three commandments have to do with our relationship toward God, while commandments four through ten are about our relationships toward others, beginning with our parents.

The First Commandment is indeed the first, the foremost, and the foundation for the other nine.  And the First Commandment is this: You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?  We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.  This is the shortest What does this mean? of all the commandments.  And yet, what more needs to be said?  A person could say a thousand words about the First Commandment, or ten thousand, and not say as much as these eleven words.

But Luther does us a favor.  Under the Close of the Commandments, he talks about what it means to fear, love, and trust: "God threatens to punish all who break these commandments.  Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them.  But He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments.  Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands."

Let's single out the word "trust."  Every other What does this mean? will use "fear and love."  And these two things are very important.  Only here, with the First Commandment, do we have the word "trust."  Trust is the most important thing.  For when we begin to see our many sins against the Ten Commandments, we must trust in God's word of forgiveness and in His beloved Son, our dear Lord Jesus.

You are to trust in God above all things - even above the seriousness of your sins.