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Love God Above All

HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 34

What does the Lord say in his law?

The Catechism lists the 10 commandments as it’s answer. They can be found in the Old Testament, in either Exodus 20:1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

How are these commandments divided?

Into two tables. The first has four commandments, teaching us what our relation to God should be. The second has six commandments, teaching us what we owe our neighbor.

 

Love God Above All

Friday, July 28: Colossians 3:1-4

The law reveals God’s character of grace, His purpose of restoration, and His gift of reconciliation – all rooted in the gospel of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It reveals His sovereignty over all life. The Catechism, therefore, declares that the first four commandments teach us “what our relation to God should be” – to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind” (Matthew 22:27). But why would I love God above all? Let me answer by saying that to believe the claims of the Christian gospel is the greatest good for your life. While Christianity places its faith-focus on what Christ has accomplished, every other religion places its faith-focus on what we must still accomplish. Consider four truths. First, Christianity alone speaks of God coming down to us. As far as I know, every other religion demands that humans claw and crawl their way to him. Second, Christianity alone speaks of God granting free salvation by grace. As far as I know, every other religion demands that humanity earns God’s favor. Third, Christianity alone speaks of obedience as loving gratitude for generous grace. As far as I know, every other religion demands obedience to rituals and laws in order to appease the gods, to keep them relatively happy. Finally, Christianity alone speaks of the future as a guaranteed inheritance of eternal joy with the Father. As far as I know, every other religion is void of that offer of peace. In summary, the Christian gospel places focus on the gracious work of God in Christ. It does not focus on the endless duty of humankind. We are invited to love God above all because He has first loved us (1 John 4:19) more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:17b-21). Have you been graciously reconciled to the Father and restored to life in Christ? Then I hope your response is that recorded by Jesus: “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39; cf. 12:50).

Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn