New City Question 9: What does God require in the first, second, and third, commandments?
Topic: God's Law Passage: Deuteronomy 6:13–6:14
Question 9: What does God require in the first, second, and third, commandments?
Answer 9: First, that we know and trust God as the only true and living God. Second, that we avoid all idolatry and do not worship God improperly. Third, that we treat God’s name with fear and reverence, honoring also his word and works.
The true God, revealed in the bible and made known in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, is the Creator of all things. Left to ourselves, we reject the God who made us and make for ourselves gods that we want. The kind we can put in our back pockets and manipulate to our whims and desires.
But when the Holy Spirit makes spiritually dead people alive in Christ, our hearts are awakened to the glory of God. We are awakened to the God who is, and turn from idols of our own making.
And so as Christians, we are to know God, approach God, and worship God in light of who he is. This is what pleases him as laid out in the first three commandments. The first three commands fundamentally have to do with worship of the true God.
First, that God alone would be known and trusted and worshiped. This essentially answers the question, Whom are we to worship? We are to worship and trust the only true and living God. No other.
Second, we should be careful to avoid idolatry, whether in physical form or our imagination and worship God acceptably. This answers the question by what means are we to worship? Not by means of images or idols, but rather in spirit and truth (John 4).
And third, that we would honor the name of God and treat God’s name with fear and reverence. This answers the question: how are we to approach God in worship? With fear and reverence, honoring his name. Not taking his name lightly upon our lips or carrying his name into falsehood (saying, “God told me this or that”). So important is this that Jesus taught us the first petition in the Lord’s prayer is that God’s name would be hallowed (sanctified, treated as holy).
Deuteronomy 6:13-14 - It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples around you.