Of the Commandments
Exodus 20:1-2
And God spoke all these words, saying,…


1. What is the difference between the moral law and the gospel?

(1) The law requires that we worship God as our Creator; the gospel requires that we worship God in and through Christ. God in Christ is propitious; out of Christ we may see God's power, justice, holiness, in Christ we see His mercy displayed.

(2) The moral law requires obedience, but gives no strength, as Pharaoh required brick, but gave no straw, but the gospel gives strength.

2. Of what use, then, is the moral law to us? A glass to show us our sins, and drive us to Christ.

3. Is the moral law still in force to believers? In some sense it is abolished to believers.

(1) In respect of justification; they are not justified by their obedience to the moral law. Believers are to make great use of the moral law, but they must trust only to Christ's righteousness for justification; as Noah's dove made use of her wings to fly, but trusted to the ark for safety.

(2) The moral law is abolished to believers, in respect of the malediction of it; they are freed from the curse and damnatory power of it (Galatians 3:13).

4. How was Christ made a curse for us? As our pledge and surety. Though the moral law be not their saviour, yet it is their guide; though it be not a covenant of life, yet it is a rule of living; every Christian is bound to conform to the moral law, and write, as exactly as he can, after this copy: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid." Though a Christian is not under the condemning power of the law, yet he is under the commanding power.


1. The commands and prohibitions of the moral law reach the heart.

2. In the commandments there is a synecdoche, more is intended than is spoken. Where any duty is commanded, there the contrary sin is forbidden, etc.

3. Where any sin is forbidden in the commandment, there the occasion of it is also forbidden.

4. There one relation is named in the commandment, there another relation is included.

5. Where greater sins are forbidden, there lesser sins are also forbidden.

6. The law of God is copulative. The first and second tables are knit together, — piety to God, and equity to our neighbour; these two tables which God hath joined together must not be put asunder.

7. God's law forbids not only the acting of sin in our own persons, but being accessory to, or having any hand in the sins of others.

8. The last rule about the commandments is this, that though we cannot, by our own strength, fulfil all these commandments, yet doing what we are able, the Lord hath provided encouragement for us. There is a threefold encouragement.

(1) That though we have not ability to obey any one command, yet God hath, in the new covenant, promised to work that in us which He requires: "I will cause you to walk in My statutes." The iron hath no power to move, but when the loadstone draws it, it can move; "Thou also hast wrought all our works in us."(2) Though we cannot exactly fulfil all the moral law, yet God will, for Christ's sake, mitigate the rigour of the law, and accept of something less than He requires.

(3) Wherein our personal obedience comes short, God will be pleased to accept us in our surety: "He hath made us accepted in the beloved."

( T. Watson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And God spake all these words, saying,

WEB: God spoke all these words, saying,

Negative Commandments
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