Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 47 What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying,(k) or not worshipping and glorifying the true God as God,(l) and our God;(m) and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.(n)
(k) Psalm 14:1 — The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
(l) Romans 1:21 — Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(m) Psalm 81:10,11 — I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. Ver.11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
(n) Romans 1:25,26 — Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Ver.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Q. 105. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, atheism, in denying or not having a God [n]; idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God [o]; the not having and avouching him for God, and our God [p]; the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment [q]; ignorance [r], forgetfulness [s], misapprehensions [t], false opinions [v], unworthy and wicked thoughts of him [w]; bold and curious searching into his secrets [x]; all profaneness [y], hatred of God [z]; self-love [a], self-seeking [b], and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part [c]; vain credulity [d], unbelief [e], heresy [f], mis-belief [g], distrust [h], despair [i], incorrigibleness [k], and insensibleness under judgments [l], hardness of heart [m], pride [n], presumption [o], carnal security [p], tempting of God [q]; using unlawful means [r], and trusting in lawful means [s]; carnal delights and joys [t]; corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal [v]; lukewarmness [w], and deadness in the things of God [x]; estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God [y]; praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures [z]; all compacts and consulting with the devil [a], and hearkening to his suggestions [b]; making men the lords of our faith and conscience [c]; slighting and despising God and his commands [d]; resisting and grieving of his Spirit [e], discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us [f]; and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do, to fortune [g], idols [h], ourselves [i], or any other creature [k].
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are,
• atheism, in denying or not having a God [n];
[n] Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
• idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God [o];
[o] Jeremiah 2:27-28 Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. Ver.28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.
Compared with 1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
• the not having and avouching him for God, and our God [p];
[p] Psalm 81:11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
• the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment [q];
[q] Isaiah 43:22 But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Ver.23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Ver.24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
• ignorance [r],
[r] Jeremiah 4:22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. Ver.6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
• forgetfulness [s],
[s] Jeremiah 2:32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
• misapprehensions [t],
[t] Acts 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Ver.29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
• false opinions [v],
[v] Isaiah 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
• unworthy and wicked thoughts of him [w];
[w] Psalm 50:21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
• bold and curious searching into his secrets [x];
[x] Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
• all profaneness [y],
[y] Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
• hatred of God [z];
[z] Romans 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
• self-love [a],
[a] 2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
• self-seeking [b],
[b] Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
• and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part [c];
[c] 1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Ver.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 Samuel 2:29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Ver.5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
• vain credulity [d],
[d] 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
• unbelief [e],
[e] Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
• heresy [f],
[f] Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
• mis-belief [g],
[g] Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
• distrust [h],
[h] Psalm 78:22 Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
• despair [i],
[i] Genesis 4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
• incorrigibleness [k], and
[k] Jeremiah 5:3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.
• and insensibleness under judgments [l],
[l] Isaiah 42:25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
End of Lesson, Day 69
For Further Study:
- Francis R. Beattie's The Presbyterian Standards
- James Fisher's Catechism on the Catechism
- John Flavel's Exposition of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism (Questions 45 to 48 combined)
- Matthew Henry's A Scripture Catechism in the Method of the Assembly's
- Thomas Vincent's The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture
- Thomas Watson's Body of Divinity (Questions 45 to 48 combined)
- John Whitecross' The Shorter Catechism Illustrated