Westminster Larger Catechism (Q 146-148)

Dear Church Family,

This past Sunday, we did not have Sunday school; however, two weeks ago we continued our Sunday school lessons in the Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC) in questions 146-148 (dealing with the tenth commandment). Here is a brief review.

WLC 146  Which is the tenth commandment?
The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

There are three questions in the WLC devoted to the tenth commandment (WLC 146-148).

WLC 147  What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a full contentment with our own condition, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbour, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.

WLC 147 speaks of two kinds of duties that are required in the tenth commandment:

(1) [Toward Our Self] Contentment with our own condition (Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Timothy 6:3-10)

In the context of the oft-quoted passage concerning how “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), the Apostle Paul contrasts those who mistake the pursuit of godliness as a means to gain greatness in this world (1 Timothy 6:3-5) and those who understand that godliness is a legitimate end or goal in and of itself. That is to say, if one finds contentment in the pursuit of godliness, then he will gain eternal reward (not the things of this world, v 7). Thus, we learn that finding contentment in the Lord’s provision is a protection against the sin of covetousness.

(2) [Toward Our Neighbor] Furthering the good which is our neighbors (Psalm 122:7-9; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

God’s Word enjoins us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). One of the ways that we do this is by praying for, blessing, and seeking the good of our neighbor and all that is his.

WLC 148  What are the sins forbidden in the tenth commandment?
The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are, discontentment with our own estate; envying and grieving at the good of our neighbour, together with all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his.

WLC 148 speaks of three kinds of sins forbidden in the tenth commandment:

(1) [Toward Our Self] Discontentment with our own estate (1 Kings 21:1-16)

In the first part of 1 Kings 21, King Ahab coveted another man’s vineyard. Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to the king and the king became sullen and vexed, and he became depressed due to his obsession. His wife, Jezebel, encouraged Ahab to take advantage of his power and authority and king in order wrest the vineyard from Naboth’s possession. So, Ahab followed the plan of this wife and suborned false witnesses against Naboth such that Naboth, though innocent, was stoned for committing blasphemy. After Naboth’s death, Ahab took possession of the vineyard that he coveted. Here, we learn that though covetousness may be an inward inclination, if not checked and repented of, it may easily snowball and lead to even greater sins.

(2) [Toward Our Neighbor] Envying & Grieving at the good of our neighbor (James 3:13-18)

Earthly, natural, demonic wisdom is self-centered and full of bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, and arrogance; it ultimately leads to disorder and every evil thing (James 3:13-16). However, godly wisdom from above is other-centered: pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, an unwavering, and without hypocrisy; it ultimately leads to righteousness and peace.

(3) [Toward Our Neighbor] Inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is our neighbor’s (Romans 7:7-12)


As we read and study the required duties and forbidden sins of the ten commandments, we all are certainly convicted of the innumerable ways in which we do not conform to God’s law and the innumerable ways in which we transgress God’s law every day in thought, word, and deed. And, as we are convicted of our sin, we are also reminded of the two special uses of God’s law for the regenerate which we learned in WLC 97.

First, we grow in our assurance of salvation through faith in the Person and work of Christ. The law of God shows us how much we are bound to Christ for His fulfilling the law and enduring the curse of the law in our stead, and for our good. Second, we learn better how to love the Lord and to love our neighbor. The law of God provokes us to thankful obedience, to endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ.

We have completed the portion of the WLC which deals with the individual application of each of the Ten Commandments and are now on summer break. After our summer break when we return to our study of the WLC, we will see how the Law of God condemns us in our sin, but then how the Lord provides salvation through the ordinary means of grace of the ministry of the Word, the sacraments, and prayer. I hope you will join us when we resume our study!

The Lord be with you!
Pastor Peter M. Dietsch