The key to understanding the commandments lies in Luther's words "We should fear and love God, so that..." If the commandments tell us about our relationship to God and our neighbor, then there's a progression to that relationship.
First, the commandments were given because of human sin. Before there was sin in the Garden of Eden, there was no need for the law to provide boundaries and direction for our lives. The commandments say to God's human creation, "This is what it means to have me as your Creator and to live with your fellow creatures." Lutherans call this the "First Use of the Law."
Second, the very presence of the commandments and the law in our lives says that God judges our unwillingness to keep the law. Luther argues that this function of the law, the "Second Use of the Law," bears down on us with judgement as we see not only our inability to keep the law but also our unwillingness to do it. This is the "fear" half of "fear and love" as the law pushes into God's mercy in Christ.
Third, by speaking not only of fear of God but also of the love of God, Luther implies that this is where the faith he points to in his explanation of the Creed happens; a sinner's new love of God will lead to a new obedience (see Article VI of the Augsburg Confession). The new person in Christ will want to be the person God intended and will look to the commandments/law as a place where God's will may be discerned.
Share a low from the past week.
Parents/Guardians be sure to share as well!
Can you name all of the Ten Commandments? In order? How about their meanings as found in the Small Catechism?
The Ten Commandments
Why would this be helpful for people who had been living as slaves and unable to make decisions for themselves?
(Name), you are a Child of God!