October 27: School & Family Catechist WSC Q. 55-56

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST
by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 55 & 56

Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?

A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of any thing, whereby God maketh himself known.

EXPLICATION.

Profaning or abusing of any thing, whereby God maketh himself known. –To speak in a light, or in a reproachful manner of the Great and Holy God, or to use his ordinances, word, and works, for any trifling or sinful purposes, or, in any other way, to cast dishonor upon them.

ANALYSIS.

The sins forbidden in the third commandment are of two kinds :

  1. All profaining of any thing, by which God maketh himself known. –Mal. i. 7, 12. Ye offer polluted bread upon mine alter. –Ye have profaned it, in that ye say, the table of the Lord is polluted, and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
  2. All abusing of any thing by which he makes himself known. –Mal. ii. 2. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you.

Q.56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?

A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is, that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.

EXPLICATION.

The breakers of this commandment. –All those who swear in their ordinary conversation, or when a passion, occasioned by any real or supposed injury, or in any other way, when not lawfully called to give an oath in a solemn manner before a judge.

ANALYSIS.

The information received in this answer is two-fold :

  1. That the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men.

2. That God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment. –Deut. xxviii. 58, 59. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God, then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful.

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