This is the corporate confession of sin that we used in church yesterday before celebrating the Lord’s Supper. I was struck about halfway through how vertically-oriented this explanation of the 10 Commandments is, that the commandments pertaining to our relationships with others are still a reflection of our fear of and love for God. And that’s exactly what we believe peacemaking is — our approach to conflict with others flows from what we believe about God. I respond constructively to conflict only because of how God first responded to me.
Pastor: 1st Commandment: You must not have other gods before me. Q. What does this mean?
Congregation: We must fear, love and trust God more than anything else.
2nd Commandment: You must not make for yourself an idol. Q. What does this mean?
We must not worship the Lord according to our own imaginations, but worship him always in accordance with his Word.
3rd Commandment: You must not misuse your God’s name. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we wll not use his name to curse, swear, lie or deceive, but will use it to call upon him, pray to him, praise him and thank him in all times of trouble.
4th Commandment: You must keep holy the Lord’s day. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God every hour and every day. And on this festive day of rest and celebration, we cherish him by our joyful worship.
5th Commandment: You must honor your father and mother, so that things will go well for you and you will live long on earth. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will neither look down on our oparents or superiors nor irritate them, but will honor them, serve them, obey them, love them and value them.
6th Commandment: You must not murder. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will neither harm nor hurt our neighbor’s body, but help him and care for him when he is ill.
7th Commandment: You must not commit adultery. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that our words and actions will be clean and decent and so that everyone will love and honor their spouses.
8th Commandment: You must not steal. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will neither take our neighbor’s money or property, nor acquire it by fraud or by selling him poorly made products, but will help him improve and protect his property and career.
9th Commandment: You must not tell lies about your neighbor. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will not deceive by lying, betraying, slandering or reuining our neighbor’s reputation, but will defend him, say good things about him, and see the best side of everything he does.
10th Commandment: You must not covet your neighbor’s house or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Q. What does this mean?
That we ought not set our desires upon anything contrary to any one of God’s commandments.
Have we kept God’s law perfectly?
We have not.
What is the penalty for failing to keep God’s law perfectly?
The Judge of all the earth rightly declares: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
What then must we do to be saved?
We can do nothing. God must do everything.
And what has God done?
In love, God sent his Son to atone for our sin, so that all who turn from their own righteousness and trust alone in Christ’s righteousness have the sure promise that God will forgive and justify them, set them apart and purify them unto life everlasting.