Commandments I, II, III Our Duty to God
Every man knows that there is such a thing as right and wrong. He may be mistaken aboutwhat is right and what is wrong. But he does know there is a difference. When it comes to thepoint of an action and he decides to do the right thing he is following his conscience. That isto say he has decided that one course of action is right and the other course is wrong.
THE MAKER’S INSTRUCTIONS
It is clear enough though that we cannot simply rely on “conscience” to give the rightanswers. Hitler’s conscience told him it was right to wipe out millions of innocent Jews inextermination camps. Also relying on his “conscience” Idi Amin Dada of Uganda slaughteredmillions of his countrymen. Many others have treaded the same evil course since. Yourconscience or mine says that which they did was plain murder. These are flagrant examples.But there are plenty of cases where men judge quite differently about the same action. Wehave to ask: Has God given us any principles to go on? He made us. He knows how we oughtto live. What we want are the Maker’s instructions. We are bound to follow our conscience.But our conscience must be rightly informed.
THE LAW OF LOVE
When Christ was asked what was the greatest commandment of the law He answered:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like tothis: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(Matt. xxii.)So the test of all morality is love. Our biggest difficulty is that the love of ourselvesmay keep getting in the way of our love of God and our love of our neighbour. And so weshould keep asking God to teach us to love Him and to help us love one another. True love of God and true love of our neighbour is a gift from God; it is what we call Charity.The great test of love is whether we do what God wants us to do.
If you love Me keep My commandments.
(John xiv: 15.)It is all very well to feel a sort of rosy glow. But that is not enough. We show our reallove by doing what God wants us to do, by trying to please Him. And since He made us andknows what is best for us, in doing what He wants we are in fact doing the best thing forourselves.“In His will is our peace” said a great poet.
GOD’S PLAN FOR USWe should not consider the Ten Commandments of God as a sort of set of rules that Hehas made up just to test us. They are in fact the plan of life for us.
They are the way inwhich God has designed us to live.The Ten Commandments were given by God to Moses the leader of His chosenpeople. But they were no new thing even then. They are written in the “heart of man” in thesense that we can discern them for ourselves. But because of that flaw in our nature inheritedfrom our first parents we can get a very twisted notion of what is the law of God. That is whyyou find mankind going off into strange perversions like the worship of idols, humansacrifice, and the like.