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New City Catechism - Question 12
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Posted by Paul Coumos, Cornerstone elder


New City Catechism - Question 12


Q12: What does God require in the ninth and tenth commandments?


A: Ninth, that we do not lie or deceive, but speak the truth in love.

Tenth, that we are content, not envying anyone or resenting what God has given them or us.


Kid’s Answer:

Ninth, that we do not lie or deceive.

Tenth, that we are content, not envying anyone.



James 2:8  If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.




Ninth commandment: Exo 20:16; Deut 5:20; Exo 23:1-3; Eph 4: 25; John 14:6

Tenth commandment: Exo 20:17; Deut 5:21; Phil 4:11-13; 1Tim 6:6-11; Heb 13:5



Question 12 of the New City Catechism summarizes the 9th and 10th commandments.  These two commandments bring restraint to our deceptive hearts (Jer. 17:9) by focusing on our words, which are the outward window to the soul (Matt. 12:34), and our inner thoughts and motivations, which are at the root of our relationships with God and our neighbors.


The 9th commandment reads, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” In the narrow sense, bearing false witness is legal terminology that prohibits the giving of false testimony in a court of law (Ex. 23:1-3). We swear “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God,” and our reliability and trustworthiness as a witness depends on this truth-telling. In the wider sense, however, this commandment is meant to guard us from all sins of the tongue against our neighbors: lying, deceiving, misleading, exaggerating, flattery, gossip, slander, rash judgment, and condemnation, to name a few! Instead, we are to love our neighbor (James 2:8) by promoting openness and honesty in our relationship (Eph. 4:25), and by defending and honoring their good name (Prov. 22:1). We are the people of the God of Truth (Isa. 65:16) who are to speak the truth in love to every person, in every life situation, and in every circumstance (Eph. 4:25,29). Ultimately, we have been commissioned with the word of truth, the Gospel, and are called to be faithful witnesses to Christ in the proclamation of that truth to a lost and dying world (Col. 1:5-6).


The 10th commandment reads:  "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's" (Ex. 20:17). It deals not so much with our outward disobedience (as do the other commandments), but with the inner mindset and heart disposition that lie behind our wrong words and deeds. We covet when our desire for something becomes so strong that we will not be satisfied without it – even if it doesn’t belong to us (or is forbidden to us). When covetousness is embraced in the heart, it surely leads to violations of the other commandments. We might be consumed by an envy that leads to stealing, or a lust that leads to adultery, or a jealousy that leads to murder (Matt. 15:19). It is a heart craving that is shameful, idolatrous, and malignant to our souls. Are we content with what God has entrusted to us, or are we covetous? We might easily deceive ourselves as to our true desires and intentions, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7) and judges our inward thoughts and motives (Heb. 4:12). The remedy for covetousness is contentment in Christ, for in Him alone (Phil. 4:11-19) will our heart desires be fulfilled (1 Tim. 6:6).  He satisfies the longing soul (Ps. 107:9)!



The 8th through the 12th questions in the NCC focus on the law of God as given in the 10 Commandments.  Mankind’s rejection of God’s perfect law, his fall into sin, and his need for salvation are identified in Cornerstone’s statement of faith.  Take a few moments to review the related portions of our Statement of Faith.


A. We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the Inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of man, and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life. (II Tim. 3:16, 17; II Pet. 1:20, 21; Mt. 5:17, 18; II Pet. 1:3, 4)


D. We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men of sin, regenerate the believing sinner, to indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service. (Jn. 16:7-14; Jn. 3:5-7; Titus 3:5; I Cor. 6:19; Eph.1: 13; Jn.16: 13; Rom. 8:26,27; II Cor. 3:6)


E. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the agent of the new birth. At the moment of conversion/ salvation, a believer is regenerated, indwelt, sealed and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the strength and guide of the believer's life. The believer is commanded to continually be filled with the Holy Spirit, which is yielding to the control of God in our lives. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is the Biblical prescription for power in serving Christ. (Jn. 3:5-7; 16:13; I Cor. 6:19; 12:13; Eph. 4:4-6; 5:18)




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