• 23 May 2004

    • Q.61

      Ezekiel 22:26, Malachi 1:13, Amos 8:5, Isaiah 58:13 & Jeremiah 17:24

      The Westminster Shorter Catechism

      Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?

      A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

      Scripture References:

      Ezekiel 22:26
      Malachi 1:13
      Amos 8:5
      Isaiah 58:13
      Jeremiah 17:24, 27

      The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:

      Q.61. What does the fourth commandment forbid?

      A. The fourth commandment forbids failing to do or carelessly doing what we are supposed to do. It also forbids treating the day as unholy by loafing, by doing anything in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thinking, talking about, or working on our worldly affairs or recreations.


      1. What are the two types of sin forbidden in this fourth commandment?

      The two types of sins forbidden are the sin of omission and the sin of commission.

      2. What are the sins of omission mentioned in this question?

      The sins of omission mentioned are: (1) The omission of the duties of the Sabbath. These duties would be such things as the neglect of private or public worship, and the neglect of duties of love and mercy that should be performed on the Sabbath.

      3. Would it be possible for us to sin even in the performance of duties of love and mercy on the Sabbath?

      Yes, it would be possible for us to sin in the performance of these duties if we performed them in the wrong manner. We could go about them in a weary way, wishing that we did not have to perform them, failing to realise that in the performance of these duties we may also be serving our Lord. (Matt. 25:31-46)

      4. How could we best defend ourselves against such attitudes?

      We can best defend ourselves by fixing our hearts on God. (Psalm 57:7), by claiming by faith our place “in the heavenlies” at the start of the day, asking God to keep us faithful in all things.

      5. What are the sins of commission mentioned in this question?

      The sins of commission mentioned are the following: (1) Profaning the Sabbath Day by idleness. (2) Profaning the day by doing things which are sinful in the eyes of God on His day. (3) Profaning the day by unnecessary thoughts and words and acts regarding worldly matters, by pleasures and recreations that are contrary to all the Word teaches for the lawful performance on the Sabbath.

      6. Why is it so important to keep this day as unto the Lord?

      It is important because God has commanded us to do so and it is important because it is impossible to be holy without the keeping of His commandments.