A.: The sins forbidden in the first commandment, are, Atheism, in denying or not having a God; Idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God; the not having and avouching him for God, and our God; the omission or neglect of any thing due to him, required in this commandment; ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of him; bold and
curious searching into his secrets; all profaneness, hatred of God; self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part; vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness, and insensibleness under
judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting of God; using unlawful means, and trusting in unlawful means; carnal delights and joys; corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal; lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God; estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God; praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures; all compactsand consulting with the devil, and hearkening to his suggestions; making men the lords of our faith and conscience; slighting and despising God and his commands; resisting and grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us; and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature.
I did not make it through the entire Catechism, just so you know up front. Anyway, to begin, Dr. Morecraft breaks this into two main sections, Categories of Sins Forbidden and Specific Sins Forbidden.
First: Categories of Sins Forbiddn
The Westminster divines took great care in detailing the ways in which the first commandment may be broken. They did this, not because they were legalists, or because they were more concerned with external conformity to God’s Law than internal love for that Law. They were so detailed at this point for several reasons: (1) They loved the Law of God and sought to honor it to the best of their ability. (2) They loved their congregations and wanted their obedience to be entire and exact and therefore pleasing to God and graciously blessed by God. (3) They understood Jesus, that our standing in His kingdom is inseparable from our regard for the specifics of God’s revealed Law (Matt. 5:17–19)....(4) They knew that to whom much is given much is required. (5) They knew that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet
stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.… So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10–12). (6) They wanted their readers to see clearly the full demands of every one of the commandments so that those readers, enabled by the Holy Spirit, would be convicted of how far short they
have fallen from the Law of God and be driven to Christ that they might be saved from their sins and from the Law’s curse through faith in Christ alone (Gal. 3:24). (779)
 It is far easier to believe in God than to make oneself believe that God does not exist, for He has clearly revealed Himself to us in all of creation and in us, and in our very constitution and conscience as men and women in the image of God.
Atheism is not the consequence of an inner struggle with honest questions about God resulting from the obscurity of His reality....Atheists make their atheistic confession of faith, not because of honest intellectual problems with the existence of God, but because “they are corrupt” and “have committed abominable deeds” (14:1). (780)
People are atheists, or anti-theists, because they want to be, because they suppress the revelation of God in sinful self-deception. They make themselves believe that they do not believe in the God who really is there, making another god in their own image. (781-782)
What about the person who says that he is not an atheist, he just does not know whether or not God is? Is this attitude a transgression of the first commandment? Yes, for the following reason....He is saying that God’s revelation of Himself in his creation is obscure and unconvincing, that He is not able or willing to communicate Himself so that man knows it is God speaking. (783)
 Some people, who are not philosophically atheistic are practically atheistic in their behavior and general approach to everyday life. When, because of laziness, God remains a mere name to us, we choose to be ignorant about the perfections of God, or we hold conceptions of God that are beneath Him and not in accord with His self-revelation in the Bible, we are guilty of practical atheism. If our views of God are not in accord with God’s views of Himself as revealed in the Bible, our god is a god that does not exist. (784-785)
When we hold unbiblical doctrines and dangerous heresies that are subversive of the basic tenets of Christianity and are contradictory of the glorious perfections of God, we are practical atheists. (785)
When we murmur and complain and grow bitter at God’s providential dealings with us, pretending to find fault or injustice or unholiness in the way He deals with us; or when we demand that God meet our expectations, or when we presume to tell Him what to do, or when we judge Him by our standards and then complain because He does not meet them, we are acting like atheists....Furthermore, to think and behave in the daily course of our lives as though we were not accountable to Him, not responsible to obey Him, and had no reason to be afraid of His judgments, we are living like atheists. (785-786)
"It is certain that the best of God’s people are sanctified but in part, and therefore are prone to commit those sins which seem to involve a denial, at least, a neglect, of that regard which we ought to have for the divine perfections, and especially when
we are followed not only with vain but with blasphemous thoughts, which give great disturbance to us when engaged in holy duties....He may have a due regard to God, as to what respects the course and tenor of his actions; and yet, in many instances, be chargeable with forgetfulness of him. He may have a love to him, and yet sometimes be guilty of indiscreet zeal, on the one hand, or of lukewarmness and deadness of heart, on the other.…
And as it is not in our own power to govern our hearts or affections, or restrain the breakings forth of corruption; it is necessary for us to commit our souls into Christ’s hands, with earnest supplications to him that he would sanctify, regulate and cleanse our thoughts.…" 103. Ridgeley, Commentary on the Larger Catechism, 2:320–21. (786-787)
God takes all idolatry seriously! In fact, God hates idolatry! He destroys all idols and all those who worship them, unless they repent, because He “will not share His glory with another.” (788)
People may worship nature, money, mankind, power, history, or social and political systems instead of the God who created them all. The New Testament writers, in particular, recognized that the relationship need not be explicitly one of cultic worship; a man can place anyone or anything at the top of his pyramid of values, and that is ultimately what he serves. (788-789)
Although true believers hate the very thought of giving worship and honor to the creature rather than to the glorious Creator, if we look into our inner lives, we will see that we have reason to charge ourselves with that which the Bible considers
idolatry, whenever we put anything in the place of God and love and desire it more than Him. (790)
 SELF. Self-love always turns away the heart from God, and therefore we can call the worship of self “heart idolatry.” We are guilty of heart idolatry when we refuse to be open to and believe any of the great truths of the Bible, unless we are able to fit them together satisfactorily in our minds, i.e., “unless we are able to comprehend them within the shallow limits of our own understandings,”109 rather than seeking to understand and believe them because of the divine authority of the
Bible. 109. Ridgeley, Commentary on the Larger Catechism, 2:323. (790)
Heart idolatry also reveals itself in our emotions and affections, when we desire anything that God has declared sinful, or when we desire anything that is lawful for us to desire, but with a greater intensity of desire than we desire the living God and fellowship with Him. (791)
 THE WORLD is another idol even Christians are capable of putting in the place of God in our hearts and desires. When the profits, pleasures, applause and honor of this evil culture around us are desired by us with great longing and delight, being willing to sacrifice anything for them; when they are pursued with more earnestness and zeal than Christ, His blessings and His glory, then the world, having the highest place in our affections, becomes our god. (791-792)
We also put the world in the place of God when our thoughts and plans and interests are so consumed with the pursuit of the material things of this life that “we not only grow cold and remiss as to spiritual things, but allow ourselves no time for serious meditations on them, or for conversing with God in secret.” 111. Ridgeley, Commentary on the Larger Catechism, 2:324. (792)
Deuteronomy 6:13 calls upon the people of God: (1) To give loving submission to God as God; (2) To give Him worship and service as their God by covenant; and (3) To swear by His name, i.e., to give public confession that they belong to God’s people and worship and serve no other God but Jehovah. (792-793)
If we are afraid to own that God is one and that He is our God, He will not own us on the day of final judgment! (793)
Because God has created us, redeemed us in Christ, and regenerated us by His Spirit, He has a total and indisputable claim to our service and obedience; and therefore, may demand of us whatever He will. Because we are created, redeemed
and regenerated by Him we show great wickedness and foul ingratitude if we deliberately or out of inexcusable ignorance, fail to keep from the heart anything at all God has revealed in His Word as due Him because of His incomparable worth. If we omit any duty required by the first commandment out of ignorance or rebellion; or if we neglect any duty out of laziness or unbelief, we transgress the commandment and are miserable sinners in need of great mercy, thorough cleansing and complete forgiveness. (794)
Ignorance of God is inexcusable because of the clear revelation of God in creation and especially in man as the image of God....
Man is even more culpable for his ignorance of God because of the clear revelation of God in the Bible....
His culpability increases all the more because of the supreme revelation of God in Jesus Christ: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1–2a). And especially are Christians inexcusable of their ignorance of God, His perfections, His ways and His will, because they are enlightened by the Holy Spirit to understand the revelation of God... (795)
How is it possible for anyone, and especially God’s people, to forget God? And yet we do. God is not forgotten by accident! This reminds us that sinful perversion still remains within us. (797)
Misapprehensions of God are sins against the first commandment, hence, immensely displeasing to God. Any failure to interpret or understand God correctly is to be included as a failure to give God the worship and service He demands in the first commandment. (798)
Misapprehensions and misconceptions of God ultimately arise from fallen man’s pretension that his mind and experience are the source of any knowledge about God, if God is to be known at all. (799)
God is incomparable. (803)
This means that any wrong opinion we have of God that is beneath or out of accord with the perfect revelation of this incomparable God in the Bible is displeasing to Him and is tantamount to idolatry. God takes seriously what He has revealed about Himself. (803-804)
If we are mistaken in our views of God, we will be off-track in our views of ourselves, the Bible, life and the universe. Our view of God shapes our view of politics, human nature, family life, art, agriculture, law, economics, ecology, theology and everything else. Therefore it is of vital importance that we do not hold any false opinions of God. (804)
Any conception of God not in accord with His self-revelation in the Bible is unworthy of Him. And those thoughts of God that lower him to man’s level are particularly wicked thoughts of Him. (804)
The Bible takes the occult seriously! This includes such things as: fortunetelling, sorcery, witchcraft, divination, astrology, enchantment, charms, spiritualism, wizardry, necromancy and child sacrifice in devil-worship. In fact, the Bible describes these things as false prophecy and sets them over against true prophecy (Deut. 18:10–12, 15–16). (805)
 God’s will has two aspects to it: a secret aspect and a revealed aspect. We know what God’s will is for our lives by His revealed will in the Bible, by which standard alone we are to understand and plan our lives. God’s revealed will is what He has commanded us to do. On the other hand, the secret aspect of God’s will is what He has predestined to do in our lives, which is totally secret to us until it happens. We are not to try to second guess or try to pry into what God has planned for our future, but which He has not yet revealed, in order to see what our future holds....Therefore, participating in the occult is (1) blatant disobedience to Deuteronomy 29:29. (2) It is an attempt to force knowledge out of God, (which He said is secret to us), by occult practices. (3) It is an attempt to know the future so as to control the future and direct life in the present without the Word of God and in disregard of the sovereignty of God. (4) It is a turning away from the Lord. (806)
Because of the antichristian and satanic assumptions of the occult, it is so detested by God that His threats against it are most solemn....Not only will those involved in the occult be excommunicated from the church and exiled from the land of promise, God will turn against them and use His awesome power against them, possibly to shorten their earthly lives. (807)
 The Larger Catechism gives 1 Samuel 28:7f, (which is the account of the witch of Endor supposedly conjuring up Samuel from the dead for the sake of Saul), as illustrative of the fact that participation in the occult can most definitely involve entering into compacts with the devil, consulting the devil, and therefore, being used by the devil. (810)
'The commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” means also “Thou shalt have no other powers before Me,” independent of Me or having priority over Me. The commandment can also read, “Thou shalt have no other law before Me.”' 137. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, 61–62. (814)
1. All Profaness
Profane people are far from God because of their profanity, i.e., their lawlessness, rebellion against God, ungodliness, unholiness and immorality (1 Tim. 1:9–10). (815)
Furthermore, profane people desecrate, treat with contempt, and have low esteem for holy things.
(1) They treat God Himself with contempt...
(2) They treat God’s Name with contempt...
(3) They desecrate the Lord’s Day, the Christian Sabbath...
(4) They profane the Land of the Lord...
(5) They profane the Covenant of God...
6) They profane themselves and their families in immorality...
The human race is divided into two groups: those who love God, having been enabled to do so by regeneration, and those who hate God, because of their sinful depravity. No third, neutral group exists. And some of those who hate God will not admit that they hate Him or are not even aware of their hatred for Him. (816)
Because they hated the one, true and living God, being in rebellion against Him, they did not retain Him in their knowledge, but abandoned themselves to that wicked way of life they knew to be wicked. (817)
One of the primary traits of the unbeliever is his self-love....Such an attitude is a transgression of the first commandment; because a person cannot be a lover of God, if he is a lover of himself in the place of God. (817)
(1) Believers are called upon, not to love themselves, but to loathe themselves because they are sinners...
(2) God declares that a person is “nothing” unless and until he loves others...
(3) “Jesus sets forth self-denial rather than self-affirmation as the way to enter into a proper relationship with God.”144
(4) Rather than love self, Jesus says we are to lose self in the service of Christ...
(5) The believer is someone who no longer lives for himself, as he did before he came to Christ in faith and surrender. ...
(6) Christ takes the place of self in the Christian life in the new birth...
(7) "Love… is the very cessation of self-directed, self-concerned, selfcentered living. That’s why living for Christ and others out of love for them points us away from ourselves. Self-esteem pursuits deflect one’s attention from others and thus destroy Christian love.…" 149
144. Adams, The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image, 104.
149. Adams, The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image, 112.
Self-seeking is closely related to self-love. In both instances the focus and goal of one’s life, interests and desires is SELF, not the one, true and living God. Hence, self-seeking as self-love is a transgression of the first commandment. (823)
This is true Christlikeness—seeking after the interests of Christ and His church, rather than one’s interests. This is losing yourself in the work of the gospel for the sake of Christ; rather than trying to seek your own welfare, goals, comfort and affluence. (823)
(1) They understood that human beings would, “ORDINATELY” [disciplined and orderly] AND MODERATELY [not excessively], set their thoughts, affections, and desires on many people, things and concerns in their everyday work and life in this world. This present life—physically, spiritually and socially—is important to God. It is in this earthly existence that God calls us to faithfulness in all things: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present YOUR BODIES a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1; emphasis added). There is a spiritual-physical-social unity to human existence, and therefore, in all our involvement in all the aspects of life on this earth, we are to love and work and play, loving God with all our heart. (2) At the same time, we are not to take our thoughts, affections, and desires off the triune God in whole or in part. He must be the constant, conscious and ultimate desire of our heart. In all we do and desire, His glory is our ultimate purpose and goal, which we long for above all else...The phrase, in whole or in part, does not mean that we may not think about anything but God, love anyone or anything else but God nor desire anything else but God. That would be to deny our humanity. Rather, in all our human desires, thoughts, affections, actions and relationships, God in Christ must be preeminent in everything we do. (824)
There may be no rivals or competitors in our lives of our love for Him. No other person, however dearly loved, may ever be put before the claims of Christ and His kingdom. (826)
"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:1–3)."
(1) The radical change of heart and of “spiritual environment” that the Christian has undergone will affect every aspect of his spiritual-physical-social life on this earth.
(2) Having been raised to a new sphere of life in Christ, the believer now has a new aim in life...
(3) Before he was converted, the believer was dead in sin and dead to God. Now, because of regeneration, he is “dead to sin” and “alive to God.”...
(4) Christians possess within them the power of Christ’s resurrection, because of their union with Christ, which continuously and increasingly transforms their entire lives....
(5) Those that seek to obtain these “things that are above” are not chasing phantoms but are gathering priceless treasures. They are not the kind of people who forget about their duty in the here and now. On the contrary, they are very practical, for
the graces that have been enumerated enable them not only to gain victory upon victory in their struggle against fleshly indulgence but also to be truthfully “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.”164
(6) The practical implications of being raised with Christ are that “believers have now no life of their own. Their life is the life of Christ, maintained in being by Him at God’s right hand and shared by Him with all His people. Their interests must therefore be His interests.”165
164. Hendriksen, Exposition of Colossians and Philemon, 140–41.
165. E. K. Simpson and F. F. Bruce, New International Commentary on the
New Testament: Commentary on The Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians
(Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, , 1965), 259.