You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me
In his commentary on the first commandment, John Calvin argues that we owe God four things: adoration, trust, invocation, and thanksgiving. Each of these can be applied to Christ as we seek to obey the first commandment. In adoration, we worship Christ. In trust, we treasure Christ. In invocation, we look to Christ. In thanksgiving, we find grace in Christ. That’s how we obey the first commandment as New Testament Christians.
We can use these same four points to ask four diagnostic questions. These will help us determine not just what we say we believe but the nature of the real functional deity in our lives.
1. Whom do you praise (adoration)? You may compliment your children, spouse, and friends, but who receives your highest praise?
2. Whom do you count on (trust)? Sure, God works through means, such as doctors, insurance companies, and prescription medicine, but when you really are in need, who do you know will always come through?
3. Whom do you call for (invocation)? Where do you look for answers? Where do you turn for purpose and joy? Is it food, work, TV, your phone, or the God of the universe?
4. Whom do you thank? Where do your good days come from? Who made the trees and the stars and that cooing little baby?
Questions like these help to reveal the real gods in our lives. For the one we praise, the one we count on, the one we call for, and the one we thank is the one we worship. Only in Christ can we find satisfying and saving answers to all those questions. Only in him can we truly obey the first commandment. He alone is worthy, willing, and mighty to save.
How did the coming of Christ transform the first commandment?