Learning How to Want: Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 44


  1. What does the tenth commandment require?

That not even the least inclination or thought against any commandment of God ever enter our heart, but that with our whole heart we continually hate all sin and take pleasure in all righteousness.1

[1] Rom. 7:7–8; *Prov. 4:23; *Jas. 1:14–15; *Matt. 15:11, 19–20.

  1. Can those who are converted to God keep these commandments perfectly?

No, but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of such obedience,1 yet so that with earnest purpose they begin to live not only according to some, but according to all the commandments of God.2

[1] 1 Jn. 1:8–10; Rom. 7:14–15; Eccl. 7:20. [2] Rom. 7:22; Jas. 2:10–11; *Job 9:2–3; *Ps. 19:13.

  1. Why then does God so strictly enjoin the Ten Commandments upon us, since in this life no one can keep them?

First, that as long as we live we may learn more and more to know our sinful nature,1 and so the more earnestly seek forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ;2 second, that without ceasing we diligently ask God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we be renewed more and more after the image of God, until we attain the goal of perfection after this life.3

[1] 1 Jn. 1:9; Ps. 32:5. [2] Rom. 7:24–25. [3] 1 Cor. 9:24–25; Phil. 3:12–14; *Matt. 5:6; *Ps. 51:12.


Learning How to Want

A great deal could be said on the subject of covetousness.  The Catechism focuses on the internalization of the Law, that the commandment requires internal as well as external obedience.  What is left to some degree unsaid, though perhaps implied, is that the commandment specifically addresses desire; not merely the desire to break God’s law, but specifically the desire for my neighbor’s things.  What does it mean to “covet”?  Does it have the meaning of inordinate desire?  The word chamad often is used in a positive sense, of desiring good things, like in Psalm 19:10 when it refers to desiring the judgments of God more than gold or honey.

Then is desire itself bad?  Should we be like Buddhists who strive to empty themselves of desire as the source of all suffering?  The commandment doesn’t say that either.  It says specifically that I am not to desire my neighbor’s things; his house (speaking broadly of office, status, place in life, not merely the building he lives in), wife, servants, or in fact anything that belongs to him.

The desire for what others have is a source of great and endless misery.  It is one thing to want a better car because the one I have now is unreliable or not big enough for my family.  It is another thing when I want another car because I see the car my neighbor is driving and how much nicer it is than mine.  The perception of how a neighbor’s husband provides for his family and treats his wife has fueled a great deal of discontent in marriages, as has comparisons between the way your neighbor’s wife looks when she has her makeup on and the way your own wife looks when she first gets out of bed.  Advertisers are expert at this, at creating desire based on dissatisfaction and covetousness, by teaching me not only what to want but how to want.  People covet a great many things- someone else’s appearance, popularity, reputation, job, family, or really anything at all in which people find joy, safety, and significance.

James says that this lust that wars within us is the source of wars and fights (James 4).  I covet the wife my neighbor has, so it makes me angry at my own wife for not being that way.  Or I covet the promotion that someone else got at work, which makes me angry at him, at the unfair boss, at the coworker whose incompetence is holding me back, or my kids whose disobedience at home meant I wasn’t at full performance at work.  I will look anywhere for the source of my discontent and anger except inside myself, for it is a humiliating thing to recognize that it is my own covetousness which causes me the problem.  If I had the house or the car or the spouse I have right now, and nobody I knew had one that appeared to be better, then I would have no discontent over it, which means that my actual discontent has nothing to do with what I have, but with my desires for what others have, fuel all sorts of sin against others- murder, adultery, theft, and slander.

But if instead we recognize that God is good, and God will take care of us and bless us immensely in the future life, then we can put away this pointless agitation about people’s different stations and situations in this life.  These differences will always exist, and no amount of effort on my part or social engineering by the government is ever going to make them go away.  People’s relative stations and gifts in this life have nothing at all to do with their worth or value in God’s eyes.  He puts people where He puts them for His own mysterious plans.  He delights to raise up and cast down, always to glorify Himself.  But we can trust our good and benevolent God, who has a reason for all He does in this life, giving one a great deal and another only a little.  God knows what we need and what He wills to accomplish in this life through us, so we should trust where God has put us, be faithful with what He has given us, take advantage when opportunities come to improve our lot in life but not be driven by it.  We should be driven instead by our desire for Christ, to seek first the kingdom of God, knowing that every good thing will certainly come with it.

When we understand how deep-rooted our sin problem is, then we will understand the true need we have for a Savior (questions 114, 115).  No amount of willpower is ever going to give us the ability to change the very way we desire.  The law shows us how dependent we are for forgiveness.  It will secondarily drive us to recognize our need for the Spirit of God to work on us, to change the way we think and the way we want, to open our eyes to the vanity of this world and its temptations and instead to show us the solid reality of our very blessed state in Christ.  We can then begin to learn to rest content with what the Lord has given us, seek to be faithful where we are right now, and trust Him to give us every good thing in His time.  No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).

All are welcome at Christ Reformed Church!  We worship at 10 AM Sunday morning at 600 W. 21st St, in College Heights Baptist’s old sanctuary.

God’s Sovereignty, God’s Truth: Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 43

112. What does the ninth commandment require?
That I bear false witness against no one,1 twist no one’s words,2 be
no backbiter or slanderer,3 join in condemning no one unheard or
rashly;4 but that on pain of God’s heavy wrath, I avoid all lying
and deceit5 as the very works of the devil;6 and that in matters of
judgment and justice and in all other affairs, I love, speak honestly,
and confess the truth;7 also, insofar as I can, defend and promote
my neighbor’s good name.8
[1] Prov. 19:5, 9. [2] Ps. 15:3. [3] Rom. 1:28–30. [4] Matt. 7:1–2. Lk. 6:37. [5] Jn. 8:44.
[6] Prov. 12:22; 13:5. [7] 1 Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:25. [8] 1 Pet. 4:8; *Jn. 7:24, 51; *1 Pet. 2:21,
23; *Col. 4:6; *1 Pet 3:9.

God’s Sovereignty, God’s Truth
Understanding the gravity of the ninth commandment requires recognizing that we are spiritual beings made in God’s image. God is a God of truth. He hates lies as the very work of the devil. When we lie, we attack the image of God and the sovereign rule of God over the universe.

A lie is an attempt to make reality different than what it is. If I tell someone else that I got a PhD from Harvard when I didn’t, I am trying to make my world one in which it is true, to some degree, that I got that PhD. If people think I did, then they will treat me that way. They will respect me. It will open career prospects. In all of these ways I can get many of the benefits of the PhD without actually doing it. I would get more benefits from actually having the PhD, but just convincing people that I did will get me many of those benefits with a whole lot less work. Doing this, then, is an attack on God’s sovereign rule of the universe, the reflection of a belief that I can make reality what I want it to be with my words, since in God’s universe I do not have the PhD at all. Likewise, if I tear someone else down and destroy their reputation with my words, then I can recreate a reality where the object of my envy and hatred is treated like someone who is what I say he is, rather than what he actually is. To some degree, I can mold reality according to my desires with the way that I talk about people. A man convicted and executed for murder based on perjured testimony is just as dead as one convicted rightfully.

When I lie about someone else, I attack their very nature. Because we are spiritual beings, lying about someone is every bit as real an assault as a punch in the nose. In fact, physical attacks are often much less damaging and easier to recover from than spiritual attacks. We all like to think we don’t care much about what other people think about us, but anyone who has been slandered knows this not to be the case. Lies about us hurt a great deal.

A man’s reputation is vital to him living in a community. What people think about you affects the way they interact with you at every level. It affects people’s willingness to do business with you, to employ you, to socialize with you. All of the vital functions of a community depend on what we think about others, and slandering others, even in the most seemingly harmless ways, can work to isolate and cut off a man from his community. A man’s reputation is vital to his life, and attacking his reputation is therefore a great sin.

But God is sovereign, and will not permit us to kick Him off the throne of the universe. He is sovereign; He is in control. When we attempt to distort reality with our lies, we will inevitably fail. God will not give His glory to another, and He will not turn the government of the universe over to us. Part of trusting God means accepting what is, and knowing that He is the judge and He will right all the wrongs, vengeance belongs to Him, and it’s not our job to make sure everyone knows what a jerk some other person is.

The Christian will therefore embrace forgiveness in Christ and repent of his sin of lying and slander. We can trust Christ completely to forgive us, to care for us, to preserve us, and to bless us richly and immensely. Because of that, we can stop trying to control the world around us, stop trying to dictate the way people perceive us and the way others are perceived. We can simply speak the truth, commit ourselves to loving others, being humble in our opinions of ourselves and others, and know that God will reveal all things in the end. If there is a wicked person in our lives, we should not fear that they are getting away with something. God always reveals the truth.

The cause of justice or the protection of the community does require speaking up on occasion. It is an evil thing to do to stay silent at the oppression of the weak and poor, the widow and orphan. But we should be sure we actually know that, not just that we suspect it or have heard about it from someone else. The value of reputation should drive us to be extremely cautious with other people’s good names. Just as we rightly condemn a man who drives a car while drunk (even if he doesn’t happen to get in a wreck that time) for being careless with the lives and property of others, so too we should never handle other people’s reputations carelessly. If we treasure the truth highly, as God does, then we will sooner keep silent than risk speaking lies.

A big part of being saved in Christ means that, in the context of forgiveness and assurance of salvation, we can begin to learn what it means to be fully human, and living in community is a huge part of the definition. Learning to guard each other’s reputations, to highly treasure the truth in all situations, and to trust God’s sovereign control of the world is all part of being conformed to the image of Christ, becoming what He intends for us to be.

Stealing the Lives and Labor of Others: Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 42


  1. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?

God forbids not only such theft1 and robbery2 as are punished by the government, but God views as theft also all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we seek to get our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or by deceit,3 such as unjust weights,4 lengths, measures,5 goods, coins, usury,6 or by any means forbidden of God; also all covetousness7 and the misuse and waste of His gifts.8

[1] 1 Cor. 6:10. [2] 1 Cor. 5:10. [3] Lk. 3:14; 1 Thess. 4:6. [4] Prov. 11:1; 16:11. [5] Ezek. 45:9–10. Deut. 25:13–15. [6] Ps. 15:5; Lk. 6:35. [7] 1 Cor. 6:10. [8] Prov. 5:10; *1 Tim. 6:10; *Jn. 6:12.

  1. But what does God require of you in this commandment?

That I further my neighbor’s good where I can and may, deal with him as I would have others deal with me,1 and labor faithfully, so that I may be able to help the poor in their need.2

[1] Matt. 7:12. [2] Eph. 4:28; *Phil. 2:4; *Gen. 3:19; *1 Tim. 6:6–7.

Stealing the Lives and Labor of Others

All violations of the Ten Commandments in their most aggravated form carry the death penalty.  This includes the Eighth.  The highest form of theft is stealing a man, enslaving him for one’s own benefit or to sell to others.  Biblically sanctioned slavery was a completely different thing than what most people conceive of as slavery, really more like a long-term economic contract entered into by choice or through one’s actions than a situation where one man has another as his property to do with as he pleases.

All forms of stealing are essentially differing degrees of enslaving.  If I smash a man’s car window to steal his phone off the seat, costing him $1000 from the loss of the window and the phone, then essentially I have forced the man to work for the time required for him to earn $1000, for my benefit instead of his.  It is important that we talk about things in ways that do not obscure the real nature of what is going on; whether or not he can “afford” the $1000 is completely beside the point.  What is relevant is that it is deeply immoral for me to force a man against his will to work for my benefit.  In doing so, I make my life and its comforts more important than his.  Property is necessary to life, so this issue is not a minor one.

There are lots of forms of theft.  Some of them are obvious, and are generally punished by civil government, like physically breaking into a man’s house and taking his things.  But many forms of theft, as the Catechism says, are more subtle.   Some of these tricks might even be legal.  It is difficult for a government to pass laws that encompass all the ways one man might steal from another, and sadly governments have often used their own power to transfer wealth from those who oppose the government to those who support it.  But the deceptive schemes we use to fool one another and ourselves about the nature of what we are doing will not fool God, and He is the One we really need to be concerned with.  In a nutshell, any way that I compel another to part unwillingly with his goods, for my benefit, whether I use physical force, political power, or deceit, to do so, is theft.  The right ways to gain wealth are through hard work, through mutually beneficial free exchange or through freely offered gifts.

Common modes of theft today include deceptive advertising, misrepresenting products, and failing to fulfill contracts.  If a worker on a job malingers and doesn’t give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay, it is another form of theft.  Governmental manipulation of currency and using taxpayer dollars for their own benefit is a very common form of theft that plagues us in this country.  When the funds of the nation or of a state as a whole are steered to the benefit of particular industries or constituencies, the reality is that some people are being forced to work for the benefit of others.  Just because the harm is distributed to many people so that they mostly don’t notice or care enough to do something about it does not change the moral nature of what is happening.  Dressing this up in the language of compassion or economic development doesn’t make it something different.

In a deeper sense, the Catechism reminds us at the end of question 110 (“the misuse and waste of His gifts”) that what we have did not originate with us.  All that we have is given to us by God.  He gave it to us in order to serve Him with it, like the master giving his servants different amounts of wealth to labor on his behalf while he was gone.  So, if I waste and misuse His gifts to me, then I am stealing from God who gave those gifts to me and from those whom I could and should have helped with those gifts.  If I waste my money, I am stealing from the deserving poor who should have been relieved by my wealth.  If I waste my time, I am stealing from my family and community who could have been enriched by my labors.  If I fail to use and develop my spiritual gifts, I am stealing from my church community who is in need of the gifts that God gave me.

We are not built to work and labor 24 hours a day.  We all need rest and relaxation.  The Fourth Commandment teaches us that, among other things.  But when we rest and enjoy the things God gave us, we should always do so in part with the purpose of better equipping ourselves for service to others, recognizing this as the reason God put us on this earth.

Paul says, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Eph. 4:28 NKJ)”  This instruction does a beautiful job of laying out the principle.  A thief is a parasite, the ultimate consumer, taking from the community and giving nothing back.  A man of God is the opposite, a man who produces useful goods and services for others, so that out of the overflow of what he creates he will not only supply his own life with good things, but the lives of others around him, especially those most in need.  This is why God put us on the earth, and it is always in service to others that we will find our greatest joy, for that is the purpose for which God created us.

Understanding the true scope of the commandments destroys our pride and complacency when we realize how we constantly violate all of the commandments.  But we must guard against despair by remembering that Christ has died for our sins, freed us from the curse of the law, and empowered us by His Spirit to begin to repent and walk in obedience.  There is no condemnation for those that are united to Christ by faith, and it is this hope and confidence that fuels our efforts to embrace more fully the righteous, life-giving law of God in our lives.

Our Sexual Design: Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 41


  1. What does the seventh commandment teach us?

That all unchastity is accursed of God,1and that we should therefore loathe it with our whole heart,2 and live chastely and modestly,3 whether in holy wedlock or single life.4

[1] Lev. 18:27–28. [2] Jude 1:22–23. [3] 1 Thess. 4:3–5. [4] Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:1–4.


  1. Does God forbid nothing more in this commandment than adultery and such gross sins?

Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Spirit, it is His will that we keep both pure and holy; therefore, He forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words,1 thoughts, desires,2 and whatever may entice thereto.3

[1] Eph. 5:3–4; 1 Cor. 6:18–20. [2] Matt. 5:27–30. [3] Eph. 5:18–19; 1 Cor. 15:33.

Our Sexual Design 


Marriage is a gift from God and was seen from the beginning as the normal state of humanity.  It was not good that the man should be alone, God said, and it was that need for companionship and intimacy which was the original impetus for marriage.  Note that it was not childrearing, though that was an important function of marriage as well.  The witness of Scripture throughout, including the Seventh Commandment, is that man’s sexual nature is designed to function exclusively within the confines of marriage.

When evaluating the Old Testament civil laws regarding marriage, adultery, fornication and the like, it is important to remember Jesus’ words regarding divorce, in Matthew 19, that Moses permitted them to divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.  This is an important insight into the nature of Mosaic civil law.  It was not intended to express God’s perfect moral will, but rather was intended to regulate and restrain the sinfulness of the people, in order to limit the damage that such sinfulness inflicted, especially on the poorest and weakest in society.  So a man who wanted to put his wife away had to give her a writ of divorce, so that she could prove that she was free to remarry.  This did not indicate that God thought divorce was a good idea.  As Jesus said, the intention from the beginning was the unbreakable union of a man and a woman together in matrimony.

Sexual Immorality and Its Consequences

It is in this context that the many commandments against sexual immorality must be understood.  Our sexual natures are a great gift from God and a great aid in promoting and enjoying the union of man and woman in marriage.  It is precisely because sexuality is such a powerful aspect of our being that it must be carefully regulated.  Fire is a wonderful blessing and civilization would be impossible without it.  But fire must be contained properly or it causes enormous damage.  So too, an unrestrained sexuality is a deadly force.

Sexual activity with another person causes the development of feelings of very close intimacy with the other person.  It does this because this is what it is designed to do.  This is true of any level at all of sexual expression, however innocent seeming, which is why Jesus says that even looking with lust causes the commission of adultery.  When that intimate relationship begins to be formed and then is broken, emotional damage results.  It becomes increasingly difficult to form normal emotional relationships.   This is just one example of the damage done by adultery, but we lead with it because all too often as society thinks it has gotten better at mitigating the external damage of unrestrained sexual expression, it has completely neglected to recognize this spiritual and emotional aspect of our natures.

Beyond that, of course, sexual immorality causes a great deal of damage in other ways.  Physically it spreads terrible disease.  Societally it breaks down the bonds that holds human civilization in place, as it undermines marriages and results in children being born and raised in unsafe and unstable environments.  Materially it is tremendously expensive for the whole community– having a child born out of wedlock is one of the surest routes to poverty, and being raised in a single-parent home is a high predictor of a great many social ills such as illiteracy, substance abuse, and criminal behavior.  Pornography may seem like a harmless sin, but in addition to the many women and children who are forced into this industry against their will, the spiritual and emotional damage is real and substantial.

We think that through government programs, medical treatment and educational initiatives we can control the damage that is caused, but the actual result is that people, especially the young, are lured into complacency and a false sense of security and become even more unrestrained in their behavior.  Contraceptives only work when used carefully and responsibly, and even then only partially.  Little can help the spread of destructive venereal diseases, though medication can reduce the damage somewhat.  Abortion can solve the problem of out-of-wedlock or otherwise inconvenient pregnancies, but only at the expense of much greater physical and spiritual problems.

More could be said about specifics (such as homosexuality, cohabitation, and divorce), but all of this is to say that God designed human nature to work in a particular way both physically and relationally, and when we flout God’s design for humanity, the result is predictable.  As certainly as putting orange juice in our gas tank will ruin our engine, defying God’s design for our sexual natures will result in all sorts of damaging consequences.

The Gospel and Sexual Sin

As with all of God’s commands, however, we operate under God’s grace.  Even for those with great sins in their past and present, the blood of Christ is sufficient, and the grace of God is powerful to heal and restore.  Sexual sins are very prominent, and sometimes get singled out particularly by conservative churches as especially worthy of condemnation while slander, gossip, greed and the like go on largely unremarked upon.  On the other hand, the prominence of sexual sin in our culture has driven all too many churches to compromise and be silent on this issue.  We ought to avoid both of these extremes, and instead exhibit the grace of God to others, witness to the goodness of God’s law and the promise of forgiveness and healing in the gospel of Christ.

The Value of Life: Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day #40


  1. What does God require in the sixth commandment?

That I do not revile, hate, insult, or kill my neighbor either in thought, word, or gesture, much less in deed, whether by myself or by another,1 but lay aside all desire of revenge;2 moreover, that I do not harm myself, nor willfully run into any danger.3Wherefore also to restrain murder the magistrate is armed with the sword.4

[1] Matt. 5:21–22; 26:52; Gen. 9:6. [2] Eph. 4:26; Rom. 1:19; Matt. 5:25; 18:35. [3] Matt. 4:7; Rom. 13:14; Col. 2:23. [4] Ex. 21:14; *Matt. 18:6–7.


  1. Does this commandment speak only of killing?

No, but in forbidding murder God teaches us that He abhors its very root, namely, envy,1 hatred,2 anger,3 and desire of revenge; and that in His sight all these are hidden murder.4

[1] Rom. 1:28–32. [2] 1 Jn. 2:9–11. [3] Jas. 2:13; Gal. 5:19–21. [4] 1 Jn. 3:15 *Jas. 3:16; *1:19.


  1. But is this all that is required: that we do not kill our neighbor?

No, for in condemning envy, hatred, and anger, God requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves,1 to show patience, peace, meekness,2 mercy,3 and kindness4 toward him, and to prevent his hurt as much as possible;5 also, to do good even unto our enemies.6

[1] Matt. 7:12; 22:39. [2] Eph. 4:2; Gal. 6:1–2; Rom. 12:18. [3] Matt. 5:7; Lk. 6:36. [4] Rom. 12:10. [5] Ex. 23:5. [6] Matt. 5:44–45; Rom. 12:20–21; *Col. 3:12–14; *Matt. 5:9.

The Value of Life

One of the great principles of the Christian faith is the essential value of all human beings.  Man is made in the image of God, and that truth gives a worth and dignity to every person that far transcends all differences between people.  There are men and women; there are young and old; there are rich, high-status people and poor, despised ones; there are people with very high IQs and people with little education or even serious mental handicaps.  The very common human thinking is to rank the value and dignity of a human life based on these kinds of subjective judgments, to believe that some kinds of human beings, or particular individual human beings, are more human or more important or more valuable than others.

There’s no denying that there are real differences between people and that these differences impact human relationships and social order.  The Bible instructs us that children are to obey their parents, that women cannot be officers in the church, and that citizens are to obey their civil rulers, for example.  Yet all of those kinds of distinctions fade in importance next to the much more fundamental principle of the equal worth and dignity of all human beings.  We should not say an “infinite value” or that human life is “sacred,” since those things are only true of God, but that every human’s life has an equal value, and that their value is so high as to outweigh any concern of mine that might harm, jeopardize or denigrate that life.

The Sixth Commandment arises from this principle.  We are to respect the worth of all other human beings.  One human never has the right to decide that another human should die.  Our lives are in God’s hands and for a man to attempt to seize that right from God and take another man’s life into his own hands is a wicked sin.  The perceived relative rarity of murder in our own society only demonstrates the deep impact of Christianity on our culture.  It was not at all rare in the ancient world, when tribes routinely raided their neighbors for slaves or animals and killed whoever got in their way. Violence within societies is one of the oldest and most dangerous problems that human culture faces.  And murder is quite common in our own society.  We just disguise a lot of it by calling it a medical procedure on a lump of tissue.

But the Sixth Commandment, as the Catechism well teaches us, requires that we treat others always with a sense of their dignity and worth.  That dignity and worth has nothing to do with any particular behavior of theirs or external condition or status of their life, but exists simply because they are made in the image of God.  That extends not only to my physical acts but to words and even attitudes that we have toward people.  If I call a man a fool, an idiot, or other name, then I am saying that they have less worth or less right to exist than I, and as such, I am murdering them, depriving them of life, if only in my heart.  Thus, Jesus says, such an attitude puts one in danger of hellfire.  Those attitudes are the root or seed of physical murder.

The Biblical teaching of the death penalty is sometimes held out as an inconsistency here.  But quite the contrary; it is the fact that a society that will not execute murderers is one that does not take human life seriously.  It is precisely because we have no right to denigrate the worth of another human being that someone who does so in such a drastic way as to murder them has lost their right to life, and this is not a human judgment, but a divine one.  It is God that said that he who sheds man’s blood ought to have his blood in return shed by man.  The death penalty is therefore a necessary part of the judicial system of any society that truly values human life.  But that penalty should only be executed with great caution and true to Biblical principles.  Our human responsibility is to determine whether or not a man has committed murder, but what to do with such a man is not a matter of human judgment.  God has spoken.

Out of the heart flow the issues of life, and as always we are commanded to obey this principle first in our heart, by cultivating love and respect for those around us.  God is the Lord of the heart and not of the body only, and we are culpable of sin that is only thought or felt, even if never acted upon.  If sin is allowed to take root and grow in our heart, we can be sure it will express itself in action anyway.

Though it is the most natural thing in the world for us to believe that we are better, more important, or of higher value than other people, walking with Christ requires us to constantly attack this natural pride.  Christ is our guide, who always put others ahead of Himself, who never acted out of concern for His own respect or dignity, but even when rebuking others (sometimes with quite sharp language) did so always with a concern for their welfare and never demeaning them as people.  This great love led Him to even lay down His life for others, something He did not only at the end of His life on the cross, but throughout His days on this earth.  He was a servant to all.  The Christian will desire to be conformed to Jesus’ image in all things, including this respect for the worth and dignity of all other human beings, and not just as an intellectual abstraction but in the way we talk and think and treat those people with whom we interact in our lives.