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Bennetts End Reformed Baptist Church in Hemel Hempstead | The Holy Bible and The TV Guide
Bennetts Baptist Church

Welcome to our Catechism section

 

What is a catechism?

 

In Galatians 6:6 the Apostle Paul says, "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." Acts 18:25 says that Apollos "has been instructed in the way of the Lord." In each of these verses the Greek word for "instruct" or "teach" is katecheo. From this word we get our English word "catechise". It simply means to teach Biblical truth in an orderly way. Generally this is done with questions and answers accompanied by Biblical support and explanation.

Our catechism answers all come from the Bible, and the questions contained are taken from older catechisms such as CH Spurgeon's Catechism and some of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. There are also additional questions in relation to the main questions. 

The catechism is suitable for both adults and children over 11 years old. All scriptures can be viewed simply by placing the mouse curser over the reference verses below in blue. We plan to compile a catechism for younger children.  

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it".

Index

Questions 1-10     God's creation and man, God and His decrees.

Questions 11-20    Providence, the fall of man, sin and its eternal consequences

Questions 21-30    Redemption applied and accomplished, the offices of Christ.

Questions 31-40    The work of Gods Grace, Introduction to the law

Questions 41-50    The Law of God

Questions 51-60    The Law of God

Questions 61-70    The Law of God

Questions 71-80    The Law of God

Questions 81-90    The Law of God, Repentance and Faith in Christ

Questions 91-100   The means of Grace in the Sacraments, Prayer & The Lords Prayer

Questions 101-109  The Lords Prayer, Un-repentance and Judgement

 

Short cuts to question numbers

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100
101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120

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Question: 1. What is the chief end of man?

or "What is man's primary purpose?"

Answer: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

Scripture References:

1 Corinthians 10:31, Psalm 73:24-26, John 17:22,24, Ecclesiastes 12:13

Questions

1. What is the meaning of the word "end" in this question?

The word "end" means an aim, a purpose, an intention. The word "end" is qualified by the word "chief". Therefore it is noted that man will have other purposes in this life, but his primary purpose should be to glorify God. This is in keeping with the purpose for which man was made by God. It is when we are alienated from God that we have the wrong end or purpose in view.

2. What does the word "glorify" mean in this question?

We glorify Him when we do not seek our own glory but seek Him first in all things.

3. How can we glorify God?

We glorify God by believing in Him, by confessing Him before men, by praising Him, by defending His truth, by showing the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, by worshipping Him. By keeping His commandments.

4. What rule should we remember in regard to glorifying God?

We should remember that every Christian is called of God to a life of service. We glorify God by using the abilities He has given us for Him, though we should remember that our service should be from the heart and not simply as a duty.

5. Why is the word "glorify" placed before "enjoy" in the answer?

It is placed first because you must glorify Him before you can enjoy Him. If enjoyment was placed first, you would be in danger of supposing that God exists for man instead of men for God. If a person would stress the enjoying of God over the glorifying of God there would be danger of simply an emotional type of religion. The Scripture says, "you will fill me with joy in your presence ...." (Psalm 16:11). But joy from God comes from being in a right relationship with God, the relationship being set within the confines of Scripture.

6. What is a good Scripture to memorise to remind us of the lesson found in Question No. 1?

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God ..." Psalm 42:1-2

This reminds us of the correct relationship for the Christian, looking unto Him. It is there we find our ability to glorify Him and the resulting joy.

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Question: 2. What authority or "rule" from God directs us how to glorify and enjoy Him?

Answer: The only authority or "rule" for glorifying and enjoying Him is the Bible, which is the Word of God and is made up of the Old and New Testaments.

Scripture References: 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 John 2:5, Isaiah 8:20, 1 John 1:3, Luke 16:29,31

Questions

1. What is the meaning of the word "rule" in this question?

When this word "rule" or "authority" from God is used in the Biblical sense it means God's way of commanding, and instructing us.

2. Why is it necessary to have such a rule?

It is necessary as man needs a standard by which he may pattern his life. The Word of God, as his rule, must be the supreme authority in the life of the man. It should be noted that if man has placed something else above the Word of God, whether it is conscience or tradition or the church, he will tend to use that authority to interpret the Word of God in many areas of his life.

3. What do we mean when we say the Scriptures are the Word of God?

We mean that they are the Word of God in written sense, given by God. 2 Timothy 3:16. We mean that the Bible is the Word of God and the words in the Bible are the very words of God. We mean that the Bible is trustworthy because God inspired it and inspiration includes the very words of Scripture.

4. Some say that the Bible only "contains" the Word of God. Is this true?

If they mean by it that the word of God forms the contents of the Bible it is true. But if they mean that the word of God forms "only a part of the contents of the Bible" and the rest makes up the words of men, they are not speaking the truth.

Or if they mean by it that the Bible only becomes the Word of God when the Holy Spirit makes some portions of it applicable to the hearer, they are not speaking the truth. This would make man the judge of the Word of God.

5. Since this Word of God is to be our only rule, how can we know that it is the Word of God?

We know it by our simple acceptance of God's statement that it is the word of God and that it is perfect. The Holy Spirit shows us Christ as our Saviour and brings the conviction to our hearts that it is the Word of God and we accept it by faith. The Bible is infallible and has the authority of God.

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Question: 3. What does the Bible primarily teach?

Answer: The Bible primarily teaches what man must believe about God and what God requires of man.

Scripture References:

Micah 6:8, John 20:31, John 3:16, 2 Timothy 1:3

Questions

1. Why does our catechism place such importance on the Scriptures?

There can be no catechism without the Holy Scripture, because the teaching of the catechism itself is in the acceptance of the full truthfulness of the Bible as the Word of God. It is within the Word of God that we find our way to eternal life. 2 Tim. 3:15

2. What is meant by the word "primarily" in this question?

It means that although all things revealed in the Scriptures are equally true, yet everything in it is not equally necessary to salvation.

3. What are the two important teachings of the Word of God?

The two important teachings are (1)what we believe and (2) what we should do.

4. What is belief according to the Scriptures?

It includes three parts: (1) To be persuaded of the Truth. (2) To credit the Truth of a Person (Christ). (3) To trust, to have confidence in that Person.

We must have faith (belief and obedience) in and to the Words of God and in the God who speaks them. This is a personal trust and obedience in the living God through the living Christ.

5. Why is belief placed before duty?

This is the order of Scripture. The Christian is saved by grace through faith and is created for good works.

The foundation of the faith, "I am the Lord your God" is presented in the Law before God presents His people with the Commandments. What we believe is important in order that we might do what is well-pleasing in the sight of God.

Alexander Whyte says, "An orthodox faith and an obedient life is the whole duty of man."

True happiness for man comes only when he recognizes three important teachings of the Bible: First, that he is a lost sinner. Second, that Jesus Christ is his Redeemer from sin. Third, that he is to live a holy life based upon the revealed will of God, the Scriptures.

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Question:4. What is God?

Answer: God is a Spirit, Whose being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable

John 4:24, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 147:5, Revelation 19:6, Isaiah 57:15, Deuteronomy 32:4 , Romans 2:4
Psalm 117:2

Questions

1. Why is this question so fundamental for the soul of man?

It is essential because Hebrews 11:6 states, "anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists." If man can accept the first words of Scripture, "In the beginning, God..." he is on the right road, for this is a truth upon which all other truths depend.

2. How can we accept and know this basic truth?

Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, reveals God to us and it is only through Christ that we come to God. The Bible says, "No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." (John 1:18). "Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

3. In the light of the answer to Question Number Four, with what attitude should we approach God?

We should approach Him as the Almighty, Sovereign God.

In the front of a particular church, in plain sight of the congregation there was a sign: "Know Whom Before You Stand!" We should always approach Him in our thoughts, words and deeds with the recognition that He is all that the answer to this question proclaims Him to be.

4. What is meant by the statement, "God is a Spirit?"

The meaning is that He is invisible, without body or bodily parts, not like a man or any other creature.

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Question: 5. Is there more than one God?

Answer: There is only one, the living and true God.

Scripture References:

Deuteronomy 6:4, Jeremiah 10:10

Questions

1. What proofs can we offer that there is only one true and living God?

We can offer proof from Scripture as it says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Deut. 6:4) We can offer proof from reason since there can be only one first cause and ultimate end of all things. Scripture is logical when it states as the first verse: "In the beginning, God..." Many have called this one of the most important verses of the Bible.

2. Why not begin our study of God with the Trinity?

We begin with God since this is the method the Scripture uses. The Bible presents first the truth of the one true and living God and then proceeds to unfold the mystery of the Trinity.

3. What does it mean when it says "one only" in this Question?

The teaching here does not deny the fact of the Trinity or the deity of Christ or the Holy Spirit. It rather points out that absolutely none other person or being shares the attributes of the "one only" true God. He cannot be compared to anything else in the entire universe, all of which He alone created and governs.

4. What may we learn from this truth?

We may learn to recognise Him as Almighty and Sovereign. Our attention is thereby called to the fact that there is only One Supreme Being, Maker, Designer and Lawgiver of the world and that He is the only One.

5. What do we call the doctrine of one God?

This teaching is called "Monotheism" in opposition to Polytheism", the teaching that there are many gods. The pagan world is Polytheistic. In contrast to this, Paul says, " we know than an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one." (1 Cor. 8:4b)

6. What is the meaning of the word "living" in this Question?

The word "living" emphasises that He alone has life in Himself and is therefore the Fountain of life to all His creatures. Dr. William Childs Robinson points out that "He calls Himself the LIVING God. Our Lord Jesus speaks of God as the LIVING Father, Peter confesses the Saviour as the Son of the LIVING God, Paul calls the Church the Church of the LIVING God and believers the children of the LIVING God." He further states that "He has life in and of Himself and He gives life to everything else."

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Question:6. How many persons are in the one God?

Answer: Three persons are in the one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance and equal in power and glory.

Scripture References:

2 Corinthians 13:14, Matthew 28:19, Matthew 3:16,17, John 17:5,24

Questions

1. Why has this doctrine given rise to opposition during the history of the Church?

The devil recognises that since the Trinity is a mystery which human reason cannot explain, and since it is the primary object of our faith and worship, it is fertile ground for use as a stumbling block.

2. How important is this doctrine to our faith?

It is essential and vital. Without this doctrine we would not know of the love of the Father, the merit of the Son and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit in the purchase and application of redemption.

3. What is meant by the word "Godhead" in this question?

It means the divine nature that is possessed by all three persons.

4. What denomination denies the doctrine of the Trinity?

The Unitarians deny this doctrine. They teach that there is only one person in the Godhead, the Father, and deny the true deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

5. How can one prove that there are three persons in the Godhead?

This can be proved by many teachings in Scripture. It can be proved from the Words of Christ Matthew 28:19, from the baptism of Christ; from the blessing given by Paul in 2 Cor. 13:14; from John's salutation to the seven churches; from the different tasks attributed to the three persons.

6. Could you give an example of these different tasks?

Yes, 1 Peter 1:2 gives an example of their different tasks in the work of redemption. It speaks of the Father's foreknowledge, the Son's death for His people, and the Spirit's task of sanctification.

7. How is it that all three could be one God?

The doctrine teaches that "God is One in one sense, and Three in a different sense. He is One is substance and Three in persons." (J.G.Vos). The Scriptures assert that the Son and the Holy Spirit are God and are equal with the Father. True, this mystery is difficult to understand. But we now believe it by means of the Word of God and can look forward to enjoy the perfect knowledge of it in heaven.

8. How can we best state the doctrine in simple terms?

One of the best statements is: "There is but one God, the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each God, and the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each a distinct Person ..." (Dr. L. Boettner).

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Question: 7. What are the decrees of God?

Answer: The decrees of God are His eternal plan, based on the purpose of His will, by which, for His own glory, He has foreordained everything that happens.

Scripture References:

Ephesians 1:4,11
Romans 9:23
Acts 4:27,28
Psalm 33:11

Questions

1. What is the nature of God's decrees?

God's decrees are unchangeable; they cannot be changed, therefore they are certain to be fulfilled. His decrees are eternal, being settled by God in eternity.

2. Are there more than one decree?

No, there is only one single decree. However, this decree includes many particulars and therefore we speak of it in the plural.

3. When one uses the word "decree" is it not usually synonymous with an arbitrariness?

When man uses the word such may be true but not when God uses it. God's decrees should not be classed in this way since they were framed by Him according to the counsel of his will. You must look behind the decree and see there the love of an infinite, personal God, whose all comprehensive plan is also all wise.

4. What is the purpose of God's decrees?

The purpose is His own glory first and through this, the good of the elect.

5. Who are the special objects of God's decrees and what is His decree towards them?

Angels and men are the special objects and His decree toward them is predestination.

6. What is meant by predestination?

Predestination is the plan or purpose of God respecting His moral creatures. It is divided into election and reprobation.

7. What is the definition of election and reprobation?

Election is God's eternal purpose to save some of the human race in and by Jesus Christ. Reprobation is God's eternal purpose to pass some men by with the operation of His special grace and to punish them for their sin.

8. If reprobation be true, how can God be just?

God would be just in condemning all to eternal punishment since all have sinned. He is in charge; He is the potter and our attitude should be one of thankfulness if we are of the elect by His grace. Man has no claim on God and God does not owe man eternal salvation or anything else.

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Question:8. How does God carry out His decrees?

Answer: God carries out His decrees in creation and providence.

Scripture References:

Revelation 4:11
Ephesians 1:11
Isaiah 46:10
Mark 13:31

Questions

1. To what can we compare the decrees of God to enable us to better understand them?

"We compare the decrees of God to the plans an architect draws for a great building. If most of us saw the blue-prints for this building we could not imagine what the building would look like... But when the building was all complete then we would see what was in the architect's mind and what was the meaning of his blue-prints. So we cannot read God's mind except by what He has said and done and by what He is doing." (The Christian Faith According to the Shorter Catechism, by Dr. Wm. Childs Robinson, Pgs. 12-13).

2. What is the meaning of God executing His decrees?

The meaning is God bringing His will to pass, doing what He purposed from all eternity.

3. Is it possible for the decrees of God to fail?

It is not possible. No man can stay the hand of God or question what He is doing. (Daniel 4:35)

4. Where does redemption fit in the division of His decrees?

Redemption comes to pass in His providence as His majestic gift to some men through Jesus Christ.

5. What is the difference between His works of creation and providence?

Creation is His work of making all things out of nothing by the word of his power. Providence is His work of constant support and control of the universe and all that is in it.

6. What can be learned from the execution of God's decrees?

Two verses are suggested to teach us great lessons: (1) Revelation 4:11 - the fact that He created all things for His own glory and therefore we should attribute to Him the glory, honour and power. (2) Hebrews 1:3 - the fact that He is upholding all things by His power and therefore our complete sense of security is in Him.

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Question:9. What is creation?

Answer: Creation is God's making everything out of nothing by His powerful word in six days - and all very good.

Scripture References:

Hebrews 11:3
Revelation 4:11
Genesis 1:1-31
Psalm 33:6
John 1:3

Questions

1. Why is it important to study the doctrine of creation?

The work of creation is the basis of all revelation. It has been well said that if a person can accept "In the beginning God..." it will be possible for him to accept the rest of the Bible by faith.

2. How can we know that the first verse of the Bible is true?

"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command..." (Heb. 11:3). We start with the Biblical point of view that God is sovereign and creation is a basic doctrine.

3. Why did God create the world?

He created it for His own pleasure, for His glory. It was a free act of God and He did not need the world, but rather He existed in complete self-sufficiency prior to its creation.

4. From what did God make the world?

God created the world out of nothing. Bavinck states in "Our Reasonable Faith": "The expression 'out of nothing' can be taken in a useable sense and can perform excellent service over against all kinds of heresy. For it denies that the world was made out of some stuff or matter or energy which co-existed eternally alongside of God. According to Scripture, God is not solely He who formed the world but also He who created it." (Pgs. 166-167)

5. How can we know there was no pre-existing material?

The Bible does not mention any pre-existing matter, and it also states that God created everything that has ever been. (Neh. 9:6, Col. 1:16, John 1:3)

6. How long did it take God to create the world?

The Word of God states it took God six days.

7. What is the order of God's creation?

The order of God's creation is: First Day, Light; Second Day, Firmament; Third Day, Dry Land, Grass; Fourth Day, Sun and Moon; Fifth Day, Fish and Fowl; Sixth Day, Land Animals and Man. God created the world and all creatures in six days and rested on the Sabbath day to hallow it for Himself and His children.

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 Question:10. How did God create man?

Answer: God created man, male and female, in His own image and in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, to rule over the other creatures.

Scripture References:

Genesis 1:27, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24, Genesis 1:28

Questions

1. What is the difference between the creation of other creatures and the creation of man?

God simply commanded the other creatures into existence; but when man was created the Trinity decided that man should be made in the image of God.

2. Why is this difference important?

It is important as man is God's only self-conscious creature that He has created. God made man in his mental and moral image. Dr. Albertus Pieters says, "It involves self-conscious reasoning power, the capacity for self-determination, and moral sense. In other words, to be a being that can say, 'I am, I ought, I will,' - this it is to be made in the image of God."

3. Why did God create man?

Man was created by God that man should serve his Creator. God does not exist for man's sake but man exists for God's sake, to serve and to glorify Him forever.

4. What kind of knowledge, righteousness and holiness did man have at his creation?

Man's knowledge was a perfect knowledge of God, of his duty and of many other things for which we probably strive today. Man's righteousness was an inherent righteousness which enabled God to declare him as "very good." Man's holiness was the hidden root of his righteousness that was shining forth in his heart.

5. What sort of dominion did man have over the creatures?

God made man head of the world. He was given the right to reign over the creatures and name them. He was to rule them for God's glory and his own good.

6. Is the theory of Theistic evolution consistent with the teaching of Scripture?

No. Theistic Evolution (Evolution as God's method of Creation) is not consistent with the Scripture.

The position of the Bible could be outlined in this way:

1. The Bible says God created out of nothing and this creation included every thing which has or will or can exist. It all owes its being and substance as well as its form to God. Though this is bewildering to man, it is absolutely necessary if we are to hold to the Christian faith.

2. The Bible says that God is eternal, not that matter is eternal as would be necessary for any theory of evolution.

3. The Bible says man came into existence by a special creative act of a free, self-determined will.

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Question: 11. What is God's providence?

Answer: God's providence is His completely holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action.

Scripture References:

Psalm 145:17
Psalm 104:24
Hebrews 1:3
Psalm 103:19
Matthew 10:29, 30

Questions

1. What is the meaning of the word "providence?"

The meaning of the word providence is that of care, the ability to forsee what is coming and to make provision for it.

2. What are the parts of God's providence?

The parts of God's providence are: 1. His preservation of things (Psalm 36:6). 2. His government of things (Psalm 67:4).

3. How do creation and providence differ?

Dr. Charles Hodge states, "Creation, preservation, and government are in fact different, and to identify them leads not only to confusion but to error. Creation and preservation differ - first, as the former is the calling into existence of what did not exist, and the latter is continuing, or causing to continue, what already has a beginning; and secondly, in creation there is and can be no co-operation, but in preservation there is a concursus (harmonious co-operation) of the first, with second causes. In the Bible, therefore, the two things are never confounded. God created all things, and by Him all things consist." (Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, Pg. 578).

4. To what does God's providence extend?

It extends to all His creatures, especially His children and secondly the actions of His creatures.

5. Does His providence extend to all the actions of His creatures?

Yes, it extends to all actions. To hold otherwise would be to say that the creatures would be independent in their actions and then God would not be the first cause of all things.

6. If providence includes all actions of men, does this mean the sinful actions as well as the good actions?

Yes, even the sinful actions of men are controlled by God's providence but this does not make Him responsible for their actions. God permits men to sin (Acts 14:16). God limits and restrains men in their sins (Psalm 76:10). God directs and disposes men's sins to good ends, beyond their own intentions (Isaiah 10:5-7).

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Question:12. What did God's providence specifically do for man whom He created?

Answer: After the creation God made a covenant with man to give him life, if he perfectly obeyed; God told him not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or he would die.

Scripture References:

Compare Genesis 2:16,17 with Romans 5:12-14; Romans 10:5; Luke 10:25-28, and with the covenants made with Noah and Abraham. Genesis 2:17

Questions

1. What is a covenant?

A covenant is a bond in blood, sovereignly administered. When God enters into a covenantal relationship with men, he sovereignly institutes a life-and-death bond. A covenant is a bond in blood, or a bond of life and death, sovereignly administered.

2. Why was it called the Covenant of Life?

It was called the Covenant of Life because it was a plan by which the human race could achieve eternal life by works, that is, by perfect obedience to the will of God.

3. Who were the parties in the Covenant of Life?

The parties were God, who established the covenant, and Adam, the head and representative of the entire human race.

4. Why did God forbid Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree?

He forbade them because this was a test of obedience to the will of God. The fruit was good in itself but to partake of it was contrary to God's commandment.

5. What was the promise and penalty attached to the Covenant of Life?

The promise was life everlasting and the penalty temporal, spiritual and eternal death.

6. What may we learn from this doctrine of the Covenant of Life?

We are taught that eternal death came by the breaking of the Covenant of Life by the first Adam and that eternal life comes only by fulfilling the same covenant by the second Adam (Romans 5:19). Adam was our representative in the Covenant of Life; Jesus Christ is our representative in the Covenant of Grace.

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Question:13. Did our first parents remain as they were created?

Or "Did our first parents continue in the condition in which they were created?"
 

Answer: Left to the freedom of their own wills, our first parents sinned against God and fell from their original condition.

Scripture References:

Genesis 3:6-8,13
Ecclesiastes 7:29
2 Corinthians 11:3
Psalm 5:4

Questions

1. What was the "condition" in which man was created?

The estate was innocence, the state in which God had placed man and in which he had pure fellowship with God.

2. What is meant by the freedom of the will?

The freedom of the will was a liberty to choose or refuse of its own accord, without any constraint or force from anyone.

3. Were our first parents able to follow the way of perfect obedience unto God?

Yes, they had perfect knowledge and were holy in their hearts for God had made them in this way.

4. How was it then possible for man to sin?

It was possible because at creation man had a freedom both to good and evil. His natural disposition was to good but because he was a mutable (subject to change) creature he, through temptation, submitted himself to evil.

5. What is man's state today in regard to freedom of will?

A distinction must be made as to the type of man. Unregenerate man "by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation" so that he can neither "convert himself, nor prepare himself thereunto." (Con. Of Faith, IX, 3). Regenerated man, by God's grace, has the freedom to do that which is spiritually good, but he does not do it perfectly for he is sometimes inclined toward evil. (Romans 7:15,19,21).

6. Who was responsible for the first sin?

Man was responsible for he freely yielded to the temptation of the devil. When our first parents wilfully chose to obey the word of Satan rather than the word of God, they were guilty of sinning against God. Man had been put on trial, the trial of simple obedience, but man failed the test.

It should be recognised that God is not the cause of sin. This can be proven from the testimony of Scripture, (Genesis 1:31. Psalm 5:4). This can also be proven by the facts taught by Scripture that God is perfectly good and holy and that God punished all sin severely. The fall of Adam is the efficient cause of original sin both in himself and in his posterity.

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Question:14. What is sin?

Answer: Sin is disobeying or not conforming to God's law in any way.

Scripture References:

1 John 3:4
James 4:17
Romans 3:23
Romans 2:15

Questions

1. What is the Law of God and where is it to be found?

The Law of God is the commandments God has given for man's rule of obedience. The Law of God is found written in the Word of God though there was a copy of it on the heart of man in his innocence before the fall. The Word teaches that some part of it is still written on the hearts of men, but to a great extent the knowledge of this Law has become marred or obliterated.

2. How does man show want of conformity unto the Law of God?

By not doing all the things written in the Book of the Law (Galatians 3:10).

3. What sins are included in lack of conformity unto the Law of God?

The sins included are (1) Original sin and that natural enmity in the heart against the Law of God. (2) All sins of omission and commission.

4. How can one prove that transgression of the law is sin?

The Bible teaches this in 1 John 3:4 "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness."

5. Are all the laws mentioned in the Old Testament to be kept today?

No, not all the laws of the Old Testament are to be kept. The ceremonial law is no longer binding since Christ came in the flesh, and many of the judicial laws - as they had reference to the state of the Jewish nation - are laid aside. But the moral law is binding on all mankind (Psalm 119:160).

6. Could you answer the question "What is sin?" in simple language?

Dr. William Childs Robinson states: "Sin is stepping across one of God's commandments." It is not simply a wrong done to one's fellow man, but it includes both guilt and pollution. Sin involves not only outward acts, but the thoughts, affections and intents of the heart as well.

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Question:15. By what sin did our first parents fall from their original condition?

Answer: Our first parents' sin was eating the forbidden fruit.

Scripture References:

Genesis 3:6
2 Corinthians 11:3
Psalm 49:12

Questions

1. Why did God forbid our first parents to eat this fruit?

He forbade them because He was making a test of their obedience. It was not that the fruit had in itself any evil. It was God's method of seeing whether or not they recognised His Lordship over them.

2. Were our first parents guilty of sin before they tasted of the fruit?

Yes, they were guilty of listening to the devil. But when they tasted of the fruit they completed the act of sin.

3. Where was the first sin committed?

The first sin was committed in Paradise where God had placed man and created woman.

4. Was Adam deceived in this first sin?

The Bible tells us that he was not deceived. Probably his love for Eve motivated him to join her in this transgression. But he suffered the consequence of this sin just the same and betrayed the whole human race whose representative he was.

5. What was involved in the eating of the forbidden fruit?

There were many sins involved in this act of disobedience. By eating they rebelled against their Sovereign God. By eating they were guilty of treason as they were in league with the devil. By eating they were gratifying ambition, to be as God. By eating they were guilty of unbelief because God had said it was wrong. By eating they were bringing death upon themselves and all their posterity.

6. If one word had to be used in describing this first sin, what word would be best?

Probably the word 'pride' would come closer to describing it than any other word. Calvin states, "Augustine is more correct, who says that pride was the beginning of all evils, and that by pride the human race was ruined... "

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Question: 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first disobedience?

Answer: Since the covenant was made not only for Adam but also for his natural descendants, all mankind sinned in him and fell with him in his first disobedience.

Scripture References:

Acts 17:26
Genesis 2:17
Romans 5:12
1 Corinthians 15:21

Questions

1. How many persons do we read of in Scripture that represent the human race?

We read of two who represent the human race. The first Adam and the second, Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:45)

2. What reason is given in Scripture that the posterity of Adam fell with Adam?

The reason is found in the covenant of life, in which life was promised upon condition of obedience, and was made with Adam. This was made not only for Adam but for his posterity.

3. Since the covenant was a covenant of life, does this mean that Adam could merit eternal life?

No, it does not mean that Adam could merit eternal life. It was still God's grace that would give eternal life, but a grace that would reward obedience.

4. Was it fair that Adam should represent his posterity?

Yes, it was fair since he was to be the common parent of all mankind, was created perfectly holy, with full power to fulfil the condition of the covenant.

5. How could all mankind be in Adam when he first sinned?

All mankind was in Adam in two ways: 1. Virtually, as a natural root, and, 2. Representatively, as a covenant head.

6. What is meant by saying "all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him?"

The phrase "ordinary generation" is used to exclude Christ who descended as to his human body from Adam, but not by ordinary generation since he was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the power of the Almighty God overshadowing her.

7. I have always heard, "In Adam's fall we sinned all." Is this a good commentary on this question?

This is an excellent commentary. It should be understood by it that we are sinners first of all because Adam, our representative, sinned for us. Our corrupted nature is the result of our inheritance in Adam.

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Question:17. What happened to man in the fall? or "Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?"

Answer: Man fell into a condition of sin and misery.

Romans 5:12
Galatians 3:10
Psalm 40:2
Romans 6:23

Questions

1. What do we call the condition of mankind before the fall?

The condition of mankind before the fall is called the condition of innocence, the state of original righteousness.

2. Why is man's state, by the fall, called a condition of sin?

Because man is now under the guilt of sin, which has dominion over him.

3. Why is man's state, by the fall, called a condition of misery?

Because, according to the penalty of the law, death and the curse involve him in all manner of misery.

4. Why is sin mentioned before misery in describing the condition into which mankind fell?

Because sin came first, and misery followed afterwards as the result of sin. Sin is the cause of misery; misery is the effect of sin.

5. How did man come into this state of sin and misery?

Man came into this by the abuse of his free will, by disobedience. The scripture tells us that mankind destroyed himself. (Hosea 13:9).

6. What happened to man in the Garden because of his sin?

Man's heart was changed and man's abode changed. The heart became evil and man was forced to leave the place of perfection (the Garden) and was cast into the world where evil was.

7. How does the Scripture describe man's state of sin and misery?

Scripture describes it by "darkness", "condemnation and wrath", and by "death".

8. What popular false religion of this day denies the teaching of sin and misery?

The religion of Christian Science denies the reality of sin and misery.

9. Can man help himself out of this state of sin and misery?

No. Man is totally unable to help himself out of this state. His very nature is "enmity against God" and he can not save himself from this state.

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Question:18. What is sinful about man's fallen condition?

Answer: The sinfulness of that fallen condition is twofold. First, in what is commonly called original sin, there is the guilt of Adam's first sin with its lack of original righteousness and the corruption of his whole nature. Second are all the specific acts of disobedience that come from original sin.

Scripture References:

Romans 5:12,19
1 Corinthians 15:22
Romans 5:6
Ephesians 2:1-3
James 1:14,15

Questions

1. What is original sin?

A better way of expressing this would be "inherited sin". This sin is the guilt and pollution connected with our origin, in and through the first Adam.

2. Is there not another type of sin besides original sin?

Yes, there is actual sin. This is any breach of God's law, whether it be by omission or commission, whether it be by thought, word or deed.

3. How are all men guilty because of Adam's first sin?

All men are guilty of Adam's first sin by imputation, (Rom. 5:19). This is so because Adam represented his posterity, as we learned in Question 16. As the righteousness of Christ, the second Adam, is imputed to all believers, so the sin of the first Adam is imputed to all the natural seed.

4. What is meant by the "guilt of Adam's first sin"?

It means the debt, the punishment to which we are exposed because of that first sin, committed by our head and representative, Adam.

5. What is the teaching involved in "the want of original righteousness"?

The teaching here is that two things are involved: (a) The lack of true spiritual understanding in the mind (1 Corinthians 2:14). (b) The lack of the power and inclination toward good (Romans 7:18).

6. What is included in the statement "the corruption of his whole nature"?

Included in this statement is the universal depravity present in every part of man since the fall. John Calvin states, "Therefore all of us, who have descended from impure seed, are born infected with the contagion of sin. In fact, before we saw the light of this life we were soiled and spotted in God's sight." (Institutes, II, 1,5).

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Question:19. What is the misery of man's fallen condition?

Answer: By their fall all mankind lost fellowship with God and brought His anger and curse on themselves. They are therefore subject to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.

Scripture References:

Genesis 3:8,24
Ephesians 2:3
Romans 5:14
Romans 6:23

Questions

1. Of what does man's misery in the fall consist?

It consists of three things: (a) What man has lost. (b) What man is brought under. (c) What man is liable to.

2. What was the fellowship or communion with God lost by man because of the fall?

This communion was the presence and favour of God, together with the sweet fellowship and enjoyment of God in the garden of Eden.

3. Does this loss of communion with God extend to this day as far as man is concerned?

Yes, it extends to today. Mankind comes into the world today alienated from God. Mankind lives today alienated from God unless he comes to know God through faith in Jesus Christ.

4. What is man brought under by the fall?

Man is brought under God's wrath and curse by the fall and this is a great misery. The favour of God is better for man than life itself. Man is wretched and miserable without fellowship with God.

5. Are the miseries in this life external or internal as a result of the fall?

The miseries are both external and internal. Such things as calamities, sickness, losses of homes, jobs, families are all external miseries that could result from the fall. The internal miseries that result from the fall are such things as living under the domination of Satan, the spiritual blindness of mind and hardness of heart, vile affections, perplexities and distresses of the mind.

6. What is the punishment which man is liable to by the fall?

The punishment is death itself at the end of his life. This punishment could be simply physical if a man was born again by the Spirit of God. This punishment could be eternal - an eternity in hell - if man is not born again.

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Question:20. Did God leave all mankind to die in sin and misery?

Answer: From all eternity and merely because it pleased Him God chose some to have everlasting life. These He freed from sin and misery by a covenant of grace and brought them to salvation by a redeemer.

Scripture References:

Gen 3:15

Psalm 65:3

Job 19:25-26

2 Samuel 23:5

Ephesians 1:4-7
Titus 3:4-7
Titus 1:2
Galatians 3:21
Romans 3:20-22

Questions

1. Whom does God bring into a state of salvation?

God brings all his elect people into an estate of salvation to which he has chosen them.

2. Who are the elect people of God?

The elect people of God are those whom He has chosen to eternal life, chosen from all eternity out of His good pleasure.

3. What do we mean when we use the term "out of His good pleasure?"

We mean that even though man is lost and fallen, deserving nothing from God, it was God's good pleasure to make provision for some men in what is called the covenant of grace.

4. How does God bring His elect into an estate of salvation?

God brings His elect to salvation by a Redeemer, (Acts 4:12).

5. What is the covenant of grace?

It is a covenant of eternal life and salvation to sinners, to be given them in a way of free grace and mercy. It is an arrangement between God and His elect.

6. Are there conditions to the covenant of grace?

Yes, there is a condition. The condition is faith, by which the elect have an active interest in Jesus Christ, (John 3:16, Acts 16:31).

7. What is the promise inferred in the covenant of Grace?

The promise is that God will cause His Holy Spirit to dwell in the elect and to work in them, creating the faith and virtue that He desires. In other words, what God requires, He gives. (J.B. Green)

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Question:21. Who is the redeemer of God's chosen ones?

Answer: The only redeemer of God's chosen is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, Who became man. He was and continues to be God and man in two distinct natures and one person forever.

Scripture References:

1 Timothy 2:5
John 1:1,14
John 10:30
Philippians 2:6
Galatians 4:4-5
Philippians 2:5-11

Questions

1. Why is the Redeemer of God's elect called the Lord Jesus Christ?

He is called the Lord because of His sovereignty and dominion (Acts 10:36). He is called Jesus because He is the Saviour of His people (Matthew 1:21). He is called Christ because He is anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit which was given to Him without measure (Acts 10:38). He is fully qualified by God.

2. How does the Lord Jesus Christ redeem the elect of God?

He purchases them by His blood and rescues them by His conquest by spoiling principalities and powers. (1 Peter 1:18,19. Colossians 2:15)

3. What did the Lord Jesus Christ become in order to redeem God's elect?

He became man but did not cease to be God. He became Immanuel, God with us.

4. Why was it necessary that He become man?

It was necessary in order that He might be capable of suffering death for man and that He might become their High Priest that could reconcile them to God (Hebrews 8:16,17).

5. How could Christ be both God and man?

Christ is God and man by a personal union. Both His natures are distinct, the divine nature is not subject to change and the human nature is not omnipotent.

6. Could some compact statements be given regarding the constitution of the Redeemer's person?

J.B. Green has probably put it in the most concise way: "1. The reality of the two natures. 2. The integrity of the new natures. 3. The distinctness of the two natures after the union. 4. The oneness of the personality."

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Question:22. How did Christ, the Son of God, become man?

Answer: Christ, the Son of God, became man by assuming a real body and a reasoning soul. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Him; yet He was sinless.

Scripture References:

John 1:14
Luke 1:31,35,41,42
Hebrews 2:14
Matthew 26:38
Galatians 4:4
Hebrews 4:15
Hebrews 7:26

Questions

1. Was Christ's birth a voluntary act of Christ?

Yes, it was a voluntary act. He took upon himself the human nature so that he might be fitted to be our Redeemer.

2. Did he assume the nature of a real man?

Yes, he assumed the nature of a real man. He had the two essential parts of a man, possessing a real body of flesh and blood and bones and that of possessing a soul.

3. How can we prove that he had a real body?

The Bible tells us that he is called "Man". He was subject to hunger, weariness and thirst like other men. He was also crucified, dead and buried and rose again in his body. Luke 24:39 teaches that his was a body, not just mere spirit.

4. How can we prove that he had a soul, a reasonable soul?

The Bible tells us that he had such and that his divine nature did not take the place of, or supply the place of, a soul. Matthew 26:38 teaches that his "soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death."

5. Was the birth of Christ like the birth of other men?

No, his birth came about by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

6. Why was Christ born of a virgin?

Christ was born of a virgin in order that he might be conceived and born without sin, that he might be free of the original sin which was passed on to all Adam's posterity by natural generation.

7. Is it really important that we believe Christ was born of a virgin?

Yes, this is very important. Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield answers these important questions regarding the virgin birth when he says, "It is only in its relation to the New Testament doctrine of redemption that the necessity of the virgin birth of Jesus comes to its full manifestation. For in this Christianity the redemption that is provided is distinctly redemption from sin; and that He might redeem men from sin it certainly was imperative that the Redeemer Himself should not be involved in sin." Could it be stated in a clearer fashion that the redemptive work of Christ depends upon His virgin birth?

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Question:23. How is Christ our redeemer?

Answer: As our redeemer, Christ is our prophet, priest, and king in both His humiliation and His exaltation.

Scripture References:

Acts 3:22
Luke 4:18-21
Hebrews 5:5-6
Hebrews 4:14-15
Revelation 19:16
Isaiah 9:6-7
Psalm 2:6

Questions

1. What do we mean by the term "office"?

The word "office" comes from the Latin "officium" and means any special duty or trust or charge laid upon or taken up by one person to perform for another. It is interesting to note that the term is never used to indicate what a person does for himself but is always implying what a man does for another. It is a term that is not used in Scripture, but is a Theological term used in our Standards.

2. What does it mean to "execute" an office?

To execute an office is to do or perform all that belongs to the office.

3. Was Jesus Christ ordained or appointed to these offices?

Yes, Christ was ordained to these offices from all eternity.

(1 Peter 1:20)

4. Why was it necessary for Christ to take upon Himself these three offices?

It was necessary for our salvation. Our salvation was revealed by Him as a Prophet; purchased by Him as a Priest; and applied by Him as a King.

5. Is there anyone else in Scripture that had all three of these offices?

No, no one in Scripture had all three but Christ, not even those who were typical of Him in the Old Testament.

6. In what ways does Christ execute these offices?

He executes these offices in His state of humiliation here on earth and continues to do so in His state of exaltation now in heaven.

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Question:24. How is Christ a prophet?

Answer: As a prophet, Christ reveals the will of God to us for our salvation by His word and Spirit

Scripture References:

John 1:1-4
John 15:15
John 20:31
2 Peter 1:21
John 14:26

Questions

1. Is Christ called a "prophet" in Scripture and if so, why?

He is called a prophet in Acts 3:22. He is called a prophet because He has made a full revelation of the whole counsel of God.

2. How does Christ reveal to us the will of God?

He reveals God's will to us in two ways: outwardly, by His Word and inwardly, by His Spirit.

3. What is the word of Christ?

The word of Christ is the whole Bible, the Scripture, containing the Old and New Testaments.

4. How can it be that the whole Scripture is the word of Christ since His words constitute only a small portion of it?

The whole Bible is called the word of Christ because those who wrote it wrote the word they had from the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:10-11).

5. Is it possible to be saved simply by means of the Word of God without the Spirit?

No, it is not possible to be saved simply through the Word apart from the Spirit. The teaching concerning this is found in 1 Corinthians 2:14.

6. Is it possible to be saved by the Spirit apart from the Word?

There is a difference here from the previous question in that the Word cannot save you apart from the Spirit and the Spirit will not save you apart from the Word. The Bible teaches that the whole will of God necessary to our salvation is revealed in His Word.

7. How does the Spirit of Christ make us wise unto salvation?

The Spirit of Christ makes us wise unto salvation by opening up our understandings, for the entrance of His word gives us light so that the soul is enabled to see the way of salvation and the way offered.

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Question:25. How is Christ a priest?

Answer: As a priest, Christ offered Himself up once as a sacrifice for us to satisfy divine justice and to reconcile us to God, and He continually intercedes for us.

Scripture References:

Hebrews 9:14, 28
Romans 3:25
Romans 10:4
Hebrews 2:17
Hebrews 7:25

Questions

1. What did Christ do for us as the first part of his office as a priest?

The first part of Christ's priestly office was the offering up a sacrifice to God for us. The sacrifice was Himself, the shedding of blood unto death.

2. What is a sacrifice?

A sacrifice is a holy offering rendered to God by a priest of God's appointment.

3. Did Christ offer a sacrifice of Himself more than once?

No, he offered Himself a sacrifice only one time, and this was sufficient for the sins of His people. (Hebrews 9:38)

4. Why did Christ offer Himself as a sacrifice for us?

Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for us that he might satisfy God's justice for us and that he might reconcile us to God.

5. When the word "us" is used in the above question, of whom is it speaking?

It is speaking of the elect, not of all mankind. (John 10:15)

6. How did Christ's sacrifice satisfy God's justice?

It is so for this sacrifice was accepted by God and was worthy of acceptance.

7. What does Christ do for us as the second part of his office as a priest?

The second part of Christ's priestly office is his making intercession for us. (Isaiah 43:12)

8. Where is the intercession made and what does He do for us in this intercession?

The intercession is made at the right hand of God. By it He prays to and pleads to God for us; because of it our sins are pardoned, our prayers are answered and we are actually reconciled. It should be remembered that He is the only intercessor in heaven for us.

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Question:26. How is Christ a king?

Answer: As a king, Christ brings us under His power, rules and defends us, and restrains and conquers all His and all our enemies.

Scripture References:

Psalm 110:3
Isaiah 33:22
1 Corinthians 15:25
Acts 12:17
Acts 18:9,10

Questions

1. Does the Bible teach that Jesus Christ is a King?

Yes, the Bible teaches it in Psalm 2:6 and again in John 18:36.

2. When was Jesus Christ made a King?

He was made a King even from the very beginning. He was proclaimed as a King at His birth and again at His death.

3. How does Christ exercise His Kingship?

He exercises it in two ways: (1) Over His elect people (John 1:49). (2) Over His enemies and the enemies of His elect people (Psalm 110:2).

4. How does Christ exercise His Kingship over His elect people?

He exercises it by subduing them to Himself. He does this through the power of the Spirit in the Word so that He makes them willing to embrace the Saviour. He finds them as stubborn and disobedient and rebellious but He calls them unto Himself.

5. How does Christ exercise His Kingship by ruling His elect people?

He exercises it by ruling inwardly by His Spirit, by working in them the disposition of obedience unto Him.

6. What change does this make as to the people's relationship with the Word?

The change is that though they are still in the world they are not really of the world but are members of Christ's invisible kingdom. This also means that the world will hate them.

7. How does Christ exercise His Kingship over His enemies and the enemies of His elect people?

He exercises His Kingship by defending His people; by restraining and conquering all His and their enemies (by setting bounds and limits on them); by conquering them.

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Question:27. How was Christ humiliated?

Answer: Christ was humiliated: by being born as a man and born into a poor family; by being made subject to the law and suffering the miseries of this life, the anger of God, and the curse of death on the cross; and by being buried and remaining under the power of death for a time.

Scripture References:

Luke 2:7
Philippians 2:6-8
Galatians 4:4
Isaiah 53:6
Matthew 27:46
Galatians 3:13
1 Corinthians 15:3,4

Questions

1. In what things did Christ humble Himself?

Christ humbled Himself in His birth, in His life and in His death.

2. How did Christ humble Himself in His birth?

Christ humbled Himself in His birth in that He was born of a virgin in a manger, becoming man who was the eternal Son of God.

3. How did Christ humble Himself in His life?

Christ humbled Himself in His life by subjecting Himself to the law; because he entered into conflict with the devil; because He endured the slander of men who were wicked; because He endured the infirmities of the flesh even those endured by all men.

4. How did Christ humble Himself in His death?

Christ humbled Himself in His death by submitting himself to the cursed death of the cross (Galatians 3:13) and undergoing the agony described in the Scripture as happening to Him.

5. What does Christ's humiliation mean to us as Christians?

Christ's humiliation assured us of our redemption, through the merits of His sufferings. (Ephesians 1:7)

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Question: 28. How is Christ exalted?

Answer: Christ is exalted by His rising from the dead on the third day, His going up into heaven, His sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and His coming to judge the world at the last day.

Scripture References:

1 Corinthians 15:3,4
Acts 1:9
Ephesians 1:19,20
Acts 1:11
Acts 17:31

Questions

1. How many parts are there to Christ's exaltation?

There are four parts to his exaltation. The first part is his resurrection from the dead; the second, his ascension into heaven; the third, his sitting down at the right hand of the father; the fourth, his coming to judge the world.

2. Is it possible to prove that he rose from the dead?

It can be proven by the many witnesses who saw him and talked with him after his resurrection. Another proof is that if it were not so our faith would be in vain as is taught in 1 Corinthians 15:17.

3. Who was responsible for this miracle of rising from the dead?

Christ did this by his own power and Spirit as is taught by such verses as John 10:17,18; Romans 1:4

4. What does the resurrection of Christ teach us?

It teaches us to walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

5. Why did Christ ascend into heaven?

He ascended into heaven that he might be returned to the glory he had before the world was formed (John 17:5). By his ascension he also took over, as Head of the church, the destination of all believers.

6. What does Christ do at the right hand of God?

Christ makes intercession for all believers at this place and is also preparing a place for them.

7. When and how will Christ come to judge the world?

He will come to judge the world at the last day. He will judge the world in righteousness, giving to everyone what is deserved. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

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Question:29. How are we made to take part in the redemption Christ bought?

Answer: We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us (John 1:12) by His Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5,6).  

Scripture References:

John 1:12,13
John 3:5,6
Titus 3:5,6

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Question:30. How does the Holy Spirit apply to us the redemption Christ bought?

Answer: The Spirit applies to us the redemption Christ bought by producing faith in us and so uniting us to Christ in our effective calling.

Scripture References:

Ephesians 2:8
John 15:5
1 Corinthians 6:17
1 Corinthians 1:9
1 Peter 5:10

Questions

1. How does the Spirit apply this redemption to us?

This redemption is laid upon the soul by the Spirit. It unites us to Jesus Christ, it "joins" us to Him, makes us "one" with Him. It is an act of God.

2. How is it possible that we can be united to Christ when he is in heaven and we are here on earth?

It is possible because the person of Christ is everywhere. Matthew 28:20

3. In the union between Christ and the Christian is it a mutual union?

It is a mutual union but it begins first on the side of Christ. The Bible teaches that "I will put my Spirit within you."

4. What happens when this application takes place in the soul?

When the application takes place in the soul the soul believes, it passes from the dead state to the state of being alive.

5. Is it possible for this union to be dissolved?

No, it is impossible for this union to be dissolved because it contains within it the perseverance of God.

6. Is this faith that takes place of ourselves or of God?

It can be said that faith is our act but it is God's gift and the work of His Spirit. A good verse in this regard is Colossians 2:12 "you are raised with him through your faith in the power of God."

7. To what does the Scripture compare this union?

The Scripture compares this union to the union between husband and wife; head and members; root and branches; foundation and superstructure.

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Question:31. What is effective calling?

Answer: Effective calling is the work of God's Spirit, Who convinces us that we are sinful and miserable, Who enlightens our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and Who renews our wills. This is how He persuades and makes us able to receive Jesus Christ, Who is freely offered to us in the Gospel.

Scripture References:

2 Timothy 1:8,9
Ephesians 1:18-20
Acts 2:37
Acts 26:18
Ezekiel 11:19
John 6:44,45
Philippians 2:13
Ephesians 2:15

Questions

1. In what two ways could "calling" be understood?

Calling has been recognized in Reformed Theology as both "external" and "internal" call. The first is the call of the word whereby all sinners are freely entreated to come to Christ, that they may have life and salvation in Him. However, this call is insufficient in itself to enable them to come to Him. The second is the internal call of the Spirit that accompanies the proclamation of the word whereby the sinner is not only entreated to come to Christ but is inwardly enabled to embrace Him as He is freely offered in the Gospel.

2. What is involved in the Spirit's work in our hearts to convince us of our sin and misery?

The Spirit gives us a clear insight of the guilt of our sins and a recognition of the wrath of God and the miseries of hell. This wounds our conscience and causes us to ask, "What must I do to be saved?"

3. How does the Spirit accomplish this task?

The Spirit accomplishes this task by the law - "through the law we become conscious of sin" (Romans 3:20)

4. How does the Spirit enlighten our minds?

The Spirit does this by pointing us to Christ for in Him, that is in the knowledge of His person, righteousness, power, etc., we are renewed in our wills and are enabled to turn to Christ as Saviour and Lord.

5. Are we able to renew our own wills?

No, our wills are renewed only when the Spirit puts new inclinations in them and causes us, (makes us willing), to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. (Ephesians 1:19,20)

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Question:32. What benefits do those who are effectively called share in this life?

Answer: In this life those who are effectively called share justification, adoption, sanctification, and the other benefits that either go with or come from them.

Scripture References:

Romans 8:30
Ephesians 1:5
1 Corinthians 1:30

Questions

1. What should we note about these benefits?

We should note that these benefits are absolutely tied up with effectual calling. It should be further noted by us that "calling", in the Bible sense of the word, cannot fail or remain ineffectual. Effectual calling has the power to produce the intended effect, that of enabling us to embrace Christ Jesus. It also has the same power to grant us certain benefits.

2. What are these benefits granted to us as those effectually called?

These benefits are justification, adoption and sanctification.

3. What connection is there between effectual calling and justification?

The sinner has communion in the righteousness of God.

4. What connection is there between adoption and effectual calling?

The sinner has a spiritual Father, God, through his relationship to Jesus Christ.

5. What connection is there between effectual calling and sanctification?

The sinner has a relationship to Christ regarding their ability to live as Christians should live. He is the Christian's strength.

6. What should be the attitude of the Christian towards these benefits?

Regarding these benefits the Christian should:

a) Give all diligence to make his calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

b) Be thankful that he is justified, adopted and is in the process of sanctification and show his thankfulness by praising the Lord and by serving Him.

c) Be looking forward to the day when, by His grace, He will be glorified knowing that such is the hope of those who have been predestined, called, and justified.

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Question: 33. What is justification?

Answer: Justification is the act of God's free grace by which He pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight. He does so only because He counts the righteousness of Christ as ours. Justification is received by faith alone.

Scripture References:

Ephesians 1:7
2 Corinthians 5:19,21
Romans 4:5
Romans 3:22,24,25
Romans 5:17-19
Romans 5:1
Acts 10:43
Galatians 2:16

Questions

1. What does the word "justify" mean in the New Testament?

The word means "to deem to be right" in the New Testament. It signifies two things: (1) to show to be right or righteous; (2) to declare to be righteous.

2. Who is the author of our justification?

God is the author of our justification. In this question we have the first of a series in which the words "an act of God's free grace" is used. We are justified freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The grace of God is the deepest ground and final cause of our justification.

3. What are the two parts to justification?

The two parts are: (1) the pardoning of our sins; (2) the accepting us as righteous in his sight.

4. What two great truths are present in these two parts?

The first great truth is that the pardoning of our sins is a continued act. (See Calvin on John 1:29). All our sins are forgiven. The second truth is that we are not only pardoned but our Lord does not abhor us but accepts us as righteous.

5. How is it possible that he accepts us as righteous?

It is possible for him to accept us as righteous because his righteousness is made ours by imputation. (Romans 4:6).

6. What is imputation and how does it apply to us?

Imputation is God's act of reckoning righteousness or guilt to a person's credit or debit. It is as if we had obeyed the law and had satisfied justice.

7. How are we justified?

We are justified purely by faith without any kind of work being involved.

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Question:34? What is adoption?

Answer: Adoption is the act of God's free grace by which we become His sons with all the rights and privileges of being His.

Scripture References:

1 John 3:1
John 1:12
Romans 8:17
Colossians 3:10

Questions

1. What is the difference between adoption in the sight of men and in the sight of God?

Adoption, according to man, is simply a taking into the family a child because of some qualification on the part of the child or because of some need of the adopting parent. God adopts those who are strangers, the children of wrath, those in whom there is nothing commendable and gives them all the rights and privileges as children of God.

2. What is involved in this new relationship?

Charles Hodge states, "Adoption presents the new creature in his new relations - his new relations entered upon with a congenial heart, and his new life developing in a congenial home, and surrounded with those relations which foster its growth and crown it with blessedness." (Confession of Faith, pg.192)

3. Are all children of men adopted by God?

No, only those who believe on Christ. (John 1:12)

4. Who specifically does the act of adopting?

The act of adoption belongs to God the Father. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1)

5. What are the privileges to which the adopted children of God are entitled?

The list could be endless. Primarily the privileges are:

(1) Protection from evils of all kinds (Psalm 121:7)

(2) The bearing of His likeness (Colossians 3:10).

(3) The access to God the Father (1 John 5:14,15).

(4) The provision of the needs of the believer (Psalm 34:10).

(5) A surety of entrance into the kingdom of heaven (Rom 8:17)

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Question: 35. What is sanctification?

Answer: Sanctification is the work of God's free grace by which our whole person is made new in the image of God, and we are made more and more able to become dead to sin and alive to righteousness.

Scripture References:

2 Thessalonians 2:13
Ephesians 4:23,24
Romans 6:4,6,14
Romans 8:4

Questions

1. How does sanctification differ from justification?

Justification is complete at once; sanctification is a process carried on by degrees to perfection in glory. Justification alters a man's position or standing before God; sanctification is a real change as it changes a man's heart and life. Justification is an act of God without us; sanctification is the work of God, renewing us within as we use the means of grace.

2. What does the word "sanctify" mean in Scripture?

The word is used in two ways in Scripture. (1) To set apart from a common to a sacred use (John 10:36). (2) To render morally pure or holy (1 Corinthians 6:11).

3. Where does sanctification do its work in the believer?

Sanctification does its work in the heart of the believer, in the new man. God does a work of renovation in us after his image in knowledge, righteousness and holiness.

4. When we speak of the "new man" what do we mean?

We mean the new nature personified as the believer's regenerate self, a nature "created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24).

5. What are the two parts to sanctification?

The two parts are: (1) Mortification - in which we are enabled to die more and more unto sin (Romans 6:11). (2) Vivification - in which our natures are quickened by the power of grace so that we live unto righteousness (Romans 6:13).

6. Of what use is sanctification in the believer?

Sanctification is the evidence of our justification and faith and it is necessary if we are to live to the glory of God. It is a necessary aspect of our preparation to meet God, for without holiness no man shall see God.

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Question:36. What benefits in this life go with or come from justification, adoption, and sanctification?

Answer: The benefits that in this life go with or come from justification, adoption, and sanctification are: the assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, and growing and persevering in grace to the end of our lives.

Scripture References:

Romans 5:1,2,5
Romans 14:17
Colossians 1:10,11
Proverbs 4:18
Jeremiah 32:40
1 John 2:19,27
Revelation 14:12
1 Peter 1:5

Questions

1. What do we mean by "assurance of God's love?"

We mean the persuasion that we are the children of God and the heirs of eternal life (Romans 5:5).

2. Do all believers experience this persuasion?

Yes but to varying degrees, and assurance is essential to one's spiritual well-being; and the Bible clearly teaches that the believer ought to seek such assurance.

(2 Peter 1:10; Hebrews 6:11).

3. What do we mean by "peace of conscience?"

We mean the inward quietness that is a result of being justified by faith. Since we have an assurance of our reconciliation to God, our lot is determined by his love, and peace is our heritage (Rom. 5:1).

4. What do we mean by "joy in the Holy Spirit?"

Joy of salvation and the sense of God's favour imparted by the Holy Spirit who indwells believers as his temple. (1 Peter 1:8; Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22).

5. What do we mean by "increase in grace?"

We mean the "growth in holiness and progress in piety" (James Harper). This is the work of the Holy Spirit and is manifested in an increase in faith, love, submission, patience, meekness, etc. (Galatians 5:22, 23).

6. What do we mean by "perseverance therein to the end?"

We mean the perseverance of God (not the saints) to keep the believer to the end. We mean that the believer cannot totally or finally fall from grace. This is due to God's promises, God's faithfulness, the Holy Spirit's indwelling and the believer's union with Christ (1 Peter 1:5).

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Question:37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ when they die?

Answer: When believers die, their souls are made perfectly holy and immediately pass into glory. Their bodies, which are still united to Christ, rest in the grave until the resurrection.

Scripture References:

Luke 23:43
Luke 16:23
Philippians 1:23
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
1 Thessalonians 4:14
Romans 8:23

Questions

1. When believers die what benefits are received?

The believer receives a benefit in regard to his soul and in regard to his body.

2. What benefit is received of the believer in regard to his soul?

Hebrews 12:23 teaches that the soul is made perfect in holiness and immediately passes into glory.

3. How is the believer benefited with respect to his body?

The body of the believer in the grave will still be united to Christ in a mystical union (1 Cor. 6:15). At the resurrection the body of the believer will be united with his soul.

4. What is this "resurrection" spoken of in the prior question?

This resurrection is the last and general resurrection of all the dead in the last day (1 Thess. 4:16).

5. What is the lot of the souls and bodies of the unbelievers?

The bodies of the unbelievers are shut up in the prison of the grave (Daniel 12:2) and their souls suffer the anguish and torment of hell.

6. Will the believer be raised with the same body at the last day?

Yes, the dead in Christ shall be raised with the same body (Job 19:26). There will be a difference in quality, not in substance and essence. (Philippians 3:20-21).

7. How can a believer be assured of these blessings when death is nigh?

A believer can be assured of them because the promises of God are sure and true, promises made even before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9). There need be no doubt on the part of the believer for "What the Bible says, God says, and that ends the matter!"

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Question:38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?

Answer: At the resurrection, believers, raised in glory, will be publicly recognised and declared not guilty on the day of judgment and will be made completely happy in the full enjoyment of God forever.

Scripture References:

1 Corinthians 15:43, 44
Matthew 25:33, 34
Matthew 10:32
Psalm 16:1
1 Thessalonians 4:14
1 Corinthians 2:9

Questions

1. What are the three benefits of the believers as contained in this question?

(1) The believers shall be raised up in glory. (2) The believers shall be acknowledged and acquitted at the day of judgement. (3) The believers shall be made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.

2. What is the glory referred to in this question and what will be the result of it?

The glory referred to in this question is the glory of the resurrection, when the body will be restored and no longer subject to death and dissolution and will "be transformed to be like Christ's glorious body." (Phil. 3:21).

3. What is the meaning of the believers being acknowledged and acquitted?

The believers will hear the Saviour's "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34). Their faith shall be vindicated; they shall be publicly acknowledged as the redeemed children of God, (1 Corinthians 4:5), and the declaration will be made that all their sins are pardoned.

4. What is the third blessing that will come to the believers?

The third is the greatest blessing of them all, the full enjoyment of God. The believers will ever be with the Lord and will receive the inheritance prepared for them. There the believers will behold their Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, and will finally be able to trace the ways in which the Lord has led and saved them. (1 Peter 1:6).

5. What will be the lot of the unbelievers at the resurrection?

Their bodies shall be released from the grave and they shall see Christ as their final judge. They shall stand before His judgment Throne and shall have their sins read out of the books and will be eternally cast into hell. (2 Thess. 1:7, 8 and Revelation 20:11, 12).

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Question:39. What does God require of man?

Answer: God requires man to obey His revealed will.

Scripture References:

Deuteronomy 29:29
Micah 6:8
1 Samuel 15:22

Questions

1. Why do believers have duties toward God?

(1) God is the Creator and Preserver of all men, but believers belong to Him also by right of redemption and have added reason for obedience. (2) God has made it very plain in His Word that the duties of the believers are the responsibilities that go with the privileges. In our catechism we have studied the privileges, now we come to the responsibilities.

2. What is the revealed will of God?

The revealed will of God is found in the scripture of the Old and New Testaments.

3. Could not the Holy Spirit lead a believer to act apart from the Scriptures?

Any leading by the Holy Spirit will be consistent with the Word of God. A Bible teacher put it this way: There are three main characteristics of the leading of the Holy Spirit: (1) It is controlling, not compelling. (2) It is continuous, it always "Puts to death."

(3) It is mediate, always by and with the Word, "Into the truth."

4. Should believers obey God rather than men?

There is a responsibility on the part of believers to "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men", (1 Peter 2:13) but if the duty required of us by man would cause us to disobey God (according to His revealed will) we must obey God. (Acts 5:29).

5. Does God require of the believer what is impossible for the individual believer?

No, God only requires of the believer what he will give the believer - the strength, wisdom, courage and power to perform. (Ezekiel 36:27; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

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Question:40. What rules did God first reveal for man to obey?

Answer: The rules He first revealed were the moral law.

Scripture References:

Romans 2:14,15
Romans 10:5

Questions

1. How many laws has God given to man?

God gave to his people the moral law, which is still in force today, and ceremonial and judicial laws. These last two, as given to the Jews, have ceased to have any binding force under the Christian economy.

2. Is the moral law a rule of obedience to both believer and non-believer?

Yes, the moral law is a rule of obedience to both. The Westminster Confession teaches, "The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof." (Chap. 21, Sec. V)

3. Can a man be saved by keeping the moral law?

No, a man is only saved by grace through faith. In addition, it would be impossible for man to keep the moral law perfectly.

4. If man cannot be saved by it, and yet is still bound by it, of what use is it?

The use of the moral law is that it is a "schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal. 3:24). The word "schoolmaster" is the idea of training and discipline in the passage cited. A pertinent passage here is 1 Timothy 1:8.

5. How does the law bring men to Christ?

The law brings men to Christ by convincing men of sin and by convincing them of its consequences if it is not atoned for and forgiven. It also awakens them to their need of a Saviour for that sin.

6. After a man is saved is the law of any further use?

The law is a perpetual reminder of the will of God for His creatures. For the believer it is intended as a rule of life and conduct which is absolute and unchanging. See Romans 7:6,12; Titus 2:11,12.

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Question:41. Where is the moral law summarised?

Answer: The moral law is summarised in the Ten Commandments.

Scripture References:

Matthew 19:17-19
Deuteronomy 10:4
Romans 3:8
Deuteronomy 4:8

Questions

1. What do we mean by "summarily comprehended?"

We mean that the sum and the chief heads of the law are therein contained. The moral law is more fully set forth in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

2. When was the moral law first published?

The moral law was first published when God wrote it on the heart of Adam.

3. Where are the ten commandments found in Scripture?

The ten commandments are found in the twentieth chapter of Exodus and in a slightly different form in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. However, the differences are very minor and include nothing essential.

4. How are the commandments divided?

We divide them today as "ten commandments" as was done by the Greek Church in early days. There is also the division of the duties towards God and those duties towards our fellowman.

5. Could we say that the ten commandments includes all of the moral law?

We could say that the ten commandments are an amazingly comprehensive summary of the moral law. They include both things required of the inward man and of the outward behaviour. Within them there is an amazing teaching in that if a sin is forbidden, in the words of God there is a duty commanded.

6. How can we have a better understanding of the ten commandments?

Our Larger Catechism in answer to Question 95 gives us certain rules for a right understanding of the commandments. It would be good for all of us to memorise all eight of the rules given and the proof texts too. Too many of us are woefully ignorant of these eight rules, rules that, rightly applied, will indeed lead us to a closer walk with our God, all to His glory.

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Question:42. What is the essence of the Ten Commandments?

Answer: The essence of the ten commandments is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind, and to love everyone else as we love ourselves.

Scripture References:

Matthew 22:37-40
Matthew 10:27
James 2:10
Romans 13:10

Questions

1. How are the duties of the commandments divided in this answer?

The duties are divided in the following way: Our duties toward God and our duties toward our neighbour.

2. What is the meaning of the word "sum" in this question?

The meaning of the word "sum" is the comprehensive duty of the law which is love; for love is the fulfilling of the law.

3. What is the meaning of loving God with all our heart?

To love God with all our heart means to love him without hypocrisy, to be sincere and honest in our love.

4. What is the meaning of loving God with all our soul?

To love God with all our soul means to exercise all the faculties we have in fulfilling the duties of our Christian life as we delight in Him and in following His will.

5. What is the meaning of loving God with all our strength?

To love God with all our strength means to love nothing or no one more than God.

6. Who is our neighbour that we are to love as ourselves?

Every man is our neighbour therefore we are to have a general affection toward all.

7. What is it to love our neighbour as ourselves?

To love our neighbour as ourselves is to love him with the same truth and constancy of love as we do ourselves. (Ephesians 5:29)

8. If a standard could be given from Scripture as to this love for others, what could be given?

A good standard from the word of God would be Matthew 7:12 - that we do to others what we would have them do to us, or John 15:12, where Jesus said, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

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Question: 43. What introduces the ten commandments?

Answer: These words introduce the ten commandments: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

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Question: 44. What does the introduction to the ten commandments teach us?

Answer: The introduction to the ten commandments teaches us that, because God is Lord and is our God and redeemer, we must keep all His commandments.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:2
Luke 1:74
1 Peter 1:15-19

Questions

1. What three things are found in the preface to motivate us to holy living?

The three motivators are: (1) He is our Lord. (2) He is our God. (3) He is our Redeemer.

2. Why should we keep His commandments because He is our Lord?

We should keep His commandments because He is our Lord since He is our Creator and our Sovereign and as His creatures and subjects we owe Him this. (Psalm 100:2,3)

3. Why should we keep His commandments because He is our God?

We should keep His commandments because He is our God since He is our Covenant God and has brought us into a special relationship with Himself and therefore we have an obligation to serve Him.

4. Why should we keep His commandments because He is our Redeemer?

We should keep His commandments because He is our Redeemer since He bought us and made us free from sin and this should encourage us to be obedient unto Him.

5. What wonderful lessons can be learned from the grammatical construction used in this question?

The lesson that He is the Lord our God in the present time, not in the future; the lesson that He is the Lord God of every individual sinner ("your God") whom He calls.

6. From what bondage are we delivered by the Lord our God?

We are delivered from the bondage of being under the wrath of God and the guilt, power and pollution of sin, from hell itself. This should teach us to keep His commandments out of praise to Him for what He has done for us and out of the sense that this is the least we can do to repay Him. (Phil. 1:27)

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Question: 45. Which is the first commandment?

Answer: The first commandment is, you shall have no other gods before me.

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Question: Q46. What does the first commandment require?

Answer: The first commandment requires us to know and recognise God as the only true God and our God, and to worship and glorify Him accordingly.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:3
1 Chronicles 28:9
Deuteronomy 26:7
Matthew 4;10
Psalm 95:6
Psalm 29:2

Questions

1. What are the three duties chiefly required in the first commandment?

The three duties are: (1) To know God. (2) To acknowledge God. (3) To worship and glorify God.

2. What is it we are to know regarding God?

We are to know that God is, or that there is a God. In addition we are to know God by acknowledging Him as the only true God as He is presented in His Word.

3. How are we to worship God?

We are to worship God by making Him the object of our desire and our delight.

4. How are we to glorify God?

We are to glorify God by first recognising, in our heart, Christ as our Saviour and Lord and then living so that every action is aimed at the advancement of His glory and honour here on earth.

5. What are some practical ways by which we worship and glorify God?

We glorify God by putting nothing before Him in our thoughts, words, actions. By loving anything more than God, whether it is pleasure, our bodies, our loved ones, we would not be glorifying God.

6. Can we glorify God both inwardly and outwardly?

Yes, we can glorify God inwardly by trusting, by hoping, by delighting in Him, by thinking and meditating upon Him, by being filled with grief when we sin against Him. We can glorify God outwardly by praying, by praising, by being zealous to walk in the Spirit, by showing forth humility, and by seeking to do His will as expressed in His word. The Bible says, "Delight yourself in the Lord." (Ps.37:4). "Trust in the Lord for ever." (Isa. 26:4). "I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you." (Jer. 7:23).

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Question:47. What does the first commandment forbid?

Answer: The first commandment forbids denying God or not worshipping and glorifying Him as the true God and our God. It also forbids giving worship and glory, which He alone deserves, to anyone or anything else.

Scripture References:

Psalm 14:1
Romans 1:20,21
Psalm 81:11
Romans 1:25

Questions

1. What are the two sins forbidden in the first commandment?

The two sins forbidden are atheism and idolatry.

2. What is atheism?

In its strictest definition, atheism means the denial of the existence of any god of any kind. Paul uses it in Ephesians 2:12 to refer to people who are without God before their conversion.

3. Is there such a person as a true atheist?

It is difficult to come to a conclusion regarding this. It would seem difficult to believe that such exists as one wonders how any man could consistently and persistently throughout his life never have the least fear of God or doubt that there is no God.

4. Is it possible for a Christian to practice atheism?

It is not possible for a Christian to practice atheism in its strictest definition but there is a practical type that a Christian is guilty of practical atheism when he slights or neglects God, even when he knows God through Christ.

5. What is idolatry?

Idolatry in its strictest sense is the religious worship of idols, that is images or pictures. In its wider sense, it is all religious worship other than that offered to the true God.

6. How many ways can a person be guilty of idolatry?

A person can be guilty of idolatry by (1) Having and worshipping other gods beside the one true God in an outward way such as when he worships heathen gods, or angels or saints, or when he seeks to worship God through visible representations. (2) Giving honour and respect to anything in this world that is only due God in an inward way. This would be heart idolatry and would be in opposition to Matthew 16:24 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself ... "

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Question:48. What are we specifically taught in the first commandment by the words 'before me'?

Answer: The words 'before me' in the first commandment teach us that God, who sees everything, notices and is very offended by the sin of having any other god.

Scripture References:

1 Chronicles 28:9
Psalm 44:20-21

Jer. 23:24

Questions

1. How is it possible for God to see all things?

It is possible for God is everywhere present and has infinite understanding. The Bible says, "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?" (Jer. 23:24) He is omniscient (knowing everything) as well as omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time) - Psalm 139. He knows us with perfect knowledge.

2. How can Christians commit the sin of having other gods?

Christians can commit this sin by allowing their interest and their affections to be set upon other things and by allowing those things to hold first place in their thoughts and activities.

3. Why is God so displeased with this sin?

God is displeased with this sin because He is a jealous and a holy God. The Bible teaches, "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." (Isa. 42:8).

4. Should not the fact that He is a jealous and a holy God influence our every action?

Yes, our every action should be influenced by this fact. It should keep us from sin; it should give us a hatred of the very thought of sin; it should quicken us moment by moment to make the prayer as stated in the hymn:

I want a principle within of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near.
Help me the first approach to feel
Of pride or wrong desire;
To catch the wandering of my will,
And quench the kindling fire.

Charles Wesley

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Question: 49. What is the second commandment?

Answer: The second commandment is: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand (generations) of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Scripture References:

Deut. 12:32, Deut 32:46, Mt.28:20

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Question: 50. What does the second commandment require?

Answer: The second commandment requires us to receive, respectfully perform, and preserve completely and purely all the regulations for worship that God has established in His word.

Deuteronomy. 12:32
Deuteronomy 32:46
Matthew 28:20

Matthew 5:18-19

Romans 3:31

Questions

1. Both the first and second commandments have to do with worship. In what way do they differ?

The first commandment has to do with the object of worship, the true and living God; the second commandment has to do with the means of worship; and the manner in which we worship Him.

2. What are these means of worship?

The means of worship are the ordinances which God has appointed in His word.

3. What are these ordinances?

"prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word, the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing to Him."

4. How are we as Christians to receive these ordinances?

We are to receive them by faith, approving of them and embracing them; observing them by doing what is required in them; keeping them pure and entire by keeping them from corruption.

5. What does it mean by not making any graven image?

It means that we are not to attempt to represent God through material objects nor to worship Him through the use of such imagery.

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Question:51. What does the second commandment forbid?

Answer: The second commandment forbids our worshipping God with images or in any other way not established in His word.

Scripture References:

Deuteronomy 4:15,16, Acts 17:29, Deuteronomy 12:30-32

Questions

1. What is the great sin forbidden in the second commandment?

The great sin forbidden in the second commandment is idolatry.

2. How does the idolatry forbidden in the second commandment differ from the sin forbidden in the first commandment?

The idolatry forbidden in the first commandment has to do with an object, wherein man worships something else other than the true and living God. The idolatry forbidden in the second commandment has to do with the means of worship, and forbids us to worship God in ways contrary to His will.

3. How is it possible for a person to worship images and thus commit the sin of idolatry?

There are many ways this can be done. Some of them are: (1) By worshipping false gods such as the heathen idolatry in the culture of the Greeks. (2) By worshipping the true God by the use of an image or a representation of Him. (3) By worshipping the true God by creating in one's minds a false image of Him.

4. Is it permissible for any image or representation to be made of God?

No, it is forbidden because He is infinite, incomprehensible (Isaiah 40:18). Any attempt to represent God necessarily involves limitations which misrepresent Him.

5. Is it lawful for us to have pictures of Jesus Christ?

No, it is not lawful for us to do so. It is true, He was man as well as God, but the Bible teaches us He is even fairer than the children of men (Psalm 45:2). It is impossible for us to know what He was like and therefore, any representation of Him would be a guesswork. If He had wanted us to know He would have made it clear in the Word.

6. Does the second commandment forbid ceremony in our worship?

No, it does not forbid ceremony in our worship, as long as the ceremony is taught in the Word of God. Therefore, the ceremony would have to be "decent and in order" and only what is appointed in the Word of God (Matthew 15:9).

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Question: 52. What are the reasons for the second commandment?

Answer: The reasons for the second commandment are that God totally rules over us, that we belong to Him, and that He is eager to be worshipped correctly.

Scripture References:

Psalm 29:2, John 4:24, Psalm 95:2,3, Psalm 45:11, Exodus 34:14

Questions

1. How many reasons are there involved in the second commandment and of what use are they to us?

There are three reasons: (1) God's sovereignty over us. (2) God's ownership of us. (3) God's zeal regarding his worship. They are of great use to us for all three can have great influence in our obeying the Lord our God.

2. What do we mean by God's sovereignty over us?

We mean that by His sovereignty He has the sole authority over us and has the right to make laws for worship. He alone has the right to decide what is good for us. We have the responsibility to worship Him only in the way He appoints for us in His Word.

3. When we speak of God owning us what do we mean by it?

We mean by this that we belong to Him through the right of redemption and therefore, we should cleave to Him and be careful that we do not follow after any sin that would drive us away from Him, especially idolatry and superstition. (Psalm 95:6,7 Psalm 106:19.21)

4. What has God said regarding the zeal he has to his own worship?

He has said, "I am a jealous God."

5. What effect should this have upon us as born-again believers?

It should give us a great fear of offending Him in any way and especially in the area of false worship. We should pray that we never fail Him as Nadab and Abihu did. (Leviticus 10:1-4)

6. If we worship Him in a false way what will our punishment be?

His punishment will not only be upon us, but He will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation.

7. How can God, who has the attribute of justice, do this?

If the children do not follow their father's sins He will not punish them (Ezekiel 18:14,17). If the children do follow their father's sins they deserve punishment.

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Question:53. What is the third commandment?

Answer: The third commandment is: "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain".

(or) You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:7, Psalm 29:2, Matthew 6:9, Revelation 15:34, Malachi 1:14, Psalm 138:2, Psalm 107:21,22

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Question:54. What does the third commandment require?

Answer: The third commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God's names, titles, qualities, regulations, word, and works.

Scripture References:

Psalm 29:2, Matthew 6:9, Revelation 15:3-4, Malachi 1:14, Psalm 138:2, Psalm 107:21,22

Questions

1. What do we mean by the "name of the Lord your God"?

We mean by "the name of the Lord thy God" any way in which God makes himself known.

2. How is it that God makes Himself known?

He makes himself known: by his names, such as God, Lord, I am, Jehovah; by his titles such as Lord of Hosts, Holy One of Israel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and others; by his attributes, which are his perfections and properties (see Question 4); by his ordinances, which are the reading, preaching and hearing of the Word, prayer, thanksgiving, praise, the administration of the sacraments; by his word, the scriptures of the Old and New Testament; by his works, which are the works of creation and providence.

3. What is our responsibility toward these general ways by which He makes Himself known?

Our responsibility is to show a reverent attitude toward all of them in our words, our thoughts and our actions. We should meditate on His names and titles. We should make holy use of God's ordinances seeking God in them. We should be obedient at all times to His Word and recognise His works of creation and providence, blessing Him and praising Him for His mercies and submitting to Him in all things.

4. Does this question pertain at all to legal oaths and vows to God?

Since the name of God is used in oaths and vows, there is a connection. We should consider prayerfully the section of the Westminster Confession of Faith entitled: "Of Lawful Oaths and Vows."

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Question:55. What does the third commandment forbid?

Answer: The third commandment forbids our treating as unholy or abusing anything God uses to make Himself known.

Scripture References:

Malachi 2:2, Isaiah 5:12, Psalm 139:20, James 1:13, Matthew 26:74

Questions

1. In what ways does God make Himself known?

As we learned in the prior commandment, He makes Himself known by His names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works.

2. How are these ways profaned or abused by man?

They are abused "by blasphemy, perjury, sinful cursings, oaths, vows and lots" (Larger Catechism, Question 113).

3. How can man profane God's names, titles and attributes?

Man can profane these when he thinks hatred toward God; when he speaks irreverently toward God; when he swears by the name of God in a wicked way; when he blasphemes the name of God; when he curses himself or others in the name of God; when he uses the name of the Lord in superstitious ways.

4. How can man profane His ordinances?

Man can profane the ordinances of God by being irreverent or irregular in His attendance upon them; by attending to them not in the spirit but being in the flesh by allowing his mind to wander; by having a false and insincere profession of their faith in Christ and still partaking of them.

5. How can man profane His word?

Man can profane the Word of God by denying parts of the Word or by perverting it; by teaching false doctrine as it pertains to the Word; by misapplying the Word of God.

6. How can man profane His works?

Man can profane His works by using his body in the wrong way; by being forgetful of God's mercy and wonderful works to the children of men; by murmuring against the Lord in the midst of adversity.

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Question: 56. What is the reason for the third commandment?

Answer: The reason for the third commandment is that the Lord our God will not allow those who break this commandment to escape His righteous judgement, although they may escape punishment from men.

Scripture References:

Deuteronomy 28:58,59
Psalm 139:19-20
Psalm 83:17-18
Zechariah 5:3

Questions

1. Why is it that breaker of this commandment might escape punishment from men?

The breakers of this commandment might escape punishment from men because so many times those in authority are just as guilty as those who break the commandment. It is so many times a case of the natural man dealing with the natural man and the things of God are bypassed.

2. Who are they that take the Lord's name in vain?

The Bible teaches that those who take His name in vain are his avowed enemies. (Psalm 139:20)

3. What should be one of the greatest motivators to hinder us from taking His name in vain?

As believers simply the words "the Lord our God" in this question should motivate us toward recognising His glory and this should fill us with reverence and a godly fear. It should burden our hearts with guilt if we should break this commandment.

4. Will those who take the name of the Lord in vain escape judgement?

Those who break this commandment will not escape judgement, because God is righteous and has promised that they will be punished.

5. Would you call His promise a threat?

Yes, it could be called a threat in that divine vengeance is aimed against the person breaking the commandment.

6. When will those who break this commandment be punished?

There are two times the breakers of this commandment could be punished. Sometimes they are punished in this life as is seen in Deuteronomy 28:58,59. Sometimes the punishment will not be given until the hereafter. However, it is certain they will be punished.

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Question: 57. What is the fourth commandment?

Answer: The fourth commandment is, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labour, and do all your work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

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Question: 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?

Answer: The fourth commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven to be a holy Sabbath to himself.

Scripture References:

Leviticus 19:30
Deuteronomy 5:12
Isaiah 56:2-7

Questions

1. How does this commandment apply to worship?

This commandment speaks of the time of worship and naturally follows the first three commandments. The first spoke of the object of worship, the second of the means of worship, the third of the manner of worship.

2. How can one decide what times should be kept for public worship?

The only times that are to be kept for public worship are the times appointed in the Word of God. It is not right before God to add other times, or holy days, to the Word.

3. What does the Bible tell us is the time set aside for worship?

The Bible teaches that one whole day (a day of twenty-four hours) is set aside for the worship of the holy God.

4. What is meant by the word "Sabbath"?

The word "Sabbath" is a Hebrew word, signifying "rest", as is taught in Hebrews 4:9.

5. Why does our question call it a "holy Sabbath"?

It is a "holy" Sabbath because it has been consecrated and set apart by God.

6. Is this particular commandment a part of the ceremonial law or the moral law?

This particular commandment is a part of the moral law and is to be kept by all nations and throughout all generations. It has never been annulled. The Lord Jesus Christ gave testimony to it. He is our Lord and He is also "Lord of the Sabbath". (Luke 6:5)

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Question: 59. Which day of the week has God designated as the Sabbath?

Answer: From the beginning of the world until the resurrection of Christ, God established the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. From that time until the end of the world the first day of the week is the Christian Sabbath.

Scripture References:

Genesis 2:3
Luke 23:56
Acts 20:7
1 Corinthians 16:1,2
John 20:19-26

Questions

1. Why was the seventh day appointed by God as the Sabbath day?

The seventh day was appointed as the Sabbath day because it was the day he rested from the works of creation.

2. When did God appoint that day as the sabbath?

He appointed the seventh day as the sabbath right after his works of creation. (See Genesis 2:2)

3. How long was the seventh day to be observed as the sabbath day?

It was to be observed as the sabbath day until Christ rose from the dead. (See Matthew 28:1)

4. What day was to be observed from that time, according to the Word of God?

The first day of the week was to be observed and is to be observed by Christians until the end of the world.

5. How can we be sure that the first day is to be observed as the sabbath?

We can be sure because it was instituted by Jesus Christ and has been observed by Christians ever since that time.

6. Is there any correlation between the sabbath of the Old Testament and the sabbath instituted after the resurrection of Christ?

Yes, there is a correlation in that God rested on the seventh day after his work of creation and Christ rested on the first day after going through the suffering that brought about man's redemption. (Hebrews 4:10)

7. Are there other Scriptural proofs of the first day of the week being the new Sabbath?

Yes, there are other proofs such as the Lord putting his name on the first day; Paul speaking of taking the collection on the first day of the week; the disciples being assembled together on the first day of the week. (Rev. 1:10; 1 Cor. 16:1,2; John 20:19; Acts 20:7)

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Question:60. How do we keep the Sabbath holy?

Answer: We keep the Sabbath holy by resting the whole day from worldly affairs or recreations, even ones that are lawful on other days. Except for necessary works or acts of mercy we should spend all our time publicly and privately worshipping God.

Scripture References:

Leviticus 23:3
Psalm 92:1,2
Luke 4:16
Matthew 12:11,12
Jeremiah 17:21,22

Questions

1. What do we mean by sanctifying the Sabbath?

The Sabbath is sanctified by God in that He made it holy. The Sabbath is to be sanctified by man by man's keeping it holy, by his using it for other purposes than his regular employments.

2. What two things are we to do on the Sabbath day?

We are given permission by God to do two things: holy resting and holy worship.

3. From what are we to rest on the Sabbath day?

We are to rest from all things that are not of necessity and mercy. This means that we are to rest even from things that are not sinful, that are lawful on other days, such as worldly employments and recreations.

4. When we speak of "holy worship" do we mean we must spend all day in church?

No, it is not meant that all day must be spent in church, but it is meant that we should spend our time in either public or private worship. It should be a time for our souls to be renewed by God as we worship Him in prayer, Bible study, family worship.

5. Would you say it is alright to rest the body on the Sabbath day?

Yes, it would be well within the keeping of the commandment to rest the body. This is one of the reasons for the Sabbath day for God knew in the beginning that the body would need one day of rest out of seven.

6. Should there be any preparation for the Sabbath day?

Yes, there should be both physical and spiritual preparation. For example, everything possible should be done prior to the day in the physical realm so that the day might be spent as unto Him. Our devotional article speaks of the spiritual preparation.

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Question:61. What does the fourth commandment forbid?

Answer: 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.

Scripture References:

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

Questions

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.

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Question:62. What are the reasons for the fourth commandment?

Answer: The reasons for the fourth commandment are these: God allows us six days of the week to take care of our own affairs; He claims the seventh day as His own; He set the example; and He blesses the Sabbath.

Scripture References:

Exodus 31:15, 16
Leviticus 23:3
Exodus 31:17
Genesis 2:3

Questions

1. How many reasons are there annexed to this commandment?

There are four reasons annexed to this commandment and this is more than for any of the other commandments. God knew men would be prone to break this commandment.

2. What is the first reason?

The first reason is, God's allowing us six days for our own employment. God has been very liberal with us in this area and we should certainly grant Him one day out of the seven. In addition, in modern times very few people work on Saturday afternoon, which is another reason for giving Him one day.

3. What is the second reason?

The second reason is, God's challenging a special propriety in the seventh day. This is God's claiming the day as His own. He does not claim it as His own without granting us anything from it, for as we use it in the right way He will grant us the greatest joy in communion with Him.

4. What is the third reason?

The third reason is, God's own example in resting Himself from His works of creation on the seventh day. Here there is a spiritual blessing from resting one day by His command. In addition, there is a physical motivation in that He knew it would be good for our bodies for us to rest one day. His example should be followed, all to His glory.

5. What is the fourth reason?

The fourth reason is, God's blessing of the Sabbath. Our Lord consecrates the day to His holy use. The right use of the day will result in blessings for us, "showers of blessings" will fall upon us. The wrong use of the day will result in miseries and woes. (Nehemiah 13:18)

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Question:63. What is the fifth commandment?

Answer: The fifth commandment is: Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:12
Ephesians 5:21,22
Ephesians 6:1,5,9
Romans 12:10
Romans 13:1

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Question:64. What does the fifth commandment require?

Answer: The fifth commandment requires us to respect and treat others, whether above, below, or equal to us, as their position or our relationship to them demands.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:12
Ephesians 5:21,22
Ephesians 6:1,5,9
Romans 12:10
Romans 13:1

Questions

1. What is meant by "father and mother" in this commandment?

The terms "father and mother" mean not only the natural parents of a person, but also those in authority over him in age and in gifts.

2. Does that mean there are superiors and inferiors and equals in the sight of God?

Yes, the terms "father and mother" indicate those who are superior in their gifts from God whether it be in the realm of age or ability. The term "inferiors" indicates there are those who must subject themselves to the authority of others. The term "equals" indicates there are those brethren that are equal in ability, age, place or dignity.

3. Do the things taught in this commandment extend to other realms?

Yes, not only does it mean parents and children but it extends to husbands and wives, to masters and servants, to rulers and their subjects, to ministers and congregations, to older and younger. Although the commandment speaks specifically, and our answers following are primarily concerning the parent-child relationship, its requirements are applicable in other relationships as well.

4. What are the duties of the inferiors to their superiors?

The duties of inferiors towards superiors are to honour them, inwardly and outwardly; to listen to their instructions; to obey their commands; to meekly accept their reproofs; to love them; to care for them when necessary.

5. What are the duties of superiors towards inferiors?

The duties of superiors toward inferiors are: To love and care for them; to train them in the knowledge of the Scriptures; to pray for them; to keep them under subjection; to encourage them by kindness and reproof; to prepare them for the future.

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Question: 65. What does the fifth commandment forbid?

Answer: The fifth commandment forbids being disrespectful to or not treating others as their position or relationship to us demands.

Scripture References:

Romans 13:7,8

Questions

1. What are the sins of the superiors?

The sins of the superiors include the following: the neglect of those who are under their authority; the seeking of their own glory in the midst of their responsibility; the encouraging of inferiors into things that are wrong; the wrong use of authority toward inferiors, thus provoking them to wrath; the exposing of inferiors to wrong or temptation to wrong; the subjecting of the inferiors to a bad example because of wrong conduct.

2. What are the sins of the inferiors?

The sins of the inferiors include the following: the neglect of obeying their superiors; the sin of envy toward their superiors; the act of rebellion toward those who are their superiors; the sin of wrong conduct against those in command; the showing of dishonour toward their superiors and the government they represent.

3. What are the sins of equals?

The sins of equals include the following: the neglect of Christian love one toward another; the despising of those that are good; the sin of envy because an equal has been blest by God with a gift greater than one's own; the lack of rejoicing at the success of an equal; the usurping of pre-eminence over equals when such pre-eminence has not been granted by God.

4. Do these sins relate to all relationships of man?

Yes, these sins are applicable to the relationships of man whether they be parent-child, husband-wife, master-servant, ruler-subject, minister-congregation, older-younger relationships.

5. In what areas of our lives today does this commandment relate?

It is pertinent in the family relationships, in the church relationships, in employment relationships and in the civic relationships. Sin in any of these areas is sin in the sight of God.

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Question:66. What is the reason for the fifth commandment?

Answer: The reason for the fifth commandment is the promise of long life and prosperity, if these glorify God and are for the good of those who obey this commandment.

Scripture References:

Ephesians 6:2, 3
1 Peter 3:10

Questions

1. What type of "good" is this commandment speaking of, temporal or spiritual?

This commandment is speaking of temporal good, with a stipulation.

2. What is this stipulation?

The stipulation is that it must be to the glory of God. For the believer in Christ, whatever is good must be used for His glory.

3. What kind of temporal good is promised here?

The good promised here is long life and prosperity.

4. What is this "long life"?

It is not simply a matter of living long upon this earth but it is a long life of living for a reason - the glory of God. It is real living, living with a purpose and a blessing.

5. What kind of prosperity is promised?

The prosperity promised is a prosperity that must be seen within the framework of the glory of God. Sometimes it will be hard for the believer to understand how his lot might be called prosperity, but if through it God is glorified, it is for the believer's own good and some day he will understand why God took him through what the world would never label "prosperity".

6. Does this mean that all believers in Christ will have long life and prosperity?

No, only those believers who do not break this fifth commandment. Thy might find themselves in the position of the superior, or the inferior, or the equal. But whatever their position they must fulfil it as they should if they would receive the rewards spoken of here.

6. Why is the fifth commandment the first commandment with promise?

It is called this because it is the first commandment of the second table, and the only commandment in it that has a promise attached to it.

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Question: 67. Which is the sixth commandment?

Answer: The sixth commandment is, you shall not murder.

Exodus 20:13

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Question:68. What does the sixth commandment require?

Answer: The sixth commandment requires making every lawful effort to preserve one's own life and the lives of others.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:13
Ephesians 5:29
Matthew 10:23
Psalm 82:3, 4
Job 29:13

Questions

1. What is the meaning of the word "murder" in this question?

This would mean the unjust taking of life.

2. What does the sixth commandment require in reference to our own lives?

It requires that we use all lawful endeavours to preserve it.

3. What are these lawful endeavours?

"Reasonable means to preserve life and a defence against violence; - a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labour, and recreation."

4. What does the sixth commandment require in reference to others?

Avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any.

5. What does the commandment mean by "lawful endeavours" toward ourselves and others?

We need such things as food, drink, recreation, labour - these are all an important part of human life. We need to be equally careful in our action towards others. In all areas we need to be certain our actions are consistent with the Word of God. Love, as presented in the Word, should be our basis of action.

6. Does this commandment speak only of the body?

No, this commandment is also speaking of the soul. There should be, on our part, a careful avoiding of sin and an equally careful and diligent use of the means of grace.

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Question:69. What does the sixth commandment forbid?

Answer: The sixth commandment forbids taking one's own life or the lives of others unjustly or doing anything that leads to suicide or murder.

Scripture References:

Acts 16:28
Genesis 9:6
Matthew 5:22
1 John 3:15
Galatians 5:15
Proverbs 24:11, 12
Exodus 21:18-32

Questions

1. Is it possible for a person to commit suicide and be truly saved?

Actually, this is a question that only God can answer. Let us say that it would be rare indeed for a saved person to take his own life. He could be so mixed up and unbalanced by the temptation of Satan or so disturbed by mental or emotional disorder, that in a moment of frenzy, he might take his own life. However, this is something best left in the hands of God. The commandment is stated and must be believed.

2. Is it lawful in any case to kill others?

A Christian would be within the bounds of the Word to execute, under and within public law, another person - for example, a murderer (Num. 35:30). He could kill in war that is lawful (in defence of civil or religious liberties) after all other means had been tried (Ex. 22:2, Judges 11:12-34). He could kill when it is a matter of self defence (Exodus 22:2).

3. Besides acts of violence, are there other ways that this commandment can be broken?

Yes, the commandment may be broken in ways such as our committing any act that is detrimental to, or tends to shorten our own lives or the lives of others.

4. In what way could this be done?

This commandment may be broken by the withholding of lawful and necessary means for the preservation of life, such as food, drink, medicine, recreation; by going to extremes in things that will harm our bodies and minds (Luke 21:34); by malicious words or actions which indicate the presence of murderous attitudes in our hearts towards other people.

5. Does this commandment teach that capital punishment is wrong?

No, it does not teach that capital punishment is wrong. A comparison of Genesis 9:6 and Romans 13:4 will confirm that capital punishment should not be abolished.

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Question:70. What is the seventh commandment?

Answer: The seventh commandment is: You shall not commit adultery.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:14  Matthew 5:28   Matthew 19:8-9   Mark 10:9-11
 

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Question:71. What does the seventh commandment require?

Answer: The seventh commandment requires us and everyone else to keep sexually and especially spiritually pure in heart, speech, and action.

Matthew 5:28    Ephesians 4:29  

Questions

1. What is meant by the word "chastity"?

The word "chastity" means a hatred of all uncleanness, no matter whether it be in the body or in the mind and affections (Job 31:1).

2. What is the two-fold duty involved in the keeping of this commandment?

The two-fold duty involves both ourselves and others, there is an equal responsibility here.

3. How can the seventh commandment be broken?

It can be broken by an act, but also by impure thoughts; and it should be recognised that it is from within the heart of a man that sin comes. Therefore the real source of violations of this commandment is the sinful heart.

4. How can we preserve both our own and our neighbour's chastity?

We can best preserve it by keeping in the right relationship with our Lord. If we do that, then there will be certain characteristics about us such as: loving with a pure heart (1 Peter 1:22); speaking in a way that will only edify ourselves and our neighbour (Ephesians 4:29); behaving in such a way that we are always a testimony for Jesus Christ, never giving any cause for criticism in this area (1 Peter 3:1,2).

5. How can we best keep in that right relationship with the Lord in this regard?

We must be watchful over our hearts and spirits, over our eyes and ears. We must be diligent in our walk with the Lord remembering we can never take even "minute vacations" from our watchfulness. We must follow after temperance in all things. We must be careful of the company we keep, the marriages we contract. We must seek the mind of Christ with regard to things sinful and unclean. We must study the Word and pray daily.

6. Why must we be careful to keep this commandment?

We must be careful to keep it because it is a command of God, but one which in this age is bypassed time and time again by society.

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Question: 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?

Answer: The seventh commandment forbids all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.

Scripture References:

Matthew 5:28
Ephesians 5:4
Ephesians 5:3

Questions

1. What does God forbid in this commandment under the name of "adultery"?

God forbids all sorts of unchastity and uncleanness. (Eph. 5:3)

2. Where can such unchastity and uncleanness take place?

Unchastity and uncleanness can take place in the thoughts and desires of the heart as taught by our Lord in Matthew 5:28. It can take place in the words we use, whether we are talking seriously or in a jesting way. (Eph. 5:4). It can take place in our actions; the actual committing of adultery.

3. Are there actions that would tend to lead us into these forbidden areas?

Yes, in this day and age especially there are many things about which we must be very watchful. To name a few of them: (1) Modern psychology with its stress upon "self-expression", with the idea that it is alright to commit adultery if you really love a person. We must be careful we are not brainwashed in this area which would tend to lower our resistance to sin. (2) Impure books and magazines. (3) The theatre and television. It would be good for us to make a "covenant with our eyes" (Job 31:1). (4) Modern dancing or, as stated in the Larger Catechism, "lascivious dancing."

4. Why is it so important for us to preserve our chastity and that of others?

We must preserve it because we were made in the image of God and are not beasts who are under no law. As Christians, we should walk in fear of the Lord at all times. Since our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are not our own.

5. What is divorce without grounds according to the Word and would one obtaining one be guilty of adultery if he remarried?

The Confession of Faith states the answer very well in Chapter 24, 6 and the person obtaining a divorce without Scriptural grounds would be guilty of adultery if he remarried.

6. In this area is the innocent party under orders from the Word to sue for divorce?

No, this is a privilege of the innocent party, not something that must be done.

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Question: 73. Which is the eighth commandment?

Answer: The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:15
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

Ephesians 4:28
Romans 12:17
Proverbs 27:23
Proverbs 13:4; 20:4
Philippians 2:4

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Question: 74. What is required in the eighth commandment?

Answer: The eighth commandment requires that we lawfully acquire and increase our own and others' money and possessions.

Exodus 20:15
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
Romans 12:17
Proverbs 27:23
Proverbs 13:4; 20:4
Philippians 2:4

Questions

1. What is the main subject matter of this commandment?

The main subject matter of this commandment is the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

2. May we use any means to acquire our wealth and outward estate?

No, our means must be consistent with the Word of God, our means must be lawful in the sight of God.

3. What means would we consider to be consistent with the Word of God?

Means that are consistent with the Word would be labour and industry in some honest calling in the sight of God (Ephesians 4:28)

4. Could you name some lawful means that would be consistent with the Word of God?

Some lawful means would be: (1) Asking God to lead us to a calling that would be His will for us (1 Cor. 7:20, 24); (2) Praying that we will do our task in a way that is well-pleasing in His sight, in an honest and decent way (Romans 12:17); (3) Endeavouring to live in a sober way before the Lord, not wasteful (Titus 2:12); (4) Being always diligent in our work (Proverbs 13:11); (5) Remembering always that we have a duty towards others, a duty to have a public spirit (1 Cor. 10:24).

5. What would be a good rule to remember when we are dealing with the wealth and outward estate of others?

A good rule to remember is found in Matthew 7:12

6. What is our duty toward the poor in this commandment?

Our duty toward the poor is to relieve them whenever possible for such is the way of charity and is to the glory of God (Proverbs 19:17).

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Question: 75. What does the eighth commandment forbid?

Answer: The eighth commandment forbids anything that either does or may unjustly take away money or possessions from us or anyone else.

Scripture References

1 Timothy 5:8
Ephesians 4:28
Proverbs 21:6
2 Thessalonians 3:7-10

Questions

1. What does this commandment teach the believer regarding his behaviour?

This commandment teaches that the believer is forbidden any part of the area of theft regarding himself and others.

2. How could a believer steal from himself?

A believer could steal from himself by being idle when he should be at work; by not making use of the blessings that God has given him; by being wasteful of the material things God has given him.

3. What is the more direct teaching of this commandment?

The more direct teaching is the believer stealing from others.

4. What does the teaching contained in this commandment mean by stealing from others?

Stealing from others could be in the area of defrauding others in buying or selling; in the area of stealing money, a person's name and reputation, and God Himself in not giving to Him what rightfully belongs to Him; extortion and all oppression (especially of the poor and afflicted).

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Question: 76. What is the ninth commandment?

Answer: The ninth commandment is: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.

Exodus 20:16

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Question: 77. What does the ninth commandment require?

Answer: The ninth commandment requires us to tell the truth and to maintain and promote it and our own and others' reputations, especially when testifying.

Scripture References:

Zechariah 8:16
1 Peter 3:16
Acts 25:10
3 John 12
Proverbs 14:5,25
Ephesians 4:25

Questions

1. How can we maintain and promote truth between man and man?

We must speak the truth, the absolute truth to one another if we are to promote truth with each other. Further, we must speak truth of one another in all situations.

2. What does this commandment require in regard to our own good name?

This commandment requires, in regard to our own good name, that we must at all times act in such a way that we deserve our good name. Further, we must always defend our good name.

3. How can we deserve a good name before men?

We can deserve it by always acting in accordance with the Word of God. We must live a holy life, showing forth the fruits of the Spirit in our actions, words and thoughts.

4. How can we defend our good name before men?

We can defend our good name by clearing ourselves from all false accusations. This is a responsibility before God as taught in His Word (Acts 24:10-13). We can also defend our good name by giving God the glory for anything we have done which is praiseworthy in the sight of God (1 Corinthians 15:10).

5. How can we maintain and promote our neighbour's good name?

We can help our neighbour's good name by:

(1) Recognising his good qualities

(2) By rejoicing with him over his acts of goodness

(3) By refusing to listen to those who would seek to slander him and speak evil of him

(4) By giving honour to him as it is due

(5) By reproving him before others only when there is need to do so and then showing mercy towards him.

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Question: 78. What does the ninth commandment forbid?

Answer: The ninth commandment forbids anything that gets in the way of the truth or injures anyone's reputation.

Scripture References:

Matthew 12:36-37

Proverbs 19:5
Luke 3:14
Psalm 15:3
Proverbs 6:16-19
James 3:14

Questions

1. In general what does this commandment forbid?

This commandment forbids all falsehood, lying of any type. James 3:14 teaches this commandment: "Lie not against the truth."

2. What does the Bible mean by a lie?

A lie, according to the Bible, would be to speak or express what we know to be false.

3. Name some ways we can lie and break God's Law.

There are many ways we can lie according to the Bible. We can falsely accuse others. We can lie to make gain our own ends. We can invent stories that are not true. We can lie in order to make excuses for things we have not done. We can lie to try to cover our faults. We can lie in our jesting (coarse, foolish talking).

4. Who is the author and father of lies?

The author and father of lies is the devil (John 8:44).

5. How may we injure our own good name?

We may injure our own good name by doing something that would be offensive in the eyes of the world, such as adultery, theft or any kind of baseness and wickedness. We may injure it by false boasting. We may injure it by accusing ourselves when we are not guilty before God or by not using the gifts that God has given to us.

6. How may we injure the good name of our neighbour?

We may by false accusations or bearing false witness against him; by judging and censuring him over small, unimportant or doubtful matters; by talking about him in a way that would detract from his reputation; by listening to bad reports about him that are false.

7. What should we remember regarding the breaking of this commandment?

We should remember that at the last Day, we shall have to answer for our words and our actions. Matthew 12:36-37

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Question: 79.  What is the tenth commandment?

Answer: The tenth commandment is: You shall not covet your neighbour's house. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his manservant, or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

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Question: 80. What does the tenth commandment require?

Answer: The tenth commandment requires us to be completely satisfied with our own status in life and to have a proper, loving attitude toward others and their possessions.

Scripture References:

Exodus 20:17
Hebrews 13:5
Romans 12:15
Philippians 2:4
1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Question:

Questions

1. Generally speaking, what is required in the tenth commandment?

The tenth commandment requires that a believer keep the other nine commandments. If he is able to do so by the grace of God, this commandment will be fulfilled.

2. What does it mean by the word 'covet' in this commandment?

The word 'covet' in this commandment would include both aspects of the Greek words as they are found in the New Testament. It would mean an 'insatiable desire of getting the world' and would also include an 'inordinate love of the world.' It would mean the person is wholly taken up with the world, he sets his heart upon worldly things, and sometimes he is not too careful of how he attains his desired end.

3. What does the commandment require in regard to ourselves?

This commandment requires that we be content with what we have and this is the best possible defence against covetousness.

4. What does it mean to be content with what we have and how can we attain to it?

It means to be satisfied with what God, in His providential dealings with us, has given us and recognise that such is best for us. We can only attain to this state by His grace. The road to this is the road plainly marked "Godliness" in our lives. We must covet spiritual things more than worldly things.

5. What does this commandment require as to our neighbour?

We are required to have a right and charitable spirit toward all that belongs to our neighbour. We are to promote and rejoice in the welfare of our neighbour, always striving to help him, showing a pattern of good works toward him.

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Question: 81. What does the tenth commandment forbid?

Answer: The tenth commandment forbids any dissatisfaction with what belongs to us, envy or grief at the success of others, and all improper desire for anything that belongs to someone else.

1 Corinthians 10:10
Galatians 5:26
Colossians 3:5

Questions

1. How do we show lack of contentment with our own estate?

We show lack of contentment with our own estate by not being pleased with the place and possessions the Lord has given us; by complaining against the Lord because of our state; by thinking we are due far more than the Lord has given us.

2. What is envy?

It is the desire to have the better circumstances of our neighbour or any of his superior privileges. It is the desire to have what God does not want us to have, whether it be in the physical, mental or material realm.

3. Why should we refrain from envy?

We should refrain from envy because it is a sin before God. It is a sin that has a great effect on us and is the foundation of many evil deeds. (James 3:16)

4. What is meant in this commandment by the term "inordinate motions and affections?"

These are the unlawful purposes, intentions and desires that arise in the heart. It is especially concerned here with these unlawful acts as they pertain to our neighbour.

5. What are these "inordinate motions and affections" found in man?

These arise from the soul, these are the first stirrings of corruption which lead us on to the consent of the will.

6. What should this teach us as believers in Jesus Christ?

This should teach us that it is only by His grace we are saved and only by His grace that we are able to stand against the evil that rises from within us. We should ever be careful to keep ourselves in that relationship with Him that will lead us in the ways of righteousness.

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Question: 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?

Answer: No mere man, since the fall, is able, in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them, in thought, word and deed.

Scripture References:

1 Kings 8:46
1 John 1:8-2:6
Genesis 8:21
James 3:8

Modern English:

Question:82. Can anyone perfectly keep the commandments of God?

Answer: Since the fall no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God in this life but breaks them every day in thought, word, and action.

Questions

1. What does it mean to "perfectly keep the commandments of God?"

It would mean that a person would have to live the life of perfection, not failing in one word, thought or deed.

2. Has anyone ever been able to keep the commandments of God?

Adam was able to keep them before the fall, but since the fall, no mere man has ever been able to keep them.

3. Why is it that man, saved man, cannot perfectly keep the commandments of God?

Man can't keep the commandments because the Bible teaches that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" and believers have the remains of the corruption still in them while they are in this world.

4. Does the Bible state in any place that perfection is impossible for the Christian?

Yes, the Bible teaches this in James 3:2 where it states "we all stumble in many ways." Paul also teaches this in Philippians 3:12.

5. Does not the Bible teach in 1 John 3:9 that a Christian does not sin?

The meaning of this verse is that the believers do not delight in sin, nor do they continually partake of it, for they show evidences of the saving grace of God in their souls.

6. Are sinful thoughts included in the breaking of God's law?

Yes, for so the Bible teaches as in Matthew 5:28 and Matthew 15:19.

7. What may we learn from this question as believers in Christ?

We may learn to always depend upon the grace of God, recognising that in ourselves we are nothing; to know that perfectionism is impossible; to always mortify sin by the help of the Holy Spirit; to avoid occasions of sins.

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Question: 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?

Answer: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Scripture References:

Psalm 19:13
John 19:11

Modern English:

Question:83. Are all sins equally evil?

Answer: In the eyes of God some sins in themselves are more evil than others, and some are more evil because of the harm that results from them.

Questions

1. What is meant by the word "heinous" in this question?

The word means that sins are abominable, grievous to God.

2. What sins are more heinous than others in the sight of God?

Basically, there are two types of sins more heinous than others in the sight of God. First, would be sins that are committed without any occasion offered. The less the occasion of sin, the greater is the sin itself. Second, would be sins that are committed presumptuously. We remember that under the law there was no sacrifice for presumptuous sins. (Numbers 15:30).

3. In modern day living, could you give some examples of sins that are more heinous than others?

Yes, for example, sins against the Gospel are more heinous than sins against the law (Matthew 11:20-24). Adultery is more heinous than theft (Proverbs 6:32-35).

4. Is there any difference in the sight of God in regard to the age of the person sinning?

Yes, the Bible does make a difference. If persons are older in the Lord, their sins are more highly aggravated than if committed by children or those inexperienced (Job 32:7).

5. Does time enter into the heinous nature of the sin?

Yes, time does enter in. For example, sins committed on the Sabbath Day are more heinous than the same sin committed on another day of the week, for the Sabbath Day is especially singled out by the Lord.

6. Would ignorance make a difference in regard to the heinous nature of the sin?

Yes, sins against knowledge are more heinous than sins through ignorance.

7. What is involved in sinning deliberately?

Involved in deliberate sinning is a defiant attitude toward God, a showing of a real hatred against Him and would be evidence of hardness of heart.

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Question:84. What does every sin deserve?

Answer: Every sin deserves God's anger and curse, both in this life and in the life to come.

Scripture References:

Galatians 3:10
Matthew 25:41
Ezra 9:6
2 Corinthians 5:21

Romans 6:23

Questions

1. What is meant by the wrath and curse of God?

The wrath and curse of God is the punishment that God has threatened to inflict upon all sinners for the sins they commit.

2. What is this punishment that God will inflict upon sinners?

The punishment is all the miseries of this life, death itself, and the pains of hell forever (see Question 19, Shorter Catechism).

3. Does every sin we commit deserve this wrath and curse of God?

Yes, every sin we commit deserves it. Every sin that is committed is against the Holy, Righteous God who hates all sin. He is the just God and He desires and requires satisfaction for the sins committed.

4. Why is sin so hateful to God?

Sin is hateful to God because it is the very opposite of God's holy nature and God's holy law. Therefore, sin is exposed to the wrath and curse of God.

5. Do the sins of believers deserve this same punishment?

The sins of believers deserve it but their persons can never be exposed to, or liable to, God's wrath either in this life or in the life to come.

6. What is it that we can learn from this question of the Catechism?

We may learn once again to look up to God and thank Him and praise Him for saving us, even when we were not worthy of it. We should look up to Him and thank Him for His mercy, His pardoning mercy, knowing we are such great sinners. We should repeat daily the words from Ezra 9:6 "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens."

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Question: 85. What does God require from us to escape His anger and curse, which we deserve for our sin?

Answer: To escape God's anger and curse, which we deserve for our sin, God requires from us faith in Jesus Christ and repentance unto life along with our diligent involvement in all the external ways and means of grace which Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption.

Scripture References:

Acts 20:21
Mark 1:15
John 3:18

Acts 2:42

Questions

1. Is it possible for us to escape the wrath of God by anything we can do of ourselves?

No, it is impossible for the Bible says, "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

2. How can we say then that God requires certain things of us?

We can say this because although God appoints that these duties are necessary, He in turn enables us to perform them. That is, it is God that works in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12,13).

3. Why does God require "faith in Jesus Christ" of the sinner?

He requires faith in Jesus Christ because there is no other way to salvation. We are taught this very plainly in Acts 4:12.

4. Why does God require "repentance unto life" of the sinner?

He requires repentance unto life because it is the fruit of believing in Him.

5. Why does God require the "diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption" of the sinner?

He requires the diligent use of these outward means because the neglect of those means would be, in essence, proof of no faith or repentance having taken place in us. These are the ways in which the benefits of redemption are communicated to us.

6. Are you saying then that these three things God requires of us are an important part of salvation?

Yes, they are a part of salvation and evidences of it (2 Thess. 2:13).

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Question: 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?

Answer: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, by which we receive and rest on Him alone for salvation, as He is offered to us in the gospel.

Hebrews 10:39
John 1:12
Philippians 3:9
John 6:40

Questions

1. Why is faith in Jesus Christ called a "saving grace"?

It is called a "saving grace" because it is a gift of God and is given to the sinner not because of any merit or worth the sinner has (1 Corinthians 4:7).

2. Why is this faith called faith in Jesus Christ?

It is called such because Christ is the principal object of saving faith according to Acts 16:31.

3. Why is the word "receive" used in this question?

The word "receive" is used because Christ is offered in Scripture as a gift. He is given to those who are without hope in themselves, have nothing and are nothing.

4. Why does the question mention resting on Him alone for salvation?

The person coming to Christ must rest on Him alone because the Bible reveals Him as the only foundation on whom one can rest his confidence, his trust.

5. What is this salvation that is received by the person coming to Him?

This salvation includes three things: (1) Deliverance from the curse of the law. (2) Deliverance from the dominion of sin. (3) The blessedness of heaven.

6. Who offers Christ to us?

God offers Christ to us, God the Father who made the offer in John 3:16.

7. Do all believers have the same measure of saving faith?

No, all believers do not. Some have little faith and others have strong faith (note the comparison of Matthew 14:31 and Romans 4:20). But even those with little faith have sufficient to get to glory if it is saving faith.

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Question: 87. What is repentance unto life?

Answer: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, by which a sinner, being truly aware of his sinfulness, understands the mercy of God in Christ, grieves for and hates his sins, and turns from them to God, fully intending and striving for a new obedience.

Scripture References:

Acts 11:18
Acts 2:37
Joel 2:13
2 Corinthians 7:11
Jeremiah 31:18,19
Acts 26:18
Psalm 119:59

Questions

1. Why is repentance called a "saving grace?"

It is called a saving grace because it is inseparably a part of salvation and is worked in the heart of the sinner by the Holy Spirit through the instrument of the Word of God.

2. Who is the subject of repentance?

The sinner is the subject of it for the person who is saved needs no repentance as is taught in Luke 15:7.

3. What is meant in this question by "a true sense of sin?"

A true sense of sin is the recognition on the part of the sinner of the danger of his position along with the filthiness of his sin. He knows he is in danger because he knows his sinful condition is contrary to God's holiness and is offensive to God.

4. Why is the mercy of God connected with Christ?

The mercy of God is connected with Christ because God's mercy extends to the sinner through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ in His death on the cross.

5. Is it possible for repentance to be separated from faith?

No, it is not possible to separate the two. These are both by the grace of God and therefore can be distinguished, but can not be separated.

6. What is this hatred of sin mentioned here?

It is both the loathing of sin and ourselves because of that sin (Isaiah 6:5).

7. What is this new obedience to which the repentant person turns?

It is the obedience as is found in the Gospel and proceeds from the new nature in man. The new man recognises that he must have a new purpose, a new way of walking. He will not be perfect but he will be diligent in his endeavours to walk after righteousness.

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Question:88. What are the ordinary, external ways Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption?

Answer: The ordinary, external ways Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption are His regulations, particularly the word, sacraments, and prayer, all of which are made effective for the salvation of His chosen ones.

Scripture References:

Matthew 28:19,20
Acts 2:41,42

Questions

1. Who communicates these benefits to the believers and what are these benefits?

Christ communicates these benefits, for such is His responsibility. These benefits are everything that Christ purchased for the elect both here and forever.

2. How are these benefits communicated to the believers?

These benefits are communicated to the believers through mediation by Christ as He works through the ordinances.

3. Why do we call the benefits of redemption "His ordinances?"

They are called His ordinances because He instituted them in His Word and He is the Head of the Church.

4. Why does this question state "especially the word, sacraments, and prayer....?"

These three are stated because they are the chief outward means of communicating the benefits of redemption. This is taught in Acts 2:42. It does not mean that the other means are not important. It simply means these are more important.

5. Why are these called "outward means"?

They are called outward means to distinguish them from the inward means such as faith and repentance, those mighty inward means of the Holy Spirit.

6. What do we mean by "salvation" in this question?

By salvation in this question is meant the complete doctrine of salvation. It means the beginning of deliverance from sin; the possession of new life and its resulting happiness in this life; the living unto God day by day; the blessedness which is to come when the believer gets to glory.

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Question:89. What makes the word effective for salvation?

Answer: The Spirit of God causes the reading and especially the preaching of the word to convince and convert sinners and to build them up in holiness and comfort through faith to salvation.

Scripture References:

Psalm 19:7
Psalm 119:130
1 Thessalonians 1:6
Romans 1:16
Romans 16:25
Acts 20:32

Questions

1. What do we mean by "the Word" in this question and how is it made effectual?

We mean by "the Word" the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, that revelation of God. It is made effectual through its preaching but also its reading.

2. How is the Word of God to be read?

"The Holy Scriptures are to be read with a high and reverend esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very word of God; and that he only can enable us to understand them."

3. Who has the right to preach the Word of God?

Those who are called of God to preach the Word (1 Timothy 4:14) and who have been given gifts by God (Malachi 2:7).

4. How should the Word of God be preached?

"We are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man's wisdom ... faithfully, ... wisely, ... zealously, ... sincerely ..."

5. Why is the Word of God called the "Primary means of Grace" by the Reformed Faith?

It is so called because the Bible states it is. When the Word is preached, souls are saved and brought up in the faith, according to the Bible.

6. How are sinners converted and built up in the faith by the preaching of the Word?

Sinners are converted and built up in the faith by the Spirit as the Word is preached. He opens their eyes, turns them from darkness into light and then begins the work of sanctification in them.

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Question:90. How is the word to be read and heard in order to become effective for salvation?

Answer: For the word to become effective for salvation, we must pay careful attention to it, prepare ourselves, and pray for understanding. We must also receive it with faith and love, treasure it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Scripture References:

Proverbs 8:34
1 Peter 2:1
Psalm 119:18
Hebrews 4:2
Luke 8:15
James 1:25

Questions

1. How should we prepare ourselves for the reading and hearing of the Word?

As we read and hear the Word, we need to remember that it has the authority of God behind it and that He speaks to us through the Word.

2. What else needs to be done to be adequately prepared for the reading and hearing of the Word?

We need to prepare our hearts through separation from evil unto holiness. We need to flee from those things that are hindering us in our walk with the Lord and follow after the ways of righteousness. Further, we need to prepare our hearts through prayer, prayer that the Lord will bless the Word of God to our hearts and make it effectual in our lives.

3. How do we "attend thereunto with diligence?"

We need to be diligent to pay strict attention to the preaching, teaching and reading of the Word. We need to drive out, by the grace of God, all things from our minds that would hinder us (Proverbs 2:1, 2, 5).

4. How are we to receive the Word?

We are to receive it with faith and love. The faith mentioned here is, generally speaking, an assent on the part of the hearer that it is indeed God's Word and an acceptance of its teaching in all parts of life. The love mentioned here is an attitude of high regard for the Word of God, a delight in it and an earnest desire to make it a part of our lives.

5. What is the proof of our right preparation and right use of the Word of God?

The proof is found in our continual storing the Word up in our hearts, in our readiness to obey it daily, in our desire to have it the rule of our lives.

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Question:91. How are the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper a means of grace?

Answer: The two ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper remind us what God has already done for us in Christ.

Scripture References:

1 Corinthians 11:25 Acts 2:41-42;

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Question:92. What is an ordinance?

Answer: An ordinance is a holy command established by Christ in which the benefits of the new covenant through His saving work are represented, and received as signs to His people.

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Question:93. What are the ordinances of the New Testament?

Answer: The ordinances  of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Scripture References:

Mark 16:16

Acts 2:38

Matthew 26:26-28
 

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Question: 94. What is Baptism?

Answer: Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, instituted by Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16 ; Matthew 28:19) to be to the person baptised a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death, and burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3 Col 2:12), of his being ingrafted into him (Galatians 3:27), of remission of sins (Mark 1:4 Acts 22:16), and of his giving up himself to God through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4,5).

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Question: 95 To whom is Baptism to be administered to?

Answer: Baptism is to be administered to all those who actually profess repentance towards God , and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and to none other. The infants of professing believers are not to be baptised, because there is neither a command nor an example of this in the Holy Scriptures for their baptism. Proverbs 30:6

Scripture References:

Acts 2:38 Mark 16:16 Acts 8:12, Acts 8:36-38

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Question:96. What is the Lord's Supper?

Answer: The Lord's Supper is an ordinance in which bread and wine are given and received as Christ directed to proclaim His death. Those who receive the Lord's Supper in the right way share in His body and blood with all His benefits, not physically but by faith, and become spiritually stronger and grow in grace.

Scripture References:

Matthew 26:26,27
1 Corinthians 11:26
1 Corinthians 10:16
Ephesians 3:17

Questions

1. When did our Lord institute this ordinance?

He instituted it the same night in which He was betrayed (1 Corinthians 11:23).

2. What are the outward elements of the Lord's supper and what do they signify?

The outward elements are the bread which signifies the body of Christ, and wine which signifies the blood of Christ.

3. Who should administer this sacrament?

Even as Christ first administered it, so should it be administered now by ministers who have been called to that Holy office.

4. When Christ said "This is my body" in the institution of this ordinance did He mean his real body?

No, He did not mean for us to take his words literally any more than we take literally the words "That rock was Christ". In addition, note that Paul states it is the bread we eat (1 Cor. 11:26), not the body of Christ.

5. How do the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ?

There is a representation in that even as the food itself would nourish and strengthen the body, so spiritually speaking, we have our souls nourished and strengthened by partaking in obedience.

6. What are the three main views regarding the Lord's supper?

The Roman Catholic view (transubstantiation) states that there is a change of the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Christ. The Lutheran view (consubstantiation) conceives of the presence of Christ in a physical sense though the elements continue to look and taste like bread and wine. The Reformed view is the spiritual presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. It is a seal and pledge of what God does for believers.

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Question:97. What is the right way to receive the Lord's Supper?

Answer: The right way to receive the Lord's Supper is to examine whether we discern the Lord's body, whether our faith feeds on Him, and whether we have repentance, love, and a new obedience - so that we may not come in the wrong way and eat and drink judgement on ourselves.

Scripture References:

1 Corinthians 11:28,29
John 6:53-56
Zechariah 12:10
1 John 4:19
Romans 6:4
1 Corinthians 11:27

Questions

1. How can we best prepare to receive the Lord's supper?

First, we can best prepare to receive it by recognising that we are not worthy in ourselves. We do not come to the Lord's table by any merit of our own. Second, we can best prepare ourselves by coming to it with a right relationship with our Lord. This would entail the putting off of things that are sinful according to the Word of God.

2. How can we examine ourselves as we come to partake?

We can examine ourselves by means of self-judgement of the following: our true sense of repentance; our true Godly sorrow for our sins; our love for Christ and for one another; our sincere desire to walk in obedience to the Word of God.

3. How can we best prepare regarding our attitude toward God?

We can prepare by being certain we have had adequate prayer and meditation. There should be, on our part, much prayer to Him that He might draw from us all possible adoration for Him.

4. How can we eat and drink judgement to ourselves?

We can participate unworthily by neglecting to prepare ourselves and by coming to the Lord's table with known and unconfessed sin in our hearts.

5. How would God possibly punish us by our unworthy partaking?

He could punish us by sending upon us physical, mental and spiritual afflictions. When we come unprepared we are insulting God for it is His Table to which we are invited guests.

6. Should all be allowed to partake?

Only those who are believers and who have obeyed the ordinance of believers baptism, are joined to their a local church and are not living in any scandalous way before God should partake

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Question:98. What is prayer?

Answer: Prayer is offering our desires to God in the name of Christ for things that agree with His will, confessing our sins, and thankfully recognising His mercies.

Scripture References:

Psalm 62:8

Matthew 6:9-13

John 14:13

Hosea 14:2
1 John 5:14
Matthew 26:39
John 16:23
Daniel 9:4
Philippians 4:6

Questions

1. Some feel that prayer is simply petitions of God. Is this the only part of prayer?

No, petitions are certainly not the only part of prayer though they are basic to prayer as we offer up our desires to Him.

2. What other kinds of prayer are legitimate?

We can confess in prayer and we can give our thanksgivings to God. However, the matter of our supplications to God are important in His sight.

3. When we say we are to offer up our desires to God do we simply mean the Father?

Certainly we do not mean simply the God the Father though most prayers are offered in that way, in the name of Jesus Christ. However, when we pray to God it is understood that all members of the Trinity are being addressed.

4. Could you list some of the things that would be agreeable to His will in our prayers?

As we pray we can ask Him for spiritual grace and strength for each day, for deliverance from temptations, for the pardon of our sins, for the vision of that wonderful day we will be with Him, for our brethren in the Lord.

5. Why is it necessary that we pray in the name of Jesus Christ?

We must pray in the name of Christ because our sinfulness is so great that we have no ability to reach God without the Mediator that has been supplied for us.

6. Why is it necessary to confess our sins in our prayers?

It is necessary for us to confess our sins for He will not hear us if there is iniquity in our hearts (Psalm 66:18).

7. What are the mercies for which we should be thankful?

These mercies are His free gifts to us, both spiritual and temporal. His mercy is great and free and we could not live without it.

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Question:99. How does God direct us to pray?

Answer: The whole word of God, but especially the Lord's prayer, which Christ taught His disciples, directs our prayers.

Scripture References:

Matthew 6:9-13

1 John 5:15

2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

Questions

1. How can the whole Word of God be used to direct us in prayer?

The whole Word of God can be of use to us in prayer in that it instructs us of our duties regarding our relationship to God. If we did not have general principles of the Word of God in our minds it would be impossible for us to pray aright (Romans 10:14).

2. Could you give one example as to how a principle of doctrine helps us in our prayer life?

Yes, a good example would be the offices of Jesus Christ. The knowledge that He is our prophet helps us to have the wisdom from Him we need; the knowledge that He is our priest enables us to have an intercessor for our prayers; the knowledge that He is our King teaches us we should live in submission to Him and this certainly includes our disciplining ourselves in prayer.

3. Why do we need direction in our prayer?

We need direction in prayer because even though the disposition of our souls has been turned into holiness by the Holy Spirit we are still sinners and would not seek after God if left to ourselves.

4. Why is it called "The Lord's Prayer" in our doctrines?

It is called "The Lord's Prayer" as it was in answer to the disciple's plea of "Lord, teach us how to pray."

5. Does the prayer contain all necessary parts of prayer?

No, it does not contain the confession of our sins and thankfulness of God's mercies.

6. Is this the form of prayer our Lord would have us use?

No, this is simply a pattern of prayer, a direction of how we should pray.

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Question:100. What does the beginning of the Lord's prayer teach us?

Answer: The beginning of the Lord's prayer (Our Father in heaven) teaches us to draw near to God with completely holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father who is able and ready to help us. It also teaches that we should pray with and for others.

Scripture References:

Isaiah 64:9
Luke 11:13
Romans 8:15
Ephesians 6:18
Acts 12:5
Zechariah 8:21

Questions

1. When we say "Our Father" in the prayer are we speaking of only God the Father?

No, we are speaking of the Triune God. The Father is mentioned but the Son and the Holy Spirit are included because they are the same in essence.

2. Is it possible for everyone to pray this prayer?

No, it is a prayer that only those who are believers are able to pray. It is only those who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them because of their relationship to Jesus Christ that can call out "Our Father" and sincerely mean it.

3. What can we be taught from the words "Our Father" in the prayer?

We can be taught that we can address our Lord with an attitude that is likened (though deeper) to the attitude of a child toward his earthly father. It is an attitude of love, adoration and delight.

4. Why is it important for us to know God is in heaven?

It is important for us as by this we can direct our prayers to Him away from the cares of this world and to expect our blessings from above. It should also teach us to be careful of our attitude toward God that it is a holy attitude and an attitude of carefulness of our words directed toward Him (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

5. Should we not remember that the preface contains the word "Our" as we pray?

Yes, we should remember this constantly. This should teach us to pray with and for others. It should remind us that we are "one in Christ Jesus" and that we are not alone no matter what our trouble or difficulty might be here on earth.

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Question:101. What do we pray for in the first request?

Answer: In the first request (hallowed be Thy name) we pray that God will enable us and others to glorify Him in everything He uses to make Himself known and that He will work out everything to His own glory.

Scripture References:

Psalm 67:1-3
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Isaiah 64:1,2
Romans 11:36
Isaiah 11:9

Questions

1. What is meant by the word "petition" and how many are there in the Lord's Prayer?

The word "petition" simply means the desiring or asking of anything. There are six in the Lord's Prayer and we are considering the first.

2. How do we hallow the name of God?

Simply stated, it would mean to glorify His name. For example, Isaiah 8:13 states, "The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread." We should glorify (sanctify, hallow) Him in all ways as we walk in this world so that the world will see Him in us as much as possible.

3. How can we be certain that we shall do this?

We can be as certain as possible by endeavouring to be diligent about the attributes, ordinances, word and the works of God. It would be good for us to look back in our studies once again to our duties concerning these ways God makes Himself known to us and examine ourselves regarding them.

4. When we pray in this petition, "Hallowed be Thy name," what is the meaning of our prayer?

We are really praying for two things: 1. That God will hallow (glorify) Himself in this world; 2. That God, working through us, will enable us to glory His name in this world. The first part of this petition is accomplished as God magnifies Himself as he works out all things after His will, even those things which seem to us the opposite. The second part of this petition has been discussed in question 3.

5. What are the things He works out after His will that are opposite from what we would expect?

A few we could mention would be the persecutions, the trials He takes us through and the times we sin and He overrules.

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Question:102. For what do we pray in the second request?

Answer: In the second request (Thy kingdom come) we pray that Satan's kingdom may be destroyed, that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, with ourselves and others brought into and kept in it, and that the kingdom of glory may come quickly.

Scripture References:

Luke 22:18

Matthew 25:34

Revelation 12:10-11

Psalm 68:1
Psalm 67:1-3
 

Questions

1. What is meant by "Thy kingdom" in this question?

The word "kingdom" in this question has a twofold meaning: (1) The kingdom of grace in which He exercises His work in the hearts of His people. (2) The kingdom of God's glory in the other world. The first is the beginning of the second.

2. What does our petition involve when we pray "Thy kingdom come" to our Lord?

First, we are praying that God's kingdom of grace might have free course in this world and that God might be glorified. Further, we are praying that Satan's kingdom on this earth might be destroyed. Further, we are praying that His kingdom of grace might make those of us who are believers as those who are strengthened and established here on this earth. Second, we are praying that the second coming and appearance of our Lord may be hastened. We should be earnestly praying that this will come in His time and that we will be ready for it.

3. What is the "kingdom of Satan" referred to in the above answer?

The "kingdom of Satan" is everything in the whole universe that is contrary to the will of God. Satan has as the seat of his kingdom the heart of every man and woman by nature.

4. How can Satan's kingdom be destroyed?

It can be destroyed only by the work of Christ, the Son of God, who came to destroy it (1 John 3:8). It is destroyed partially when the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of sinners, through the Word of God, and conversion takes place. It will finally be destroyed when Jesus Christ comes again.

5. What would be one good test that our prayer, "Thy kingdom come" is sincere?

When we delight to do the will of God (Psalm 40:8).

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Question:103. For what do we pray in the third request?

Answer: In the third request (Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven) we pray that by His grace God would make us have the capability and the will to know, obey, and submit to His will in everything, as the angels do in heaven.

Scripture References:

Matthew 6:10

Ephesians 1:9

Ephesians 1:11

Isaiah 46:10
Job 1:21

Psalm 67

Questions

1. What do we mean by the will of God?

When we pray, "Thy will be done," we mean by His will two things: (1) His will of Providence in which He determines what He will do for us and to us. This is His secret will, the will of His decree (Isaiah 46:10). (2) His will that is revealed to us in the Scripture and one for which we should be constantly praying (Acts 21:12-14).

2. When we are praying for His providential will to be done, what is involved in our prayer?

We are praying that we might be made willing to comply with His will in our lives. A good example of this is found in 1 Samuel 3:18 where it states, "He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes." We are willing to see God in the ways He takes us though sometimes our "seeing" Him is by faith.

3. What is involved in our prayer when we pray for His revealed will to be done?

We are praying that we might understand, through His Word and the help of the Holy Spirit, the ways He would have us to go. We are praying, "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." (Psalm 143:10).

4. How can we be made willing to do His will?

We should recognise He is our Sovereign God and be willing to let the Holy Spirit lead us within that framework. We should recognise that His will is freer to work in us as our hearts are free from the love of the world. We should recognise that His way is the best for us and that someday we will understand.

5. What sort of obedience do the angels in heaven have toward God's will?

Our Larger Catechism tells us it is one of "humility, cheerfulness, faithfulness, diligence, zeal, sincerity, and constancy" (Larger Catechism Question: 192).

 

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Question:104. For what do we pray in the fourth request?

Answer: In the fourth request (Give us today our daily bread) we pray that we may receive adequate provision in this life of things needful that we may live and serve Him with all our heart and mind.

Scripture References:

Matthew 6:11
Proverbs 30:8, 9

Genesis 28:20
1 Timothy 4:4, 5

Questions

1. How can we best interpret the word "bread" in this question?

The word "bread" can be interpreted as all the needful things God gives to us in this life. An excellent verse in this regard is Proverbs 30:8 - "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread."

2. Why should we take note of the word "give" in this question?

The Lord had good reason for using the word "give" here. This is to remind us that these things are gifts from above. Too many times we take for granted the needs that are supplied for us by Him. We should remember He delights in giving and be thankful!

3. Is it possible that the Lord is speaking here of spiritual blessings as well as the good things of this life?

It would seem that the Lord here means simply the good things of this life. The Lord's Prayer is complete and this is the portion that has to do with the temporal things while the spiritual things are covered in other petitions.

4. Is it necessary for us to pray daily for these good things?

Yes, it is necessary because He taught us to do so. In addition, we are taught by Him to live a day at a time (Matthew 6:34).

5. What can we learn from the words "our bread" in this question?

We can learn that it is ours only in that we have laboured for it, all to the glory of God. If we have obtained "our bread" through false means it is not really ours in the sight of God.

6. Could you comment on the word "us" in this question?

It is interesting to note the word "us" is used. Here we have the opportunity of making known our wishes to the Lord and to include our fellowmen in our prayer. We are urged in the Word of God to constantly pray for our neighbours and to love them.

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Question:105. For what do we pray in the fifth request?

Answer: In the fifth request (Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors), encouraged by God's grace, which makes it possible for us sincerely to forgive others, we pray that for Christ's sake God would freely pardon all our sins.

Scripture References:

Matthew 6:12

Matthew 18:35

Ephesians 4:32
Psalm 51:1, 2, 7, 9
Daniel 9:17-19
Luke 11:4
 

Questions

1. Why is the word "and" used in this petition?

The word "and" is used to connect it to the former petition. We must realise our needs will not be supplied unless we are faithful to do something in regard to the confessing of our sins.

2. It is noted that some churches use the word "debts" and others the word "trespasses" in the prayer. What is the difference?

There is no difference between the two words. We are to understand by both of them our "sins" whether we are speaking of original, actual, or sins of commission or omission.

3. Is it possible for all of our sins to be forgiven?

Yes, God's Word teaches: "If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared." (Psalm 130:3,4). All sins may be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Spirit.

4. Would it be possible for any man to forgive sin, or for man to be worthy of having his sin forgiven?

Neither of the two are possible, for only God can forgive sin (Mark 2:7) and we have no merit of our own (see Larger Catechism Question: 194).

5. Can we see a ground of our forgiveness in this petition?

Yes, there is a ground of our forgiveness and it is an encouragement. The ground is that by His grace we will be enabled to forgive others and thus we are forgiven.

6. How can we know our sins are forgiven?

We can know on the basis of the promises of the Word of God (Micah 7:18, 19).

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Question:106. For what do we pray in the sixth request?

Answer: In the sixth request (And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one). We pray that God may continue to lead us in the paths of righteousness and that we may submit to Him in all things so that our hearts may not be tempted  to sin, and that He may deliver us if ever we are tempted to sin and fall prey to Satan.

Scripture References:

James 1:14

Matthew 26:41
1 Corinthians 10:13
Psalm 51:10, 12
Matthew 4:3

Questions

1. What do we mean when we speak of being tempted to sin?

We mean we are strongly enticed to the evil of sin.

2. From where do these temptations come?

They come from within us and without us. From within us they come because the heart is prone to wickedness. From without they come from Satan who is called the tempter in the Word of God. (Matthew 4:3).

3. Is it possible for Christians to be tempted and drawn into sin?

Yes, it is possible for Christians to walk in the flesh and not be on guard against the wiles of the devil and not recognise the foulness of their hearts.

4. Are we able to resist temptations to sin in and by ourselves?

No, we are unable to resist it by our own power. We must trust in the power of the Lord and ask Him for grace to resist the devil in our lives.

5. Are the temptations of Satan irresistible on the part of believers?

No, his temptations are not irresistible. We are told in the Word of God that we can resist them and there are examples in the Bible of believers who have been enabled, by the grace of God, to resist his temptations.

6. What do we mean when we ask God to keep us from temptation and deliver us from evil?

We are asking Him to keep us from falling into the temptation, if it be His will to do so. However, if we do fall into the temptation we are asking Him to recover us from it and that He might overrule in our lives and cause our fall to be turned into something for His glory.

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Question:107. What does the conclusion of the Lord's prayer teach us?

Answer: The conclusion of the Lord's prayer (for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever) teaches us to be encouraged only by God in our prayers and to praise Him by acknowledging that kingdom, power, and glory are His. To show that we want to be heard and have this confidence we say "Amen".

Scripture References:

Daniel 9:18, 19
1 Chronicles 29:11-13
Revelation 22:20, 21
1 Corinthians 14:16

Questions

1. What may we learn from the word "For" in this question?

We may learn from it that we are concluding our prayer with a strong basis. We have great and mighty arguments from the Word of God for all of our petitions. We are simply saying, "Lord, because of Who Thou art, because of the sovereignty of Thy power, grant our petitions!"

2. What do we mean in this prayer by "the kingdom, and the power, and the glory?"

By this we mean the "eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency" of God alone.

3. What is His "kingdom" as mentioned in this question?

We are speaking here of God as Creator and as Redeemer. The first has to do with the kingdom of nature and the second with the kingdom of grace.

4. Why do we add the word "power" to the portion of the prayer?

We add "power" to it because we desire Him to perform His will for us. We claim by faith His power to do so (Romans 4:21).

5. As we add the word "glory" what are we denoting?

We mean here that we are to praise Him continually for His wondrous works to the children of men. God should be praised without ceasing by us for He is glorious!

6. What is the use of the word "Amen" to end our prayer?

It is used to signify "So shall it be" by us. It is our earnestness of faith and our intensity of desire.

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Question: 108 What shall be done to the wicked at their death?

Answer: The souls of the wicked shall at their death be cast into the torments of hell, and their bodies lie in their graves till the resurrection and judgment of the great day. 

John 5:28-29

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

Matthew 25:46

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Question: 109  What shall be done to the unbelieving at the day of judgment?

Answer: At the day of judgment the bodies of the unbelieving being raised out of their graves, shall be sentenced, together with their souls, to unspeakable torments with the devil and his angels for ever

 

John 5:28-29

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

Matthew 25:46

Daniel 12:2,

John 5:28-29 

2 Thessalonians 1:9

Matthew 25:41

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