Heidelberg Catechism: Misery

Lord’s Day 2

Q&A 3
Q. How do you come to know your misery?
A. The law of God tells me.1

1 Rom. 3:20; 7:7-25

Q&A 4
Q. What does God’s law require of us?
A. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22:37-40:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’1 This is the greatest and first commandment.

“And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’2

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

1 Deut. 6:5
2 Lev. 19:18

Q&A 5
Q. Can you live up to all this perfectly?
A. No.1 I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.2

1 Rom. 3:9-20, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10
2 Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:23-24; 8:7; Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3

Lord’s Day 3

Q&A 6
Q. Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
A. No. God created them good1 and in his own image,2 that is, in true righteousness and holiness,3 so that they might truly know God their creator,4 love him with all their heart, and live with God in eternal happiness, to praise and glorify him.5

1 Gen. 1:31
2 Gen. 1:26-27
3 Eph. 4:24
4 Col. 3:10
5 Ps. 8

Q&A 7
Q. Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?
A. The fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.1 This fall has so poisoned our nature2 that we are all conceived and born in a sinful condition.3

1 Gen. 3
2 Rom. 5:12, 18-19
3 Ps. 51:5

Q&A 8
Q. But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?
A. Yes,1 unless we are born again by the Spirit of God.2

1 Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Isa. 53:6
2 John 3:3-5

Lord’s Day 4

Q&A 9
Q. But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?
A. No, God created human beings with the ability to keep the law.1 They, however, provoked by the devil2 in willful disobedience,3 robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.4

1 Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24
2 Gen. 3:13; John 8:44
3 Gen. 3:6
4 Rom. 5:12, 18, 19

Q&A 10
Q. Does God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
A. Certainly not. God is terribly angry with the sin we are born with as well as the sins we personally commit.

As a just judge, God will punish them both now and in eternity,1 having declared: “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.”2

1 Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27
2 Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26

Q&A 11
Q. But isn’t God also merciful?
A. God is certainly merciful,1 but also just.2 God’s justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty—eternal punishment of body and soul.3

1 Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9
2 Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31
3 Matt. 25:35-46

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